Google My Business Strategies and Ranking Factors Q&A

Google My Business Strategies and Ranking Factors Q&A

After asking for your questions on Google My Business, our virtual mail sack got so full that we held two webinars with Google Top Contributors to get to the bottom of your GMB issues. You can watch the recording of the first webinar in this series, on GMB Troubleshooting, here.

In the second webinar we focused on your questions on GMB Strategies & Ranking Factors. Check out the video and recap of this jam-packed session below, but not before you’ve witnessed the most artistic #GMBwebinar tweet from our audience…

Video: Google My Business Strategies and Ranking Factors Q&A, with Google Top Contributors


Want to jump to a particular question?

No problem! Just use the time-stamps below to find the correct point in the webinar!

Algorithm & Possum

What are the best steps to take to get a legitimate business that’s been filtered by Possum unfiltered? (2:25)

  • This is usually for businesses in the same building as another business in the same industry (e.g. lawyers). Often the business that is performing best organically is the one Google will pick, and then filter all the rest.
  • Focus on signals that impact on organic, like links and on-site optimisation. Category association is important, too. Often businesses use a category that’s similar to what they are, but not completely accurate (e.g. ‘physical therapist’ vs ‘physical therapy clinic).
  • Look at the ranking businesses and see what their categories are. Which signals are they beating you on? Look at reviews and organic ranking, and perform a deep analysis of what the unfiltered business is doing right, then do it better.
  • Google is using Possum to remove duplicate GMB listings, but there are unwanted consequences, such as filtering out unrelated businesses in the same building.
  • Google wants to list the best businesses first, but with filtering, if all the best businesses are in the same building, you aren’t necessarily seeing the best results. Google has moved away from demonstrating their comprehensiveness, and are now focusing on optimising speed and ease of use.
  • If you win in content, links, proximity or reviews you can probably get in the 3-pack. You don’t need to win in all of them.

Is there a way to force a manual review of the Possum filter? Do Google employees have the power to adjust individual listings or would it mean a change to the entire algorithm? (8:52)

  • No, they don’t have the ability to do that. There’s not just a wall between those who work on the algorithm and those who do manual work, it’s more like a demilitarized zone where no-one is allowed to talk to or influence those working on the algorithm.
  • It’s not really possible to diagnose and help someone quickly with an issue like this through the GMB forum. You can get some good advice but it’s best to take it with a pinch of salt because it’s not possible to provide a ton of actionable advice in such a short space of time.

I work with private healthcare providers. We see unclaimed GMB listings outranking businesses with 100+ reviews, photos, posts, and websites that rank well in organic. How does this happen? (11:50)

  • Claiming or verifying your listing doesn’t improve your rank. Google wants you to do that because they can be confident the listing is fresh.
  • The ranking algorithm is trimodal. There are three parts to it: proximity, relevance and prominence. In any given city or location, Google might look at one or another of these in deciding who to rank. Google looks at a lot of ‘invisible’ signals (e.g. high-performing listing, web page strength, third-party reviews) so there are a lot of aspects to it.
  • Proximity is distance between searcher and business. Sometimes it’s the most important factor in ranking, sometimes it isn’t. You can’t influence proximity, but the other signals can outweigh it if they’re strong enough.
  • Relevance is to do with the categorisation of the listing along with all the other signals Google looks at to find out what a business does (category, category on third-party sites, content of the website, link anchor text, reviews, etc.).
  • Prominence is a bit of a tie-breaker and refers to how popular you are in the context of this search. External top ten lists and reviews have influence on this.

What signals have the biggest impact on the local pack algorithm and how have these changed in the last 12 months? (17:42)

  • We’re in a semantic search age. Google is always looking for meaning. How can Google trust that an entity is what it says it is? You should tie all the bits and pieces of facts about your business (e.g. Wikipedia entries, articles on authoritative websites) back to your local entity.
  • Any blog content you have you can control, ensuring that the data points in your GMB listing line up with it, your citations and what people are saying about your business. It’s about having consistent information across these data points and having users validate that information.


My business ranks well in results for my city, but in adjacent cities it’s as if my business does not exist. How can I get ranked in cities that are adjacent to mine? (20:42)

  • In Google+ posts, you can insert, in an honest way, hashtags for the different types of cities that you service, or even the hashtag of the zipcode. Also, just mention the city itself in the context of a Google post or a blog post. Use this type of semantic search technique to influence the relevance in Google.
  • Search type does affect the rankings, though. Bear in mind that for someone who searches ‘pizza near me’, proximity is always going to be the strongest factor.
  • For service area businesses who want to get wider visibility in adjacent cities, they have to acknowledge that Google doesn’t owe them marketing coverage in that area.
  • However, you could open a legitimate office in that area, you could even open a fake office in that area (a high-risk strategy but it might work), you could take out AdWords in that area, targeting via the zipcode, and you can target by location in Home Service Ads. From an organic point of view, you could do link-building in that area. Density of industry is going to be an important factor.

