Local SEO is having a moment, with more and more small businesses claiming their local listings, keeping their information up to date and fighting for a coveted Local Pack position on search engine results pages (SERPs). Search engines like Google have proven that the best way to attract physical visitors to a brick-and-mortar business is by targeting potential customers online. And all this has been possible through Google My Business (GMB), the company’s tool that enables businesses to manage their online presence across Google Search and Maps.
GMB has been invaluable for countless businesses. It feels like we barely got to know her; we had so much more to learn – and yet, GMB is retiring. That’s right. Soon, GMB will be no more, replaced by a successor, Google Business Profile.
In an announcement posted on its Ads & Commerce Blog, Google said it would be migrating all GMB features to Maps and Search and rolling out new ways for businesses to manage their profile directly on Google Search and the Google Maps app. These new features come with a new name. In its blog, Google said:
“Moving forward, we recommend small businesses manage their profiles directly on Search or Maps. To keep things simple, ‘Google My Business’ is being renamed ‘Google Business Profile.’ And in 2022, we’ll retire the Google My Business app so more merchants can take advantage of the upgraded experience on Search and Maps.”
With the GMB app soon to be defunct, the update will mean a couple of things. Firstly, single-location businesses are being encouraged to manage their listings directly on Google Search or Maps rather than the GMB console. Meanwhile, the existing GMB web experience, which has proven invaluable for multi-location businesses, will be renamed Business Profile Manager and will exist primarily to support franchise businesses.
There’s no need for any major concern among business owners and SEOs. Business Profile Manager should retain all the features and functionality you’ve learned to love about GMB, although we can expect some additional capabilities to be introduced when the time comes. Many of these changes will only be live next year, but it’s definitely not too early to read up on how to claim your Google Business Profile and get familiar with what will soon be your new and improved local SEO lifeline.
More SEO News You Can Use
Page Experience Is Coming to Desktop: Just as conversations in the SEO community are swirling that optimizing for Google Page Experience has been a waste of time, Google announced that the update is coming to desktop results. By March 2022, Core Web Vitals, along with other page experience ranking signals, will affect desktop search results (or not affect them, depending on your experience with the algorithm thus far). Naturally, the only difference will be that mobile-friendliness will not apply to desktop, so this update could potentially prove beneficial for websites whose mobile responsiveness could use a little work. Interestingly, though, Google has made the announcement of the desktop rollout three months before its launch, meaning the search engine is again allowing ample time to optimize. Clearly, Google still believes preparing for Page Experience is important, even if many SEOs have all but given up.
Google Rolls Out the November 2021 Spam Update: Google’s war on spam continues, and its latest battle is in the form of a Google spam update that started rolling out on Wednesday and will be completed a little later this week. Spam updates have become a regular fixture of 2021, the unofficial Year of Updates, which has, so far, seen a link spam update and a two-part spam update. Thanks to these updates, Google’s systems are able to keep almost 100 percent of site visits from search results spam-free, blocking billions of spammy pages from being indexed. If you’ve been through all of them unscathed, the November 2021 Spam Update should prove no different. While Google’s Danny Sullivan announced the news on Twitter, he didn’t say whether it would target content spam, link spam or something else. But he did remind all site owners to follow Google’s webmaster guidelines as a way to maintain their position on SERPs.
Here’s Why You Should Stop Trying To Build Trust With Google: In a recent Search Central office-hours hangout, Google’s John Mueller addressed the concept of trust – specifically, Google’s trust (or lack thereof) in a website. A viewer asked Mueller about the best content for building trust, but Mueller played down the importance of seeking trust from Google. Instead, he said, site owners should first and foremost be concerned with producing the best content possible. Mueller says Google doesn’t factor trust metrics into its algorithm. Although there’s an idea that if Google doesn’t rank your site, it’s because it doesn’t trust it, this is not necessarily true. So, what can you do to make sure Google ranks your content? According to Mueller, you should be building trust with users, not Google – producing content that speaks to your audience in their language and matches their search intent.
Title Tags Are a Ranking Factor – But Controlling Them Is Possible: In an office-hours hangout, Mueller confirmed that title tags are a “tiny” ranking factor, which (yikes!) means that Google’s algorithm rewrites your title tags could potentially impact your rankings. A viewer was concerned because Google was shortening their titles and adding the company name, limiting how much information the title could convey. Mueller’s response revealed that Google touching your titles could affect your SEO. But luckily, in the same hangout, Mueller answered a different question about how to fix title tag rewrites. Google has previously released documentation to help SEOs control their SERP presence, but the viewer claimed following the advice wasn’t working. The viewer’s issue was likely boilerplate text repeated across category pages, but Mueller also went into some helpful troubleshooting tips. Check out the video for more insights into this tricky update.
A New Version of PageSpeed Insights Is Launching Soon: With Google’s focus on user experience (UX), few tools are as useful for site owners as PageSpeed Insights (PSI), an SEO staple. Google announced in a blog on Tuesday that a new version of the tool is in the works, and it will address a number of issues and challenges posed by the existing version. So, what’s new? Any regular user of PSI knows that its data isn’t presented in the most easily digestible way, so a new, “more intuitive” user interface (UI) is one of the most exciting updates. The new UI includes a clear separation between lab and field data and Core Web Vitals assessment results are highlighted in a separate subsection. Aside from these, some additional details and information are also being introduced to reports – data collection period, visit durations and devices, to name a few. As yet, no release date has been announced, but watch this space for an update.
Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.