Timeline of Local SEO Changes in 2019 | Google My Business Update History

Timeline of Local SEO Changes in 2019

A List of the Major Updates We’ve Seen Impact Local Businesses Recently (Updated Weekly).

August, 2019

Hotels Get a New Attributes Layout in Google My Business

This new attributes interface for hotels gives the business a lot more options for adding…

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[Bug] Missing Store Codes in Google My Business

There is a bug that is causing all store codes to display as missing on…

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[Bug] Google My Business Insights Download

When you try to download Google My Business Insights it shows you 7 days regardless…

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[Bug] Attributes Missing for Hotels

Google has been making a lot of changes to hotels this week in Google My…

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Change in Google My Business Listing Status

Google My Business listings now showing as verified or unverified instead of published or unpublished.

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July, 2019

Google My Business Messaging Feature Gets Quote Button on Desktop

If you have the Google My Business Messaging feature enabled, Google is now showing a…

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Google’s Q&A Feature Now Includes Answers from Posts & Products

Now when users ask a question on your listing, they are given answers that are…

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Google My Business Launches Place Topics

Google My Business just announced that they have launched place topics. On the Google Maps…

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Local Service Ads are Showing in the 3-Pack

Local Services ads are now showing in the 3-pack above the organic listings.

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Google Updates Review Filter

Many businesses are losing reviews on Google My Business.  Google is aware of the issue…

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June, 2019

Google My Business Products Expands to Most Categories

Google My Business announces all categories of business (except a few verticals) can now use…

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[Bug] Adding Short Names in Google My Business Causes Listings to Vanish

[resolved] Tons of users reported issues with listings just randomly disappearing after they added a…

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Google Depreciates Social Markup

With Google deprecating the social profile markup, some businesses may be out of luck with being…

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[Bug] Issue With Responding to Q&A on Google My Business

[resolved] When answering a question posted on a Google My Business listing, the response shows…

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Short Names in Google My Business Launch to All Users

Google launches short names to all users in Google My Business.

Google Now Shows Logo Images on Google Maps

Businesses now have a logo icon on their Knolwedge Panel on the Google Maps app.

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Google My Business Launches Welcome Offers

You can now create a welcome offer for users who follow your business on Google…

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Huge Uptick in Suspensions in Google My Business

A lot of agencies and SMBs are reporting a much-higher number of suspensions than usual.

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France Now Requires Users to Leave Date of Visit in Review

In France, if you want to write a review on Google Maps, you must indicate…

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Google My Business Changes How They Deal With Practitioner Listings

Google My Business support changed the process of how they handle retired or deceased practitioner…

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[Bug] Website URLs in Google Maps

Clicking on websites in Google Maps is resulting in a redirect notice.

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New Layout on Mobile for Branded Searches

When you do a branded search on mobile, Google has morphed the organic results into…

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Real-Time GMB Post Insights

Insights on GMB Posts will be in near real time in Google My Business. Real-time…

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June 2019 Core Algorithm Update

Google is releasing a broad update to their core algorithm that impacted both local and…

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Google Fully Rolls Out Q & A Auto-Suggest Answers

In April, Google rolled out a cool Business Profile (aka Knowledge Panel) feature that auto-suggested answers…

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May, 2019

[Bug] Issues Adding Bulk Locations in Google My Business

Users that are bulk uploading listings are getting an error that says “You’ve exceeded the limit…

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Google Starts Showing Local Results Again for Some Sex-Related Queries

As of late May, 2019 it now appears that Google is again allowing some of…

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Ads in the 3-Pack Now Showing a Black Label

Mobile results now show a black ad label including ads in the 3-pack.

