Google MyBusiness Website Builder Released Worldwide

Today Google is announcing the worldwide release of their small business web builder, Websites. First spotted in January, it is a simple, single page web builder that allows a business to create a basic webpage in 5 minutes (or less if really simple).

It is accessible either via the Google My Business dashboard. The Website Help files are here. In India, signup has its own page and the product warranted an official Google India blog post. So far the announcment in the US has been decidedly muted and shy of details.

If there is a verified listing in the GMB, the data for hours, driving directions & business name as well as photos will be automatically inserted into the web page. Any changes to the GMB will also auto-flow to the web page.

As I have noted previously, the product is not really a replacement for a full blown multi page website that many businesses have already in the United States but for the business just coming on line in the developing world. It is also a reasonable play for a business in the US that has a Facebook only presence but wants to start increasing their exposure in local search.

Its easy to move from one theme to another

 

The product lacks a number of obvious features like social sharing buttons, structured data, control over title tags & meta-descriptions  and an easy way to create a call to action button.

It does however allow a small business operator to produce an attractive mobile ready site  in 5 minutes. And it is well suited to a first time website for a business with no or very little web presence.

Landing page for Website product in India

The web site produced resides at business.site and while it creates a default url (yourbusinessname.business.site) there is an option to easily change the default url or to buy your own domain for the site directly from Google.

Here is an example of a site that I built in a few minutes this weekend: sissons-chainsaws-stoves.business.site.

Obviously the product is confronted with all of the standard issues that Google has in the local space:

  • Will Google bother to spend any money promoting the product or will it languish in the backwaters? All too often Google has lacked the commitment to make their local products work.
  • Will the product, which is one of several current web builder products at Google, be a long term stable feature or will Google give it the axe in 18 months? For a business to build a strategic asset like a website takes faith in Google that I am not sure that they have earned.
  • Will the product continue to evolve feature wise? This is a very nice 1.0 rollout but it is clearly not yet feature rich enough. Will it suffer from Google ADD that we have so frequently seen in the past where they build something and then forget it?
  • How will Google handle the obvious problem of a business thinking that they immediately deserve higher web visibility without any of the standard web prominence activities? It seems that the gap between producing the website and appearing regularly in search is large and without significant educational resources Google will continue to experience an expectation gap amongst their users.

When viewed together with the other tests that are still active, Google Posts and Google My Business Chat, we are starting to see a picture of Google’s plans for the  Google My Business Dashboard as a place where a business needs to go regularly. These three products are attempting to overcome the set and forget it problem that Google has always had with the business dashboards of the past.

These are clearly also products that are direct competitors to Facebook’s ready ease of use and enticing engagement for the small business operator.

Click to see the actual website that was created

Google really needs this website building product to take off in the developing world or they run the risk of small business irrelevancy. The business web did not develop in much of Asia as it did in the US.  And alternatively texting as a b-c interface and smartphone apps did develop and Google does not have anywhere near as strong of a presence in those arenas.

This has given WeChat in China and Facebook elsewhere a huge advantage over Google in the SMB market. Much of that information about small businesses is thus not visible to Google’s bots.

This product and the others I mentioned were needed by Google in 2013. Unfortunately Google was mired in the need to extricate local from Plus and both time and focus was lost. It has also taken a number of foundational GMB developments in both their product and thinking to get to this point.

The product isn’t an obvious knockout win. While it may be of value in developing countries, it is not at all clear what value it will provide in the US were web sties are the norm and can be had inexpensively.  However when paired with the previous efforts in developing the Google My Business Dashboard and the current products in testing, it seems to even the playing field with Facebook and give Google a fighting chance to hang onto their lead in small business discovery.

And if Google properly promotes the product and its benefits then the chances of success would increase.

Google needs this product for two foundational reasons; as a source for getting and updating small business data and keeping the “open” web relevant for small business marketing.

Do you think that Google will succeed with this product in developing countries? In the US? In the other industrialized nations?

Here are screenshots of the process (Click to view them larger in order of the process of setting up a page.):

Yesterday there 43,500 sites at the business.site domain and an addition 269,000 sites at the URL used for the earlier test: site:business.google.com/website/.  This compares to the 122,000 sites that were using the product in mid-January of this year. Over the past several days, sites have been coming on-line at the rate of about 1500 per day.

Here is a summary of the distribution of ~27,000 of the current 43,500 sites that have been created. An interesting change from January is the very low number of sites in Brazil that is using the new URL location.

Indonesia

13300

India

8840

Argentia

2610

Mexico

1160

Россия Russia

974

United States

196

France

194

Australia

124

Italy

77

Brazil

70

Spain

61

United Kingdom

55

Malaysia

28

Vietnam

21

Україна Ukraine

19

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google MyBusiness Website Builder Released Worldwide by

25 thoughts on “Google MyBusiness Website Builder Released Worldwide”

  1. Well, if they really want some adoption how bout they take a minute to announce their new products to their users! I use Google all day long and rely on Mike Blumenthal to let me know when new Google products launch. ; )

  2. I noticed that it pulled and displayed the two alternate phone numbers that Whitespark has on its GMB listing. I don’t believe these numbers are displayed anywhere else.
    http://whitesparklocal.business.site/

    I wonder if the editable text on the website builder will be factored into rankings at all. I doubt it, but with the removal of the description field in GMB, I can see people trying to keyword stuff all of the editable fields in this.

