You’re not the only one who has noticed a dip in their Google Business Profile (GBP) views. So what’s the deal? If you stay fairly up-to-date on Google Analytics for your business (which you probably do if you’re reading this article), it’ll come as no surprise that Google has made yet another data processing change. So why are your Google Business Profile views down, and what does it mean? Find out in the article below.
What Happened to My Google Business Profile Views?
As Google is wont to do, it has updated its data processing once again, affecting how businesses appear in local search results. These changes led to a decline in GBP views for many businesses, not just yours. But take heart! As we’ll explain later in this article, the number of views hasn’t really changed, just the way Google is now counting the views.
Ever heard the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Well, Google hasn’t, and as much as it may seem like data processing changes are made just to keep you on your toes, that’s not the case. Google aims to improve user experience with every update. For this update to GBP views, its goal is to provide more accurate local search results. These changes help filter out irrelevant listings and boost those more applicable to a user’s search terms.
What Has Changed?
In February 2023, Google updated its methodology for tracking profile views on GBPs. This resulted in potentially lower reported numbers. Why? Because now multiple views by the same user within 24 hours count as one unique impression. Also, views on Google Maps are only counted when a user actually clicks on your business profile. Previously, every time a user saw your business page, Google counted it as a view. This change leads to a much smaller percentage of views being reported compared to past metrics.
If things still aren’t clicking, don’t worry. It took us a minute to get it, too. Think of it this way:
Imagine your mom’s birthday is coming up this weekend, and you’re in charge of bringing the cupcakes to the party. So you search “Best bakeries near me” to find the most delicious cupcakes and come across the same bakery multiple times. The first time is a suggestion when you type “bakeries near me” into the search bar. The second time, it’s in a list of local cafes. And the third time, it appears a few times in Google Maps as you’re looking around to see how close it is and what it’s by. Previously, Google would count each time the bakery appeared on the site as a view. However, with the data processing change, all of these are combined to count as one if they happen within 24 hours. Additionally, if you never click on the bakery’s business profile, Google will not count the views at all. So it’s not enough to simply appear on the map with the other listings. You must actually engage with the profile.
This change in tracking results in more conservative view reporting with an emphasis on real engagement over appearances.
What Was the Old Method of Counting “Views” on GBP?
Before the change, anytime a GBP appeared on a user’s screen as part of a Google search result, each appearance would be counted as a view. This could be showing up as a map pin, appearing in local search results, or any other result for which the GBP appears. Regardless of whether or not the user interacts with the profile or plans to patronize the company in any way, the appearance would count as a view.
What Is the New Method of Counting “Views” with the Updated API?
The new term for a view on a Google Business Profile is a “unique user view.” And it only counts the number of individual users who clicked on your profile within a 24-hour window. No matter how many times the same user views or clicks on a GBP, it is only recorded as one unique view, focusing on the number of unique daily visitors to your profile.
How Does This Change Benefit Your Business?
Now that we’ve explained the what, let’s get into the why. How does this change in tracking actually benefit businesses that utilize Google Analytics? With the new methodology, businesses can better understand what the user is trying to do and what they want from their search, like getting directions, clicking to call, or viewing your menu. This change also gives businesses a better understanding of their true audience by excluding those who never make an action step and are, therefore, not interested.
Also, considering the fact that there are other ways to know if your business is appearing in search results than using the GBP metric, you’re not really losing essential data.
Understand This (and More) Google Analytics Change with Uptick
How do we begin to know our real problem when it comes to GBP views? We can source a second data set from something like Google Search Console (GSC). Google Search Console is the best tool to view data about your local SEO. Why? GSC provides a bigger picture. It doesn’t just show traffic, it shows visibility—through impressions and clicks. Search Console allows you to differentiate more effectively between different and distinct problems your pages might have.
To track in GSC, you’ll need to have UTM tracking parameters set up on your GBP. This allows you to accurately track performance. Pictured above shows you what that looks like. If you have UTM set up, you can then dive into Search Console and pull the data. If non-branded clicks and sessions are down, then there’s definitely reason for further investigation.
Whew—keeping up with all the changes Google makes is a full-time job (it’s ours, as a matter of fact)! If you’re finding it hard to keep up, we would love to help you out! You’ve got enough on your plate already, what with providing excellent products and services to your customers and tending to the other needs of your business. Let us put our digital advertising expertise to work for you with a custom strategy, explanations for our recommendations, and real results. Start a conversation with us today!