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You Can Now Order Online From Restaurants on Google My Business Using the Google Assistant

Users click on the “Order Online” button and then choose delivery or pick up. If…

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New GMB Dashboard

Google is showing a new version of the Google My Business dashboard that highlights a…

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Google Maps Now Highlights Photos of Restaurants’ Most Popular Dishes

The new feature seems to scan reviews of the restaurant to find commonly-mentioned dish names,…

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April, 2019

[Bug] GMB Insights Issue

There appear to be 2 issues impacting GMB Insights.  The first is showing a huge…

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[Bug] POI Establishment Being Added as a Category in GMB

Tons of agencies are seeing this “category” added to their listing.  It appears to be…

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[Bug] Google My Business Suspensions Are Causing Reviews to Vanish

Many Google My Business listings that are suspended and then reinstated are missing all their…

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Google My Business Rolling Out Short Names

Google has started the rollout of “Short Names”; the ability of a business to create…

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Google My Business Products Now Show on Desktop

The Google My Business product catalog (currently in Beta) is now showing up on Desktop…

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March, 2019

Google My Business Adds Automatically Generated Posts Based on Reviews

More users are starting to see these posts showing up in the Google My Business…

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Google Launches a New Version of the Google My Business Help Forum

The Google My Business forum now has a new home.  The new version of the…

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[Bug] Verification Issues

There’s a known issue that is preventing listings that were recently added to your Google…

March Core Algorithm Update

This algorithm update had some pretty big impacts on both organic and local results.  It…

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Google Removes Cities from Knowledge Panels for Service Area Businesses

Google has removed the data that would show up below the reviews in the Knowledge…

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Google Launches Site Manager Role Functionality

For several large chains, we are now seeing a new option in the Knowledge Panel…

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Google Maps Adds New Events Feature

This feature is only available to a small number of users and allows you to…

Google Updates the GMB Guidelines

Over the weekend, Google added a couple sentences to the GMB guidelines under the “Business description guidelines” clarifying…

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[Bug] Issues Replying to Reviews

If you get an error message responding to reviews it could be due to this…

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Instagram Rolls Out In-App Local Business Profile Pages

Instagram rolls out in-app local business profile pages (address, hours, contact, website) with ability to…

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February, 2019

Google Adds a New Way to Report Spam

Marrissa Nordahl from Google just posted an announcement that there is a new way for users to…

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Google My Business Updates Guidelines on Content Related to Terrorism

Google My Business has just recently updated their guidelines to add more context around content…

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Search Console Adds Products Section

Google Search Console has quietly added a new section to the enhancements section of the…

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Yelp Adds License Verification

Yelp is now offering the option to verify your license and display it more prominently.

Google Starts Displaying Testimonials on GMB Websites

If you’re using a Google My Business website, Google appears to now be displaying testimonials…

Google Adds "Get in Line" Call-to-Action for Restaurants

Some restaurant local panels now display “Get in Line” call to action that can be used by…

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Google Testing Google Posts in the Local Finder

Dave DiGregorio noticed that Google is pulling in snippets from previous posts into the Knowledge…

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Google Confirms they are Consolidating to Canonicals in Search Console

On April 10, 2019 Google will be unifying data from January 2018 so that all…

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[Bug] Google My Business Messaging Doesn’t Work With Location Groups

If you set up Messaging via the Google My Business app and your listing is…

January, 2019

Social Icons are Back on Local Knowledge Panels

We’re seeing social media icons in Local Knowledge Panels for tons of small businesses.  It’s…

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[Bug] Google My Business Photos

There is a known technical issue right now with Google My Business photos where users…

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"Profile" photos in Google My Business are now called "Logo"

What you previously uploaded as a “profile” photo in the Google My Business dashboard has…

[Bug] Google Wipes Service Menus From GMB Listings

Lots of people are reporting issues with Google removing the service menu from their GMB…

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Spammers Add Future Opening Dates to Remove GMB Listings

Google has fixed this issue that was making it possible for spammers to completely remove…

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GMB Updates Guidelines Regarding Virtual Offices

This update finally makes it explicitly clear that you must have your own staff to qualify for…

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Massive Drops in Search Console for Sites Using UTM Codes in GMB

Something has changed where Search Console is not reporting on the UTM codes for impressions…

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December, 2018

Yelp Has a Huge Algorithm Update Wiping Out Tons of Reviews

It’s hard to put a date on this since it started in November and continued…

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Over 3 Million Fake 4-Star Reviews Posted

I believe this is the largest fake review attack we have seen yet. Due to…

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Google Rolls out “Sold Here” to Local Search Results

Google is now showing “sold here:” in the local results for product searches.

