Factors Improving Google My Business Ranking – A Must-Have GMB Checklist
Your local market is important!
If you think that the local market doesn’t matter to your business, then it might surprise you that according to HubSpot 46% of Google searches are looking for local business information. This stat is enough to understand the value of local searches.
One of the most important things for a business trying to target the local market is Google My Business (GMB) listing. This free tool from Google is helping businesses flourish in their local area. This makes GMB a must-have tool on the checklist of every local business.
GMB lets your target audience have the business information at their fingertips with just a tap. Businesses missing out on this tool are forbidding their name from the local audience.
However, creating a GMB listing is not enough. There is no point in existing when you are not getting noticed. Dominating the first page of the search result is an essential factor for your business if you want to grab the attention of your target audience.
The click-through-rate decreases on the second page. This means the businesses present on the first page of SERP get the most leads making Google My Business ranking a vital factor for business success.
Now the question that arises is
How to improve the ranking of GMB?
The number one mistake that most businesses does is not considering optimizing their Google My Business listing.
Net Marketshare says that nearly 80% of all searches happen on Google which makes this search engine a crucial platform for all businesses.
Optimizing GMB listing helps the business rank on the first page. In fact, not only this but a proper optimization can also make a business list on Google-3 pack (otherwise known as Google snack pack).
Neglecting GMB Optimization means brushing off the chances of being on the top of your local market.
Optimizing the GMB listing deals with various aspects and activities.
We are about to mention a couple of factors that affect the ranking of Google My Business Listing.
1) Factors affecting GMB ranking
Distance, Relevance, And Prominence
As per the updated Local Search Ranking Guide of Google, the ranking of the GMB listing depends majorly on three factors that are distance, relevance, and prominence. All these three factors help GMB rank in Google 3 Pack.
We can see the reason why Google is so concerned about the distance. Google wants to show the results that are nearest to the person searching for business information. Google is all about user experience and that’s why it tries to show the nearest and the most relevant business.
Three primary aspects that Google look for:
- Proximity to searcher: Google shows the results based on the location (or assumed location) of the searcher.
- Distance to Centroid: Google shows a group of businesses in the snack pack. These businesses are picked by Google based on the distance to the centroid.
- Method to travel: Google also considers the mode of transportation. The Google maps ranking may not change but the direction on the map could change based on how you are traveling.
Adding the right business location in the GMB listing is very important. Or else, you wouldn’t be welcoming the local customers. Adding location targeted keywords in GMB listing also contributes to a good GMB ranking. You can add the keywords in the GMB description and the posts. For better results, make sure the website that you have linked with your GMB has the right location keywords.
This term can have different definitions but for Google, “Relevance refers to how well a local Business Profile matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches”
Below are some various factors that measure the relevancy of the business
- Searcher’s intent: Google predicts the intent of the searchers based on keywords and phrases used, mode of travel, and proximity of the business.
- Buyer’s intent and GMB description: Google checks the GMB description and takes a follow up on the keywords mentioned in it. The ranking will raise if the search phrase used by the buyer is related to the keyword in the description.
- GMB categories: GMB lets you add a category of your business. Your GMB should have a relevant category that matches the business buyer is looking for.
- Physical address: The location of your business plays a vital role in GMB Listing. Add the right location so that your GMB can be visible to the local audience who are nearest to your business location.
- Keyword in the name. Google might suspend the GMB having a keyword in the name as it can be seen spamming.
Google says that “Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization”
Let us tell you a couple of points that check the prominence of your GMB listing
- Higher organic reach: The ranking of the website that is linked to the GMB listing affects the ranking of GMB. If your business website is no ranking in the first 20 or 30 results, then the chances of GMB getting ranked are very less.
- GMB reviews: The quality of the GMB reviews matter a lot when it comes to the GMB ranking.
- Citation to the associated website: The number of backlinks of the website linked to the GMB is one of the topmost factors. More number of backlinks increases the ranking of the GMB listing.
- Consistent NAP: Name stands for Name, Address, and Phone number which is your business information. The information of your business should be consistent across the web. From various business listing platforms to social media sites, NAP should be consistent.
2) The Possum Filter
Possum update is an unconfirmed but documented update made by Google which filtered the search results.
