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18 September 2018
Google My Business Launches Website Builder
Google has recently begun the worldwide release of their small business web builder, Websites. First spotted in January, it is a simple, single page web builder that allows a business owner to create a basic web page in 5 minutes (or less if really simple). The website builder can be accessed via the Google My Business dashboard.
How to use Google Website Builder
Firstly you need to have a verified listing on Google My Business to use the website builder. A quick site: business.site check within Google shows about 113,000 results, which consist of both US and international small business owners. Business types include real estate, travel and tourism, computer training and software, summer camps, pest control and many others. If you already have a verified listing in the GMB, the data for hours, driving directions and business name as well as photos will be automatically inserted into the web page. Any changes to the GMB will also auto-flow to the web page.
The tool is free to use for the most part, but to get a custom domain (such as a .com, .biz or .net), you will have to purchase a domain through Google domains, or else you will be stuck with an ugly URL such as
Who should use website builder?
The product is not really a replacement for a full-blown multi-page website that many businesses have already so if you already have a web presence you may want to give this a miss. However for small businesses looking for a larger web presence like those who only have a Facebook or Instagram only presence this is a great way to take your first steps into local search.
After creating your website
If you've gone for the free option the website you create can be found at business.site and while it creates a default URL (
What Google has to say about the launch
Google’s Marissa Nordahl made the announcement it in a Google My Business Help thread on Tuesday, June 13. Here is what she wrote: One of the most common actions people take when exploring a Google listing is to go to the website, but we know that getting a website can still be a challenge for a lot of small business owners around the world: too complex, too expensive, too time-consuming. Millions of small businesses (60% of small businesses globally) don’t yet have a website.
Pros of Google Website builder
Some notable features of the Website Builder include the following:
- It’s free to use.
- Easy to create a website.
- You get a custom domain name (at an additional cost).
- It’s mobile-friendly.
- It automatically updates.
- You can manage it on your mobile phone.
- You can easily place ads on the site.
- Can be highlighted as your website on your Google My Business Profile.
- Easy to add a custom cover photo, images, etc.
- Includes Google Map embed and highlights contact and business hours info.
- Can easily be managed in your Google My Business Profile.
The cons of website builder
The product lacks a number of obvious features like structured data, control over title tags and meta-descriptions and an easy way to create a call to action button but these are the issues I think are most damaging.
- One-page site, no option to create additional pages.
- No ability to add custom page titles and meta descriptions (or any type of meta, for that matter).
- No Analytics integration.
- Lacks social sharing buttons.
- Lacks the ability to add structured data markup. Local Business Schema being the most relevant for small businesses.
- Cannot add alt text to images.
- Cannot add additional call-to-action buttons.
If you do have a basic understanding of SEO you'll quickly spot that, there are quite a few negatives from an SEO perspective. Hopefully, Google will continue to update and expand this tool to provide businesses with more robust functionality.
A website builder for the developing world
Google really needs this website building product to take off in the developing world or they run the risk of small business irrelevancy. The website builder product isn’t an obvious knockout win. While it may be of value in developing countries, it is not at all clear what value it will provide in regions where websites are the norm and can be built inexpensively.
However, when paired with the previous efforts in developing the Google My Business Dashboard and the current products in testing, it seems to even the playing field with Facebook and give Google a fighting chance to hang onto their lead in small business discovery sector.
Should small business owners use the Google My Business website builder?
The answer is, “It depends.” If you absolutely don’t have the time to build a small, four- to a five-page website on a more robust platform such as a Squarespace or Wordpress, then you should leverage this tool.
Protip: I would spare a little cash and recommend purchasing a custom domain rather than using the default URL.
In my opinion, there are many free alternatives which offer more customization and are more SEO-friendly — even Google’s free blogging platform, Blogger.com, is more SEO-friendly or creating a worpdress.com site which is fairly simple and can give you a lot more leverage and scalability in future.
However, if you’re not in a competitive local market, and you want a one-page website that you can manage from within your Google My Business dashboard, this simple website builder may be for you.
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