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November 8, 2021

Google My Business Is Now Google Business Profile: Everything You Need to Know Today and Long-Term

Google My Business has rebranded. Find details, what to expect in terms of GMB platform changes and the reasons for the switch to GBP.

* Looking for a free Google Business Profile Optimization and Best Practice course? Visit the link to sign up for Widewail Academy - Our 100% complimentary GBP curriculum.

Why rebrand Google My Business?

Google My Business was (and still is, post-rechristening) a popular platform allowing businesses to manage their online presence and easily connect with customers seeking the  "social proof" provided by testimonials and reviews from peers.

It also provides tremendous benefits to "local SEO" and competitive visibility within single or multiple target market areas. And the benefits are invaluable to both online businesses and brick-and-mortar locations alike. Setting up a profile should be at the top of the marketing checklist for any and every brand new company or those in existence who have ignored GMB/GBP to date.

It's possible, however, that the previous product name was misunderstood as being only for businesses using Google products. So, to clear up this confusion, Google rebranded Google My Business to Google Business Profile. While never formally announced to that effect, the strategic reasons behind said nomenclature shift may be just that simple.

This new name may better reflect the fact that any business can use the platform to manage their profile and digital footprint across the entire web - as opposed to just being applicable to those using Google's native product suite.

It could also be said that the new name makes it more intuitive for prospective customers to find information about businesses when performing searches. As a result, the rebranding, and retirement of the word "my", should lead to a greater understanding of this mission-critical platform and how useful it is when managing absolutely any online business entity.

A bit of GMB history

Since the day Google began introducing local business profile features in March of 2004, they’ve kept developing it aggressively and have changed the name no fewer than six times. GMB’s rechristening to Google Business Profile last Thursday involves more than a simple rebrand, however, so it’s important to know what changes you can expect - both right away and in the near future.

Here is a look into the primary feature change, access via search:

What’s in a name?

Since the inception of Google Local (aka Google Local Business aka Google Places aka Google+ Local aka Google My Business) and right on up to the announcement of Google Business Profile last week, the tool has become a local marketing cornerstone, ensuring ownership and control over business information within search results.

* Enter your business name into our online reputation calculator, and adjust the review volume slider, for an estimate of how critical GBP may be to your specific strategy. 

From SMBs with a single brick-and-mortar location to enterprise-level chains with hundreds of franchises, GMB (or GBP as we can assume it will become abbreviated - at least outside of England) has been on the top of everyone’s checklist for a long time. And that isn’t going to change, but some of the details definitely will evolve in both the short and longer-term. 

What’s changing in the short term?

As of today, the main differences accompanying the name change have to do with direct profile management and a shift in how Google wants you to do so. While it’s been possible for years, Google is now deliberately pushing those with single listings to manage their businesses within Search or Maps and not in the old Google My Business console or mobile app. 

Credit: SEORoundtable

Google has also announced a gradual new feature rollout which includes:

  • Call History information and management from Maps and Search 
  • Business Messaging response and receipt management from Maps and Search
  • Ability to verify and claim business profiles directly from Maps and Search
  • Improved confirmation of new profile visibility from Search

What’s changing over the next six months?

In line with their aforementioned preferences as to user interaction, the mobile app will eventually be retired (no definitive word yet as to time frame, but Google’s VP of Merchant Shopping hinted it will happen in 2022). The GMB web backend will be renamed Business Profile Manager and shift towards primarily supporting larger, multiple-location entities. It’s safe to assume this will also happen sometime next year. 

In addition, the current profile URLs will be rebranded and redirect to the new experience. Eventually, GMB’s API will be renamed to Business Profile API, with the current functionality and development focus retained.

Do I need to do anything today as a result of these changes?

The short answer is, “no.” If you’re an SMB not using a Google Business Profile service to do the work for you, and a frequent hands-on user of the GMB web backend or mobile app, our only short-term adjustment recommendation is to start getting used to editing your profile directly in Search/Maps. Long before you’re eventually forced to sometime in 2022.

Additional Resources:

  • Official Announcement from Google
  • GMB and Local SEO update timeline from SterlingSky
  • Google Business Profile Optimization from Widewail
  • Gif showing how to manage profiles directly in Search from SEORoundtable

Incremental progress

Google’s recent announcement is more indicative of continuing and “natural” improvements to a cornerstone feature than anything you need to worry about reacting to today. 

Widewail is dedicated to keeping our customers informed and comfortable with industry changes related to our products. You can see Google’s full announcement here. We’ve included several informational links above and you can always reach out to your account manager by phone or email with more detailed questions. 

Dave Pye

A digital marketing dinosaur, my SEO career began in 1999 at one of Boston's first digital marketing agencies. Prior to becoming Widewail's Director of Search I had a long focus on GMB, reviews and local organic visibility for automotive dealerships in competitive locales. Regardless of a specific industry, this decade of experience was the perfect precursor for a role supporting our innovative Engage and Invite services. Originally from Canada, I enjoy hockey, Frank Sinatra, writing on a variety of subjects, old movies - and am the proud parent of a geriatric Boston Terrier. Customers, peers, or anyone with online review-related questions are encouraged to contact me, anytime.

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