March 2024 or the end of the dominant positioning of Google My Business

The timetable for the implementation of the new European law on the digital market has just been published. How to predict the revolution induced in search results at the local level?

The anti-competitive position established by Google My Business for years by the EU has never stopped increasing since its launch in 2010 (Google Local, then Google Places, then renamed Google My Business) and its promotion in Google Search in 2012 (by Google the Venice update). The EU had tried to regulate, but the proposals made had not changed anything. Since 2014, Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for Competition, has listened to the various actors before the preparation of the DMA, which has been prepared since 2020 and entered into force on 1 November 2022 for application no later than March 2024.

DMA schedule © European Commission

The changes imposed and the sanctions applied are historic, here are two excerpts to become aware of the will of the European Union:

  • “the access controller is prohibited from introducing preferential treatment in relation to its own products”
  • “in the event that a gatekeeper violates the rules set by the DMA, he faces a fine of up to 10% of his total worldwide turnover and up to 20% in the event of a subsequent violation.”

What will be the changes for Google My Business?

Google will need to create a dedicated website with a page for each business. A giant directory to schema that will be optimized for SEO and will be indexed and ranked like any other site. The visibility of Google My Business will be affected, from 90 to 95%.

Simulating upcoming changes for the request “hotel negresco nice” © Nicolas Chevallier

Business websites will be the big winners, and we can bet that websites and store location listings will be at the top of the search results. The traffic on these specific pages will explode (from 200% to 800% increase).

An indexable store finder

For brands with multiple points of sale, a store locator is important on your company page. Each POI (store, center, store, franchisee, etc.) must have a page that can be indexed and indexed (visible) by Google.

Important information to integrate

To know this crucial information, simply consult the information provided by Google:

  • full address, a precise geolocation and a link to route calculation. Instead of just offering a Google Maps link, you can show multiple choices for different map tools depending on the platform: Apple Maps, Waze, TomTom, Here WeGo;
  • phone numbers, They must be perfectly visible and clickable on mobile;
  • opening hoursspecify the extraordinary hours for holidays, you will avoid unnecessary calls;
  • the opinions, display of at least one total score from a trusted partner. Knowing that Google My Business will no longer have any competitive advantage, is it reasonable to still trust their review management system? Who requires authors to have a Google account and without any verification? Why not think about switching to a French management company to get verified reviews, in accordance with the AFNOR NF ISO 20488 standard and with available contacts? The solutions abound.

A display in the search results that needs to be optimized

The display in the form of rich results makes it possible to attract the attention of the Internet user and occupy more space in the search results.

A Google tool allows you to test the display of a page and check whether the structured data has been added to the page. For local search, the most important comprehensive data are reviews, photos and frequently asked questions.

Examples of standard result and rich result display © Nicolas Chevallier

Fast to load pages

90% of visitors will only see one page of your website and are used to the immediacy of Google My Business. To check that your pages are fast enough, you can use the free WebPageTest tool with the following advanced profile:

  • test location: Paris;
  • browser: iPhone 6+/7+/8+;
  • connection: 3G.
The WebPageTest interface © WebPageTest

Your site must display crucial information in less than 3 seconds to prevent visitors from getting impatient and leaving your site without even waiting for the end to load.

Significant intermediaries

Platforms, intermediaries, booking platforms and directories will also benefit greatly from DMA to gain visibility. It is up to you to identify in your sector which 2-3 players will weigh in:

  • for all sectors: PagesJaunes and Facebook Company Page;
  • hotels: Booking/TripAdvisor;
  • catering: TheFork/RestaurantGuru;
  • hair/beauty: Flatness;
  • health: Doctolib;
  • car: LaCentrale/Allogarage.

Finally

The local strategy based solely on GMB today followed by many brands will be challenged. This is a radical change that must come.

The older ones may remember Google, without Google My Business before 2012 and the Venice update, which at the time had disrupted the market. 10 years later and the explosion of internet and mobile usage, this new law will be even more impactful.

And the consequences go far beyond the simple local aspect of search, leave also the competition-limiting visibility of Google Shopping, Google Flight, Google Translate, Google Maps. Not to mention the end of the exclusivity of the Apple Appstore and Amazon Marketplace.

Leave a Comment