How do the recent Google “My Business” changes affect your small business?
Google made some changes to their “My Business” (i.e. Your Business on Google Maps) guidelines recently:
From what I’ve seen around the web, on some blogs and on twitter, the way it affects small business can be anything from “devastating” to “unimportant”. I had to wonder how something can be viewed so drastically different. So I looked over the guidelines and the only really impacting changes I see are that they will be more strict about the business name and the categories you choose.
For example: My business name is currently Jon Loudon. I just do business one-on-one with people and businesses I know I can help. So, I had originally posted my business name as Internet Marketing and Website Consulting by Jon Loudon. This is no longer acceptable. I can still list my services in the About section of My Business page, but unless it is an actual part of my business name, my services and key search terms are not allowed there anymore.
So why the big change? What is the big deal? I’d say for most actual service-based businesses, it’s won’t make much of an impact. For local search and local SEO marketers that may have been woo-ing clients with easy results by renaming their business on Google maps to match their search terms however, it makes their job a little more difficult.
Also, and I’m confident this is the main reason Google is cleaning up the maps, is to add value for businesses to use Adwords on Google Maps. It’s the equivalent to regulating billboard space in real-world marketing. You can still find those mom and pop shop street-facing signs when you drive close enough, but if you want some real exposure, better take out an ad and bid on it.
Hard to complain when they are the ones who built that online representation of our world. We’re just choosing to live in it.
The good news is, my tactics of winning the local SEO challenge are as legitimate as ever.
Did I miss anything else big on this local seo Google My Business guideline update? Let me know.