For service area businesses (SABs), how much does not displaying the address hold back their chances of ranking in the local pack? (26:36)

  • As Google is rolling out Home Service Ads, if you don’t display your address you actually get removed from the local pack. Joy Hawkins published an article about this in Search Engine Land today, ‘Are Home Service Ads the death of home-based businesses on Google?’. A home-based business should be able to technically list their home address as their business address if they have proper signage at their home and if they’re willing to be “staffed” (by someone who could engage customers from your home address). Every SAB should start to think about opening an actual office or turning their home into a storefront.
  • Google isn’t announcing which cities HSAs are moving into, so just assume it’s coming to your area and prepare for it. Even in certain industries where HSAs aren’t applicable yet (e.g. carpet cleaning), we’re still seeing listings without addresses being removed.
  • We have no idea which industries or locations HSAs are going to be open to yet. It appears Google is testing this. Industries chosen seem to be on a city-by-city basis.
  • Check out this great article by Tom Waddington, ‘The Impact on Home Service Ads on Service Area Businesses’. He’s a domain expert in HSAs.

For a legal practice, should we create a GMB listing for the practice and also separate GMB listings for the lawyers? How do we set these up so they don’t conflict with each other? (31:30)

  • If you have lawyers in the same practice vying for each other’s business, that’s a business problem, not just a listings problem. You need to figure out, as a business, how you want to deal with that issue. Do you want to promote your individual lawyers or focus only on the practice? If you’re a lawyer yourself, practitioner listings can benefit you. You could also very well create your own marketing strategy as a provider, develop your own website and content and compete against other practitioners in that space.
  • If you’re the business owner, it’s not encouraged that you create separate listings for each practitioner, as it will be their own listing and not yours. If they leave your business, you lose that listing, including all reviews. It’s better to have one strong profile with 100 reviews on it than four profiles with 25 reviews each.
  • The only exception to the rule would be if the lawyers all had very specific focuses and different categories.
  • There’s a budget factor, too. It can be expensive to manage so many listings. You also have to deal with the fact that Google may change the algorithm and start ranking the practitioner above the practice.

What should we prioritize for our clients’ local strategies in 2018? What trends in local search do you foresee growing? (36:42)

  • The ranking game distorts our view of what’s important. To some extent, Google is getting better at finding the things you’d focus on in traditional marketing (quality of business, quality of customer experience). You don’t optimise your business to get reviews, you optimise your business to earn them. You want to prioritise the basics of running a good business, and make sure that is reflected online.

Pay to Play

We have a listing that isn’t showing up organically in the map pack but our paid ad is there. Could paid ads in the map pack be hurting a listing’s ability to show up in the map pack organically? (39:28)

  • AdWords and organic traffic don’t impact one another, so not having an ad isn’t going to make your local listing not show up. But you could try creating an ad for both the map pack and the 3-pack to get two of the four spots.

What are the ranking factors for Home Service Ads? I’ve seen that reviews and location are part of it. Does the website authority or authority of the GMB listing affect the position? (40:25)

  • Website authority doesn’t have much of an impact, but the verified reviews in HSAs might be a factor. A good option is to go out there with a big advertising budget and dial it back as necessary.
  • Google is measuring the leads you’re getting through HSAs, and it’s likely to rank you better if you’re quick to respond to leads through HSAs.
  • A potential ranking factor is how many people take advantage of the Google Guarantee in your Google Verified HSAs (whereby Google has to refund the customer rather than the business in cases of dissatisfactory service).

It seems as though Home Service Ads will be a “trumps all” kind of service. Does the roll-out of HSAs mean that local SEO agencies will need to change their focus to something solid? (42:47)

  • It changes the focus in that you’ll likely need to have a “storefront” at your home or office address. It would also have an impact on your AdWords if HSAs launch in your city or industry.
  • It’s important for every business to get involved with HSAs if it’s in their area. Because it’s ‘pay per lead’ rather than ‘pay per click’ it’s easier to see ROI from it. However, it’s harder for agencies with local clients to get involved with HSAs as Google is really savouring the direct relationship with the business owner.
  • You have to think about HSAs as an ad unit. Think about the content in the ad unit. Does it include reviews? You might want to focus on generating good reviews over improving website content. And of course, provide a great service to reduce the chance of a customer using the Google Guarantee on HSAs.