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November, 2018

You Can Now Include Hashtags in Google Reviews

Google made it so that hashtags are clickable in the Google Maps app when they’re…

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Google Launches a New Sign Up Process for Service Area Businesses

When you go to add a new listing to Google My Business, the second step…

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Google Changes Communications Managers to Site Managers

Google is renaming the roll of Communications Managers to Site Managers.  This user type will…

Google My Business App Gets Updated

Google launched a new version of the GMB app that includes a customer tab showing…

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Google Adds “See Other Locations” on Mobile

Previously this only showed up on the Google Maps app (near the bottom of the…

Google Adds a Follow Button on Google Maps

Google has added follow buttons to Google My Business listings on the Google Maps app…

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October, 2018

Google Automatically Removes Addresses from Service Area Business Listings

If you run a service area business that had the address hidden, Google automatically deleted…

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[Bug] Images Are Missing in the Knowledge Panel

If you aren’t seeing images in the Knowledge Panel, it’s not just you.

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Add a Listing With a Future Opening Date

Google announced that they’re allowing businesses to add listings for locations that are not open…

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Reserve with Google Now Shows in the 3-Pack

There are now booking calls-to-action directly in the 3-pack for business listings that utilizing Reserve…

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Google Ads Automates Location Extensions

Previously a business owner had the option of connecting Google My Business with Google Ads. …

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Google My Business Adds Products [Beta]

This feature is currently in Beta but allows business owners to add a digital catalog…

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Google Rolling Out More Graphic-Heavy Local Finder Results

Google seems to be rolling out the image-heavy Local Finder results to more industries.

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Google My Business Adds Branded Search Reporting to Insights

Google added a new metric in the local Insights report where you can see how…

Google Announces They are Shutting Down Google Plus

The inevitable has finally occurred.  Google announced yesterday, “We are shutting down Google+ for consumers.”

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Google My Business Launches a Migration Tool for the Agency Dashboard

Google My Business has just announced that they are launching a migration tool to help…

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September, 2018

Local Services Ads Add a Same-Day Service Option

As pointed out by Tom Waddington, some listings now allow you to add “Same-Day service”…

You can Now Manually Add the “Located In” Feature to a GMB Listing

Previously this could only be done by contacting Google My Business support.  Colan explains how…

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Google Posts Move to the Bottom of the Knowledge Panel

Mike Blumenthal and Ben Fisher alerted me that they are noticing Google Posts are now…

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Advanced Verification Launches in Canada

Locksmiths in Canada are now required to pass Advanced Verification to run ads.  This is…

Google Posts Now Support 1500 Characters

Google Posts content went from 300 to a max of 1,500 characters.

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Algorithm Update

This algorithm update seems to be tied to the Medic update in August.

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Google My Business Review Replies are Editable from the Knowledge Panel

It’s now even easier to reply to reviews on Google My Business.  You can now…

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September 8-11 Algorithm Update

On September 8-11, Google started rolling out another pretty significant algorithm update.  We’ve seen this…

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August, 2018

Local Services Ad Unit Now Shows Prices

Google is now showing typical prices in the area for many common home services within…

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Google Adds the Veteran Led Attribute

Google has rolled out the “veteran led” attribute for business listings in Google My Business.

