Many of the online tools and apps we use to make our lives easier are provided by Google. When we need to find the answer to a question, we instinctively turn to Google Search; when traveling to a new destination, we will most likely use Google Maps; for music and videos, we often click to YouTube.
All of Google’s tools can be accessed and used anywhere you are: They are available both in your browser and through dedicated mobile apps. Plus, some features can even be used while you are offline; for example, Google Maps can download a route to your phone in case you lose reception on the way.
With so many users relying on its tools and services, it’s no wonder Google is constantly trying to upgrade and improve its offerings to better cater to the needs of its users and clients; the dedicated apps that are tailored for mobile devices are just one example.
Just last month, Google announced a few changes to its Google My Business service. The Google My Business web experience is used by local businesses to manage what information is available in their business listing—information accessed by existing and potential clients.
In November 2021, Google My Business (GMB) changed its name to Google Business Profile (GBP), as well as changing the way it works. However, business owners should be happy with these changes as Google’s goal is to “keep things simple.” GBP is here to help businesses!
How Does Google Help Businesses?
The primary reason consumers use Google is to discover new information. Oftentimes, this information is going to be about a local business— a restaurant or coffee shop, hotel, supermarket or pet shop, spa, or library.
There are two ways in which Google helps these local businesses through its tools: directly and indirectly. In short, Google is the place where businesses and customers meet online.
Through Google Business Profile, previously known as Google My Business, Google offers a platform that allows business owners to share with their potential customers key information, including their opening hours, their address and contact details, and their menu or list of products.
The more information a potential client has about a business, the more likely they are to visit that business. When business owners keep their business listing on Google up to date with their current schedule address, they help customers decide whether it’s worth paying a visit.
Through Google Search and Google Maps, Google helps business owners indirectly by making it easier for potential customers to discover information about a business. Even if a company does not have a business website, it can still add its details to its Google listing.
Once the information is out there, anyone who is interested in the products or services of your company can find out more about it by simply conducting a Google Search or consulting Google Maps for more local results.
Is Google My Business Going Away?
As a small-to-medium business owner or owner in general, you will now be using Google Business Profile to manage your business profile. However, that does not mean that the Google My Business you were previously using is going to disappear.
Instead, the existing Google My Business web experience is going to be “remodeled” and renamed to “Business Profile Manager.” Its goal will be to mainly support bigger businesses that often have multiple locations, making managing all these locations easier for the business owners.
With these changes, Google is trying to provide better tools for business owners to manage their online presence that are tailored to their needs—based on the size of their business. Even if you are currently using the new Business Profile, you could switch to Business Profile Manager as your business grows.
However, if your business already has multiple locations (or if you are doing local SEO for multiple local businesses), you do not have to “downsize” to a Business Profile: You will continue to use an interface similar to Google My Business, except it will be called Business Profile Manager.
What Is a Google Business Profile?
Even though it got renamed from Google My Business to Google Business Profile, this free tool serves the same purpose: To allow companies to control and change the way their business appears in Google Search results and on Google Maps.
The information that business owners can add to their Google Business Profiles remains much the same: opening hours, location (a street address, service area, or place marker, depending on the business), phone number, website (if applicable), photos, prices, and company updates.
Other information that will appear under a business’s profile, especially in Google Maps or the Google Local Pack, is provided by customers who have interacted with the business: updates, photos, and reviews. These details cannot be changed by the business owner, but they are valuable feedback from clients.
Business owners and Google users, alike, will notice a new feature included in a business profile—the ability to chat. More on this—and the other new features released when Google My Business turned into Google Business Profile—below!
What Changed with Business Profile (besides the name)?
While it is not the first time the local business management product has had a name change, this time we are also seeing some changes in how the product should be used. While the old Google My Business console is still available, Google advises that there are better ways to manage a listing now.
The reason behind this is that Google has been making changes to bring more of the business profile management out of the Google My Business app and directly into Google Search and Maps (plus in those respective apps for mobile users) for a long time coming.
Google has been allowing businesses to manage their individual listings directly in the search results or directly in Google Maps for quite some time—and is now encouraging businesses to do so strictly through Search, Maps, and the corresponding apps instead of the old Google My Business console.
At the moment, the interface of Google My Business has not changed too much except for the branding (from GMB to GBP). However, over the next few months, we are expecting to see more and more of the features in the GMB console to work directly in Search, Maps, and the respective apps.
Let’s have a more in-depth look at how things changed with the transition from GMB to GBP!
Accessing & Making Changes To Your Google Business Profile
This is one of the most talked-about changes, and it seems like it is the one Google puts the most emphasis on. From now on, accessing your business profile is as easy as performing a search and can be done in two different ways.
The first is to simply search for your business name in Google Search or in Google Maps; the second is to use Google Search and type in “my business” to see the business you have already claimed and verified.
Regardless of the method you have used, once you’ve found your own profile, you can now edit the information that people searching for your business see (your business hours, contact details, etc.) as well as also post updates or reply to reviews from your customers as you would on a GMB listing.
If your account has any issues, for example, has been suspended, you can resolve them by accessing your business profile as we described above. And, during the next few months, you will be able to also complete the setup for your new Business Profile and check if it’s publicly visible.
Easily Setting Up a Business Listing
If you do not have a Google Business Profile yet, you are in luck. Trust us when we tell you that the process of setting up a profile was a bit tedious before the switch from GMB to GBP. Now, Google is working hard to improve this process and make it easier for business owners to showcase their business online and for potential clients to find them.
Claiming and Verifying a Google Business Profile
If Google has a record of your business—and information about it appears either in Search or in Maps, but it is not something you have set up—the next step you need to take is to claim and verify that listing as being your own and representing your company.
To claim the profile, simply search for it by name and look for the option to “claim and verify the associated Business Profile.” Follow the steps presented and, once you have verified the profile, you will be able to edit its details and add any missing ones (address, schedule, photos, and so on).
Customer Messaging Feature
As we mentioned above, one of the new features that are available in GBP is customer messaging. Messaging can be done directly in Google Search, and it includes read receipts for both the business and the client; plus, read receipts can be controlled in Google Search and Maps.
To see and reply to messages coming from clients, business owners simply need to tap the “Customers” menu. Google Search users will need to find the business listing and find the “Contact Us Now” option in the “About” tab.
This new feature is officially launching in the U.S. and Canada, but it is still an experimental feature will only be available for certain businesses in these countries for now. Nevertheless, we are excited about it being available for all businesses in the near future!
With call history, business owners will be able to keep track of the phone calls they have with their customers on Google Search and in Google Maps. Call history will make it easier to spot missed calls and keep potential clients engaged.
Even though this is not a GBP feature, we thought it was worth mentioning as it will help business owners plan campaign budgets more efficiently. Google Ads is now enabling businesses to use Performance Planner, a tool for creating plans for advertising spend.
Business owners can also use Performance Planner to track the changes they make to advertising campaigns, see how these changes affect key metrics and the overall performance of the campaign, see forecasts for the campaigns, and explore different outcomes by adjusting various settings.
Get the Most Out of Google Business Profile
People google places all the time. The new Google Business Profile is a great way for businesses to attract new customers by making their details easily available to everyone. To make the most out of your GBP, we recommend that business owners always keep their profile up to date with accurate and relevant information for their customers.
As Google rolls out more changes to GBP, more updates will be posted on official channels—and you can rely on Uptick Marketing for the latest news to help you grow your business! Contact us for a no-hassle chat about how we can help with your ongoing and local SEO, utilize Google products to your advantage, and increase your website traffic in the process.