Is having more interactions and transactions (e.g. reserve table, book hotel) for services direct from the local pack good for local businesses? How do these affect local SEO strategy? (45:00)

  • Google wants to make their local search experience immersive and able to answer the question quickly. Whether these things are good for the business or not is irrelevant – the reality is that Google is gigantic and you are not. Businesses need to focus on these individually and make sure that they’re getting what they would expect to get out of them.
  • The local pack is increasingly taking business away from the standard business website. While you should still concern yourself with conversions on your website you now also need to concern yourself with conversions from Google. If there are conversion links in the local pack, you need to make sure that at the moment of purchase, your local listing looks better than the next listing (e.g. better pictures, better reviews, more comprehensive hours, better posts, more compelling content).
  • Check out Mike Blumenthal’s article on this, ‘Google As the New Home Page – One Big Tactical Guide’. Google still needs you to have a website but it’s becoming more of a data source for them, as more conversions are happening from the front page of Google. In this case study, 70% of all digital conversions happened on the front page of Google.

Ranking Factors

Does the proximity of search to business beat all other factors? Does location have some level of impact for all industries in all cities? (48:44)

  • Proximity is the strongest ranking factor but that doesn’t mean that a searcher will always see results in order of proximity. There are still a lot of other things Google looks at, but it was the number one ranking factor in Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors study.
  • There are some industries where it has a much stronger impact (e.g. dentists are very hyper-local because there is a high density of competition).
  • Proximity has fallen into the lap of Google’s Maps team so there’s a ‘map-view’ bias when it comes to what influences local search. For example, the rankings will change based on the viewport (the area you’re actually looking at on the map).

Does regular blogging help local businesses rank better? Will content marketing help local SEO? (54:17)

  • Having a regular content on your website, especially if you’re authoritative on the topic, is very helpful. However, do you have the time to provide answers to questions that prospects have? You need to be able to answers questions before prospects have even answered them. If you can tie together pieces of information from around the web (for example, a ‘Top 10 List of Best Plumbers’ from Forbes) and pull out quotes from them, that can increase the semantic relevance of your website, which transfers back to your local SEO.
  • The only thing that matters, though, is conversions. Lots of people obsess about rankings and traffic, but at the end of the day it’s all about conversions. Content marketing can drive ranking up but it doesn’t always have a huge impact on conversions, and it can take a long time.

How much of an impact does the GMB landing web page have on local search rankings? And, for multi-location clients, is it best to use the homepage or location page? (57:13)

  • The GMB website function isn’t going to affect your ranking whatsoever. It’s intended for those who don’t have a website.
  • For multi-location clients, the issue is more around the root domain than the type of page linked to, as Google can filter out multiple locations if they share the same root domain. Google is trying to keep one company from monopolising the results.

Are there any advanced tactics we can use to hyper-optimize GMB profiles (e.g. keyword label images, making G+ posts, replying to reviews with geo-terms in text)? (60:05)

  • The goal of GMB is to be valuable to the end-user, so anything that helps Google to understand the business better is helpful. Adding more nuance can be useful – Google Posts add this. It’s better to provide more information than less, but bear in mind keyword labelling images and replying to reviews with geo-terms will have no impact.
  • Think about the GMB in terms of optimising the customer experience and maximizing the likelihood that someone’s going to click on you over the next guy. This means great photos, great reviews, compelling posts, and making sure you’re filling out all the attributes.

Google My Business Features

Does adding a Post in Google My Business help your website’s rankings or improve visibility? (62:31)

  • Yes, we’ve seen some impact. People need to realize that it’s about making the posts more engaging, not just filling them with keywords. If you’re a plumber, don’t just create posts that say ‘I’m the greatest plumber’ over and over again, as that isn’t likely to have any effect.
  • Joy Hawkins will be sharing the results of Google Post tests at Local U Advanced in Santa Monica (n.b. you can get $50 off the price of the ticket if you use the promo code ‘BRIGHTLOCAL’ at checkout).

Does regularly updating a GMB listing (e.g. posts, links, images, services, menu, etc.) give you a boost in Pack or Maps results? (66:30)

  • These kinds of things definitely have an indirect effect on ranking, as these can improve click-through rate, and that, in turn, can improve rankings. But doing this kind of thing alone is not going to move the needle.
  • Another benefit of regular updates of the listing is that it helps the listing’s strength. This means that if a competitor or user attempts to make an edit on your listing, Google knows that you’re regularly updating the listing and will be less likely to accept their edit as it knows the listing is being well-maintained by the owner.

What are the data sources that Google gets its listing data from? Which do they trust the most? (68:18)

  • Any source that Google knows goes to the trouble of making sure the business really is where they say they are is going to be a verified data source taken into consideration. This includes things like professional organisations, the Better Business Bureau and industry-specific approval sites.

