It seems like Google is always tinkering with its interface for Business Profiles, and the latest update, the New Merchant Experience (NMX), is no exception. After all these years, it still feels like they’re fumbling around in an attempt to make things better – or at least different.
The NMX feels like a breath of fresh air, and we’re forced to take it in, for better or worse.
So what exactly has changed? We’re here to help you adjust to these new changes by closely examining the new Google Business Profile manager.
A New Way of Interacting With Your Google Business Profile
If you’ve been in the Google Business Profile management game for quite a while now, you’ve already been expecting this change. If you’re not one of the few in the know, though, Google NMX brings a lot of fresh things to the table.
“Google’s New Merchant Experience is an updated interface and set of new features within the Google Merchant Center,” said Nanette Taripe, Thrive’s Senior SEO Strategist. This new Google Merchant experience provides:
• A user-friendly interface to set up Merchant Center accounts.
• Improved tools to organize and optimize product data.
• Detailed insights into performance metrics.
• Integration with other Google services.
• Enhanced troubleshooting and support resources.
The most notable is the ability to edit business information directly from the search engine results page (SERP). You won’t have to use the GBP dashboard to make changes or add content, which is why they also removed that.
The old Google Business Profile management usually works like this:
1. Choose between Edit, Photos and Update/Post options.
2. Each icon takes you to another interface to perform different actions.
3. Edit allows you to modify a lot of business information.
4. Photos take you to a very clunky interface to add and manage your photos.
5. Update/Post lets you post new content or “updates” for your business.
The New Merchant Experience is meant to simplify your editing process.
Directly from search engine results pages (SERPs), click on the three dots in the upper right corner of your business. From there, you’ll see a list of actions you can take:
• Access your Business Profile settings.
• Manage Google reviews and notifications.
• Add a new Business Profile.
• Manage your business profiles, if you have more than one.
The New Merchant Experience. Image from: Search Engine Land
This considerable change can be jarring for a Google Business Profile manager, but once you get used to it, you can manage your profile much faster.
Now, let’s take a deeper look at the new changes for the Google My Business Profile manager:
• No dashboard. We’ve already said this in the previous section. A Google My Business Profile manager can switch between these two interfaces for a while. However, this is no longer the case, and you’ll have to settle with in-SERP editing.
• Removed metrics. Remember the “photo insights” and “how customers search for your business” sections? They’re no longer available. Photo Insights wasn’t particularly reliable, while the latter is redundancy as you can get similar data from Google Analytics.
• Inconsistent interface. Even if it’s already in primetime, Google NMX still feels like it’s in its beta version. You can access some settings from the SERP, but others will take you to the old interface.
• Renamed features. All your “posts” are now labeled as “updates,” while “users” are renamed as “managers.” For most of us, this will just mean a few minutes of getting used to the new layout.
• Direction requests. Instead of giving location information whenever you ask for directions or search for your business, your Google Merchant account shows you direction requests.
• Multiple profiles via SERP. Since your Google Business Profile management dashboard has been removed, you can now access all your profiles from the SERP. Here, you can see which business you’re currently managing and easily switch between them.
Are These Changes Any Good?
These changes aren’t about adding shiny new performance insights and metrics. However, once you get out of your power search engine optimization user shell, you’ll soon realize that these recent changes from Google are actually quite good.
During our time testing out Google NMX, we’ve discovered several benefits not only for our search engine optimization (SEO) team but also for your average, everyday end-users. Don Gruspe, Thrive’s Demand Generation SEO Specialist, identified the following as the most notable advantages of this Google update:
• Streamlined onboarding process: Google provides a quick and easy way to create new profiles and get them set up quickly.
• Efficient product data management: Google now makes it easy to update your product data so that customers can easily find the information they need.
• Advanced troubleshooting and support: The new support system allows you to quickly get answers to your queries.
• Improved overall user experience: With the new design and tools available, customers will have a better experience navigating your website.
Here are two other benefits you should take advantage of in Google NMX.
Refined GBP Editing Process
The most significant benefit of the new Google Merchant experience is simplicity. Editing from the SERP is far easier than going through a separate dashboard, and with multiple profile access, you can manage all your businesses quickly. With the New Merchant Experience, you can easily:
• Add, edit and remove a Google Business Profile manager.
• Find your linked accounts.
• Manage your notifications, including Google Business reviews, bookings and quotes.
• Access multiple Business Profiles directly from the SERP.
• Add a new business account.
You can do everything from one place, making your life easier.
