If you are regular with the world of tech and local SEOs, you might be well aware of the new Google My Business features introduced by the search engine. One of the major attractions was the short URL or @shortname for businesses. Though received with much anticipation, the feature reportedly faced issues leaving users puzzled and looking for explanations.
What’s happening exactly? Two different issues
Few weeks after the new shortname feature was introduced, SEOs started noticing bugs, though not all. Adding @shortnames to their clients’ GMB profiles made the reviews disappear, and at times the listings got suspended.
Removing the @shortname made the review reappear in Maps!
This was the scenario for most of the local SEOs, if not all.
If on one side, the disappearing reviews issue is a bug that bothered the SEOs and their work, the missing listing bug was the icing on the cake!
Why are shortnames introduced?
Shortnames are introduced with the intension to provide a short URL that can be promoted anywhere by local businesses and will reflect on the GMB profile when searched on Maps or Google.
What are the other branding tools introduced?
As per Google’s announcement on branding tool made on 19th June 2019, a number of new GMB features were introduced to encourage more local businesses to claim GMB profiles. As per a survey, roughly 61% of local businesses had claimed their GMB listings this year. The flip side remains though, that rest 39% are yet to claim the same.
List of newly introduced GMB features:
- Add a logo: Businesses can display their logo on the upper right of the profile
- Cover photo: Users can see the chosen photo of the businesses in the profile
- Dynamic photo module: A prominent new carousel/slide show module is being introduced with the ability to add captions soon
- Welcome offers: Can be sent to customers and prospects who follow a business
- Promotional assets: A new site to be launched to create and order stickers, posters and other promotional assets.
What’s Google’s take on review disappearing bug?
Google has been aware of the bugs – both the listings problem and the disappearing reviews. To address these, the search engine maestro assures of a resolution to “come soon”.
Google’s statement to address the issues:
“The recent concerns around the visibility of certain business listings are being corrected. The business listings were not suspended, but instead were not being shown as visible due to a technical issue. Business owners who experienced issues should be able to see their listings in Search soon. While some users may have experienced an improvement to the situation with the removal of their short name, the issue was not directly tied to the short name feature.”
Why are the SEOs bothered?
Google shortnames has been a very useful marketing and branding tool for local businesses. It is also a convenient way out for customers looking for quick searches for specific businesses. Ironically, the rollout has not worked out the way expected. But we can be rest assured that Google would soon look into the matter and would come up with a resolution sooner than known.
Wait and watch…till you, as a local business or SEO can resume adding @shortnames to your/customers’ GMB profiles.