What’s the next big change or evolution going to be for GMB? (70:11)

  • They’ll continue to work on Maps features, giving businesses a little more control of (if not a little more say on) what’s happening with Maps. Think of the Q&A feature being added to Maps in the same way as reviews are today.
  • The strategic reason that Google runs Google My Business is to get correct data on Google Maps. Anything that’s going to entice people to go into the Maps interface and supply them with the correct data is something they’re going to focus on.
  • As long as it doesn’t interfere with or block the primary purpose of getting data, Google will use GMB to sell SMBs and large chains things that they might find useful to better their business (e.g. ads and additional services).
  • We could see GMB becoming the standard tool for business, and more functionality added so that businesses in developing markets have access to tools that can help them set up their business online more easily.
  • Google’s focus on the ownership and management of data has allowed them to be more flexible around the data models they use for local search, so we shouldn’t expect them to suddenly change tactics.

About Our Google Top Contributor Panel:

Mike Blumenthal

Mike Blumenthal, GetFiveStars

Mike is one of the foremost figures of local SEO, having offered web services since 1995. In 2009 he co-founded LocalU, a company that educates business owners on digital marketing. He writes on all things ‘Google Local/Maps’ on his blog ‘Understanding Google Maps and Local Search.’ He is also the Chief Review Officer and Co-founder of GetFiveStars, a reputation development platform for local businesses.


Joy Hawkins

Joy Hawkins, Sterling SkyLocal SEO expert Joy is a contributor to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors survey, a columnist for Search Engine Land, and a speaker at conferences including SMX and LocalU. Joy runs a local search agency, Sterling Sky.



Joel Headley

Joel Headley, Patient PopJoel has worked with Google’s Local and Geo products since 2005. Joel is now the Director of Local Search at, a solution for patient acquisition, retention marketing, and business insights.



Ben Fisher

Ben Fisher, Steady DemandBen is a Google Plus/Google My Business marketing maven and an experienced SEO veteran. He is a co-founder of Steady Demand, a company that works with agencies and businesses to develop and create engaging social media content.



Myles Anderson

Myles Anderson, BrightLocalMyles is Founder and CEO of BrightLocal. He has worked in the local search industry since 2009 and has been a major contributor to the Local Search Ranking Factors Study. Myles also writes a regular column for Search Engine Land and talks at SEO conferences such as BrightonSEO and Inboundcon (Toronto).


Want to contribute to a future webinar?

We’re filling our content pipeline with many more webinars like this. If you’re a local SEO expert and you’re interested in being a panelist or interviewee in a future BrightLocal webinar, get in touch with us at

Our Expert Panelists

Mike Blumenthal
Joy Hawkins
Joel Headley
Ben Fisher

About this Webinar

Time & Date:
  • 1pm EST
  • Thursday 5 October 2017
  • 1 hour

This entire series of webinars around local SEO have been so valuable to me and my team. I can't thank you guys enough for putting these on and getting great speakers!

Genna Carbone
Genna Carbone Lead to Conversion
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95 thoughts on “Google My Business Strategies and Ranking Factors Q&A”

  1. Thanks for this article. This is very useful information, I use Google My Business a lot for local SEO positioning and it works very well. This post has given me more tips to continue working with this tool.

    Congratulations for the good work!

    1. Hi Mario,

      There are three key factors that come into play for local pack rankings:

      Proximity – the distance between searcher location and business address
      Relevance – how relevant business is to search term
      Prominence – how well-known, talked about and linked-to business is compared to competitors.

      Earlier this year, we held a webinar on this very topic, which should provide you with some actionable tips to improve local rankings:

      Hope that helps!


  2. Great info. It just seems like such a cat and mouse game with Google. It is so frustrating sometimes to see site with minimal effort rank higher than sites that work their asses off to impress Google.

  3. How do you handle/manage many locations within the same State? Do you have any particular suggestions or tips as to how to succeed in that sense?

  4. Wow! The recap is excellent and immensely helpful. Even if I hadn’t been so lazy and taken notes, I wouldn’t have been able to put 2+2 together in such a concise and accurate 4 as the recap presented.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ray,

      So glad the recap’s been useful for you. Make sure you watch this space for our upcoming webinars, which I promise will be equally as well recapped 🙂



  5. I’m a small local business. I have an office on a main road. We service people at their homes & offices. Where are hardly at our office due to being on the road servicing clients at their location. I have the address of the office on my Google Business. The problem is that a very small few stop by with calling first. When were not there we have a sign saying were out servicing clients & to call for an appointment. When they call were nice & explain that all advertising says call for an appointment before stopping by. Then we set an appointment.

    Question, is it better to now show my address on Google my business? I use to have it setup for 20 miles as a mobile business. The address was published on numerous sites anyways so I put it back thinking I’d get more calls? Do you think it matters if the address is showing?