Google works with possum filter for the following cases
- Businesses that Share the Same Address
- Businesses that Share the Same Owner
- Businesses that Share the Same Affiliation
- Businesses that are Located Very Close to Each Other
The motive of the possum filter is to bring only genuine businesses and not the GMB listings that are created to spam the business.
3) Local link building strategy
Local businesses have a major benefit that global businesses don’t. There are various link building opportunities that local business can tap into.
As mentioned above, the GMB ranking is affected by the number of backlinks created for the website linked to the GMB. As a local business, you have the opportunity of creating healthy backlinks to your website.
a. Other local businesses
Let us not forget that you are not the only business owner in your local area who is trying to achieve a good ranking on SERP. Various other businesses are in the game and these businesses could be your helping hand.
You might have to deal with the struggle of entering their email inbox. Convincing them to add a link to your website to their web portal would also take some effort which will worth it.
But which business you should pick? Selecting any random website or business wouldn’t be the best way to plan your strategy. The business should be niche specific and if not, then at least you have to find a web page on their website where your business could be linked healthily.
b. Local business listing
There are countless local business listing platforms on which you can add your business. There are two primary benefits to that.
Adding your business to a local listing platform will make your business reach out to more and more people. Most listings have the option of inserting the link to the website. This way, you can get a chance to create a backlink for your business.
Some platforms are free of cost and some of them need a monthly or annual subscription. It is totally up to you which one you would like to go for.
c. Sponsor Local event
Almost all the local events get sponsored by local businesses. To spread awareness of the event, advertising is done online. This could be your chance to generate a backlink.
The event manager advertises the event on various platforms where your business will be mentioned if you are one of the sponsors.
There are various other ways through which you can generate amazing backlinks for your local business.
4) Google My Business Category
GMB elements play a crucial role in ranking. The category is one of the most important and impactful elements. This is the reason why you need to be very careful while selecting the business category.
The business category you select will help Google understand your business. Google locks and unlocks various GMB features based on the category. For example, the hotel category doesn’t allow the posting of Google posts, and the educational institutes cannot get reviews.
Selecting a category that is not associated with your business could mark the business as spam. Google is very particular about its GMB guideline.
How to research the GMB category?
The first step you need to take is making a list of all the phrases that are related to your businesses that are searched by the searchers. Along with the phrases, list down all the services and products that you offer.
You would need the help of a tool that can tell you the keyword volume of various phrases. There are many free and paid tools. Filter the keywords and make a shorter list of having the highest search volume phrases.
Competitors will help you. Make a list of all the competitors having a high ranking on the SERP. Make a list of the categories they have selected. Do a comparative analysis because this will help you choose the most appropriate category for your GMB listing.
a) Optimize Social Media Accounts
Social media accounts have a big hand in improving the ranking of GMB. Social signals contribute 2.82% (source Moz) towards the local ranking of GMB. This stat might seem to be avoidable but this is a significant value that we cannot pass over.
The description of your business on the social media accounts should be accurate (remember what we mentioned about consistent NAP?) The business name, address, website, phone no. and everything should be exactly what is added on the GMB listing.
The role of engagement is also very important. The content your post on your business social media account should be engaging. The signals Google receives from your social media accounts regarding engagement have the potential to boost up the ranking of GMB.
b) Auditing Top Competitors
Focusing on your business is good but not enough. You need to measure the growth rate of your competitors as well. After all, you would like to be the best and the only one in the market.
Auditing top competitors will let you know what is the latest marketing trend going on in your industry. You will be updated with advanced local SEO techniques that your competitors are using to improve their ranking.
Analyze where you stand in the market and then consider your competitors. Various marketing tools will let you analyze your competitors.
Have a look at how we boosted the ranking of our client’s GMB. Click here to view.
Being digitally present is the need for time these days. Having an online identity can help your business win the race.
Google My Business listing is one of the prominent tools used by local businesses to attract the local audience. Local businesses are getting more and more leads and all thanks to GMB.
However, being present online is not enough, you need to make sure you are getting noticed. That’s why know various factors that impact GMB ranking is very important.
From business information to competitor’s analysis, every point mentioned above is critical for every business looking for success in the industry.