Google My Business no longer exists, the free tool that Google has made available to companies since 2014. Better to say, there is no longer GMB as a specific tool and unhooked, because a few days ago Google decided to move all its features within the ecosystem of Search and Maps, simplifying access to what is now simply called Business Profile. Not a simple rebranding, then, but a real transformation for this product, which can also count on other additional features.

What is the Google Business Profile

Starting from November 2021, what we knew as “Google My Business” has been renamed “Google Business Profile”; in addition, the official announcement of the company also anticipates that from next year will be withdrawn “the Google My Business app so that more traders can take advantage of the up-to-date Google Search and Google Maps experience” and that the current Google My Business web experience will be renamed “Your Business on Google” and “will primarily support larger companies with multiple locations”, which cannot handle many profiles via SERP.

Come appare il nuovo Profilo dell'attività su Google Search

For small individual businesses or accounts that manage a few locations, in fact, other news are coming to the interface, and in general it is for them that Google has thought this transformation, that allows you to manage your profiles directly on Google Search or Google Maps, via the web interface or mobile apps.

How the new Business Profile works

The Google post informs us not only of the rebranding of this product – which in recent years has gained a central role in local SEO strategies – but also the introduction of some new features available to users.

First of all, the possibility to manage the profile directly from the Search is strengthened: it was already possible for a long time to modify the information of the profile of the activity from the Search, but now the user can also complete the verification or solve other problems simply by launching a search with the name of their company on Google or the Google Maps app and click on the option that appears, so as to verify the profile of the activity, check whether it is publicly visible or solve other issues that the profile itself might have, such as a suspension.

By Search or Maps you also change the information that people see when they search for activity, such as address, opening time, photos, post creation, feedback to reviews and more.

Specifically, among the other features integrated in Business Profile there are:

  • The possibility to request and verify the profile of a Google activity directly in Google Search and Google Maps.
  • History of calls received from customers through Google (under experimental launch in the United States and Canada).
  • The possibility to directly send messages from Google Search.
  • Read receipts check for messages in Google Search and Maps.

From a practical point of view, for now the web interface is not changing much, outside the name, but in the coming months it is expected that more and more functions of the old web interface of Google My Business will be integrated permanently and directly in Google Search, Google Maps and their apps.

Intercepting users that are interested to specific articles

In addition, thanks to the “available” filter on Search recently tested for retailers in the United States and Canada – which works thanks to Pointy, which you can now register for free and directly from the activity profile on Search – it is possible to inform buyers of the presence of a specific product in stock and appear in a “selected” list of shops close to the user that have availability of that specific item.

Holiday buyers want to know what is available before they arrive at the store: a recent survey reveals that more than half of US holiday buyers said they will confirm online that an item is available before they buy it, and there are some ways to allow your business to be displayed when buyers search for the products offered.

In particular, Pointy helps activities to automatically upload their entire inventory of products in the store by connecting them directly to the existing point of sale system; alternatively you can send the feed via Google Merchant Center or, in order to display individual products, manually add them to the Search task profile.

New solutions for Ads campaign

The new version of Business Profile – formerly Google My Business – should also simplify the management of local campaigns to promote activities, because it allows you to easily connect with buyers looking for that kind of activity on Google Maps, Search, Display or Youtube and help them find what they need in their local store, restaurant or dealership.

In particular, it will now become even easier to plan the budget of local campaigns in view of the holidays using the Performance Planner tool, which allows you to create plans for your local advertising investment, to see how any changes to plans could affect results and performance, explore performance by adjusting campaign settings, understand opportunities in seasonal periods, and manage budgets between accounts and campaigns.

The SEO advantages of Business Profile (and Google My Business)

Claiming and optimizing your business profile on Google has in recent years become one of the most effective local SEO strategies, available to any local business that intends to position itself higher on Google and get local customers.

But this is only the first step, followed by the inevitable job of managing and optimizing the profile, which must be checked and updated frequently with new information. According to a study by Ipsos Research quoted by Search Engine Journal, an updated Google Business profile:

  • It is 2.7 times more likely to be considered more reliable.
  • It gets 7 times more clicks.
  • It has a 70% higher probability of attracting visitors to locations.
  • It’s 50% more likely to lead to a purchase.

But there is one thing that should not be overlooked: the Business Profile is, so to speak, open to changes by other users, and indeed Google encourages user-generated content, such as reviews, questions and answers, updates, photos, videos and more. In practice, you can say that anyone online can contribute to the profile of an activity on Google and Google itself can intervene with notations and other useful reports, and therefore the owner/manager of the activity must monitor these contents and verify that the information is truthful and legitimate.

Tools to intercept clients

Google’s post also reiterates another advantageous aspect of Business Profile – and, in general, visibility through the Big G ecosystem: according to the results of a Google/Ipsos study in EMEA, 37% of people who normally shop during the holidays say they will start shopping earlier than last year, and in 56% of cases will prefer shopping in local shops and small businesses for the next local holidays.

The trend is also very strong in the United States, where a similar research reveals that 40% of US consumers have already started shopping and 60% of them want to buy more at small local businesses.

In short, small businesses have the imperative to be found online, where people often start their research and exploration path when they want to buy something, and the research trends demonstrate this trend: Since March 2020, searches related to online shopping and how to buy online have grown worldwide, and only in Italy the research interest related to “online shopping” has grown by 50%.

The history of Google My Business names

The move from Google My Business to Business Profile is the fifth name change for the local ad tool since its inception in 2005.

Just in that year, in fact, Google launched Google Local Business Center, a “free tool for companies to easily add or update their lists of commercial activities that appear in Google Local”, as it was said at the time – Google Local was the old version of Google Maps, active since 2004.

In 2009 the product is renamed Google Places, with the aim of simplifying the connection with the pages of places that were in the meantime spreading on Maps – and, therefore, to begin to integrate and match the search activity on Google Maps with the activity information.

In 2011 comes the name Google+ Local, another attempt to make consistent naming (and integration) between multiple ecosystem products: in this case, the company of Mountain View focused on Google+, which was to represent the social alternative to Facebook (but we know that instead it is a product now failed and closed). However, what used to be the Google Places concept takes on a more social and engaging feel here, with features like Hangout, photo sharing, videos and posts.

Due to the failure of Google +, in 2014 Google + Local becomes Google My Business, a much more complex product that also presents a number of new features to offer companies greater control over their online identities, that becomes a kind of real company web page that appears in the Knowledge Panel of SERPs.