The digital world changes so fast and as a digital marketer, you have to stay on top of these changes. Take for instance the recent changes to Google My Business (GMB). In July 2020, a few people noticed that Google seemed to be testing out upgraded GMB profiles where individuals would pay $50 per month. This would also come with a Google Guaranteed badge displayed on eligible business listings as well as the back services these businesses provide.
GMB is an incredibly useful tool for local businesses, helping to boost their visibility. The fact that it’s free only adds to its attractiveness. However, for a while now, some SEOs have been predicting that it wouldn’t remain free forever and it was only a matter of time before it became a pay-to-play product.
It seems that’s what Google has been testing out in recent months, creating anxiety in some quarters.
What do We Know So Far?
Before giving in to unnecessary panic, it’s good to get an idea of what we know and don’t know about this upgraded GMB profile. So far, what is certain is that this is still being tested and nothing’s definitive at this point.
We are also in the dark about some things including whether the upgraded profile will be rolled out globally or only in the US. We don’t know what the eligible businesses are and how it will benefit local businesses that opt for the paid-for product. There’s also confusion on whether it will replace Google’s Local Services Ads.
On the plus side, having verified and upgraded business listings isn’t all bad. It would certainly go a long way towards weeding out inauthentic listings, dealing with spam, and favoring authentic local businesses.
What does this mean for Local Businesses?
At the moment, it’s unclear whether Google plans to monetize GMB and it’s still too early to jump to conclusions. The advantages and perks of opting in to the upgraded GMB profile are also not clear. We also don’t have any idea whether the cost will remain $50 across all businesses and categories.
With so much still unknown, local businesses should continue with what has worked before. That is engaging with potential and target customers and doing what they can to optimize their GMB profiles as they are now.
If the new GMB package does roll out officially, then SEOs and digital marketers will have to weigh the benefits of getting the badge against the cost of doing so, then advising their clients accordingly.
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The digital world is dynamic and it can be hard to keep on top of all those changes. That is where my services as a digital marketer come in handy. I have worked with several small businesses, helping them increase their visibility and boost their bottom line and I can do the same for you.
Schedule a free consultation today and let’s work together to build your business.