How the latest changes to Google’s content policies for Business Profile posts could affect your local SEO strategy
Google recently updated its content policy for Business Profile posts, adding to the guidelines for avoiding spam content. They are now warning against the use of duplicate content across multiple posts, including text, photos, videos and logos.
If you’re regularly publishing Business Profile posts, this update may force you to change the way you promote certain aspects of your business and services. In this article, we take a look at the latest changes to Google’s content policies and how they could affect your use of Business Profile posts.
From your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), you can publish a variety of posts to engage with your audience, keep them up-to-date with changes to your business and promote offers to local shoppers.
These posts can show in Google Search and Google Maps for relevant searches.
“You can connect with existing and potential customers through your Business Profile on Google Search and Maps through posts. You can create and share announcements, offers, new or popular items in stock, or event details directly with your customers.” – About posts for your Business Profile; Google Business Profile Help
Google says Business profile posts are designed to give customers access to more business information and updates that can help them “make better decisions as they browse”. It lists the following key benefits of publishing posts through your Business profile:
Posts can contain text, photos and videos which users can view under the “Updates” or “Overview” tabs in Search and Maps on mobile or in the “From the Owner” section on Search and Maps on desktop.
As things stand, you can publish four different post types from your Business Profile:
If you’re interested in publishing your first Business profile post, you’ll find all the instructions you need on this Google Business Profile Help page.
Google quietly updated its content policies for Business Profile posts last month, adding a single line under the “avoid spam” section. It seems Colan Nielsen was the first person to spot the change on August 5, quickly posting about the update on Twitter and Localsearchforum.com.
Google just updated their help center article about Google posts to indicate a few more things that they consider to be spam. "Duplicate photos, posts, videos, and logos"https://t.co/gi0w7v2GM6— Colan Nielsen (@ColanNielsen) August 5, 2022
Google just updated their help center article about Google posts to indicate a few more things that they consider to be spam. "Duplicate photos, posts, videos, and logos"https://t.co/gi0w7v2GM6
In his original forum post, Colan included the following image to highlight the subtle change made to Google’s content policies in the update:
The update simply added the text “duplicate photos, posts, videos, and logos” to the list of content considered as spam. Google specifically states that such content is “not allowed” under its policies and this single line of text could have a significant impact on the type of posts businesses are allowed to publish.
The update to Google’s content policies for Business Profile posts leaves plenty of room for interpretation. Hopefully, Google will provide some clarification but, for now, the update raises some important questions:
We hope Google will allow companies to post the same content across multiple locations but we’re speculating without clarification on this. It might mean that you can, for example, post the same blog on various profiles but with a different image and text. Again, we’re not 100% sure. We’re also hopeful that overlaying images and videos with logos won’t cause any issues, as long as you’re not using the same image or video repeatedly – but this is our logical interpretation of the limited information provided.
It’s more difficult to say whether content in archived posts will be considered or ignored in duplication assessment. By default, posts are automatically archived after six months, unless you set a date range that exceeds this period. Users will no longer see these posts in Search or Maps so we have to question whether reusing content in a live post that’s also used in an archived post could be considered duplication.
Finally, if you’ve got legitimate reasons to republish the same content in Business Profile posts, the obvious workaround would be to delete previous posts before publishing the latest version. Presumably, this would avoid any potential duplication issues but this is something we’ll need to test to confirm.
Google’s updated content policies for Business Profile posts will affect some companies more than others, depending on how you post. Obviously, if you’re republishing the same posts for specific business locations, you’ll have to stop doing this and you’ll probably find that Google has already started rejecting duplicate posts.
If you’re including images and video in your posts (as recommended), you’ll also need to make sure you’re using original content every time. Avoid using the same image or video in multiple posts, including your company logo, and make sure your visual content is relevant to each post.
Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need production-level footage for every post. Don’t be afraid to use recent smartphones to capture footage and feel free to get creative with your videos – for example, recording an unboxing video for a new product range. Keep things simple, plan your shots out and learn the basics of video editing to tell engaging stories – and make sure you pay special attention to lighting and sound.
Likewise, when it comes to using product images, we have to expect that using stock images (eg: manufacturer images) that other companies are using in their posts will be flagged as duplicate. So, if you’re promoting products manufactured by other companies, you’ll probably need to take your own images for Business Profile posts.
Google’s latest content policies for Business Profile posts raise some valid questions and we may not get much clarification from Google. Luckily, the search giant isn’t in the habit of punishing companies that violate its spam policies for Business Profile posts – it simply rejects them.
This means we should be able to answer any questions for ourselves by experimenting with different approaches to publishing – for example, deleting old posts before reusing the same content.
If you have any issues publishing Business Profile posts after the latest policy update, our local SEO team can help. Call us on 023 9283 0281 or fill out the contact form below to maximise the performance of your Google Business Profile.
Kerry has been working in digital marketing almost since the beginning of the World Wide Web, designing her first website in 1995 and moving fully into the industry in 1996 to work for one of the very first web design companies. After a successful four years, Kerry moved to an in-house position for a sailing company, running the digital presence of their yacht races including SEO, PPC and email marketing as the primary channels. A stint then followed at another in-house role as online marketing manager.
Kerry moved to Vertical Leap in 2007, making her one of the company’s longest-serving employees. As a T-shaped marketer – able to advise on digital strategy outside her main specialism – she rose through the ranks and in 2012 became the head of the Small and Medium Business (SMB) SEO team. In 2022 she became Vertical Leap's Automation and Process Manager.
Kerry lives in the historic town of Bishops Waltham with her husband and daughter. When she’s not at work she enjoys cooking proper food, curling up with a good book and being a leader for Brownie and Rainbow Guides.
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