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Google My Business Could Become A Paid Service
You don't need to be an expert to know that Google doesn't hand out free lunches and if they do it's not for very long. If extracting traffic from Google was easy paid search specialists and SEO's like myself would be out of a job. While the competition or organic and paid positions on Google's first page of results continues to heat up there was one spot that was untouched.
You could easily claim it without much technical know-how and it would almost guarantee you visibility online and that was Google My Business. Launched in June of 2014, 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.
This free service has helped improve the accuracy of local SEO search results and made Google Maps even more valuable with a wealth of geolocation data being submitted, edited and updated in real time. This service has been improved over time with the goal of improving Google's stickiness and reducing referral traffic from Google, but this could all change as the search engine giant looks at a possible monetisation of the service.
Google exploring it's options
Over the weekend Search Engine Land Reported that Google has been sending out surveys to small business owners about their appetite to pay monthly subscription fees for a number of potential Google My Business (GMB) enhanced features and services. Some of the suggested offerings including:
- Request a quote
- Automated review/message responses
- Booking buttons
- Remove ads from a profile
- Google search results placement
- Google Guarantee
- Verified reviews
- and several other features
The news has polarised the community and needless to say, SEO's had something to say about it with Search Engine Land putting together a wrap-up.
While the introduction of GMB subscription services is logical, given Google’s position in the market and revenue pressures. As for their perception of Google’s motivations, what particular services were striking to them and whether their customers would be willing to pay $30 per month (or more) for GMB bundles remains to be seen.
What we can take from this, however, is that nothing with Google will be a given any more and businesses need to start building their own audiences for direct communication if they are to survive Google closing the gates on free referral traffic.
How to prepare if GMB becomes a paid service
If Google does decide to place GMB behind a paywall business will need to look at using alternative services as well as ensuring their NAP is consistent across all digital elements from social media, mentions on external sites, directories, your own site and more. If you feel this strategy could work for you, check out our guide on how to ensure your local SEO is set up correctly.
For those of you who don't rely on a website or used Google My Business as your only digital presence, you may want to explore alternative options like simple site builders or local directories.
I would highly recommend you check out our guides on the topics.
- How Our Business Geolocation Services Can Help Improve The South African Economy
- Why nichemarket is the best place to list your local Business
- How To Get Local Customers With Online Marketing In South Africa
Tell us your SEO story
Have you been frustrated with your SEO and content marketing in the past? How did you or the company overcome it? Are there any tips you would like to share on working in content marketing? Share it with us in the comments.
Are you looking to promote your business?
Business owners can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online. Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions.
If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles.
If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on Google My Business.
- How to manage User Roles in Google My Business Listings
- Manage Multiple Locations With A GMB Agency Account
- Google My Business Launches Website Builder
- Google My Business and Google Posts Combine Forces
- Tell Google and Your Customers You Service Multiple Areas
- Add A Booking Service To Your Google Knowledge Graph
- SMS Businesses From Their Google Knowledge Graph
- How To Post Updates Directly Into Google Search