With the number of customization options in your Google My Business Profile, it can be hard to decide what to focus your efforts on. But when it comes to ranking in the search engine result, they’re really only four fields that influence where your business will end up.
This field seems to have the strongest effect on rankings, which is less than ideal for people who don’t have keywords in their business names. Since it’s not easy (or worth it) to change your business name, you’ll only see an advantage here if you happen to have keywords in your business name. Why not add some keywords? Because it’s against Google guidelines.
So what can you do? Search for your competitors. If they’re adding descriptive keywords to their business name, you can report it to Google with the Google Business complaint redressal form. It’ll at least level the playing field, so you have a better chance of ranking.
It’s worth mentioning that you can include descriptors in your business name in your Bing Places business listing, so feel free to do it there.
Categories are the second most important ranking fact, according to available tests and analysis. It may seem pretty easy since you’re the one who gets to go pick the ones you can use. After all, you can use up to 10 of them.
The thing is – Google has about 4,000 categories to choose from, and they continue to add categories. But sometimes, they remove them, too. Moz data suggests Google removes anywhere from two to 10 (on average) every month. Sometimes, Google adds categories that didn’t exist before. In the last year, they found that there was a lot of auto dealer and restaurant categories, but the dental industry got a new one (dental implants), too.
That means you need to be keeping track of all the categories you’re using in your Google My Business listing, as well as how your options change. If Google deletes a category you were using, you’re missing out on that 10th spot – and you may find the category replaced with something more relevant to your audience. Keeping track of them will let you know if you need to make adjustments.
Your website field is the third most important factor. It’s perfectly fine to link to your home page. But, for businesses with multiple locations, it is sometimes better to link to a specific location page.
That’s why testing the page on your website that you link to is important. If you’re a business with lots of different listings – such as departmental or practitioner listings, try to make sure you link those to different webpages across your site. This maximizes your exposure while making sure you’re not simply trying to rank all your listings for the same thing. That won’t happen – as Google will filter them. Test and see what works best for your industry and your company.
Perhaps no surprise really, your reviews matter. The number of reviews has an impact on your ranking, but it does have diminishing returns. If you go from zero reviews to 30 reviews, you’ll see your business rank better. But let’s say you go from 30 to 70 reviews. You likely won’t see the same kind of increase you did with the first one.
That’s why working with your customers to encourage reviews is important. People rely on reviews to determine if they want to do business with you – so putting your best foot forward matters. If you get some bad reviews here and there, it’s not the end of the world. It’s how you respond that makes all the difference.
You may be tempted to get angry in your response, especially if you know the reviewer is stretching the truth or outright lying. Save that frustration for off the screen, and away from your place of business. At the same time, though, you don’t want to completely ignore the bad review…. Or any of your reviews for that matter.
It’s best practice to reply to all your reviews. It not only shows your customers that you’re paying attention and appreciative of the time they took to leave the review but also tells Google that you’re paying attention and proactive in your business.
When responding to a negative review, keep the tone polite and helpful. Apologize for the issue and invite the person to take the conversation to email or phone, so that further conversation takes place outside of the public forum. This way, your unhappy customer has a chance to speak their peace and you can make an effort to solve the problem. And, any people who come along and read the review see that you have made an effort to rectify the issue, which helps them keep the faith in your business.
What about the other fields? Should you ignore them? No, definitely not. The more complete your profile is – with services, Q&A, and other information, the more you can tell your potential customers about your company. The main issue is that those fields won’t necessarily do anything to help improve your ranking – but they are still important for customer experience.
Do you monitor your GMB ranking on a regular basis? Would you like to learn more about how to rank it better? Get in touch today!