Local Search Summary – June 2023

It’s that time again…welcome to The Local Search Roundup! At the end of the month, with Google’s SGE launched, a slew of GBP bugs rearing their ugly head, and a suspicious number of local packages disappearing from search results, we take a look back at what happened in local search in May 2023.

Tests and updates of Google business profiles and maps

Added new GBP conversion options to Google Ads

Google Ads has introduced new conversion options leading to Google Business Profiles. Users may see the option to add GBP Call, Followed Call, or Learn More conversions to their ad campaigns.

conversion actions

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Added live chat availability to GBP

Want to chat with the company you’re looking for? Now is your chance! (Sort of.) Google is testing a “Chat with Live Agents” button for some business profiles. It is available if the company has messages enabled and uses a third-party tool. So if your business values ​​customer service, this could be crucial for you.

Chat with Live Agent Seroundtable

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Discovered: New Google Business Profile Tests

A number of new tests have been discovered on Google Business Profiles and Google Maps, including a checkbox to flag sponsored listings on maps:

Map listing sponsored seroundtable

Users have also seen a new flag indicating when an edit to your profile is “pending”.

Profile pending Pin Seroundtable

Also, a new label has been found in the map pack that tells the user that ratings are unverified. This label has previously been seen in the reviews section of a GBP, but never on the card pack (until now!).

Ratings are not verified.  roundtable

Source: Search engine roundtable

New feature to share current map searches

You may now be able to share a link to recent map searches! Spotted on Google Maps, this new feature offers the user the ability to share a link to a list of recent searches. For users, this is a great addition, but for businesses it’s not yet clear if this will impact performance.

Google Local Panel Slider Images 1684955204

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Does Google want to prioritize services in Maps?

Some local SEOs have noticed that the Services button now appears first when searching on Google Maps. Allie Margeson advised: “Google wants you to give searchers the answers in the search results. Don’t oversleep optimizing your services!”


Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Google is testing an image slider for GBP photos

It looks like Google is breaking away from social media channels like Instagram and LinkedIn, with a test of a sliding carousel for images on company profiles spotted.

Google Local Panel Slider Images 1684955204

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

errors and glitches

Another day, another Google bug. This time you may have noticed that your images are being rejected. Honestly, that could be a bug…or it could just be that your images are being rejected. This error seems to come and go, so Near Media has written a comprehensive guide on what to look out for if you think you’re encountering this error again.

Unauthorized nearmedia

Source: Near Media

Users then found that they had a blank screen when editing posts and updates on Google. Cause more confusion because of another error.

Google Posts Edit Bug Seroundtable

Source: Search engine roundtable

And as if that wasn’t enough, users found that GBP didn’t let you invite new owners to your business profile, although Google is now trying to fix the issue.

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

A user also found that even changing the owner to primary owner in the back end of a GBP is broken. Will this chatter ever end?

GBP owner error

Source: The Local Pack Facebook Group

Algorithm and Ranking Changes

A search month would not be complete without ranking changes and glitches that may be due to a change in algorithm. This month, local search experts noticed that there was a significant drop in local packages, particularly common terms that used to always generate local packages in results.

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

What’s new in local search?

Incentivizing reviews through charitable donations is not permitted

In a recent post on The Local Pack, a user asked if it was allowed to donate money to charity in exchange for a review. Google product expert Joy Hawkins took this question directly to Google and found the answer for us. Spoiler alert: This is against Google’s policy.

Source: Sterling Sky

Search Generative Experience (SGE)

Probably one of the biggest news of this month (and we’ve saved the best for last) is the launch of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE).

At this month’s Google I/O conference, Google announced its new AI-powered search, available May 25 to waitlisted users across the US.

After experimenting with local searches very quickly, we looked at what SGE looks like for local search and what it could mean for local marketers.

That’s it for this summary! Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the latest on local SEO, Google Business Profile updates and more Twitter account!

Jenny Bernarde

Jenny takes care of the BrightLocal community by managing our social media channels, connecting with our community and producing our online webinars.