Google’s latest update to business profile management comes in the shape of its New Merchant Experience (NMX). This removes the Business Profile dashboard and replaces it with the in-SERP editing experience Google first rolled out in early 2022.
As a result, you can no longer edit your business listing in the Business Profile dashboard. Instead, you’re redirected to a results page showing your business profile, where you can make changes to your listing.
The key change with Google’s New Merchant Experience is that you can no longer edit your business listing through the Business Profile Manager dashboard. You can still access the Business Profile Manager dashboard, but clicking on your business listing to make changes will redirect you to a results page.
So, even if you click on your listing from the Business Profile Manager dashboard, you’ll see something like this:
Google first introduced this in-SERP editing system in early 2022 when it replaced Google My Business with Google Business Profile (GBP). So, the in-SERP experience itself isn’t new but the inability to edit your profile via the Business Profile Manager interface is.
The in-SERP system was first introduced to make it easier for business owners to claim their business profile. Instead of logging in to Business Profile Manager, business owners can simply search for their company name in Google Search or Google Maps and claim their business.
The system also allows business owners to access and edit their profile from Search and Maps.
Business Profile users are still reporting changes in the New Merchant Experience. We’re also seeing some inconsistency in terms of what some users can still access via GBP and NMX. This suggests Google may be refining the system live and we could see smaller changes in the coming months.
For now, here’s a summary of the other changes we’ve noticed so far:
As we say, some users (or “managers,” as they’re now called) are reporting some other minor changes but it seems Google is still making minor tweaks.
Change always takes some time to get used but the big question is whether the New Merchant Experience makes it easier to manage business profiles. The answer is highly subjective and it will vary from one user to the next.
So far, the initial response isn’t all that positive but we’re used to seeing this kind of feedback immediately after changes.
In its current implementation, the biggest potential issue with the New Merchant Experience will be managing multiple business profiles – including multiple locations. You can still view all of your businesses/locations in Business Profile Manager but clicking on any of them will direct you to the in-SERP system.
You can click on the three-dot icon to access your other profiles, create a new profile and manage other settings.
Clicking on Your Business Profiles brings up a dialogue box listing your other profiles. Once again, clicking on a listing will redirect you to the in-SERP system for that specific listing where you can make the required changes.
This back-and-forth implementation isn’t proving too popular with users who are managing multiple business profiles.
A Twitter survey posted by BrightLocal asked search marketers whether they find the new implementation easy to use and the response is telling: 83.3% of respondents said “It’s difficult to use”.
How are you finding editing your Google Business Profile within SERPs?— BrightLocal 🇺🇦 (@brightlocal) October 27, 2022
How are you finding editing your Google Business Profile within SERPs?
This is becoming something of a theme with recent changes to Google Ads, Google Business Profile and other products. Typically, these changes aren’t being received too well by agencies, search marketers and professionals who are more likely to manage multiple or large accounts.
That being said, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the recent changes are designed for these users.
In recent years, we’ve seen Google take major steps towards making products like Google Ads and Google Business Profile easier for small business owners.
In 2018, Google rolled out smart campaigns in Google Ads to help small business owners run automated campaigns without worrying too much about bidding, targeting and other settings.
In the following year, Google rolled out smart shopping campaigns and other automated features in Google Ads to make the system easier for small business owners.
Then, in early 2020, it rebranded Google My Business as Google Business Profile, including the in-SERP system for claiming and editing business profiles. Instead of creating a Business Profile account and working in the back-end system, users can simply search for their business name and claim their profile from Google Search or Google Maps.
These changes make a lot of sense in terms of simplifying the experience for small business owners who don’t want to manage ad settings or multiple business locations.
Google makes the majority of its income from ads and, collectively, small businesses advertisers are a major stream of revenue. Lowering the entry bar for smaller and single-location business owners makes financial sense for Google.
The potential issue is that recent changes may be improving the experience for one group of users at the expense of others – namely agencies, search marketers and business owners managing multiple profiles or locations.
Of course, it’s possible that Google could refine the New Merchant Experience to find a better balance. Alternatively, separate experiences for single-location and multi-location users could be another option, but there’s little point in speculating at this stage.
For now, the New Merchant Experience is here to stay.
If you’re having trouble with the New Merchant Experience or managing your business profiles for Google Search, our local SEO team can help. Call us on 02392 830 281 to speak to our team or send us your details and we’ll get in touch.
Gemma joined Vertical Leap in March 2020 as an SEO Specialist after having worked in marketing for 7 years for both in-house and agency side, where she was involved with everything from social media management, through to content development and email marketing campaigns. As a member of the ESEO team, Gemma helps to deliver strategic SEO campaigns across a range of brands on a local, national and international level.
Gemma is well travelled after exploring the world for almost two years and living down under for 12 months. She’s passionate about snowboarding, fitness and supports her local football team, Southampton FC! When she’s not at work doing SEO, you can often find her on her paddle board floating somewhere on the River Hamble or indulging in a snack or two.
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