    The first word of my business name is Mobile.

    Thanks for any help that you can offer!

  6. What’s the best way of ranking site with multiple locations meaning multiple GMBs? Is it best to focus on each location as you would for a single location business? Could the locations intefere with one another in terms of data aggregators and citation building?

  7. Why on earth are you allowing people to upload pictures to google business listings? I’m seeing a picture of a random sandwich as my profile pic. I can’t delete it because it’s from a random person. WHY??!!

  8. I work for a SEO company Design N Rank and i help setup the google business pages,
    i have a couple clients when i send ownership to them it gives me this old email that my client either doesn’t use or it goes to someone else completely,
    i’ve looked everywhere to change it but can’t find anything.

  9. What is the best way to overcome 2 different companies that are run by the same parent company, out of the same office, in GMB if they can’t add a suite number to one of the locations?

  10. Is there any connection between Google Local carousel display & organic rankings? In other words if we have good organic SEO does that increase our exposure on Google local business carousel or visa versa. Thank you!

  11. What is the most important attribute of Google reviews regarding overall effect on GMB ranking in local search results–frequency, recency, length, or quality (number of stars) of the reviews?

  12. I’ve been working on my local listing for 6 months and still not showing up for “Quad Cities Web Design” even though I have 13 positive reviews on Google. There are companies that have JUST started and are already showing up?,-90548927,2602&tbm=lcl&ved=0ahUKEwjRq6aj2dnWAhUk9IMKHZc0BeIQjGoIdA&tbs=lrf:!2m4!1e17!4m2!17m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:2&rldoc=1#rlfi=hd:;si:;mv:!1m3!1d69191.61543925967!2d-90.49690054999999!3d41.53268715!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i496!2i278!4f13.1;tbs:lrf:!2m1!1e3!2m4!1e17!4m2!17m1!1e2!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:2

  13. What are your recommendations or a strategy that worked for you on Companies that do not want to show their address in their GMB listing? The don’t want citations to show their address either since it’s their home. Best way or practice to get them rankings in the local pack minus showing address and minus citations?

  14. We’ve noticed a large increase in our map rankings when we disregard Google’s recommendation of selecting categories that complete the statement: “This business IS a” rather than “this business HAS a.” In one of our client’s example, we’ve moved from just listing “Eye Care Center” and “Ophthalmologist” to including the specific services offered. Is there any indication to suggest that the success of this strategy will change anytime soon?

  15. What is the best way to deal with duplicate GMB pages when they both have reviews and Google says they can’t be merged? Also, what are best practices for setting up GMB pages when you have a business with multiple practitioners or professionals, such as several attorneys, accountants or doctors at the same address?

  16. Ive devoted a lot of time and energy to getting reviews from my customers. This works well from a customer engagement standpoint. More than half of customers will comment when they are in the store “You have such great reviews” ” have you seen your reviews, they are amazing”. That being said, a competitor a few blocks away with 7X fewer reviews, not all of which are positive, will show above me in local results on certain (many) terms. I have more photos, utilize posts, have a running adwords, and over all a much more complete listing. they only advantage i can see on their end is they have been around about 1 year longer(my listing has been active for about 2 years). Any thoughts on what is happening here? thank you

  17. When dealing specifically with multi-location businesses who also have individual practitioners (in this case a medical practice), is it advisable to create an individual GMB profile for each practitioner in addition to each physical business location, and if so, should the practitioners’ contact information (NAP/website) reflect that of a particular location?

  18. How can GMB be utilized for store-within-a-store concepts, where businesses exist within a larger retail location, but themselves do not have a separate mailing address?

  19. URL in orange with strike through?
    Could you explain about entering the URL onto the GMB page: how is it supposed to be entered and why when I sometimes enter it do I see it turn orange with a strike through? – I copy and paste the url from the address bar, but sometimes I try adding www. and it turns blue – sometimes the field keeps clearing and invites me to add a website?

  20. How does GMB help a company that is based in the UK that has a UK and Europe-wide business and also wants to be found in the US too. What does my client need to do in this circumstance?

    Thanks in advance.

  21. How much effect, if any does a business with a long running Adwords Campaign see in their “organic” listings once their Campaigns have finally ended? Also, does claiming your actual business directories hold more “weight” than just making sure your information is correct (ie Yext)

  22. What is the best way to improve ranking on the map? I’ve heard that businesses with more reviews typically rank higher, but I’ve seen many instances where businesses with fewer reviews outrank those with more reviews.

