Adding keywords, or relevant search terms, to your Google My Business (GMB) listing is crucial for helping customers find your local business on Google Search and Maps. Optimizing with keywords can drive more traffic to your listing, website, and even your physical location. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about choosing and adding effective keywords to improve visibility and bring valuable customers to your business.
Understanding How Customers Find Local Businesses on Google
Before diving into keyword optimization, it’s important to understand user behavior and how customers find local businesses like yours when they search on Google. Approximately 50% of all mobile searches are related to location and local intent. So when users search for a business type near them, like “restaurant Chicago” or “plumber Oakland,” Google displays the most relevant local search results on Google Maps and in the standard search results.
To appear prominently in these coveted local pack listings in search and maps, your business needs to understand local SEO best practices – which includes optimizing your GMB listing with geographical and industry-related keywords that indicate what your business offers and where it’s located.
Why Are Keywords Important for Google My Business?
When someone searches for a business on Google, the search engine looks for relevant keywords in the business’s Google My Business profile. If your profile doesn’t have any keywords or doesn’t have the right ones, your business may not show up in search results. By adding the right keywords to your profile, you can improve your chances of showing up in front of potential customers.
Choose Target Local Keywords Relevant to Your Business
Keyword research is the foundation of effective local search optimization and marketing. You first need to brainstorm the specific search terms and phrases – known as keywords – that you want your GMB listing to appear for.
To choose terms that will connect your business with high intent local customers, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. If you owned a Italian restaurant in Los Angeles for example, target keywords and phrases might include:
- Italian restaurant
- Italian restaurant Los Angeles
- Best Italian cuisine Los Angeles
- Romantic Italian restaurant Hollywood
Other types of highly valuable local keywords include:
- Your exact business name
- Business name + location
- Primary category keywords + location
- Main services keywords + location
You can expand this seed list of potential target terms by leveraging keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz’s Keyword Explorer. These tools reveal keyword ideas related to your initial Brainstormed list along with vital search volume data at the city level.
As you compile keywords, categorize them as core focus terms, secondary terms, and volume tail terms. Add synonyms, alternative spellings, related specifics, and other semantic variations as well. The end result will be a comprehensive set of keywords that are relevant to your business and location targeting different search intents, categories, product specifics etc.
Add Keywords to Google My Business Profile Fields
With target terms lists in place for your location and niche, it’s time to add these GMB keywords directly within your listing – specifically to these key fields we’ll cover next.
Begin keyword optimization with your Google My Business name field. This factor carries significant weight – Google itself states your official business name can lead to a +30% higher click-through rate.
Some best practices for optimizing your GMB business name include:
- Making it concise and descriptive
- Leading with main category / service – like Plumbing by Tom’s Drain Service
- Including your location or area you serve
- Adding branding differentiation
- Using consistent NAP in Maps, sites, and citations
Avoid overly long or spammy names with ALL CAPS, unnecessary repetition, irrelevant terms stuffed in and more issues that could risk getting your listing suspended.
Category selection is similarly crucial for GMB discoverability and keyword targeting. Select the detailed sub-categories that most accurately reflect your core services or offerings. This not only helps rankings potential for category terms themselves, but also better represents what you do to searching users.
For a Thai restaurant, for instance, choosing “Restaurant” at the top level would be too broad. Select the nested sub-categories of “Thai Restaurant” and “Asian Restaurant” instead to target those more precise terms.
Your ability to add descriptive text outlining what you do and what makes your business unique is invaluable for both conversions and SEO. Write this 2,000 character blurb as concise paragraphs seamlessly working in relevant keywords from earlier. You can elaborate on services, competitive differentiators like awards won or certifications, coverage area, niche specialties, founding story and more with keywords woven in naturally.
Formatting with basic HTML can improve scannability – experiment with bullet points, numbered lists, headers, and bolding as well. Most importantly though, ensure cohesive, engaging and descriptive writing here while working in target city names, services keywords and anything else relevant without overt stuffing.
Expanding beyond just categories to detailing services can also bolster SEO. If available, create a dedicated services page connected to your GMB profile. Include the specific offerings, focus keywords from earlier research, pricing, and other details. Optimizing these on-profile landing pages provides another content channel to reach local searchers.
GMB’s posts section lets you publish content directly to your listing – blog-style articles that appear in the posts section and sometimes even in the main local pack. These are indexed, so craft informative posts that naturally work in your keywords like “How to prepare for your Los Angeles drain cleaning”. Embed location names, feature focus services, link internally to your website pages, and encourage engagement. Posts unlock another native channel where you can optimize for target terms already ranking for.
Best Practices for Keyword Optimization in Google My Business
Avoiding Keyword Stuffing
While keywords are important, overusing them (a practice known as keyword stuffing) can negatively impact your SEO efforts. Ensure your use of keywords is natural and relevant.
Staying Locally Relevant
Since GMB is crucial for local search, ensure your keywords are relevant to the local community you serve. Mentioning local landmarks, neighborhoods, or city names can enhance local relevance.
Keeping Up with Google’s Guidelines
Always adhere to Google’s guidelines for GMB listings. This includes using accurate business information and avoiding any practices that Google deems manipulative or misleading.
Track Performance of Keyword-Optimized Listings
Implementing an effective local keyword strategy takes ongoing refinement and management informed by performance tracking. Luckily, GMB provides some analytics while also integrating with Google Analytics and Google Search Console for expanded insights.
Monitor key metrics like these regularly:
- Impressions – how often your listing appears in local results
- Clicks to call or view your website
- Customer actions like driving directions, calls, bookings etc
- Queries report in GSC to see what searches surface your GMB listing
- Traffic to website from local pack listings specifically
Continually expand keyword lists based on these reports and iterate by adding fresh, relevant search terms throughout your GMB business profile. For example, layer in seasonally-popular keywords annually for a hotel. Though optimizing keywords in Google My Business takes some work, driving visibility in these critical local results is hugely impactful for acquisition and revenue. Follow these best practices outlined to build an optimized profile that attracts your ideal local customers.
Incorporating keywords into your Google My Business profile is a fundamental step in optimizing your online presence and improving your local SEO. By following these steps and best practices, you can enhance your visibility on Google, making it easier for potential customers to find and choose your business. Remember, SEO is an ongoing process, so continually monitor and update your GMB profile to stay ahead of the competition.
To optimize your Google My Business Profile further, contact 427 Digital today!