Recent “Google My Business” Changes

Google My Business (GMB) has undergone several unannounced changes lately that you may not be aware of.

If we can be sure of anything, it’s that Google makes changes all the time. The good news about the recent Google My Business changes is that most of them are good.

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Changes to the “Snack Pack”

Google’s “Snack Pack,” the three-result local listing box, now includes more industries, and it’s finally showing up widely in mobile searches.

In the desktop interface, the business listings in the Snack Pack no longer give you the option of going directly to the business’ websites, however. Clicking the map or any of the results takes you to another page, known as the local finder.

The local finder page offers expanded results in a format that lists the Google My Business info down the left side with an interactive map on the right. When you choose one of the results, a display box opens in the center of the screen with all the GMB listing information.

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Google also displays ads now in the local finder, above the organic results. A well-designed hyper-local AdWords campaign could earn some prime exposure in the local finder.

In a mobile SERP (search engine results page), clicking on a result takes you to the GMB mobile result, which is the same one you see in Google Maps for mobile.

Changes to the Metrics Available for Google My Business

You now have access to a full 18 months of lookback insights data. And you now have the freedom to customize the date range for the data you want to see. Previously, the GMB dashboard only allowed you to look at data in weekly, monthly or quarterly intervals.

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Changes to GMB Suggested and Pending Edits

You may have noticed that the Google My Business listing displays (in the SERPs) contain a “Suggest an Edit” option.

This may be helpful for filling in missing information that a business has neglected to include in their GMB listing. It also provides a way to crowdsource information on a business that has not yet claimed its Google My Business listing.

But previously, it was also opening the door for abuse.

If someone suggested an edit to certain fields, the listing would go into “pending” status until the edits were approved or disapproved. If you attempted to update your own GMB listing location, for example, the listing would also have pending status until Google approves the change.

This essentially sent your listing into limbo for however long the approval took — which can be as much as three weeks!

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Google discovered that this state of limbo was being exploited. Competitors were suggesting changes to legitimate businesses’ GMB listings or reporting the listings as spam to take them out of the competition for SEO placement. Now, if your listing has pending edits or if someone reports the listing as spam, Google won’t place the listing into pending status while the changes are reviewed, and suggested or pending edits will not show up on the listing display.

Be Locally SEO keeps up with the ever-changing Google SEO landscape so you don’t have to. We provide professional internet marketing services to businesses throughout the U.S., including search engine optimization, content marketing and website development. If you aren’t using the powerful — and free — Google My Business tool for improving your SEO, contact us today to learn more.