Better Review Management
Another great thing that we haven’t mentioned yet is improved reviews management. You can see a notification alert on the SERP whenever people leave Google reviews for business. You can also pair this streamlined interface with review management services to automate other aspects of your review management process.
Also, you don’t have to teach business owners how to navigate their Google Merchant dashboard. Instead, you can just tell them to:
1. Search for their business name.
2. Click the three-dot button.
3. Choose their desired action.
For local SEO services, removing some redundant metrics in exchange for better capabilities to manage Google reviews is a reasonable compromise in the long run. You’ll be able to provide more value to your clients and make their lives easier.
Working Inside Google NMX: Tips From the Experts
So, how can you make the most of the New Merchant Experience? Thrive’s SEO team and strategists give their input on the matter.
Tip 1: Explore Google NMX
Like any new tool, you should take some time to explore all the features of Google NMX. You can also use Google’s help center for a quick guide on managing your business profile from the SERP.
“Take the time to become acquainted with the NMX interface and its features,” said Ken Romero, Thrive’s SEO Strategist.
“Gain a thorough understanding of the available tools and functionalities that will assist you in effectively optimizing your product data and tracking performance metrics.”
Testing it out also means you can participate in shaping the Google Merchant experience, even if it’s initially uncomfortable.
So, dive in and learn all the features and how they work.
Tip 2: Follow Local SEO Best Practices
Here’s the thing: even with the best tools, it doesn’t guarantee success. You must apply all your local SEO strategies to ensure your business ranks high on SERPs.
All the usual suspects are here: structured data optimization, citations, name, address and phone number (NAP) consistency and more technical aspects.
“Make the most of the detailed performance insights provided by NMX,” said Romero. He recommends the following activities to achieve this:
• Analyzing data and identifying trends.
• Comprehend user behavior.
• Optimizing your product listings accordingly.
The only difference is that you must use the New Merchant Experience. A local mechanical HVAC company hired a digital marketing company to craft and implement their local SEO strategies.
They crafted a beautiful and responsive website on top of their SEO strategy and optimized their SEO copy that speaks to buyer motivations.
Here’s how it played out:
Case Study: Local HVAC Company
Local SEO services offer excellent opportunities for any Google My Business Profile manager, such as:
• Better ways to manage Google reviews.
• Enhanced control over the information displayed on your Google Business Profile.
• Increase in direct calls to your business through.
• Opportunity to feature multiple locations for companies with brick-and-mortar stores.
• Automated content optimization.
Of course, best practices are only practiced if you know about them. That’s why Romero advises that you “keep yourself well-informed about any updates or changes to NMX” and other Google policies that may affect your local search rankings.
“Stay engaged with official Google resources, participate in webinars, and follow industry publications to remain ahead of the curve,” said Romero.
Tip 3: Get More Reviews
Google Business reviews are great at increasing your business’ visibility and reputation. With the new Google Merchant experience, it’s easier than ever to manage reviews and stay on top of notifications.
As a rule of thumb, respond to all your positive or negative reviews as soon as possible. Encourage customers to leave honest feedback, too!
When you manage reviews, address customer issues, provide solutions and thank customers for their feedback.
This helps build trust with potential customers and gives your business an image of transparency.
Tip 4: Hire Review Management Services
Sometimes, it’s just easier to outsource review management. You can hire experts to manage reviews and perform other tasks, such as responding to and flagging inappropriate content.
Review management services also help boost your business’s visibility through search and reputation marketing. They’ll work with you to ensure that customers see your brand in the best light possible, which can do wonders for your brand image.
Take a look at this multi-location restoration and reconstruction company. They hired a digital marketing agency that offers reputation management, SEO and social media management services.
This allowed them to focus on their core operations and build a strong reputation in their sector:
Their firm is now present in 22 locations across the U.S. with a total of 681 inquiries in February 2021 alone.
They also created a user-friendly review landing page so prospects find it easier to trust their business, leave a review or contact them whenever they need someone for restoration and reconstruction work.
Up-To-Date SEO Strategies That Work
There you have it: the New Merchant Experience update in a nutshell. These changes may not be flashy, but they are still incredibly useful.
Speaking of useful, Thrive’s digital marketing team helps you create a game plan for success. We develop an integrated strategic approach that covers SEO, content marketing, social media and more.
From improving your Google Business Profile to automating Google reviews for business, our experts are here to make the most of this update and beyond for your business.
Unlock the potential of your SEO and digital marketing strategy with Thrive!