In recent years, Google has become the go-to source for consumers seeking information about businesses, from local bakeries to multinational corporations. Google’s platforms, particularly Google My Business and Google Business Profile, play pivotal roles in how businesses appear online. However, with Google’s recent branding and platform changes, there’s been some confusion about Google My Business and Google Business Profile. Are they the same? Did one replace the other? This article demystifies these platforms, highlighting the differences and what they mean for your business.
Understanding Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) was introduced by Google as a free tool designed to help business owners manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It allowed businesses to create a profile where they could add vital information like their business name, location, opening hours, and photos. GMB was also a hub where businesses could interact with customers through reviews, answer questions, and post updates or offers.
GMB was especially beneficial for local SEO, helping businesses appear in local search results and the coveted “Local Pack” — the box displaying a map and three business listings related to a search query. It became an essential tool for digital marketing strategies, particularly for small and local businesses aiming to increase their visibility online.
Transition to Google Business Profile
In late 2021, Google announced a significant change: Google My Business was being rebranded to Google Business Profile. This transition was more than just a name change; it signified a shift in how businesses manage their profiles and interact with Google’s services. The rebranding aimed to streamline the process of managing business information directly from Google Search or Maps, making it easier and more intuitive for small business owners.
One of the major changes was the move away from the GMB app and website as the central hub for managing business profiles. Instead, businesses could now update their profiles, respond to reviews, and post updates directly from Google Search and Maps. This was part of Google’s effort to integrate business profile management into its core services, reducing the need for a separate platform or app.
1. Platform Integration
- Google My Business: Managed through a standalone app or website.
- Google Business Profile: Managed directly through Google Search and Maps, allowing for on-the-go updates without needing a separate app.
2. Ease of Access
- Google My Business: Required business owners to log into the GMB dashboard to make updates or respond to customers.
- Google Business Profile: Enables businesses to make updates and interact with customers directly from the search results page or Maps, making it more accessible.
3. Focus on Small Businesses
- Google My Business: Served all business sizes but was particularly useful for small and local businesses.
- Google Business Profile: Continues to focus on small and local businesses, with the rebranding aiming to make the process more straightforward for small business owners.
4. Feature Enhancements
- Google My Business: Offered a comprehensive set of features for managing business information, customer interaction, and insights.
- Google Business Profile: Retains these features and adds new ones, with enhancements aimed at improving usability and accessibility directly from Google Search and Maps.
What This Means for Your Business
The transition from Google My Business to Google Business Profile is part of Google’s broader effort to simplify how businesses manage their online presence. For business owners, this means:
- Easier Management: Updating business information and interacting with customers can be done directly from Google Search and Maps, making it more convenient to maintain an up-to-date profile.
- No Separate App Needed: With the discontinuation of the GMB app, businesses no longer need to use separate software to manage their profiles, streamlining the process.
- Continued Importance of Local SEO: Despite the name change, the importance of maintaining an accurate and active Google Business Profile for local SEO remains paramount.
While the names Google My Business and Google Business Profile might suggest two distinct platforms, the reality is that Google Business Profile is the evolution of Google My Business. This change reflects Google’s commitment to integrating business profile management into its core services, making it easier for businesses to stay connected with their customers. For businesses, the focus remains on providing accurate, timely information and engaging with customers through reviews and updates to enhance their online presence and visibility in local search results.