Exploring the impact of Google updates on business listings

Natalya Stecko
April 5, 2024

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Exploring the impact of Google updates on business listings
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In today’s fast-paced digital environment, getting your online business details right is crucial.

Customers are making decisions based on the latest information they can find online, so it’s vital all available details are accurate. That’s where Google’s suggested changes and updates come into play.

This article will take a closer look at how Google updates work and why they’re so important for your business. We’ll also explore how Mirador Local can make navigating these updates a breeze, helping to boost your online presence without the hassle.

What are Google’s suggested changes?

The Google Updates, sometimes referred to as "suggested changes", feature maintains the precision and currency of business listings. It leverages input from users and licensed content to review a location and propose adjustments. These could involve updating opening hours or a change of location.

Once recommendations are submitted, Google reviews them and, if appropriate, applies them to improve the accuracy of the location’s details.

Google bases profile information gathered from multiple sources:

  • Information accessible to the public, such as content indexed by Google like the business website.
  • Data acquired under license from third-party entities.
  • Contributions of accurate details (addresses and phone numbers) and user-generated content (photos and reviews) or business owners who have claimed their profiles via Google Business Profile.
  • Insights derived from Google's direct engagement with a local business or place.

The different types of updates

Google can update your business profile anytime, making those changes instantly visible on Google Maps, in search, and other services.

Business owners can decide whether to accept Google’s updates, revert them, or make further edits.

To help you quickly understand what’s been changed, Google uses different text colours in the profile editor, each indicating a specific type of update.

  • Blue: If you spot blue in your profile editor, it means Google has updated your information with something new. This could be anything from your business hours to your address. Updates in blue are Google’s way of suggesting significant changes you should review.
  • Black or white: These colours mean your profile is just as you left it, with no recent updates from Google. Your business information remains unchanged, allowing you to focus on areas that might need your attention more.

Understanding the Google Business update flow

When users or Google propose changes, such as a new phone number or updated operational hours, Google can swiftly implement these suggestions, immediately making the new details available to the public. This rapid update occurs without direct verification from the business owner, prioritising the flow of up-to-date information to users.

Business owners can assess the proposed changes. They can then accept updates that improve their listing or reject those that misrepresent their business operations. This method balances user contributions and business owner control, promoting a cooperative effort toward maintaining accurate information. However, it’s important to note that business owners aren’t automatically notified of these changes — they need to actively log in to their Google Business profile to review any updates.

Insights into Google Business Profile updates

At Mirador Local, our deep dive into the data surrounding Google Business Profile updates reveals fascinating trends and significant shifts in how businesses are presented online.

A look at the numbers

Since December 2021, our tracking has captured thousands of updates suggested by Google. 44% of active locations experienced at least one update so far since that time. Exploring further, we found each update altered an average of three specific fields on a business profile.

Most affected fields

The predominance of service items in the updates (37% of all changes) indicates a growing emphasis on the specificity and clarity of business offerings. This could be Google’s response to heightened consumer demand for detailed service information due to shifting market trends and preferences.

Updates to business titles and website URLs (at 14% and 12%, respectively) signal a focus on brand identity and digital presence — crucial components in attracting and engaging customers online.

The infrequency of updates to phone numbers and special hours (each constituting around 1% of changes), might initially seem surprising. However, this rarity could indicate that businesses typically ensure these details are accurate from the outset, given their direct impact on customer interactions.

Seasonal variations in updates

Our analysis shows that Google’s updates are not random but exhibit seasonal patterns. For instance, updates concerning regular hours peaked at 18% of all changes during the November/December holiday season but dropped to just 3% in 2024 so far. The number of updates notably increased during the December holidays and right before Easter, highlighting a pattern that businesses should anticipate and prepare for.

Impact on chains and consistency issues

An interesting case study involves one customer, which saw 192 locations experience a simultaneous Google Update that bulk-modified the name to remove the "™" from Customer Name™ [LOCATION].

This incident underscores how Google updates can impact all locations in a chain at a moment’s notice, necessitating vigilant profile management.

Google’s approach to naming guidelines appears inconsistent. While other customer's names were suggested to be simplified, other locations were not treated as such, with every location including the city name. This inconsistency challenges businesses striving for brand uniformity across their online presence.

Web URLs and phone numbers

Our findings also revealed that web URLs are modified more frequently than expected, while phone numbers are less frequently updated. Given the potential impact of these changes on a location’s business performance, owners must be promptly notified to safeguard against misinformation or malicious actors.

Associating locations with chains

Interestingly, 6% of all Google Updates included updating relationship data that associated a location with a chain. This trend indicates Google’s efforts to accurately reflect business networks and affiliations, improving user experience by providing clear and coherent business ecosystems.

The dynamics of GBP updates offers business owners a mixed bag of opportunities and challenges. While the emphasis on service specificity and digital presence aligns with evolving market demands, the inconsistencies in naming conventions and the potential for wide-reaching updates require a proactive and vigilant management approach.

The benefits of Google updates on business listings

Now, let’s take a closer look at the benefits Google’s suggested changes bring to businesses, highlighting how they can enhance and maintain an accurate online presence.

Maintains accuracy

The core advantage of Google’s suggested changes lies in their potential to improve the accuracy of business listings.

By incorporating real-time insights from users and licensed content, Google ensures the information available to consumers is as current and reliable as possible.

The owner has control to accept or reject changes

Business owners can review and decide on suggested updates.

This gives businesses clear oversight, enabling them to guarantee their business profiles accurately reflect their offerings and operational status.

Engages the wider community

The feature fosters a sense of community by allowing users to contribute to the accuracy and reliability of business information,

In turn, the feature creates a collaborative ecosystem where both businesses and consumers thrive.

The challenges of Google’s updates on business listings

Alongside the advantages, Google Suggested Changes presents certain challenges that businesses must be aware of to manage their online profiles effectively.

Incorrect information can go live

Since changes can be applied based on user suggestions without direct verification by the business owner, there’s a risk of incorrect information affecting a business's online profile.

For instance, the screenshot below highlights a case where suggested changes by Google resulted in a restaurant's Google Business Profile listing limited opening hours during lunchtime. This unintentionally impacted the business’s revenue, leaving the owner unaware of the adjustment until it’s too late.



It can be used maliciously

The open nature of suggested changes also leaves room for misuse, with the potential for malicious factors to adversely impact a business’s online reputation.

There is no notification mechanism

The absence of a direct notification system for newly applied changes means business owners must proactively monitor their listings.

Below is another example from a user whose opening hours were repeatedly altered by the suggested changes feature, yet they received no notification. They often spend weeks without checking their Google Business Profile, leading to lost business due to being unaware.


It’s tough to manage Google updates across several locations

For businesses with several listings, keeping track of and managing these updates can be daunting, underscoring the need for efficient tools to streamline this process.

How Mirador Local can help

Mirador Local allows business owners to oversee all their listings that have received Google Updates, granting them the option to accept or reject these changes.

This capability ensures owners have a clear view of the updates and allows them to manage and align their listings with Google’s adjustments swiftly.


Mirador offers a feature called Google Suggested Changes Diff View, which enables users to choose updates to adopt and discard. Users can effortlessly switch between the existing details and the proposed changes by clicking on a central button, making it simple to compare and decide.

Our platform offers businesses a clear snapshot of all their listings impacted by Google Updates, with the added convenience of approving or dismissing changes in bulk. This streamlines the process and helps retain a consistent and accurate online presence.

This capability to compare current information with proposed updates gives businesses the clarity and confidence to make choices that align with their goals and customers' expectations.

If you’d like to see the power of Mirador Local's suggested changes feature in action — book your demo now.