Looking to optimize your Google Business Profile (GBP) for better local search visibility? As a business owner, it’s crucial to ensure your online presence is finely tuned for local searches, and a key strategy is optimizing your GBP.

Your GBP acts like a mini-website within Google, helping potential customers discover more about your business and locate you on Google Maps.

Why is Google Business Profile Optimization Important?

Optimizing your GBP can have a significant impact on your local SEO strategy. Local SEO refers to the process of optimizing your online presence for local search results. This includes not only Google but also other search engines and online directories.

When a potential customer searches for a particular product or service in their local area, Google’s algorithm takes into account the relevance, distance, and prominence of businesses to determine which results to show. By optimizing your GBP, you can improve your business’s visibility and increase your chances of showing up in these local search results.

Now that we understand the importance of optimizing your GBP, let’s dive into some specific tips that to help you rank higher in local searches. I’ve organized them by how impactful they are to effecting your rankings:

Biggest Impact Optimizations for your Google Business Profile

Primary and Additional GBP Categories

Google allows you to select one category to list as the primary for your business. Choosing the correct one is one of the most important factors that determine where you rank.

The best way to find out what you should choose is to do a Google Map Search for your most important keyword and take a look at the top 3-5 listings. If they all have the same category, it’s a good sign that’s the category you should choose.

You can also add additional categories that your business falls under. Add as many as make sense for your business.

While Google doesn’t show additional categories, I suggest installing the free version of the GMB Everywhere Chrome extension. Once installed, it will show you all the additional categories of your competitors. Use that as a guide to help you find additional categories that make sense for your business.

Complete & Verified GBP

Make sure that you have everything completed in your Google Business Profile. This means filling out all relevant details of your profile including:

  • Business categories
  • Description
  • Opening date
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Social profiles
  • Business location
  • Service areas
  • Business hours
  • Services
  • Products
  • Anything else that is relevant to your business

Google prefers to list completed and verified profiles over those with missing information.

Keywords in Business Name

One of the top ranking factors (currently) is having your main keywords in your business name. If someone is searching “Portland Plumbing Company” and that is the actual name of your business, you’ll most likely be at the top.

Before you rush off and stuff your business name with keywords, Google is pretty clear that you must use the actual business name that people know you by. 

If you’re just starting out, this is a big consideration when naming your business. You could also do a name change depending on how important being ranked is to you.

Google Business Profile Business Name

Read More: Google’s guidelines on GBP business names

Positive Google Reviews

Another important aspect of optimizing your Google Business Profile is to have positive reviews. Google uses these reviews as a trust factor and will often display businesses with more positive reviews higher in the search results.

Encourage your satisfied customers to leave a review on your GBP and respond to any negative reviews professionally and promptly.

Quantity of Reviews

The quantity of reviews also plays a role in how your GBP ranks. The more reviews you have, the more trustworthy and relevant Google sees your business.

We constantly see the businesses that have the most reviews outrank all the competitors when everything else is equal. For the best way tips to increase your reviews, check out our article How to Increase Your Google Reviews.

Google Reviews

Photos and Visual Content

Adding high-quality photos and visual content to your Google Business Profile is another effective strategy to captivate potential customers and improve your visibility on Google.

Eye-catching images of your products, services, and business premises not only enhance your profile’s appeal but also provide tangible proof of your business’s quality and professionalism.

Google values rich media content, which can influence your ranking in search results. Regularly updating your photo gallery with fresh and relevant images can keep your profile dynamic and engaging for those exploring your business online.

Physically in the City You’re Targeting

While it may seem obvious, being physically located in the city you’re targeting can significantly improve your local search ranking. Google prioritizes businesses that are close to the searcher’s location and assumes they are more relevant and trustworthy.

If you have multiple locations, make sure each one has its own Google Business Profile with accurate address information. This will increase your chances of showing up in local search results for those specific areas.

Keywords in Website Landing Page Title

Another important factor is making sure that your main keywords are in the title tag on the website that you have listed on your GBP. 

For example if you want to be found for “electrician in Spokane, WA”, make sure those main keywords are in the page title on your site. If you’re unsure how to do that, ask your web developer as it will vary based on your content management system.

City Name in Website

One often overlooked optimization is that you have the cities that you are trying to rank for listed easily on your website. If you serve certain cities, make sure they appear on your homepage.

Dedicated Service Pages on Your Website

In addition to optimizing your Google Business Profile, having dedicated service pages on your website can also have a positive impact on your online visibility. These pages provide more detailed information about the specific services or products you offer and help Google understand what your business is all about.

If you’re an electrician, you should have individual service pages for core services such as breaker upgrades, ev charger installation, and lighting upgrades. These pages give you the opportunity to target specific keywords related to your services, making it easier for potential customers to find you through Google.

Keywords in Landing Page Headlines on Your Website

Including relevant keywords in your landing page headlines on your website can also boost your local SEO efforts. These are the first things that visitors see when they land on your site, and search engines use them to determine the topic of your page.

For example, if you’re a dentist in San Francisco, incorporating keywords like “San Francisco Dentist” or “Dental Services in San Francisco” in your headlines can help Google understand the focus of your website and improve your local search ranking.