  3. Interesting to see – a partner of ours in Germany pointed this out to me yesterday in an article in a German publication that announced they had launched this in not just the US but also Canada and UK (couldn’t find anything in English until this morning). I agree that strategically this is necessary for Google to compete with Facebook, who I’m my opinion is eating Google’s lunch in the SMB space right now, but this could be really impactful to the DIY space (Wix, GoDaddy’s GoCentral, etc) even if Google only captures 5-10% of the market. I’ll be watching to see if they keep investing in this product or if they let it sink into the blackhole of GMB.

    1. @Matt
      I am not sure if it will compete with Wix or Squarespace… it might but it would need to be more feature rich. As it is it is an effective addition to Facebook. But you are spot on, if they invest and keep on developing it, they could achieve lift off with the product. At that point if I were Wix I would worry.

  4. The simplicity and GMB integration could make it attractive for small businesses looking for a quick solution but it’s miles away from the features on Squarespace. It’s more realistically a competitor for Wix

  5. Hello @Mike Blumenthal,
    I’m from Brazil.
    I have a verified list on Google My Business and the option to create a website is now available.
    Now in the morning I created a new list and after creating it the first option that GMB presents me is to create a free website, before even accessing the control panel.
    If you want, I have the screen print.
    Strong hug!

  6. Hello Mike!
    Would you speculate that the apparent lack of structured data and meta tags for these new sites indicates that Google may already have the necessary inforamtion about the website, and no further input is necessary for indexing? Also, will there be an organic disadvantage on other search platforms like Bing, ect., without this additional data? Thank you for all your insight!

    1. @Tim
      Google said to us that they structure the data in a way that makes it easy for them to retrieve. Given that these are single location websites associated with a known location there is no need for schema in that context. Schema provides clarity to Google and they have all of the clarity that they need. I assume that decision was based on the desire for speed trumping all.

  7. I have noticed not all professions have a ‘Google’ chosen image on the right hand side next to the website description. Is there a list of these images anywhere. Those without look a bit lopsided.

  8. I am from Thailand and noticed this a week or so back. Since we already have a business website, I am not sure if there are any SEO benefits to publishing the GMB micro-site, or indeed algorithmic penalties. In any case my customers probably get no benefit from having an extra site, so I think I will keep this hidden unless there is some proven benefit.

  9. If my website on my own domain is not as mobile friendly as a Google business.site am i better served keeping Googles business.site as is to be sure it loads quickly on mobile (the growing trend) or should I substitute it with my own domain site and risk it not loading properly for someone looking via Google my business?

  10. Curious to know – if I build up a simple GMB website, will it hurt my current website’s organic search ranking? I’m worried Google will put the GMB website ahead of our company’s own site. I would like to take full advantage of everything GMB has to offer but I don’t want this new website to hurt us either.

    1. Brandi
      The Google Website is ranked the same way that your website is ranked….in bound links, content,age etc. As such it is unlikely to rank higher than your current web site. If it somehow manages to gather a lot of links I suppose that it could.

      That being said I see NO reason for you to even create one (other than your own edification) for marketing purposes. Having one more orphaned page about your business sitting all by its lonesome will do no harm. But it will do no good either.

  11. I noticed this recently when putting together a google my business page for a client. I have a feeling it will most likely be another product google add and do not do any further development on, leaving a lot of people in limbo with a very limited website. As a web design agency I am interested how they may develop on this and what kind of benefits it will give people using it in the serps.

  12. Google Business has created a basic web page that now appears instead of the standard information page that displayed website, opening times, location and phone.

    I cannot disable this function from google my business website page in settings. I wish to revert to the original set up. I am loosing customer to my original website as there is not a website link on this google business page.

    Can someone advise? I am rather perplexed. Thanks in advance.

    Emma – The Architectural Forum

    1. @emma
      To disable the google website do the follow
      -goto Google My Business for your location
      – select Website from the left menu
      – Settings
      – Unpublished website

      This will remove the website from Google My Business and should add your original website link back in

      If you want to retain the Google Website and NOT have it replace your website you can then
      – Select Publish Now
      – It will ask you to “Create a website address for your customers to use”
      – And under that choice is the option to “Make this my website address on Google search” – Be sure to DESELECT that

  13. I have 3 questions.

    First, how do consumers find these local sites?
    Secondly, Is there an SEO risk to publish these local sites (when we already have a site)?
    Thirdly, if it wasn’t Google promoting a product, because our clients already have websites, we would not have paid attention. Because it’s Google, it is important to consider Google ranking upsides. Do you suspect it can have a positive effect on our clients’ local listings?

  14. 1- Consumers find these sites the same way they find any site. Either in search or via the Local Listing

    2- The only risk is that Google defaults the GMB link field to this site, not your actual site. Given that your actual site has been around longer that could negatively impact your rank

    3- The ranking of this site works no different than the ranking of any website. Links, etc are what matters. By default it has no links so unless you do some SEO it will have no impact.

  15. Thank you so much. Your site is always the most trusted and thorough resource – an essential resource for us.

  16. Is it possible to put as link to an existing website within a newly created Google My Business website – and would that then help rank the existing website. I see that it is possible to keep the original website link on Google My Business from deselecting the option to “Make this my website address on Google search” – so with this would still keep that link but then get a link from the businessname.business.site or will it be a really low value link anyway?

Leave a Reply to Jeffrey Magner Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments links could be nofollow free.