Google My Business SEO
One of the cool things we like to do, one that we believe helps a lot with a business’s local presence, is to post content to your Google My Business profile. Now, for a long time, businesses such as nail salons, beauty supply stores, mechanic shops, and retail stores have used their Google Business profile to post coupons and sale items. However, we have personally seen a nice uptick in traffic and clicks when utilizing posts for law firms and dentists. Not only can we throw a photo or video in with the post, but we can target a local market. These types of posts are just additional off page content tools in our SEO utility belt. However, Search Engine Land published a story that this might get tricky moving forward. Apparently these profiles might now increase costs to business owners. Check out the full article below.
Google may decide to charge for Google My Business listings
If Google starts to charge for Google My Business listings it may introduce some issues for how Google defends their free/organic listings.
Sean Bucher posted a screen shot of the survey on Twitter:
The survey can be accessed over here and clearly shows Google to learn if they can charge for Google My Business listings and if so, how much they could charge per month.
What is Google My Business? Google My Business is a free service from Google to list your business profile on Google Maps and Google search. It helps you reach and engage with local customers across Google Search and Maps, while letting Google provide accurate local information to searchers. It launched in June 2014 and since then has been upgraded and improved many many times.
The survey. This survey specifically asks local businesses how much they would pay each month for many services that are already included in Google My Business. Google can charge from $10 per month to over $70 per month to be listed in the Google local results, according to this survey.
Here is one screen grab of one of the pricing models asked in the survey:
Here are more screen grabs of the various services and packages that may be included in this monthly fee:
Why we should care. Obviously when anything goes from free to paid, the additional cost is something one would have to make room for in their budget or decide to go without. Google launched this service for free because they relied on third-party providers to give them local data. That data was often out of date or incorrect, thus Google needed to get on top of this problem, so Google provided a method for businesses to update their own information. Now that this service has become a requirement for most businesses, maybe Google feels it can charge for it and get away with doing so now?
Of course, if Google added a fee to Google My Business that it would be a nice revenue source for Google. However, this method of charging for search results like this is not how Google has typically monetized their search results. Typically they monetize for search ads, not simply being listed in the search results. This would somewhat change that model and it may make things complicated within Google’s internal ethics to support.
Ultimately, time will tell if Google decides to charge for Google My Business listings versus just using Google Ads or Google Ads Express for local ads.