When we talk about local business listings, “Google My Business” is the market leader.
Google’s continuous influence on the search engine market ensures its number one position across the board.
In a recent news by Search Engine Land, Google shows that they are examining the possibility of charging for Google My Business listings. For now, Google is surveying local businesses to check if they are willing to pay for the features they are enjoying without any charges for now.
In case, Google My Business listings become chargeable, it will affect both local businesses and consumers.
In this blog, you will see how this can impact businesses, search engines, and customers.
We have also compiled a few options available for the local businesses if Google starts charging for My Business Listing Service.
The entire business of Google lies in providing useful and accurate search results.
After its inception in 2014, Google My Business has been a free service, especially for local businesses to be displayed in search results.
This service was available for free to make sure local businesses would utilize it.
Though Google has mostly relied on ads to monetize search results, the vast number of local businesses available in the GMB listing shows the potential to be a good source of revenue.
The survey analyzing paid Google My Business listing comments that Google is researching a price between $10 and $70 per month. It further adds that they are offering various price points at different features.
— Sean Bucher (@spbucher) April 25, 2019
Google is yet to confirm this news. For now, all this is based on speculations, but it’s thought that they may be looking for revenue stream due to slow down in ad revenue in the first quarter of 2019.
Even though this news is exploratory right now, but it is important for SMBs to be cognizant of the impact of this change.
It may make the listing cost prohibitive to a few businesses and they might opt out if not seen as a worthwhile investment.
Businesses deciding to skip GMB usage may not be found easily via search and they wouldn’t appear in the Local Pack, Knowledge Graph or on Maps.
Consumers rely heavily on Google search to look for local businesses daily. This move towards paid listing may mean incomplete information that will impact the overall quality of the search results.
Additionally, if a few businesses participate in the GMB, it could mean that the consumers may stop relying on the provided information, like reviews, as they may feel a lack of information due to an incomplete picture.
Even though there isn’t any lack of business listing services, but Google is a leader in this market. This means that many businesses have their listing only on Google. If Google becomes a paid offering, businesses will have to assess and know about the alternatives available for them.
Yelp’s primary revenue stream is advertising while Angie’s List offers upgraded listing for free.
Even Bings offer free listing but it can’t be taken as an alternative to Google as Bing had 3.19% total global search volume in January 2019.
Many platforms offer paid listing or involve fees.
For instance, Thumbtack connects customers across the US with small businesses. It offers a free listing while if businesses bid on a job, they have to pay a minimum fee.
One more example is OpenTable that charges restaurants a listing fee and then again a fee for successful reservations made through their website or app.
Last but not least- “Yellow Pages”.
Do you guys remember?
They have now shifted to offer digital services- both a paid and free listing for businesses.
We would like to conclude that there is no real competition to Google My Business, so we recommend you to boost up your online presence wherever you can.
The best way to control your customers’ search is by having a presence on the listings like GMB and above discussed ones.
You also need to have your website optimized to control your branding and chances to capture leads, sell products/services, tell a story and add much more than what these listings have to offer.
If you would like to add your business in Google local listings we can set up and optimize as per Google guidelines for maximum exposure.
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