Google Business Profile (GBP) has rolled out a new Profile Strength label which could be in a bid to boost PPC revenue – what does my law firm need to know?
Google has just rolled out a new “Profile Strength” feature for Business Profile managers that appears for logged in users above the search engine results pages (SERPs) where listing edit features currently reside.
While at first this may seem helpful, particularly with newly set up listings, it also appears to be yet another gambit by Google to encourage users to sign up for all services that Google offer, including direct messaging and Google Ads.
Agency clients will rightly be concerned should Google inform them that their all-important local GBP listings are not complete, and many will fret that their rankings will be negatively affected. However, we believe that nothing could be further from the truth. So don’t contact your agency in a panic yet!
This new warning is an attempt by Google to encourage people to either spend more money with them, or perform more zero click interactions directly from the SERPs page rather than visiting the website linked to the GBP. A zero click interaction is where the searcher in Google never actually clicks through to your website.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some benefits to utilising the services Google offer, for example Google Ads.
What happens after clicking “Complete info”?
This depends on the listing itself and how much work has been done on completing the listing according to “100% complete” standards that have applied for the past few years. The below warning shows an example of a client who already has “services” listed, as well as business photos but has also chosen not to accept direct messaging.
Many small law firms simply can’t afford the automation software or staff requirements to respond to direct messages. Others don’t want the zero-click interactions coming directly from the SERPs page and prefer users to visit the site. This has an added benefit of being recorded directly in Google Analytics reports.
So, if direct messaging isn’t something your firm can stay on top of, we’d recommend ignoring this step and not worry about Google suggesting your profile isn’t complete.
Add “Services” despite services already being present
It has come to our attention that, the ticked services in the image below are services already present in the client’s listing in addition to dozens of others, and as such this message can also be ignored at this moment in time. However, if you aren’t sure whether your firm has listed everything that it offers, make sure to cross reference this list.
Add more reviews
We understand that not every law firm has the capacity to gather reviews regularly. However, this is a very good suggestion from Google in terms of your SEO efforts. Have a read of our blog post on how to get more reviews and the benefits of doing so.
It’s important to note that, reviews were not part of the 100% completion score until now.
Enable Google Ads
While we are unable to provide a screenshot of the “Enable Google Ads” prompt, SEO industry sources have confirmed such a prompt appears for those who have not enabled it.
Users are taken to a screen that invites you to sign up for Google Ads and (at least in the US), offers a $600 free advertising credit.
So what does this mean for Conscious’ SEO clients?
The short answer is very little. All our local SEO client listings fulfilled a 100% completion score in the previous version of GBP standards. All new clients have their GBP listings optimised at the beginning of each campaign, and all local SEO clients receive monthly health checks for all their respective listings, regardless of how many locations.
These monthly checks enable us to confirm new services and keep an eye out for any warnings of concern, as and when they arise. To make matters even simpler – there is no penalty at this time for an incomplete listing, especially considering what is required for a complete listing as of this newly arrived feature.
For those clients who have attended one of our in-house SEO training sessions, you will be aware of the importance we placed upon regularly checking in on your GBP listings as it is an ever-evolving landscape and not a set and forget feature.
We still stand by that advice while also letting clients know in advance to expect warning emails from Google informing them of their “incomplete profiles” and to not panic. Should any new data capture field appear that we require your information to complete we would notify you to request such data.