In this week’s episode, I share the semi-shocking news that Google is sunsetting the free Google Business Profile websites. It’s awful news for all the spammers, but it’s also going to be a pain for the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that used the free sites. Watch the episode for more details.
Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, we’re talking about some Google news that could affect hundreds of thousands of small businesses… The free Google Business Profile websites are going away!
Just last week, Google quietly released an announcement that the free websites created with Google Business Profiles are going to be turned off – in less than two months. On March 1st, anyone who tries to go to one of these free business sites will be redirected to the Google Business Profile associated with that business.
Those redirects will only work until June 10th, and after that, anyone attempting to view one of the sites will simply see a 404 error.
This isn’t all that shocking – the product was never really fleshed out. The sites were incredibly simple, and you couldn’t really do much with them – and they almost never performed well in search results.
But – they were useful for all the small businesses out there who didn’t have the time or resources to get a custom site built.
The worst part about this announcement is that Google has given practically zero notice. Like I just said, most of the businesses that used these free sites didn’t have the time or resources to get a “real” site built, and now Google is giving those people less than 2 months to get a replacement site up.
This is definitely a much sadder announcement for all the spammers out there, but it’s going to really suck for the small businesses who used the free sites.
Barry Schwartz pointed out an interesting tidbit in his post about this on Search Engine Roundtable last week. In 2022, Google’s own John Mueller had publicly stated that when you redirect a URL, that redirect should stay in place for at least a year. He even clarified in a tweet (that has since been deleted) that “3 months is definitely too short for a site move.”
If you’ve got a domain that ends in business.site, it will automatically be removed from the website field in your GBP in March. If you’re using one of the free GBP sites, you need to get cracking on getting a new site build, because you’ve got a pretty short deadline to hit.
That’s all the time we’ve got left for this week’s episode, so you know what that means. Put your hand on the screen right here:
We totally just high-fived ‘cause you learned something awesome.
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.