  23. Need your opinion regarding the best solution for Google maps optimization. I have 3 websites under one retail business name for manufactured home business in 3 different locations in Texas serving customer in multiple states We created 3 websites as we have 3 different manufactures. They want to promote 3 websites in the same multiple states. If I add the same service area in all the 3 websites, is this is a good idea? Not sure the best way to setup the google maps. Should I create the service area pages for the states? Any recommendation or idea?

  24. 1- Our company creates and manages Google identities for clients that have multiple locations under the corporate name of the client in addition to individual names of location managers. When one of those managers separates from the parent company to open his own office under his own name, how can we verify his new location? GMB always wants to send it to him at the old corporate address. Not a good idea!

    2- Is there no way to verify new GMB locations that’s more straightforward than mailing the “card.” It’s too easy for that little card to be overlooked or tossed as junk mail.

    3- We have a client who has moved into a new office on a new street that is not shown on Google Maps. Although I have placed the marker in the spot where the address is, how does the absence of a mapped street affect the client’s accessibility across the land of Google, and GMB in particular?

    Thanks, guys and gals!

  25. I am having good success with GMB for my client (a local physician group). Hundreds of thousands of views/searches and hundreds of calls. What can I do to SEO GMB’s themselves beyond the basic NAP?

    Are there any management tools for Google Posts that I can use to make managing 70+ listings easier? Do Posts have any SEO value?

  26. Two questions actually:

    1. With reviews becoming a more prominent factor since the last update from Google, why does Google not implement a review management dashboard for multiple locations? Is it that they just want to push the use of the API? I thought they were developing something a couple of years ago. Is that abandoned? Do we need to use those expensive suppliers in order to do that?
    2. Are check ins relevant? And if so, what would be best practices as it’s hard to get customers to check in. Is quantity and frequency of check ins per device considered in terms of SEO?
    Thanks a lot!

  27. Photographer client of mine with 3 websites promoting different types of photography. Instinct and knowledge tell me this is not a good idea, they should only have one website for their business.
    However, the client informs me they have had two of the websites for some time and don’t want to give them up, as they produce leads.
    Should I insist they merge all three into a single site? If so what is the best way to do this without losing business?
    Or should I instruct my client to have different business name, address and phone number details for each website, treating them as completely separate business entities?
    Finally, if he does this, but keeps the ABN (Australian Business Number) on the sites, is there a risk still of eventual penalisation?

    Thank you

  28. A local auto repair shop has an avg rank of 16 ( out of about 20 competitors ) for the major keywords, yet his local search factors such as citations and reviews, etc., are all better than his competitors, especially his links. He has 2468 while the avg competitor has 14. What do you deduce from this and how can I find out if his links are toxic? What do I recommend to him?

  29. Is there any thing you do different for creating a new GMB listing for a business in Mexico? Say for a new charter fishing in Cabo San Lucas…
    I know this is not a simple question, so any resources for international/Mexico GMB info would be appreciated.
    Thanks – looking forward to the webinar!

  30. Since Possum, my client’s chiropractic office has went from being always in the three pack and top spot in organic search results to be completely hidden from the map without zooming in. His site is better optimized and his social channels are complete and positive reviews are exponentially higher than the competitor in the same building who now shows up when he does not. I haven’t been able to find anyone (after an exhaustive year-long search) who can give me answers about why. Would LOVE insight.

  31. why would a google business listing not show on google when all the I formation is correct? Revealing a residential address as a commercial address is a no no, so I have my address hidden. With a keyword search there are only three pages of GMB listings and mine is not there. Then I found that not having a street address could impact ranking. So what’s the story? I see plenty of GMB listings with no address and a ton of “Motor Club of America” listings. MCA is a well know scam but yet google is showing their listings.

  32. Google is showing a company’s Wikipedia page in the knowledge panel instead of the GMB page. What can a business do to help the GMB show?

  33. Why does google sometimes feature 2 locations from the same business in the 3 pack map results, when the second location sometimes is not even in the service area being searched.

  34. Please discuss google maps citations and how it affects local SEO… and how does google battle 1000s of fake citations that can easily be set up.

  35. Also .. for companies / businesses who had someone else set up their GMB page some time ago and no longer know how to reach the people who originally set up their GMB page and don’t know how to login and update / change information on their GMB page .. how can they get control of their GMB page to manage it? Having to request access from the original person that set it up is often not feasible and can take weeks before it happens, if it ever does.

    Also .. does number of reviews really play a role or truly help in boosting GMB 3-pack rankings? I’ve seen businesses with no reviews at all outrank businesses with many reviews.

    Also .. where can we get a master list of Google business categories for GMB pages?

