As some observant clients have noted this week, it’s no longer possible to edit your business description in the Google My Business dashboard. But what does this mean for businesses and marketers, particularly those managing hundreds or even thousands of location listings?

Google Confirms Removal of Editing “My Business” Description

In an August 1 update posted to the “New Features” section of the Google My Business Help resource, Google confirmed and explained the update: 

The Introduction/Description field is no longer editable in Google My Business. It only displays to users in Google+, and may still be edited there. Editing of attributes, coming soon to all Google My Business views, will be an improved way to describe your business to users on Google Search and Maps.”

What Does This Mean for Brands and Marketers?

It’s important to note there will be no immediate change to your company’s Google business listing or search results. For some time now, the business description field has been absent from Google Search and Google Maps results.

If you had been meaning to update your description and worry that outdated information will remain visible, don’t. The description is not being displayed. However, you can still update the description in Google+, if needed.

This update means new features and functions that will give multi-location brands greater control over their local listings are imminent.

As local search expert Mike Blumenthal pointed out in his blog post on the change, Google looks to a lot of different sources to verify business information. Put simply, they don’t just take your word for it.

Accuracy Across the Local Search Ecosystem More Important Than Ever

As Google My Business adds more attributes for businesses to share information about what they offer, you can bet they’ll be checking the data provided against other sources. They’ll be considering information about your business from review sites, directories, Yellow Pages, social media sites and more. They will also gauge the trustworthiness of each. When a more trusted source gives information that conflicts with that the business has provided, Google will change the listing.

Google aims to provide each searcher with the most relevant, accurate and trustworthy answer to their query. Adding more attributes and enabling business owners to edit them – either individually as with small businesses, or en masse like multi-location retailers who use our local listings management software – gives businesses the opportunity to better answer those queries.

But Google’s tendency to look to external sources for that information means marketers are challenged more than ever to ensure the accuracy and optimization of all sources. This is particularly true for those they don’t control. Using technology like our Open Local platform ensures that your local listings are clean, complete and correct across the local search ecosystem.

To learn how Rio SEO can support your local search optimization, schedule a demo of our automated Local SEO Software.

You can also read more here about our Google My Business features and API integration.