Product Posts Now Show in the Knowledge Panel

Google has added a “browse some featured items sold here” icon for businesses that are…

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GMB Adds “Menu” and “Posts” Tab For Brand Searches on Mobile

Google is testing “Menu” and “Posts” Tabs directly in the local results on mobile for…

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Google Now Displays Pending Edits in Knowledge Panels

For quite some time Google has showed pending edits to a listing on the Google…

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Change to GMB Insights

Google just alerted us that they recently made a change to GMB Insights that allows…

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BBB Makes Big Change to Review Display

The BBB made a big change in the way that customer reviews were displayed on…

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GMB Testing "View previous posts on Google"

Google is testing out a “View previous posts on Google” at the bottom of the…

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Facebook is Rolling Out Recommendations to Replace Reviews

Now, when you recommend a restaurant or local business to a friend, Facebook will encourage…

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Visible Email Addresses of Other Managers in Google My Business

Ben Fisher noticed on Twitter that you can now see the email address of other…

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Core Algorithm Update

There was a big algorithm update on July 31-August 1 that is still rolling out. …

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July, 2018

Google My Business Websites are Upgraded to HTTPS

Existing and new GMB websites and custom Google domains that route to the GMB website…

Google Local Services Adds Highlights & Photos

Google Local Services added options in the dashboard to add highlights to your ads along…

Google Now Shows Events on Search

Google has made it so that users in the USA searching for things like “events…

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Google Adds “Businesses Like Yours are Posting”

Google is slowly adding in a section in the Google My Business dashboard that shows…

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Google Now Notifies You When New Listings Go Live

Provided you don’t have a bulk account or agency account, Google is now sending notifications…

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[Bug] Insights Download Issue

There were many reports of locations missing in Google My Business Insights when people download…

Google Adds a “Call Button” to Google Posts

Google is now allowing you to add a “Call Now” button as the call-to-action on…

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Facebook Expands Options For Flagging Reviews

Facebook now has a new interface for flagging reviews.  Instead of just being able to…

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Google My Business “Queries” Are Added to Insights

Google has started to roll out a feature inside Google My Business Insights that tells…

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June, 2018

[Bug] Google Posts Getting Rejected

There was a bug at the end of June that rejected Google Posts that weren’t…

GMB Launches Subjective Attributes in Insights

Google My Business launched a subjective attributes report inside the Insights section of Google My…

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Google Launches Performance Cards in GMB Dashboard

Google adds a performance card to the homepage of the GMB dashboard that shows how…

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Google Allows Brands to Claim their Knowledge Panel

Google has made it possible for brands to claim their knowledge panel.  I cannot help…

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Google Clears Out Tracking Numbers in GMB

I heard lots of reports that Google switched out call tracking numbers on Google My…

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Google Adds Section About Confidential Information to the Google My Business Guidelines

Google updates the Google My Business guidelines and clarifies that sharing confidential information is not…

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Google Launches Attribute for Watching Sports

If you allow customers to watch sports at your business, Google has released a “good…

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Google Stops Showing Local Results For Many Sex-Related Legal Queries

We don’t know the exact day in June that this happened but Google stopped showing…

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Google Now Emails You Confirmation For Flagging Reviews

When you flag a review inside the GMB dashboard, Google now emails you to confirm…

Google My Business Launches a Dashboard for Agencies

Google announced that they launched the new agency dashboard.  Unfortunately, in order to set it…

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May, 2018

[Bug] GMB Edits Aren’t Working

There is a bug currently that is keeping edits in the Google My Business dashboard…

Google Adds the Ability to Search for Keywords in Reviews

Google announced you can now search reviews on listings on the Google Maps app.

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Google Removes Anonymous Reviews

If you noticed your review count drop recently, it’s likely due to Google no longer…

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Google Sues Marketing Companies Scamming & Updates Terms for 3rd Parties

Well-Known scammers like Point Break Media & Beyond Menu are being targeted by Google as…

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Google My Business Launches Offer Posts

These have been in Beta for a while but as of today I’m seeing Offer…

Google Now Emails Customers Review Responses

Google is now sending notifications (via email) when a business owner responds to a Google…

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Google Posts Now Accept Videos

You can now add a video to Google Posts.  Google says in their help center: …

Google Adds a Clear Option for Attributes

Google added a “clear” option to attributes.  Rather than being forced to select ‘yes’ or ‘no’…

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Google Announces Users Will Need to Pay for Maps API

This change is coming June 11th.  Google says “Beginning June 11, you’ll need a valid…

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Google Announces They’re Launching a Google My Business Partners Program

To be alerted about when it launches, sign up here.

