“Google is using the new company profile to solicit support from small businesses for Google’s opposition to pending antitrust laws,” Mike Blumenthal, former founder of LocalU and GatherUp, wrote to Near Media. Following the transition from Google My Business to Google Business Profile, many business owners received notification of the name change along with requests to learn more about “new laws [that] may affect my business”.
Google is appealing to SMEs to lobby for the technology giant’s cause. Although we could not repeat the prompt in the SERP dashboard, Blumenthal included screenshots of its company profile, where Google tells business administrators: “Proposed legislation may make it harder to find your business online.”
On Twitter, Blumenthal also shared an email sent to Darren Shaw of Whitespark, a Canadian local SEO firm that prompted them to “take action” on Google’s behalf to support Google’s position toward lawmakers. The idea is that changes in laws will make it difficult for Google to offer the same support to small businesses and therefore will hurt SMEs in the long run.
It’s not the first time. Since Google was previously in legal trouble, Google has previously tried to appeal to users to make its case when the laws change. In 2013, they argued for cookies by telling SERP searchers: “Cookies help us deliver our services.” This was a call in response to European privacy laws.
When European laws were changed to allow people to request removal from the search index, Google sent an email to individual page owners telling them, “Sorry, we are unable to show you the following pages. from your site in response to certain searches on European versions of Google. “
The same thing happened when French laws required Google to “remove excerpts from their search results for European press publications,” Barry Schwartz wrote on the Search Engine Roundtable. When the EU told Google to stop notifying searchers of removing individual searches, they followed the request by adding the removal notice to all search pages, Sam Schechner told the Wall Street Journal:
Google has been shown to bow to the regulators’ desire for the company to fail to state in the search results when something had been removed. Google had previously indicated that it might highlight the removals, something it does when removing links to pirated content. But EU regulators told Google in recent weeks that such a move would undermine the spirit of the decision by making it clear that some people had wanted information about them suppressed, a regulator said.
Instead, Google on Thursday added a general notification that appears at the bottom of most individual name search results performed on Google’s European search sites, according to an explanation posted by the company on its website. The message – “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe” – is added algorithmically to searches that appear to be after a name, said a person familiar with the matter.
Why we worry. Google’s go-to seems to be appealing to searchers and businesses that use their services when lawsuits affect how they want to run their business. “This effort to manipulate small business people with astroturfing is a whole new level of deception. It exposes Google’s intentions to protect their monopoly at all costs. Their attempts to substantiate arguments with fabricated alliances, for legitimacy, add fuel to an obvious fire. “Blumenthal wrote in his statement on the matter. If you work with SMEs and they have received the notification, there is a chance that they may be concerned about how laws and consequent changes will affect their businesses. often more skeptical of the search giant’s methods and motives, it may be worthwhile to be proactive with your local SEO clients to tell them what this prompt means.
About The Author
Carolyn Lyden serves as Director of Search Content for Search Engine Land and SMX. With expertise in SEO, content marketing, local search and analytics, she focuses on making marketers’ jobs easier with important news and educational content.