GMB and Local Search

Google My Business and Accessibility

The importance of Google My Business and how businesses can best take advantage of this free feature that Google offers.

This August, an in-person PubCon 2021 was held in Miami, Florida. During the conference, Greg Gifford, Vice President of Search at SearchLab, led a session titled “Google My Business and Accessibility.” The session included Greg reviewing the importance of Google My Business and how businesses can best take advantage of this free feature that Google offers.

To better understand Google My Business and Local SEO, below are six basic principles:

1. The local Google search algorithm is its own algorithm that is very complex: The Google algorithm determines branded and non-branded keyword ranking and its relationship with your Google My Business account, also known as GMB. There are two ways that a GMB listing can be shown in search engine result pages or SERPs. 

    1. The first way that GMB listings are shown is known as a non-branded keyword (KW) search, which is the most valuable. Keyword searches will prompt users to a Google Maps section and show them the top three or four GMB listings. This activity creates what is known as the Local Three-Pack. The Local Three-Pack is very powerful because non-branded keywords don’t use your branding names, making these results very impactful as they mention your business without branding.
    2. The second way to show GMB listings is a branded keyword search. The GMB listing will appear on the right-hand side of the screen. Google won’t show a GMB listing in this manner for brands using non-branded keyword terms because businesses would have unfair advantages over sites that don’t rank as well.

It’s essential to understand how these two types of searches work and how to optimize accordingly.

2. Know what affects Local Three-Pack: The following are some SEO steps you should make sure you are doing well to take advantage of the Local Three-Pack and show up for non-branded keywords in local search.

    • Invest in your own assets – Make sure that your on-page strategy for your domain is producing quality results for local SEO. Start with things such as having a high domain authority and ranking well for hyper-local non-branded keywords. Between on-page and off-page signals, your domain contributes 30% to your local SEO strategy success rate.
    • Focus on reviews and reputation management – Not keeping up with your negative reviews and getting back to customers can become a significant ranking problem for the Local Three-Pack. Make sure you are monitoring reviews closely and offering solutions to frustrated customers. Manage these mentions on GMB and on other directories and places where customers can leave reviews, as this makes up over 16% of your local SEO strategy success rate.
    • Google My Business – Often the highest priority for local SEO, a GMB listing needs to be fully optimized and also needs to point to your current domain. A GMB listing holds a large amount of the local strategy with a whopping 33%.

3. Inbound links from local websites are HEAVILY weighted: Make sure you are not backlinking to universal/nationwide websites. If your focus is local search, look for neighboring partnerships with other businesses in your geolocation. Relationship building with your targeted city is an excellent way to define your domain as a local entity with the community. Some examples of good tactics are sponsorships, meetups, and local links. Also, never send a backlink to the homepage. Make sure you have landing pages built to target your backlinks that connect with your local SEO strategy. Sending a backlink to the homepage is too broad, and most users will end up bouncing off the page almost immediately.

4. The category section is the single most important part of a GMB: The category section is how Google Maps and GMB can produce results based on the query the user is searching for. If the primary category section gets incorrectly set up, you could be coming up with things unrelated to the product or services your business offers. Also, choosing too many categories could confuse the algorithm and cause problems with ranking for your primary category. Make sure that all categories are not redundant and thoroughly explain what your business offers to users. Other important factors about GMB are:

  1. GMB Reviews – As mentioned before, GMB Reviews need to be managed accordingly.
  2. GMB Photos – Pictures of everything about your product/services, including staffing, services, products, signage, and location, are part of GMB Photos. The more images you have, the better chance you have of doing well for local SEO.
  3. GMB Posts – Google My Business Posts continue to be an excellent way to promote local events somewhere other than your website. These posts, which appear in a carousel at the bottom of your GMB, will eventually drop off; however, the posts will not completely disappear. A user can click on “view all” on the right side of the carousel to see any past posts. The recommendation for doing well in local SEO is to write a new GMB Post once every week. Posts do not need to be lengthy but can be up to 300 words and should include a link for the user to get to your website. GMB posts continue to be a MUST DO and are often a missed opportunity with most agencies and in-house positions. Take the time to use GMB posts effectively.
  4. GMB Products, Services, Menus Sections – These sections showcase your products, services, and menus within a GMB listing. GMB allows you to link each product to the product pages on your website, and doing this is a straightforward way to integrate your domain with GMB to boost conversions.


5. Use call tracking for GMB: A few short years ago, many SEO specialists did not use call tracking because it would mess with the consistency of NAP (name, address, phone number) with other directories. Many programs like Moz Local would integrate with GMB, meaning that many other directories would have inconsistent data. However, today’s GMB is smart enough to add your call tracking phone number as the primary number and listing the main business phone number within the secondary number without producing issues.


6. Try to leverage your Q & A section: The Q & A section is a community discussion platform that can only be accessed using map applications or a 3rd party tool. Even so, there are some reasons why it’s useful. Here are some things you should know about the Q & A section of GMB.

  1. Q & A is a function of Google Maps.
  2. The Q & A section of GMB is an area where anyone can ask questions, and any random person is allowed to answer that question.
  3. The answers shown are cut off at 440 characters.
  4. Companies can add questions within the public-facing side of GMB.
  5. Questions can be answered using the Google Maps App on your phone or a 3rd party tool.
  6. The answers with the highest upvotes will get visually shown with the GMB listing.
  7. Companies can ask and answer their own questions! Writing questions and answers are encouraged within Google documentation, and the best answers would be upvoted and displayed in your GMB listing.
  8. Remember to check your competitors. See what types of questions they are answering and find common ground with your business.


For more information on Google My Business or how to utilize other digital marketing strategies in your business, contact the SEO and content marketing specialists at Tandem.Buzz. We are a boutique digital marketing agency located in South Florida, and we specialize in:



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