Alongside a number of other changes made this year, Google continues to revise and rebrand its toolkit for online businesses and internet retailers by changing Google My Business into the Google Business Profile.
While little more than a name change on the surface, a deeper dive into the announcement reveals Google’s long-term plans for Google Business Profile, and how the product can benefit small businesses, customers, and advertisers alike.
Why the Change?
The name change might be an attempt by Google to help clear up what Google My Business is designed to do, and make it clear to businesses with multiple branches and locations that Google is providing them with a means to better analyze and control their web presence on the search engine giant.
Additionally, the name change is coming with a few additional features. While Google Business Profile is functionally the same thing as Google My Business, a few things are being expanded upon.
Most notably, Google is including greater customer communication tools, an easier way to respond to and manage reviews and questions, as well as streamlining the onboarding and management process for newcomers to Google Business Profile, so you can claim and begin improving on your business’ web presence right away.
What Is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile is, ultimately, the latest in a long line of names for the same or similar products aimed at helping local businesses establish and curate profiles that Google can use to improve search results. Previously, Google My Business was effectively Google Places, Google+ Local, and Google Local, among a few other iterative name changes.
Aside from the rebrand, Google Business Profile is a web-based platform business owners will have access to, in order to claim and verify their businesses, manage their business profiles on Google Maps and Google Search, interact with customer reviews, answer customer questions, receive and send messages as a business via Google, and even monitor and analyze performance metrics for inbound customer calls (such as call length, caller information, missed calls, and much more.
Managing Your Online Presence
The principles of how best to represent your business on Google via Google My Business haven’t changed. Google Business Profile still relies on unseen metrics to rank you against the competition.
It’s important to remember the basics of how search engine ranking works, and why SEO is becoming ever more complicated and involved.
There are thousands of factors that go into ranking any given site on any given search query, nearly all of which play a role in Google’s secret sauce in-house algorithms. Things like how quickly your website loads, your company’s location relative to the location of the user who initiated the search, your bounce rate (or how long people stay on your page), the readability of your website, the quality of your content, and the consistency with which you can gather and retain an audience and loyal following are just a handful of examples.
Coming out on top when ranked as a business in Search or Maps is much the same way, albeit with a few metrics skewed to adjust for relevance. For example, it’s safe to presume that Google places even greater importance on location when ranking different small businesses.
Making Use of Google
Online retailers and other small businesses with eCommerce capabilities can further leverage Google’s new tools to drive up sales during the holiday season, and beyond. Google wisely rolled these changes out just weeks prior to Black Friday, although it’s likely expected that the full impact of the rebrand will take shape in 2022, as Google slowly sunsets Google My Business and makes way for Google Business Profile to replace it entirely.
If you don’t already have your own Google Business Profile set up and ready to go, it’s worth noting that it likely exists anyway. That’s not always a good thing.
You Probably Already Have a Web Presence
The thing about the internet is that if you run a business, you’re on it. The question isn’t whether you have a web presence, to begin with, but whether you are in control of it.
Google Business Profile seems to be a more manageable and deliberate attempt at getting users to customize and curate their business profiles, both for their benefit, and to improve Google Search by bringing more accurate data to customers and advertisers.
How This Might Affect You
The biggest question to ask yourself in all of this is: why should I bother? And thankfully, the answer is quite straightforward. The more you control how your business is represented on Google, the better your chances of ranking above the competition, getting local traffic, and having new loyal customers make their way into your office.
Additionally, Google Business Profile is a direct pipeline for businesses with or without websites and social network profiles to benefit from the ubiquitous nature of Google on today’s Internet.
What’s the first thing you do when you need a recommendation for a service or product a friend can’t advise you on? Chances are that you look it up online. Or, you ask someone who did. This means that if someone in your vicinity looks for a service that you provide, there’s a good chance they’ll see the name of your business – alongside every other similar company and service provider in the area.
The better your business ranks via reviews, curated answers, response times, customer interactions and impressions, the more likely you are to be Google’s top recommended pick for that search.
On the other hand, the opposite can be just as easily true for businesses that rank poorly, with bad or few reviews, little to no interaction with customers, and no pictures or additional information to help a potential customer make an informed decision. Don’t let Google describe your company for you. Take charge of how you’re represented online and take full advantage of the new Google Business Profile.