New GMB Style with an LSA Connection

A new style of a Business Profile on mobile search has emerged with a new layout and some interesting features. So far I’ve only seen this style on mobile and only when going to a listing from the 3-pack and the local finder. ‘Years in business’ and ‘Serving location’ may appear below the star rating on this new format.

The ‘Serving [location]’ indication is based on the location of the user (or the location in the search query if it was explicit), and the service area indicated by the business. This functionality was already present in a different format, which is still visible on this version below the website address where it says “Serves Winter Park and nearby areas”. And below that is now an indication of where the business is located (which wasn’t present before on pure service-area business listings):

Google My Business - Business Profile showing Years in Business

How I got to this result:

  1. Searching ‘plumber winter park fl’ on mobile search (not the Maps app)
  2. Tapping on ‘more businesses’ under the local pack to view additional results in the ‘local finder’. Tapping on one of the results directly in the 3-pack will also do it

Will the service area a business selects in GMB make a stronger impact on rankings now?

Possibly, but I haven’t looked into it much yet. If it does, it will likely only impact it to a certain extent. In LSA, if you add a city to your service area, your ad will appear there, although it may be buried below several other results if it’s not near the physical location of the business. For the local finder, maybe Google will open the results up more for businesses targeting locations outside their immediate physical area, but if they do that, don’t expect to see every business that has selected that location as an area they serve.

Some other observations so far from this view:

  • It doesn’t have an About section. The information typically shown in that section is now on the overview except for the short name and social profiles, which aren’t present anywhere here
  • It doesn’t have a Posts/Updates section (update: it didn’t initially but does now)
  • It doesn’t have a Products section
  • It doesn’t have an appointment link

Scrolling down while on the main overview tab we see:

Google My Business listing with sticky footer

A different style for the ‘Services’ section and then a review section with a breakdown of sentiment for Punctuality, Quality and Responsiveness. And at the very bottom as you scroll is a sticky footer with buttons to place a phone call and visit the business website.

Check out the URL of this new style GMB / Business Profile

GMB URL with /localservices/

The most intriguing aspect of this change to me is the URL. The URL of the profiles in this view would typically just be in the search format:

With this new style, the URL begins with:

This is very similar to LSA profile URLs:

Not all types of businesses are getting this new style treatment. It does seem at least closely related to Local Services Ads as it does appear to be impacting business categories that are available in Local Services Ads. From plumbing to real estate agents and lawyers, I’m seeing this style and URL format. For other business types where this might seem applicable, like home inspectors for example (which is not an LSA category), I’m not seeing this new style or URL structure.

A sign of more Local Services Ads and Google My Business integration

There has always been a connection between Google My Business and Local Services Ads: reviews. We have seen signs of a stronger connection over the past few years including the naming of default services by category, which share names with job types in LSA. “Years in business” and “Serving [location]” has also been on Local Services Ads for a long time before appearing on Google My Business listings. The recent addition of the Estimated Cost Near Year feature in the local pack started appearing in Local Services Ads in August 2018. And of course, there’s the GMB upgrade (limited testing) which places the Google Guaranteed badge on a Google My Business listing if a business passes a screening process, just like in Local Services Ads.

Direct connection or not it makes sense for there to be similarities between Google My Business and Local Services Ads, but the GMB upgrade test and this new URL structure point to a strengthening connection that goes beyond basic visual features and naming patterns that the two share.