If you follow our blog at all, then you know at least a little bit about the ever-changing nature of Google. The search giant is constantly updating its algorithm and the way it presents information to users. For major updates, Google typically makes a public announcement. However, for smaller changes, there’s often no warning. Webmasters and marketers are left to detect and analyze updates on their own. This is where Internet marketing specialists really earn their stripes.
It should come as no surprise, then, that there’s been more than one Google My Business update this year that flew under the radar. In fact, according to a recent article by Joy Hawkins on Search Engine Land, there have been at least seven. Hawkins’s article, “7 Unannounced Updates to Google My Business We’ve Seen in 2017,” illuminates them and offers helpful, actionable advice on how to deal with them. We highly recommend reading the full article!
In this blog post, we wanted to highlight a few of these Google My Business updates. The updates we chose particularly relate to our clients, who tend to be local business owners and service providers. Let’s get started!
“Permanently Closed” Listings No Longer Appear in Local Results
First, Google has stopped listing businesses labeled “permanently closed” in its local finder. This is good for users, as they won’t have to bother with closed locations in their search results. However, it could prove to be a potent weapon for dishonest business owners who mark their competitors as “permanently closed.” Since Google doesn’t notify you when your business is labeled as such, you won’t have any way of knowing about this label unless you check your Google My Business dashboard.
You Actually Can Review Edits to Google Business Listings
Another discreet Google My Business update is the new capability of reviewing edits to your business listing. Ever since Google got rid of MapMaker, countless business owners—and even SEO practitioners—have mistakenly believed there was no way to see edits made to their listings. However, as it turns out, you can review any edits made to your listing from the Google Maps app on your smartphone. (Hawkins points out that practitioners never noticed this feature because they’re typically working on desktops, not mobile devices.) Unfortunately, the only other way to review edits is to be an official Local Guide, which is essentially an elite Google Maps user. This capability for all Local Guides is the actual update; unfortunately, it doesn’t help too many small business owners. Still, most people were not aware they could use the Google Maps app for this purpose, so this is good news to many of us.
Google Is Removing Website Links From Certain Local Search Packs
A third Google My Business update that’s slowly affecting more industries has to do with what Hawkins refers to as the local “Snack Pack.” The Snack Pack is a specific layout for local search results that, for some reason, does not include links to businesses’ websites. Instead, each item in the results gives only the business name, address, phone number, and rating, plus a photo.
This tells us two things: 1.) Google wants to keep users on Google sites and not encourage them to visit other pages; 2.) It’s incredibly important to have your Google My Business profile completely filled out, in detail. This way, users can get as much information as possible from your listing since they’ll be less likely to navigate to your website. So far, according to Hawkins’s article, the industries affected are pest control companies, jewelry shops, and sporting goods stores. Knowing Google, more industries will join this group soon, so be on the lookout!
Find Out About the Other Google My Business Updates
Want to discover the other four Google My Business updates from Hawkins’s article? Check it out over on Search Engine Land!