Google has recently announced it will be discontinuing its free website feature of Google Business Profiles on 1 March 2024.

The changes are set to impact the majority of Australian small businesses and according to Localsearch’s most recent annual State of Small Business Survey, 78% of small businesses are using websites as a key tool in their marketing strategy.

Below are tips for small business owners to prepare for the changes and equip their business to transition flawlessly.

What to do if you have a Google Business Profile website  

All impacted websites should have already received email communications from Google to the email address linked to the website.

If you have a website created with a Google Business Profile, you should take the following steps to ensure your online presence remains uninterrupted: 

  • Select an alternative solution: When selecting a new website provider it’s important to consider ease of use, cost, integration with marketing tools, security features, search-engine compatibility and the provider’s track record for reliability. 
  • Update your Google Business Profile & other online platforms: Once your new website is ready, update your Google Business Profile, Localsearch Business Profile, social media and any other online presence profiles you may have with the new site address. This should be done before the deadline to avoid any disruption to your online presence. 
  • Adjust your ad campaigns: If you have any Google Ads or social media campaigns linking to your Google Business Profile website, update the URLs in your ads to the new website. This should be done before March 1 to prevent any impact on your ad performance. 
  • Inform your customers: Communicate with your customers about the change in your website address so they know where to find you online. 

What will happen to ad campaigns linked to a website from Google Business Profile?

If your Ads campaign is linked to a website from Google Business Profile, you should change the link before 1 March to keep your ads running. Alternatively, you can choose to pause your campaigns until your new website is up and running.  

When will websites made with Google Business Profiles be turned off?  

These websites will be turned off on 1 March. Customers attempting to visit your website will be redirected to your Business Profile until June 10, after which they will encounter a “page not found” error. 

Maintaining a robust online presence is crucial for businesses in our increasingly digital world. A well-designed website serves as the digital storefront for a business, allowing customers to discover services, gather information, and engage with the brand at their convenience.

With Google phasing out websites created through Google Business Profiles, it’s imperative for businesses affected by this change to act swiftly.

Daniel Stoten is executive chairman of Localsearch.