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April, 2018

[Bug] Google Reviews Go Missing from Profiles

This bug is now resolved but lasted for several days where reviews that a user…

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Posts Move to the Top of the Knowledge Panel on Mobile

As first noticed by Andy Simpson, Google Posts were given more visibility due to Google…

Google Adds to Guidelines for Restricted Content

Google has updated the guidelines for restricted content such as alcohol, gambling & guns and…

Bug: Review Notification Emails Broken

There is a bug with email notifications where clicking the “read review” button results in…

Review gating is now against the google my business guidelines

Google has updated the review guidelines to clarify that review-gating is not allowed.  They added the…

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Google Updates the Guidelines for Events

Google has added a section to the guidelines that clarifies the policies for events on Google Maps.

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Google My Business Adds Services Field

This is similar to the menu feature that was launched in February but now applies…

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Bug: Delay in GMB Edits Being Published

There is a bug that’s causing a delay in edits from Google My Business from…

March, 2018

Google My Business Adds the Business Description Field

Google has now rolled out the business description feature for Google My Business.

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Google Starts Sending Email Notifications for Q&A

Google made an update to their notifications so that now businesses are notified via email…

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Google Launches Product Posts

This new type of Google Post is designed to highlight your products and has its…

Review Links Can No Longer Pre-Fill Five Stars

This tactic that used to allow you to send a link to customers that would…

Google Launches Location Groups to the New GMB Dashboard

With this feature you can create a location group that groups together a bunch of…

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Google Launches Secondary Updates to the Classic GMB Dashboard

Google announced yesterday that they have now split the “updates” to your listing so that…

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Google Starts Removing Inactive G+ Local Pages

Google has started sending out emails to businesses that have not been active on Google…

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Bug: User Contributions Disappeared

All reviews and Questions and Answers from users disappeared.  This is a known bug that…

Changes to the Heatmap in GMB Insights

This update will better allow you to track which areas customers request all forms of…

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Algorithm Update

On March 14, 2018 there was a big shift in the search results (both organic…

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Core Algorithm Update

There was an algorithm update that we’re just calling the “March 9th algorithm update” that…

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Bug: Google My Business Insights Issue

According to Google: Due to a logging bug, you may see a drop for customer…

Google Introduces a Women-Led Attribute You Can Add To Your GMB Listing

Google has added a “Women-Led” attribute to GMB in honor of #InternationalWomensDay

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February, 2018

Q&A is Now Visible on a User’s Profile

Google has added a tab for Q&A to a user’s public profile on maps.  This…

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Google Adds in Top Questions from Customers for GMB Messaging

We noticed Google now has quick common questions from customers in the Messaging feature in…

Google Starts Showing Ads in the 3-Pack More Often

Previously we were only able to trigger 3-pack ads when the person was searching really…

Google Adds Mall Directories to Shopping Malls Local Knowledge Panels.

On mobile devices, Google is now showing a directory tab on the Knowledge Panel for…

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Restaurants Can Now Add Menu Items Directly in GMB

Now, in addition to using the GMB API or 3P menu service, listing owners will…

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Add an Opening Date in Google My Business

Google starts prompting businesses to add the date their business opened via the Google My…

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January, 2018

Google Updated the Review Filter

This is a trend several of the Google My Business Top Contributors observed based on…

Driving Direction Requests by Zip Code in Google My Business

It’s now possible to see where your users got driving direction requests from all the…

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Google Posts Now appear on Google My Business Websites

If you have created a Google Website via your Google My Business listing, your Google…

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Yelp Allows you to Add Users to Manage Your Business Account

You can now add other users to your listing without sharing your owner login.  

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Google Updates the Review Guidelines

Google changed the wording to clarified that both positive and negative reviews from an employee…

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Videos Come to Google My Business

The option to upload videos to a Google My Business listing showed up in the…

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