Google My Business has too many options. Lucky for you, we’ve done the research & know which fields actually make a difference to your visibility on the SERP. There are only 5 that matter.
What is Google My Business?
Here is Google’s definition:
“Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information. With your Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your Business Profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google“.
Lets start by covering the aspects of GMB that have no effect on your ranking (at the moment).
1. Q&A has no effect. Ignore.
2. Services has little/no effect. Spend a minute or so.
So the services section — at first glance it looks like an SEO dream. You can put all kinds of descriptive words in there. You can tell Google a lot about the different services you offer.
At first thought these categories seem like a great opportunity to list keywords, get descriptive & tell Google more about your business. We can tell you from our extensive research that no matter what you write there it will not effect your ranking. These categories aren’t a priority for Google, on the mobile version its hidden by default & they don’t even show them on desktop.
By all means, spend a few minutes on these categories but don’t waste your time. They aren’t that important.
3. Products have no effect – but might soon. Get this section right (but don’t dawdle if you’re just starting on GMB).
Currently the Products feature has no effect on your SERP ranking BUT (and thats a big but!) it’s very visual. It’s a section we think might get more important with time, as Google becomes more sophisticated every day. It’s a section where you can list your products with photos. If you offer services you can technically just list them here with photos too. The key thing about this section is that it is highly visible on both mobile & desktop. It might have no direct impact your ranking but in certain industries it will have an effect on your conversion rate. Depending on your business it makes sense to keep this section up to date with what you are currently selling.
1. Business name has the most impact.
Yes, it’s mildly unfair to some businesses that this category carries so much weight but it does. If you have a keyword rich business name, you are in luck here. Don’t go cramming descriptive keywords into your business name because its against Google guidelines. It must be organic. Think “The Kensington Florist Co.” or “The Brooklyn Heights Decorating Co.”. A single keyword is more than enough. If your competitors are doing it… you can actually report them to Google using the Google business complaint redressal form. Personally we think its better if you focus on yourself. This step is really mastered when starting your business, we already wrote about that here.
Pro Tip: Bing search engine actually lets you list descriptors in your business name.
2. Categories has the second most impact.
This field takes constant updates as Google is always adding & deleting categories. They currently have around 5000 categories & they let you pick 10.
Every month Google adds more specificity. For example they added restaurant categories to allow you to be more specific. If you’re a dentist you could previously only select “Dentist” or “Cosmetic Dentistry” but you can now select more specific areas of dentistry you offer. It’s constantly updating so keep on eye on categories, check once per month & add accordingly.
3. The Website field has third most impact.
For the website field what matters is which page you link to your GMB listing. Most often people use the homepage. Do some testing & make sure your website pages aren’t all attempting to rank for the same terms. It won’t happen so be specific.
Pro Tip: If you have a multi-location business it is better to link to a specific location homepage.
4. Not a shock but last is Reviews
Reviews matter. You knew that already, what you didn’t know is that it is not only positive & negative reviews that count but predominately the quantity of reviews. Yes. Your percentage increase makes a difference too. 0-25 reviews will effect your ranking in a major way but 25-50 won’t give you the same boost. So keep that in mind.
There are lots of offline reasons to focus on reviews too but this research should give you a technical reason to build them into your business process. Some SEO researchers have uncovered that deleting hundreds of business reviews actually negatively affected those websites ranking inside 48 hours.
Keep that in mind.
4 things matter the most when tackling Google My Business.
- Business Name
We anticipate that the Products field will become more important in the not too distant future so keep and eye on that.
Let us know what you think!