Google Is Shutting Down Websites And Deleting Reviews: Will Your Business Be Impacted?

Google is deleting websites and reviews in 2024
Chris Lonergan
Chris Lonergan February 21, 2024

Google has been busy tidying up the internet. They've made waves recently with some announcements related to how they are trimming the internet fat and culling policy-violating Google reviews.

In particular, part of Google's 2024 calendar will include killing off millions of websites and growing more efficient at removing reviews from Google Business Profiles beyond the 150+ million they've axed in 2023.

Will these website deletions and Google's deepened commitment to GBP review removal impact your business or contractor marketing plan?

Websites Built Via Google Business Profile: Deleted As Of March 2024

At the beginning of 2024, Google announced that websites that were created with Google Business Profile would be shut down starting March 1, 2024. To start, those older websites will be redirected to the corresponding Google Business Profile page - with the redirect stopping as of June 2024. At that point, all "Business Site" websites will be turned off and will show a "404 page not found" error.

These are the type of websites that end in "" instead of .com or another similar top-level domain.

What Are Google Business Profile "Business Sites"?

Starting in 2017, Google Business Sites were meant to be a quick, easy way for businesses to throw together a "website" tied to their (then Google My Business) Google Business Profile. These sites are very simplistic, with some basic color or font customization options and mostly just filling your "website content" in with the content from your Map Listing, like your Google Posts, reviews, photos, hours of operation, and links.

Example of a Google Business Site

These sites didn't really have a positive impact on organic visibility. It was a bare-bones way to have something that looked like a website address that you could email someone or add to your business cards to look a little more professional.

I Have A Google Business Profile "Business Site" - What Should I Do?

Don't panic just yet - we've got some options for how to best move forward.

If Your "Business Site" Isn't Your Main Website…

If you created one of these pages because you got bored and decided to click around your GBP a bit one day…good news! So long as your GBP URL is correctly showing your actual website - then there is no need to do anything else.

The "Business Site" wasn't really doing much positive for your business - so it going away will not have any impact on your online marketing.

If Your "Business Site" Is Your Only Website…

If your Google Business Profile Business Site is your ONLY website - your only option is to push forward with a different website. There are no options to redirect your GBP Business Site manually to a location of your choosing - so you're just going to start from scratch.

Google recommends a list of other providers you could use for DIY website creation - the usual suspects like Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, etc. - but we recommend that you take this opportunity to create a website that is there to cover more than the bare minimum.

Creating a website with purposeful organic search engine optimization will yield more benefit to your business in the long run than a DIY website will today.

This entire "Business Site" shutdown shows that sites that you're borrowing for free or very low costs - ones that are not portable that you can take with you or reuse on other platforms - are not a long-term business solution.

Instead, building a proper website that is yours - like the ones built by the pros here at Footbridge Media - is the way to go.

However you move forward, you need to do so quickly. Don't forget to update your Google Business Profile URL link accordingly when you create a proper website.

Google Has Deleted Or Blocked 170 Million Reviews Within The Past Year, Plans For More

Google hasn't been messing around when it comes to Google Review integrity.

More machine learning and algorithm updates, along with targetted investigation of fake review services, led to Google blocking or deleting more than 170 million reviews in 2023 - a 45% increase over 2022.


But I Wasn't Doing Anything Wrong And My Customer Reviews Didn't Go Through

Google does sometimes catch some flack for being overly alert and occasionally stopping genuine reviews from publishing. For context, Google was filtering through 20 million contributions per day on Maps and Search in 2023.

At that scale, there will be false positives. This, compounded with the inactive Google account deletion policy changes from December 2023, can mean you may see some review drops even if you're doing everything on the up-and-up.

The only way to try to stay ahead of these types of issues is to push forward hard on your reviews - so that the occasional dropped review can be replaced by your newly sourced testimonials.

With automated review management systems (like the ones that every Footbridge Media client has access to), it has never been easier to get authentic Google Reviews.

…Alright, So I Was Buying Reviews - Do I Need To Worry?

Stop doing that.

But seriously - we know it can be a daunting task to try to outpace your competitors and their review stats. It can be disheartening when you see that there are other companies spamming, buying reviews, leaving false negative reviews, or otherwise using less-than-pristine marketing practices and getting away with it.

This hard push for review removal demonstrates that, ultimately, those folks don't get away with it for long. We've seen businesses lose dozens to hundreds of Google reviews after opting to purchase reviews instead of putting in the work.

If you've already lost your reviews and your GBP remains online, it's time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get to work on authentically rebuilding your review count.

Buying reviews again would, at best, be another temporary fix for a bigger problem and at worst, lead to account suspension and complete loss of your Google Business Profile.

How Can I Be Better Prepared For These Types Of Changes In The Future?

Google Giveth and Google Taketh Away

When it comes to products and features, Google has a bit of a reputation for killing off features and products at this point. The "Google Graveyard" is quite expansive, as "Business Sites" joins Google Domains, Currents, G+, and more.

While Google can offer some great features and tools, overreliance on any single tool or lead-gathering avenue is always problematic.

When It Comes To Websites And Lead-Generation

When possible, make sure you own your marketing efforts and diversify your lead streams. This way, if one lead-generating method suddenly becomes problematic, you can still run your business while you remedy your issues.

When It Comes To Marketing Shortcuts And Speeding Up The SEO Process

With organic and local SEO, there are no shortcuts or get-rich-quick schemes that lead to sustainable growth. It has always been a "slow-and-steady wins the race" process.

That's why we always advocate starting as soon as you can and grinding through online marketing processes to create longer-lasting, sustainable organic and local lead generation.

The road will be tough, but using the right tools and having the right marketing guidance can help you efficiently make the most of your review-gathering and online presence building efforts.

Footbridge Media Is Here To Help You Navigate Google And The Online Marketing World

As a contractor marketing agency since 2004, Footbridge Media has seen plenty of the internet change and Google's twists and turns into what it is today (we even had Google Wave accounts!)

We're here to help contractors, home service providers, and small business operators figure out what they need to know and do, so that they can build their business success without needing to become marketing gurus themselves.

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