What if Google made it easier for small businesses to be found in search results? A recent update is supposed to do just that. Any companies that previously had a Google+ Page or a Place Page will automatically be upgraded to the new Google My Business format that streamlines features from both into one easy-to-manage dashboard.
The promise here is that Google will now help small businesses show up across its properties (search, social, maps), connect with customers and build relationships with them all at no cost.
Google My Business better for SMBs?
On a Frequently Asked Questions forum, Google states this platform will make it easier for organizations to build upon their existing social presences and increase their company websites’ visibility. Although the search engine is notorious for being elusive about how to get better rankings, it claims this is a shortcut for businesses to relay the most up-to-date information in search results, Maps and Google+.
That’s right – Google says the information companies add to its Google My Business platform will automatically be included in its organic search results, social news feed and the Maps app.
While there are clear benefits for small local businesses, an early report from Marketing Land assert there is also value for any company in Google My Business. Whether it’s a B2B that sells service subscriptions or a consultant who works with clients globally, the new platform is meant to strengthen their web presences to make them more successful online and off.
No mobile site needed to reach smartphone users
In addition to alleviating some of the pressure small businesses face to make sure their crucial data is indexed by Google (like contact information, hours of operation, location coordinates), this development could also have huge implications on the mobile front.
Let’s be honest: A lot of smaller businesses weren’t necessarily excited about mobile trends. Smartphones may provide a direct line to consumers who plan on purchasing soon, but that would require having a mobile-optimized website and a strategy to keep them on Page 1 of smartphone search results. Now, Google is saying that companies with a completed profile on the ‘My Business’ platform will seamlessly be discoverable via mobile devices.
But before companies go spending the budgets they set aside for mobile optimization, it’s important to note a key differentiator. Google says the information will be accounted for, but not necessarily that it will show up at the top of results pages. That may still require a lot of strategic work. However, the announcement suggests customers will be able to find businesses in a mobile-friendly view if those companies are on Google My Business.
Is Google warming up to small businesses?
This is the second change that could directly have a positive impact on small businesses – the first being Google’s Panda 4.0 announcement. Allegedly targeting some well-known players like eBay and PRNewswire, the latest algorithm refresh seems to have benefitted small sites, or left them alone at the very least.
For a while, Google reps have been saying the search giant is in favor of small businesses and does its best to ensure they’re on a level playing field with major corporations where rankings are concerned. If the most recent change proves helpful to small businesses, there may be reason to believe this is the direction search engine optimization is going and companies’ web marketing efforts will take off.