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Google’s search tools are not only some of the most reliable SEO tools around, but they are also free to use, allowing users to be able to monitor traffic, conduct keyword research, and manage their business’s online presence without having to pay for a fee to access premium features.
While this has been the case for a majority of Google’s tools for a long time, there has been a discussion about one of their tools, Google My Business, going premium. Being perhaps the most important local SEO tool available, this comes as big news to everyone using the platform, and that includes our team. We’ll be taking a look at Google’s plans for Google My Business and give my thoughts on the impact of the service going premium.
Google’s proposal for making Google My Business a paid tool comes from a survey that was released earlier this week. The survey asked questions such as how much you would be willing to spend on Google My Business if it goes premium, along with which features they would like to see included.
Along with these questions, they also showed some possible new features that might enhance the experience of using Google My Business. Some of these include:
- A “Book” button that enables customers to set up appointments.
- Automated responses to messages and reviews.
- Google Customer Support
- A background check which is presented to the customer as a way of building their trust.
- The ability to display badges and verified licenses on your profile.
- A promoted map pin on Google Maps.
- Having your business shown near the top of Google Search Results.
These new features have also been grouped in separate option packages, with Google asking which option they found the most viable for their needs. These options also came with their corresponding prices, with the most expensive option costing $60. With a host of new features coming in the way, this survey helps Google determine which features business owners would want to have in a premium service.
One of the best things about Google My Business is that it is able to provide businesses of various sizes a platform that helps them expand their online presence, allowing them to compete with fellow local businesses and established companies alike. Being a free tool, this allows any business to be able to promote their products and services on Google, allowing more users to discover what they offer.
One of the biggest challenges of Google My Business would be providing a substantial price point that would justify the number of new features it would include and satisfy business owners. This also means that SEOs would have to increase their budget for tools, as Google’s proposed monthly plan won’t come in cheap for the functionality that it aims to offer. A lot of SMBs rely on Google My Business to improve their online visibility and local search presence because it is a free tool that does not need to be provided with a budget, which is why paying a price for it might put off some businesses looking to gain more organic traffic.
Another point of concern is that paying premium also means being near the top of search rankings, which might affect numerous businesses that have raised their traffic organically for a long period of time. This might also mean that organic traffic might not take you on top of the search rankings without having to go premium. If there is one area that Google needs to take another look at with their proposed set of updates, it would have to be this one.
While the cost of the premium service is yet to be determined, I believe that one of the benefits of making Google My Business a paid tool is being able to have a more secure tool, as some of the proposed features include verified reviews, which allows Google to check reviews before posting. Harmful reviews have caused numerous inconveniences for Google My Business users and having the option to manage this makes this issue less of a problem than before. Being able to generate revenue also allows Google to be able to support the service in more ways, as they would now have the budget to optimize its service, which leads to an improved product.
Since being launched in 2014, Google My Business has constantly improved to become one of the best tools to promote your business and optimize your local SEO. With the plan of going premium, Google not only aims to gain revenue but also introduce new features that make it worth the investment for business owners and SEOs across the internet.
If you have questions and inquiries about Google My Business or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.