  36. I work with service area businesses like landscaping and home remodeling and locksmiths that serve customers in multiple localities. Is there any way to help them get Google maps listings and rank in the 3-pack? Do they have to have a physical location / address in every locality they want to rank for? I’ve heard that PO Box addresses can now rank in Google maps but we should avoid using UPS Store addresses or virtual office addresses as they will not rank. Would love to have this whole question demystified. And .. if they have no hope of getting into the Google 3-pack anywhere than their own office locality .. what other options can we pursue to help them rank high in organic results? What is the current best practice for creating high-ranking location pages as an alternative / supplement to Google My Business rankings?

  37. Thank you for the upcoming webinar. I have a question about tracking phone conversations derived from a website for SEO measurements.

    My client (a real estate company) says they ask every new caller where they heard of them however, I am doubting the numbers. I’d love to put a different yet trackable phone number on the website but I know this will create SEO issues.

    Any good suggestions on how to track phone calls from the website that doesn’t reply upon asking for accuracy?

  38. How do you feel about the increasing amount of interactions and even transactions that are happening within the local pack and other rich results? How do you see this affecting local strategy in the future?

  39. Is there anything Google Business can do to help a business without a store front get found? Reps on the google help line have told me they don’t do brand pages anymore. I have a client who is a local ecommerce business and we haven’t been able to get a verified listing for him because you can’t walk in and buy a product from his store. It’s a warehouse/office.

    Any advice?

  40. Thanks for putting on this webinar! My question pertains to duplicate listings on Google.

    Is there any way to advance or optimize the process of having them removed? We brought on a client who had six unclaimed duplicate listings appear for his franchise within ten miles of his listing, with business information that is different than his own. We could only merge one listing because it had enough similar information, but the only similarity that his listing has with the other duplicates is the DBA. His business has never existed at these addresses and has never been associated with these phone numbers, but it seems like suggesting them as duplicates or suggesting updates to the information has been fruitless.

    Anything that I could do will help, thanks!

  41. What is the correct procedure when I want to change my business address (business name and phone number remain the same). Change GMB details first, website second then citations? Will my ranking be affected and for how long?

  42. Many of my clients live in a tri-state area.
    Google local works for them to rank in their main cit.
    However, the nearby cities and towns are important to them as well.

    Is it true that Google local will always bring the closest qualified results nearest the searcher?

    And, if that is true, what is the best way to help my client rank, at least organically, in other nearby cities?

  43. A few questions:

    – Does a business have to be verified by Google for the city they want to map rank for? That is if a business has a suburb address but wants to rank for a search involving the city, does it have to get a new address in that city and be re-verified?

    – Are there any differences in local citations, in terms of value in helping you map rank?

    – What are the top factors in getting into the map 3 pack?

    Thank you

  44. Google’s “Possum” has been making one of my clients invisible on Maps due to competitors sharing the same building. What are the best ways to quickly get them to rank high enough to appear on the map again?

  45. How would you handle it when various practitioners (attorneys) at a large law firm outrank the firm so that they show up in the KP when you search for the firm by name? I have tried minimizing practitioner listings but not all my edits are getting approved.

  46. I work specifically with private practice healthcare providers and we see maps listing that have not been claimed outrank a business with 100 reviews, photos, posts and their corresponding website ranks well in organic. What do you think effect rankings besides – keywords in the business name or proximity to city center? To a degree, organic can reflect maps but I have several instances where a client is #1-3 in organic and 20-30+ in maps or is being affected by the “same building” filter

  47. What is the best way to manage duplicate address issues? If we have a hotel that has one address but the spa and restaurant are stand-alone businesses located at the same address.

  48. I am having issues with Google Maps. Our company currently has a pin placed on Google Maps and the business shows up when we type in the Company name. However, when we type in the address of the company, rather than the name of the company, the company does NOT show up under the section labeled “At this location” where it lists all of the business at the specified address.

  49. Myles,
    This may not be the right place for this question, but maybe you can help. We use BrightLocal for our citation projects for Petaluma Veterinary Hospital. I just noticed that we are listed as a Livestock Equipment and Service Company on our Yahoo page, and I can’t get them to change it unless I subscribe to Yext, which we do not want to do. Any ideas on how to get this back to veterinarians? thanks

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for reading our blog – your comments and questions are always welcome! It can be a struggle with Yahoo because of Yexts strong hold on them, but other people have had success with these routes:

      1. Check out this post by phil rozek –

      2. Check out Austin Lunds’s post here see Austin’s comments on Yahoo

      Hope that helps, let us know how you get on!

      Many thanks,


  50. I currently have a Google places listing for my business and will be opening a 2nd location very soon. Both locations will be sharing the same branding and website. Just wondering what is the best practice for managing multiple locations withing Google My Business. i.e. Is it ok to create a 2nd listing that points the the root of my website or should I point to a sub page so it is different from my original listing? Should I add my second location to all of the local directory listings similar to what I did for my original listing? It is better to keep the name of the 2nd location exactly the same as my original listing or make it slightly different i.e. add the intersection of the business after the business name? Any advice and/or links to help documents regarding this topic would be appreciated.

