Premium Versions of Google my Business may Cost you

Yup, that’s what you might start reading when logging into your current “free” Google my Business.

Ironically, when you search for “google my business,” the behemoth of a search engine SPECIFICALLY markets the product as FREE:

free google my business

 

However, in recent news, there’s been press on how Google is pursuing paid forms of their “free” product.  And several SEOs have opined:

One would speculate (speculate is the operative word) that Google is exploring the idea of a subscription service. Apple does it, Amazon does it, Slack and GatherUp do it, why shouldn’t Google? If that were the case, it would make sense to have ‘vertical’ upsells to G Suite that might offer different benefits in different markets.”

 

“I hesitate to recommend any of the bundles in the survey, as it appears to me a job done by a summer intern. But I can see SMBs paying $25-$30 and more if the bundle were compelling. It would be remiss of Google not to explore the idea of subscriptions to grow their business — and GMB is an obvious target.”

Mike Blumenthal

“This really seems like a step backward into the YP days of local marketing – a total pay to play scenario. Google appears to be looking at this as paid advertising. It seems greedy to me for Google to want us to buy ads and give them a cut of transactions (a la hotels) and pay them every month, which this feels like the direction it’s going in.”

 

“Your competitors can pay to see your IMs from customers? Competitors can advertise on your business profile? I think Google could easily replace Yelp as the local platform most hated by SMBs if it does some of these things.”

 

“However, if the support actually provided truthful answers and real solutions to problems, it’s likely that SEOs would include a subscription in their marketing plans.”

Mary Bowling

The whole survey was put together so poorly, clearly by someone with no experience in working with SMBs. That it was hard to discern a method to the insanity. Conceptually, most of the options presented seem a lot closer to ‘Tags’ (anyone remember those?) than Adwords Express. Google probably knows that Ads is simply way too complex a product, and perhaps they’re trying to hedge their bets with an alternative SMB revenue stream in case Smart Campaigns aren’t as Smart as they’re purported to be.”

 

“I was surprised at how derivative they were of Yelp (and even the IYPs). Paying for badges, offers, instant quotes and videos seems so far beneath a company of Google’s innovative stature. Granted, those were only a couple of the features listed, but I’m surprised they made the cut of the survey.”

 

“One thing that struck me about the bundle concept — particularly Option 2 that Andrew Cock-Starkey (aka Optimisey) highlighted — is how similar it was to Local Service Ads. So perhaps this is a way to both expand the footprint of LSAs into less service-y industries, as well as collect more revenue from LSA markets where Google can’t deliver enough leads per business due to the mismatch business-owner (over)supply with consumers (under)demand. But the feature makeup of the other bundles didn’t really make sense to me, maybe because they were personalized by my random responses.”

 

“The one thing that Google nailed with all of these bundles is the sub-$100 price point. Regardless of what’s included, this will likely be the first paid marketing expenditure for most SMBs who become aware of it. That’s true, even though in many cases they’d be paying for features that today they get for free.”

 

“It feels like these packages would appeal to both existing Ads subscribers as well as those for whom a traditional Ads campaign is just too expensive or too complex.”

 

“Aside from the obvious “Google search results placement,” the automated message response was the most interesting proposed feature to me. That’ll solve both a consumer problem as well as a business owner problem that will only be exacerbated by Duplex. Paid customer support would be a terrific option and SEO agencies would be lining up around the block for that one. But they may want to start with Enterprise support on that one before moving downmarket.”

David Mihm

So, what do you get for a paid version of Google my Business?

These are what the survey point to:

  • Google customer support
  • “Book” button on your business profile
  • Promote your “Book” button
  • Verified reviews
  • Promoted map pin
  • Call reports and recordings
  • Verified bookings
  • Automated message responses
  • Automated response for reviews
  • Google search results placement
  • Get leads from competitor profiles
  • Background check
  • Instant quote
  • Request quote
  • Offers
  • Featured review
  • Google Guarantee
  • Remove ads from your business profile
  • Verified licenses
  • Video on your business profile

Perhaps the recent stock dip and ad revenue NOT growing as strong as it has in the past prompted the move?  Well, we definitely imagined this would be happening.  The old yellow pages and white pages charged for MANY years.

Why wouldn’t google?

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