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Local Memo: GBP Dashboard Pushes Multi-Location Users to Search and Maps


In this week’s update, learn about a change to the GBP dashboard for multi-location users; how Instagram selects Recommended Posts; Google’s new ability to auto-populate restaurant menus; the consumer demand for business messaging; a major Google outage; and a new disclaimer on Google reviews. 


Google Business Profile Dashboard Pushes Multi-Location Users to Search and Maps


At least some multi-location users are seeing a change in the Google Business Profile Manager dashboard whereby it has become impossible, or at least difficult, to access the old interface for updating business listings. Google signaled last year, when it changed the name of Google My Business to Google Business Profile (GBP), that small business owners should switch over to the interfaces embedded within Search and Maps to manage listings. Recently, all accounts with only one location had their access to the old interface removed.


The GBP dashboard would continue to be available — we thought — for agencies and listing management companies as well as enterprise brands with multiple locations. But at least some of these users, including myself, are currently being redirected to the Search interface when trying to access the location edit screen in the dashboard. Google Product Expert Tim Capper confirmed to me on Twitter that he was seeing the same thing and claimed this change was being slowly rolled out by Google. 


As I’ve indicated in this screenshot, I can access the list of businesses in the dashboard, but clicking on a particular business’s contact info takes me to the Search interface. Clicking the edit or posts icon launches a popup that resembles the Search screen for editing business information or creating a new post. Clicking the photo icon, however, gets me to the Photos tab in the dashboard, from which I can still access the old edit screen. Capper notes in a blog post that it’s also possible to get to the old interface through a URL hack.


An image of the search interface of a Google Business Profile account


How Instagram Selects Recommended Posts


Instagram has shared some information about how it selects content for the Recommended Posts that appear in user feeds but do not come from accounts followed by the user. Instagram recently scaled down Recommended Posts after users complained about the relevance of posts chosen by AI, but is expected to dial up this content stream again soon after making some adjustments. 


Instagram’s stated goal is to make AI recommendations consistent with content a given user would have chosen themselves. Such “Unconnected Recommendations,” in Instagram’s terminology, are chosen by AI based on signs of engagement from people you follow or indications that authors and post content are similar to the authors and content you follow. The algorithm also prizes freshness of content as well as trying to deliver a healthy mix of media types including photos, videos, and albums.


Brand marketers will stand a better chance of earning placement in Recommended Posts if they provide fresh content, as well as studying and mirroring the content strategies of their competitors who are successful in building Instagram engagement.


An image showing the steps Instagram takes to make a recommended post


Courtesy Instagram / Social Media Today


Google Can Now Populate GBP Menus from the Restaurant Website


According to a Twitter post from Stefan Somborac, “Google can now copy a menu from a restaurant’s website and write the data to the restaurant’s Business Profile.” He goes on to note: “Unlike the automated updating of business hours (announced in April 2022), restaurants may opt-out of this particular automation.” As evidence, Somborac points to an updated Google help page on restaurant menus which now reads, in part, “Google may transcribe menu data from your business website so that it appears accurately on your Business Profile.” The help page provides instructions for fixing problems if crawled menu data is incorrect, as well as a link to another support page which explains how users can opt out of having their websites crawled as an option within Search Console. 


Meta: Consumers Want Business Messaging


Meta tells us that 20 billion messages are now being sent between businesses and consumers on Messenger each month. 64% of consumers now say they would rather message a business than call them on the phone. In a new consumer survey conducted in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, Meta examines these trends as they are manifesting themselves in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The study finds that consumer reliance on business messaging saw a big boost during the pandemic, as consumers turned to digital tools in greater numbers. 


A surprising one in three consumers in the APAC region message a business at least once a week, with Gen Z consumers messaging businesses at the greatest frequency — about eight times per month. Messaging can be useful at multiple stages of the sales journey, according to the report, from lead generation and consulting to order processing to personalized handling of customer feedback. The report also outlines the most common pain points of consumers who use business messaging, including delayed or generic responses and getting spammed after a chat session with promotions from the business.


An image showing different messaging examples from Meta's messenger functionality


Courtesy Meta / Social Media Today


Fire Causes Google Outage


A major outage in Google Search on August 8-9 was apparently caused by a fire at a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The fire injured three people and seemed to be the cause of widespread issues including users being unable to access the Google Search interface; older pages dropping out of search results entirely; newer pages not getting indexed; stale or outdated search results; and major fluctuations in ranking. Google was able to restore service on August 9, after which things should have returned to normal, though it is unclear whether any of the outage’s effects might linger after that date.



Google Adds More Review Disclaimers


In July, Robin Dirksen in the Netherlands posted a screenshot of a business on Google where the reviews section had a disclaimer reading, “Reviews aren’t verified.” Now Curtis Boyd is seeing a new disclaimer on U.S. reviews, but this time the reviews are linked not to Google Business Profiles but to Local Services Ads — specifically to an ad for a personal injury attorney. The wording on this disclaimer is slightly different. The main text display reads, “Reviews are not a guarantee or warranty for your experience.” Clicking on an info icon brings up additional text: “Reviews do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction on the outcome of your legal matter.” Clearly, this particular disclaimer is related specifically to reviews of attorneys, but its appearance alongside the disclaimer in the Netherlands seems to point to a policy change on Google’s part that seems designed to provide protection from liability.


Damian Rollison

With over a decade of local search experience, Damian Rollison, SOCI's Director of Market Insights, has focused his career on discovering innovative ways to help businesses large and small get noticed online. Damian's columns appear frequently at Street Fight, Search Engine Land, and other publications, and he is a frequent speaker at industry conferences such as Localogy, Brand Innovators, State of Search, SMX, and more.

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