    Looking forward to the webinar!

  51. I am a home services/service area based business. Customers rarely ever visit us in person. I will be moving to a new location in the next 6 months. I was thinking about moving my address to a virtual office so I won’t have to change my location again in 5 years when my lease is up. Also because we operate out of old warehouses the picture of them that google shares with the world isn’t always appealing.

    Is this a good idea?

  52. HI there,

    I’m starting a Project to have accurate data for all businesses here in a Caribbean island call Roatan, Honduras. I’m already a Google Street View trusted and I’m helping local biz to get on to map and have a verify GMB.

    My question is: is there anyway to become a trusted local person to help local businesses to claim there GMB whiteout mail?

    Cause here mail never get on time or simply never get.

    Thx and thumbs up on these webinars I look forward for them each time you make one.


  53. What are the ranking factors for Home Service Ads? I’ve seen that reviews & location are part of it. Does the website authority or the GMB ranking affect the position of the Home Service Ads?

  54. for a lawyer practice, should we create a GMB for the practice and also separate GMB’s for the lawyer ? and these will have same NAP?

  55. I hope I can have two questions.
    Can a business get into the Local Map with a service area? I have a competitor in the map but their address is a PO Box. However, it seems they’ve changed their listing to a service area. I cannot see a way to mark them as spam. Does that sound correct?

  56. For multi-location businesses (100+) scaling optimizations can be tough and potentially require 100x the amount of time as working with one location (ie. manual citation building, citation clean up, onsite optimizations, etc.) How would you prioritize your efforts differently with a multi location business than say a mom-and-pop shop?

  57. Would using the new webpages included in the Google My Business console be a decent way to create an “individual” presence for an individual franchisee? Their web page has a hard time standing out, and I’m thinking this might be a decent alternative without drawing the ire of the franchise itself. We could link to the main page, but the local page would be unique.

  58. How do medical cannabis and recreational stay compliant with Google terms? Google My Business approves accounts, and dispensaries can use the platform. Is there anything dispensaries shouldn’t do? Example: posting deals and specials with pictures of the product in the posts section?

    I see some dispensaries getting Google Adwords approved for their listings, but it’s hit and miss. Any recommendations when it comes to Google Adwords with Google My Business for dispensaries?

  59. I have a client who is has a verified and optimized GMB page. Their listing is showing up in the local pack and in Maps, but is not showing up in the carousel. Beyond creating additional hyper-local citations for that market, what can we do to increase, or in this case, even have visibility in the carousel? Will adding structured data to the address block assist in these efforts?

  60. I have a client who has a restaurant with different dine in and take out hours. GMB guidelines say use dine in hours but I feel he’s losing business when people search for his restaurant and it shows up closed even though take out is available. It can also be disappointing to find dine in is closed if that’s what you were expecting. What are the best practices around that? Which hours do you recommend using?

  61. I guess this is a two part question:

    I believe I have a fully optimized listing, 12 pictures, accurate business categories that jive with my 200 pages of content website, and 50+ reviews. I’m still getting out ranked in the map pack by some businesses that have claimed their listing but done nothing with it. Less than five reviews, no images, no responses to reviews, and in many cases no website.

    Is this a first in time issue that’s preserving their listing or is there a strategy I can use to bump someone out of a spot?

  62. Google My Business has recently changed in the UK and has removed the “County” tab for UK businesses. Instead the address stops at “Postal Town”.

    Facebook also doesn’t include county in the address, and the same with Apple Maps.

    Most citations request the county to be included within the address, but this has now resulted in a massive drop in ranking on Google Maps due to the mismatch of addresses.

    The only thing I can think is to change the postal town field to “Postal town, County” on GMB, which is accepted. But Facebook and Apple maps won’t accept this format and so these important citations won’t have the same NAP.

    I’d welcome your thoughts on how you’d go around sorting this problem?

  63. How much does the content on the website for a business impact local search visibility? For example, if it’s a very specific business, and the only GMB category that applies is very general, how much is Google relying on content on the business’ website to appropriately display the business in search results? Or is it relying mostly on what’s on other local citations?

  64. I work for a white-hat SEO company, and we are constantly taking over listings that have gained significant rank by using black-hat methods (ie, being set up as exposed addresses when they are SABs, using two numbers and addresses for the same area). Client are reluctant to lose rank, and Google rarely actually penalizes these businesses – some who have had these listings up for years without any negative consequences. Is there any way that we can make white-hat more attractive even though it may result in an immediate drop in rank when we make things ‘up to code’?

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