Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing service provided by Google that allows businesses to provide important information such as their location and operating hours on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and in Google’s Local Pack, or 3-Pack.
Managing and optimizing your business’s GMB listing is a key component to any local service-based business’ marketing strategy, and today, we’ll be diving into 5 key factors that could be negatively affecting the ranking of your business’s GMB rating.
1. Listing Your Business in the Wrong Category
When setting up your business’s Google My Business listing, selecting the correct category is an essential step.
While this may seem like a straightforward task, for some businesses, the area may become a little grey.
Google’s guidelines explained with a few great examples using Super 8 and Papa John’s Pizza:
“Super 8” is a motel with an onsite swimming pool. It should use the category “Motel” rather than “Hotel” and should not include “Swimming Pool” as a category.
“Papa John’s” offers pizza takeout and delivery but does not offer on-premises dining. It should use the category “Pizza Delivery” and additional category “Pizza Takeout” (instead of the less specific “Delivery Restaurant” or “Takeout Restaurant”).
Ensuring the correct category is listed with Google will ensure you avoid penalty points and help get your business seen in local searches.
2. Listing Your Business Address as a PO Box
Is the nature of your business one that doesn’t really require an operating office, such as a landscaping business or mobile personal training business?
In this case, it is important to list a legitimate location such as your home address, as opposed to opting for a PO box, as Google considers a PO box an inaccurate address and deems it a ‘false address listing’.
Privacy concerns? Just because your home address is registered with Google does not mean it will be published. Simply choose to display your business service radius instead of exact business location on your listing.
3. Incorrectly Listing Operating Hours
Ensuring that your business publishes operating hours, and that it is actually open during the hours you have listed, is important.
If Google tells a searcher that your business is open at a certain time and they visit your business only to see the lights off and door locked, it won’t hesitate to add a strike to your batting count.
In this case, the individual’s experience with Google’s listing service has now become negative and therefore, Google hands that penalty along to you.
4. Not Paying Enough Attention to Customer Ratings
The quality of the reviews your business receives is, not surprisingly, a critical contributing factor to how your business’ GMB listing ranks in local searches. Google’s aim is to provide searchers with the highest quality results and businesses, and to that end, filters businesses with poor ratings to the bottom of the search results.
Google considers the following factors in determining the quality of your business:
- Are there negative sentiments towards your brand throughout its Google reviews?
- How many 1 and 2-star ratings does your business have throughout its Google reviews?
- How many 1 and 2-star ratings does your business have on platforms besides Google (such as Yelp and Facebook)?
- Are any of the Google reviews your business does have, fake?
As you can see, ensuring your business is receiving positive 4 and 5-star reviews on a regular basis is a key building block in ranking success and should be addressed with those working on the front lines of your business on a regular basis.
Not sure where to start? While positive reviews across any platform provide value to your business, prioritize Google reviews first to optimize for local searches.
5. Listing Two Businesses at the Same Address in the Same Category
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this GMB faux-pas would be to refer to a law office.
In this case, if each lawyer operated somewhat independently, and wanted to create their own Google My Business listing, they would each need to list different areas of practice as their service offering.
For example, if lawyer 1 specialized in family law, they would list as a ‘Family Law Attorney’. Lawyer 2, even if they also offer family law services, would then need to choose a different GMB category, such as ‘Real Estate Attorney’.
If you have more than one business that you operate out of one location, choose slightly varied categories, while still accurately reflecting the services your business provides in order to avoid having your listing penalized by Google.
Manage Your GMB Listing with Local SEO Services
Have you claimed and set up your Google My Business listing?
Have you been making any of these critical mistakes?
If you have questions about setting up, managing, or optimizing your Google My Business listing, or managing your local SEO strategy in general, our experienced Digital Marketing team would love to connect with you today!