Google has recently made some significant changes to their Google My Business (GMB) platform, seeing an overall reduction in the number of spammy businesses created on the platform. The new change, which is due to roll out later this year, will see business verification requirements across all categories and more strict criteria for the creation of a business.
The new Google My Business listing guidelines will tighten up the requirements for businesses, going away from a user-friendly approach to one that is more suited for people looking to create spammy listings. Although many of these changes will look like they are geared towards the consumer, it is essential to note that they are still necessary for the future of business listings online.
Some of the biggest takeaways from the new Google My Business Guidelines include:
1) No more duplicate listings
As an extension to the previous point about lacking user-friendly features, it is essential to mention that there are also changes in how multiple locations are handled. Previously businesses could create multiple GMB listings for each of their physical locations. This will no longer be possible with the new guidelines, as businesses will now only create one listing per business.
2) More robust verification process
As mentioned earlier, one of the main changes introduced with the new Google My Business Guidelines is a stricter verification process for businesses. This means that while previously anyone could sign up on the platform to create an account, this is no longer the case. Businesses will now have to verify themselves through several methods to get their listings verified by Google.
3) Only one phone number per listing
Another change introduced with the new Google My Business Guidelines is that businesses will only be able to list one phone number per listing. This means that if you are a business with multiple locations, you will need to create different listings for each location and list the corresponding phone number for that location.
4) New categories for business types
As part of the new GMB Guidelines, Google introduces new categories for business types. This means that businesses will need to make sure they categorize themselves correctly to ensure their listing appears in the correct search results. The new categories include Home Services, Auto Repair, and Hotels.
5) More focus on local SEO
With the new changes to Google My Business, there has been an increased focus on local SEO. When creating a business listing, you will have the option to add your website address. When users are looking for your business online, they can find you easily via your Google page or by searching for information about your business on various search engines.
6) Location of the GMB page is now important
For those businesses that can create more than one listing for their multiple locations, the location of that specific business’s Google My Business page will now affect how it shows up online. For example, if you have a restaurant with multiple locations and two listings in different areas, your search results will differ depending on which listing the user clicks on.
7) Removal of enhanced listings
Many businesses will also see their enhanced listings removed as part of the new Google My Business Guidelines. This process is primarily automated, although some businesses may need to re-request an enhanced listing after following all the new guidelines. With the removal of enhanced listings, there is no longer a requirement for any business to have a completed profile, which is good news for those struggling to fill out all the information.
8) More focus on images
The other key takeaway from the new Google My Business Guidelines is that there will now be more focus on images. This means that businesses should be sure to have high-quality photos of their business and their products/services on their listing. Not only will this make your listing more appealing to users, but it will also help with your local SEO ranking.
9) New Google My Business app
In addition to the new Guidelines, Google has also released a new Google My Business App. This app is designed to help businesses manage their listings more effectively and will allow you to respond to reviews, add photos and update your business information on the go.
10) Mobile-first indexing
Speaking of the Google My Business app, one of the most significant changes that this will affect is mobile-first indexing. In many ways, this change will help improve SEO for businesses as it means that Google will be primarily looking at the information available on a given business’ GMB page instead of what you have on your website.
11) More emphasis on consistent information
As a part of the new Google My Business Guidelines, there will be a more significant emphasis on consistency. This means that businesses will need to ensure they have consistent information across all their listings and that the information provided is always accurate. In addition, it also means that businesses should be cautious about updating information too frequently as this could affect their ranking.
12) Removal of some keywords from local SEO
Another effect of the new Google My Business Guidelines is that there will also be less emphasis on specific keywords. This means that businesses will want to make sure they are still using their most relevant keywords – but only if these match what users are searching for.
13) More focus on mobile-friendly websites
The final effect of the new Google My Business Guidelines is that businesses will need to have a more responsive website to be successful. For those who missed it, Google recently announced that they want all websites to be mobile-friendly and with the updates to GMB, businesses need to make sure their website is up to scratch. This includes the effect on medical websites.
These are the main changes that businesses will need to be aware of as part of Google’s new guidelines for GMB listings. Businesses who could update their listing ahead of the change should already be seeing an effect with this information being more visible online.
The new Google My Business Guidelines are essential to consider if you are a business owner or work in online marketing. By following the new guidelines, you can ensure that your business is correctly listed online and that you are taking advantage of all the benefits that come with being on the GMB platform.