Moderate Impact GBP Strategies

Next are a few strategies that are somewhat helpful to optimizing your GBP, but should be focused on once all of the above tips have been implemented.

City Center Proximity

Similar to being physically located in the city you’re targeting, having your business near the city center can moderately improve your local search ranking. Google values businesses that are easily accessible and convenient for potential customers.

Proximity to Searcher

Google also takes into consideration the proximity of your business to the searcher’s location. You may have noticed this when getting different results after performing the same search from different locations.

This is especially important for local businesses that rely on foot traffic or customers from a specific area. To improve your proximity to searchers, make sure your business address is accurate and up-to-date across all online platforms including your GBP, website, and social media profiles.

Consistent Citations

Citations are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites. This includes online directories, review sites, and social media profiles.

Having consistent citations across all platforms helps Google verify the legitimacy and location of your business. Make sure to regularly check and update any outdated or incorrect citations.

Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites that direct to your website. Google sees backlinks as a vote of confidence in the relevance and authority of your website.

When it comes to local SEO, having backlinks from reputable local businesses or organizations in your area can help boost your local search ranking. Reach out to these businesses or organizations and ask if they would be willing to link to your website.

3rd Party Reviews

Online reviews on sites other than Google are another important factor for local SEO. Google takes into consideration the quality and quantity of reviews when determining the ranking of a business in local search results.

Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on popular review sites such as Yelp, Angi, and TripAdvisor. Responding to both positive and negative reviews can also help improve your online reputation and show potential customers that you value their feedback.

3rd Party Reviews on Google

Local Content

Creating local content on your website can also help improve your local search ranking. This includes writing blog posts or creating web pages that are specific to your area and the services or products you offer.

Consider including keywords related to your location in your content, as well as information about local events, news, and businesses. This can help attract local visitors to your website and show Google that you are relevant to the area.

Implement Local Schema Markup on Your Website

Implementing local schema markup on your website can provide search engines with additional information about your business, such as location, opening hours, and contact information. This can help improve the accuracy of local search results and make it easier for potential customers to find your business.

If you’re unsure of how to do this, it would be beneficial to hire a web developer who can help.

Low-Impact GBP Optimizations

Here are some low-impact optimizations that are often mentioned as best practices but don’t move the needle.

Social Signals

While having a strong social media presence can help with online visibility and brand awareness, it is not a significant factor in local search rankings.

Keywords in Your Description

Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of overusing keywords in your GBP description in an attempt to manipulate rankings. This technique not only is frowned upon by Google, but it leads to a poor user experience.

Instead, focus on creating a high-quality and relevant description that naturally includes keywords without overdoing it. Google doesn’t use the content in descriptions in it’s ranking algorithm, so write a good description that will cause a viewer to take action.

Setting a Service Area

While specifying a service area in your GBP can be helpful for customers to determine if you serve their location, it has minimal impact on local search rankings.

Geo-Tagging Images

While tagging your business location in images used to be a best practice to improve local search rankings, it actually has very little effect. It’s not going to hurt you to do it, but is generally a waste of time.

Additional GBP Optimizations That Don’t Help Rank But Improve User Experience

While these optimizations may not have a significant impact on local search rankings, they can greatly improve the user experience and lead to more conversions for your business.

Additional Business Details

Including additional details about your business, such as hours of operation, payment methods accepted, and services offered, can make it easier for potential customers to choose your business over competitors.

Google has been showing businesses who are open at the specific time the user is searching higher than those are closed. But don’t go setting your hours to 24 hours a day unless you really are. Make sure you’re truthful or you run the risk of poor reviews or even worse, getting your GBP shut down.

Utilize Posts on GBP

Posting updates, events, and promotions on your GBP can not only help attract customers but also provide valuable information to potential customers. This can help improve user engagement and potentially lead to more conversions.

Respond to Reviews

Responding to reviews, whether positive or negative, shows that you value customer feedback and are actively engaged with your customers. This can help improve the overall perception of your business and potentially lead to more loyal customers.

Utilize Google Q&A

Google Q&A allows customers to ask questions directly on your GBP, and businesses have the opportunity to respond. This can provide valuable information to potential customers and also shows that your business is active and responsive.

Attributes and Amenities

Make sure to accurately fill out all attributes and amenities on your GBP. This can help potential customers filter their search results and find businesses that meet their specific needs. Additionally, accurate information can lead to better reviews and customer satisfaction.

Appointment Links

If your business offers services that require appointments, make sure to add appointment links to your GBP. This can make it easier for potential customers to book appointments directly from your GBP, rather than having to navigate to your website.

Conclusion

Optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP) is a fundamental step in maximizing your visibility and effectiveness in local search rankings.

Each of these optimizations contributes to a more robust and attractive GBP, encouraging higher engagement rates, improving customer trust, and ultimately driving more conversions.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s recommended to update your GBP at least once a month, or more frequently if there are any changes to your business information.

Yes, even if your business does not have a physical location, you can still optimize your GBP by accurately filling out attributes and amenities and providing appointment links for virtual appointments or consultations.

Google uses a combination of factors, including the accuracy and completeness of your GBP information, the number and quality of reviews, and the relevance of your business category to determine the relevance of your GBP to local searches.

Yes, you can add multiple locations or businesses to your Google account and manage them all through the same interface.