Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) underwent a lot of changes during the 2022 calendar year. In this post, we’ll summarize what changed and break down what that means for your church.
Change #1: The Rebrand
The first change made at the start of the year was purely branding related, but a harbinger of more changes to come throughout the year. “Google My Business” was rebranded to “Google Business Profile”, though the platform continues to serve the same purpose: a way for businesses (and churches!) to manage their presence in Google’s Local Search.
Change #2: The Google My Business App Was Retired
Perhaps the most significant change that occurred in 2022 had to do with how you manage your Google Business Profile. Previously, there was a web application located at [https://business.google.com/] that one would use to manage their profiles. In mid-2022, that app was largely retired. You can still use it to see a list of the profiles you manage, but any actual changes to your profile needs to be made directly through enhanced functionality built into Google Search.
You can see in the examples below the contrast between using the old GMB app versus managing your profile directly through Google Search. Despite mixed reviews, the latter became the only option available late in 2022.
This tool will produce an overview of your church's local search presence. This includes factors such as your online citation profile, local search rankings, and online reputation profile. Local search results are a primary driver of new visitors to your church website and as a result Local SEO is of great important to churches.
Change #3: Google My Business Photo Insights No Longer Available
One feature from the now-retired Google My Business app that didn’t make it to the new management interface is Photo Insights. Previously, it was possible to view how many times photos on your profile were viewed, as well as the distribution of photos that were added by managers of the profile compared to the public. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Google is planning to restore this lost function.
Change #4: “COVID-19” Post Type Removed, “What’s New” Post Type Changed to “Update”
We hope that your church posts regularly to your Google Business Profile about events and other happenings at your church. If you do, you may have noticed a few changes in the types of posts that are now available. Heading into 2022, the “COVID-19” post type gave businesses a way to issue 14-day long alerts related to the pandemic. During 2022, this post type was removed.
Additionally, the “What’s New” post type was renamed to simply “Update”, but functions similarly and should be used to post anything you think people need to know about your church that doesn’t qualify as an “Event”.
Change #5: Detailed Call History
This actually occurred in late 2021, but so few churches are aware of it that we’re listing it here anyway! Within your Google Business Profile, you can opt-in to activate Call History which will allow you to see information about users who called your profile for up to 45 days. This can help you hunt down missed connections, or simply give you more information about who is looking up your church on Google with the intent to give you a call.