Google announced it will be removing the chat and call history functionalities within Google Business Profiles, prompting business owners and marketers to adapt and find alternative solutions.

The Announcement

On May 29, 2024, Google emailed its Business Profile users about the forthcoming changes. To streamline and improve its tools, Google aims to shut down the chat and call history features by July 31, 2024.

Google noted that although it was a difficult decision and may impact the businesses and partners it works with, this move reflects its commitment to being helpful partners to businesses.

Understanding the Impact on Businesses and Customers

The chat feature on Google Business Profiles has been a direct line of communication between businesses and their customers. With its discontinuation, businesses must adapt and find alternative ways to maintain this valuable conversation channel.

The call history option has also been an integral part of the Google Business Profile, allowing businesses to track and manage customer phone interactions. Its removal requires users to reassess their methods for tracking such communications.

However, customers can still find and contact your business via Google Search and Maps.

Key Dates to Remember

July 15: The new chat conversations with businesses via Google will be discontinued. Existing conversations will receive a notification about the phasing out of the chat service.
July 31: Chat functionality will be removed entirely from Google Business Profiles. New chat messages will no longer be received, and businesses will lose visibility of their call history in the profile.

Important Note: Customers can continue discovering and contacting your business through Google Search and Maps, just not using chat and without any native call tracking.

Google Outlines Next Steps as Chat and Call Features End

Downloading Records of Past Chats and Call History

Google encourages users to download any vital records of past Business Profile chats or call history via Google Takeout before the service ends.Google Takeout with light blue background.

Continued Calls and other Engagement Tracking

Businesses can still receive calls through their business profiles and monitor other forms of customer engagement, such as web traffic and direction requests. These metrics remain valuable for understanding customer behavior and interactions with the business.

Transition to Alternative Chat Channels

Businesses are advised to guide customers in ongoing chat conversations to other communication platforms to sustain continuing communication and service quality.

Impact of These Changes on Local SEO

As specialists in local SEO, we recognize that Google’s phase-out of chat and call history on Business Profiles presents multifaceted challenges and opportunities for local search strategies:

The end of Google’s chat could diminish customer interaction, directly impacting Local SEO. At the same time, the loss of call history prompts a shift towards third-party trackers and advanced analytics for optimal Local SEO performance.

Moreover, the removal might decrease Business Profile click through rates (CTRs), shaking up local rankings due to additional contact steps for users; a vital Local SEO indicator.

However, if we’ve learned anything from Google, it is not to rely on their services to last very long and there’s nothing we can do to change their mind. So, let’s take a positive approach!

These changes spur innovation, pushing businesses to forge new customer connections, refine tracking, and enhance their local online footprint. Keeping business profiles detailed and current, vigilantly managing reviews, and optimizing for local search remain critical components of local SEO success.

Adaptation and Opportunity

Summing things up, Google is retiring chat and call history from Business Profiles, which may pose challenges for businesses.

This change is set to alter local SEO, prompting businesses to adopt new communication strategies to remain competitive. Success hinges on effectively using other engagement options and optimizing Business Profiles to maintain prominence in local search results and customer relations.

If you are a client, you can rest assured will be working with you through this changeover. If you are not a client and want to work with a marketing partner that will help you navigate these types of changes on a regular basis and improve your bottom line online, setup a free strategy call with our CEO, Ross Dunn. You’re sure to enjoy his easy going nature and zero pressure attitude combined with 27 years of SEO experience.