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Google My Business Brings New Changes to Local SEO

The world is rapidly changing, and the digital landscape is no different. Google continues to implement various changes halfway through 2021, all of which have changed the way Google My Business, Google Posts, and other features are working. From March to May, such changes have been drastic, leaving SEO specialists and marketers scrambling to keep up.

More tests and updates are expected to happen as the year stretches on, however, which is why digital marketers remain on their feet. To round up all the previous month’s transformations, we’ve gathered the most compelling decisions Google has made. Here’s what the local SEO landscape looks like currently:

Google My Business Comes with New Labels for New Reviews

It’s no secret that Google My Business drives SEO campaigns of various businesses across the world, particularly local ones. The beginning of April has brought on various changes, however. Google has implemented a new policy, one that further highlights the significance of Google My Business in the landscape. 

Recent reviews now come with new labels, which essentially means that searches can now be alerted to new reviews made by customers. This update highlights the importance of garnering recent reviews, which is why it’s important to regularly ask your customers for one. For the best results, make sure to have customer reviews within the past few weeks. Anything less could affect your rankings.

Phone Numbers Now Banned in Google Posts 

Google Posts have also played a vital role in the digital marketing campaigns of many. Unfortunately, Google has decided in April that businesses should cease including phone numbers in the new update. This is due to the instances of “phone stuffing”, which Google has found to have increased the “risk of abuse”. 

Going through old posts is important, especially since you can likely be penalized—even if you no longer remember the specific posts. So long as it includes your phone number, you’ll likely be forced to face the consequences. To avoid this, make sure to check and edit your existing content on Google My Business and Posts.

Google Reviews Are Now Filtered 

Unfortunately for many businesses, the disappearance of Google reviews began a few months into 2021. Although the occurrence isn’t new, the resolution to the issue never happened. According to the new updates made by Google, however, this is merely the review filter working as intended. 

Some of the missing reviews can be eventually accessed, so long as they pass the standards now imposed by the platform. This update can be costly to local businesses, especially to those who rely solely on those stars.

This feat, however, is important due to the rise of fake reviews. Local businesses are now empowered more than ever to proactively tackle the issue, especially since Google has released a takedown request tool last March. Any unseemly reviews can now be flagged and taken down, effectively empowering businesses to control their digital footprint.

Beyond Google and SEO: What the Changes Mean 

Although the changes can seem difficult to navigate through, they’re necessary. Google is proactively making an effort to combat misinformation and fake reviews local businesses are susceptible to. Google My Business has always been a powerful tool in local SEO campaigns, but it’s one often punctuated by bogus practices. Thanks to these changes, new and better SEO practices are on the horizon.

For the best SEO agency in Birmingham, AL, Nick The Marketed has you covered. We are committed to helping your business grow in SEO, with the help of cutting-edge practices and strategies tailored to your needs. Schedule a call today.

 

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