Google has announced that websites automatically created through Google Business Profiles will be discontinued starting in March 2024. These basic websites were powered by information from business profiles and will soon be redirected to the profiles themselves. This change will impact the hundreds of thousands of businesses globally that opted to create simple websites tied to their profiles.
While Google stresses that business profiles will be unaffected, establishments with “.business.site” and “.negocio.site” domains will need to update to new websites to maintain an online presence. Businesses utilizing these auto-generated sites should prepare for the transition and take steps to minimize disruption.
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Google Business Profiles, formerly known as Google My Business listings, are free profiles that allow businesses to manage their online presence on Google. Creating a profile enables a business to showcase basic information, photos, hours, contact details and more on Google Search and Maps.
Once a profile is verified, Google provides the option to instantly create a basic website ending in “.business.site” using the profile data. This automatically generated one-page site displays the company info, photos, address and contact form.
The goal was an easy way for small businesses to establish a simple web presence quickly. However, these uniform sites lacked customization options and served primarily to direct users back to the main profile.
In a recent notice, Google announced they will discontinue websites made through business profiles in March 2024. Several reasons were cited behind the decision:
The auto-generated sites were intended as a stopgap solution for early web presence, not a permanent substitute for custom websites built with site builders, CMS platforms etc. By discontinuing the built-in websites, Google aims to motivate businesses to create more robust sites tailor-made for their brand and offerings.
Starting in March 2024, the generic .business.site and .negocio.site sites created through Google Business Profiles will be shut down and removed from the profile’s website field.
When users attempt to visit these sites, they will be temporarily redirected to the associated Google business profile. However, this redirect will only work until June 10, 2024.
After June 10th, visitors to the discontinued sites will receive 404 “page not found” errors. At that point, businesses without updated websites will lose their web presence apart from the basic profile.
To avoid losing online presence, Google advises businesses using auto-generated websites to create fully customized websites using dedicated platforms before June 2024.
Some recommended options include:
The new website should be mobile-responsive, represent brand identity, and provide value beyond the profile such as expanded offerings, rich media and e-commerce.
Once created, the new domain should be added to the Google Business Profile in place of the old .business.site URL. This will allow the profile to continue driving traffic to an updated website suited to long-term business goals.
For businesses utilizing the older sites, a few other aspects to consider:
While transitioning off the uniform business profile websites, companies should view this as an opportunity to create a fully optimized web presence aligned with their brand and offerings. By being proactive, businesses can minimize disruption and strengthen their digital footprint.
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The discontinuation of default websites made through Google Business Profiles reflects a push towards more customizable online presences for businesses. While the basic templates provided a starting point, brands now have the chance to better control their web presence using the multitude of platform options available.
By showcasing the most accurate and in-depth business information through tailored websites, local companies can continue driving customer discoverability and conversions into the future. With some foresight and planning, this transition can lay the groundwork for showcasing businesses in their best light across Google’s expansive local search and maps properties.