Decoding GMB Ranking Factors: What You Should Know for Your Local Business SEO

Handwriting text You Are Here. Conceptual photo This is your location reference point global positioning system Female business person sitting by table and holding mobile phoneWith each passing year, Google gets smarter when delivering accurate and relevant search results. GMB ranking factors regularly shift to provide enhanced search data for the billions of users performing local searches each week.

If you’re a business owner, it’s critical to stay current with the meaning and evolution of GMB ranking factors so you can increase your online visibility, especially for local searches.

We’re here to help you understand GMB ranking factors and how to manage your website SEO best to take advantage of the latest Google search algorithms for increased traffic and conversion.

At Romain Berg, we focus on results over hype. We’re continually upping our game to deliver outstanding and reliable traffic and conversion metrics for every client we serve. 

When you’re ready to outsource your digital marketing, fill out our contact form, and we’ll be in touch to create a winning digital marketing strategy for your organization.

GMB = Google My Business

If you haven’t set up a Google My Business account yet, now is the perfect time to create one. Google My Business is a free software package that allows you to create a profile that includes a wide variety of details about your business, and help you get noticed online.

Check out Browsing the link for this service should be on your priority list as a business owner if you haven’t already done it, or delegated it to your staff.

In addition to filling in extensive details about your business location and purpose, Google My Business allows you to collect reviews, post recent photos, links to content, or social posts from the GMB dashboard. 

This dashboard is also where you can purchase a Google ad, as well as managing or adding locations, updating your company info, and other functions relevant to your online listing.

Essentially, setting up your GMB account means that you exist online, and customers can find you. Once you enter your information, including a mailing address, Google will send you a verification postcard in the mail with a code. You must enter that code into your GMB account dashboard, and then you’re fully searchable.

The rank is in the details

Close up of businessman in suit writing on notebook.
With continually updated and enhanced search algorithms, a business name, address, and phone number are simply not enough to rank you in online searches anymore. 

The more detail you can provide in your GMB business profile, the better Google ranks you when a user enters a relevant keyword into the search bar. 

The key factors Google uses to rank your business are:

  • Relevance
  • Distance 
  • Prominence

And, new search rank factors also consider precise combinations of information when ranking. For example, using keyword plus location, location plus keyword, and keyword plus city and state abbreviation in your location description may eventually contribute to placing you in a coveted Google Snack Pack. 

A Snack Pack is when your combination of keywords and location descriptors organically places you in the top three search results pictured within a local map, a link to your website, and location dots.

Google gets smarter even when queries remain the same

Google can now do a better job of predicting where users stand when they conduct a local search, how they travel to get there, and the intent contained in a user query.

All of these factors influence where Google might place your business in a search result. 

For example, local search results change whether a user punches up “find Thai restaurants near me” in the car or on foot. 

Google will also rank results based on niche and location, rather than just map dots alone. A cluster of restaurants may appear in the Snack Pack based on their relevance to Thai food over their position relative to the user. 

To that end, using location keywords and niche descriptors in the GMB business description is just as crucial as using them in the location section of your GMB account.

Use intent and keywords together

Portrait of young woman with dreamy cheerful expression, thinking, wearing eyeglasses, isolated on gray backgroundAlthough it is essential to optimize keywords in your GMB business description, intent now plays a pivotal role in GMB rank factors, as well.

When you include the precise questions your intended audience may ask about your organization, you’ve nailed the “intent” rank factor, and your search rank should rise.

If your dental office specializes in patient anxiety reduction during appointments, you’ll want to state that in your GMB business description exactly the way your clientele may ask about it. 

If you click the link we just listed, you’ll see that we used the words “low anxiety dentists” for our search. A few other common keywords we might suggest in a GMB description in this example include:

  • Low anxiety dentists
  • Sedation
  • Overcome dental fear
  • Dental fear
  • Dental anxiety
  • Gentle dentistry
  • Pain-free dentistry

When your GMB description and other content like reviews, social posts, blog post links, and photo descriptions list these keywords, you’re speaking effectively to your audience. Google rewards that.

GMB categories

Be sure GMB recognizes the listing categories you place in your business description. When you start adding descriptions, you should get a drop-down list of suggestions common on Google. 

It may not be the time to go rogue with your description if you have a standard service. In other words, if you’re a restaurant, just say you’re a restaurant, perhaps with a niche descriptor like “fusion,” “Italian,” or “Mexican,” as long as those niches come up in the common results.

Other GMB ranking factors in local searches

To rank higher overall, you must:

  • optimize your website SEO;
  • ask for customers to leave (good) reviews on your social pages, Yelp, and on your Google listing; 
  • upload current business and product photos, and 
  • post relevant content with targeted keyword use.

GMB looks at these other digital markers when determining your rank in local searches.

Romain Berg: A strong partner in local SEO

Though Google algorithms continuously evolve and become more sophisticated, partnering with a local expert helps you stay ahead of the local SEO curve. 

Romain Berg builds GMB optimization into their comprehensive DFY (Done For You) digital marketing packages. Our clients see the difference in traffic and conversion both online and at their storefronts. 

See what it’s like to work with a pro and leave the SEO to us. In the meantime, you do what you do best: serve your customers, and launch your products and services into the local marketplace and beyond. Contact us today to get started.


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