How to Unlock the Power of Google My Business Search Queries
Google My Business Insights’ Search Queries is a fantastic tool that helps you understand how visitors are finding your GMB profile. Here, contributor Ben Fisher explains how to use them to inform your on-site content and ads strategies.
Google My Business Insights presents a fantastic opportunity to learn the behavior of people who are searching for a business, and it can help you make changes to your strategy based on quantifiable (albeit sometimes off) data. Google’s official definition of Insights is that it “focuses on how customers find your listing on Search and Maps, and what they do after they find it.”
The data provided in GMB Insights can confirm strategy and encourage you to continue moving towards your goals. Insights can also show you where you need areas of improvement in your strategy.
What are Google My Business Queries?
Remember back in the days of Google Places? In 2011, there was a treasure trove of data that one could see about how their local business was performing.
Source: Wright IMC
As explained in the Google My Business help center document,
“Search queries show you the queries used to find your business on Google. In the Insights tab, you can track common terms and search trends for your business. These queries should help you create better Posts with Google and even Ads to engage your customers.”
To put it simply, search queries focus on the terms that your customers used to find your business on Local Search and Maps.
These are the search queries that users enter into the search bars on desktop and mobile/maps, where your GMB Profile has been displayed to a user. They do not necessarily correlate with how many users visit your website, make calls, request directions, etc.
Google My Business Search Queries launched in the web-based version of GMB in July of 2018, but they didn’t become available for everyone until the end of August. The GMB queries data is different to what you’ll see in Google Search Console, since the latter tracks both organic search traffic and local. Here’s a great article from Joy Hawkins that explains this.
Currently, you can see queries in one-week, one-month and one-quarter increments. While they’re not currently available in the GMB Mobile App or in the API, there is a ton of useful data in the GMB dashboard that can give you great insight into how people are seeing your listing, what keywords they are finding you through and the volume associated with those keywords.
What’s the value of Google My Business Search Queries?
Any time you can get a sneak peek into the data Google has about your business, you should take note. By looking at the queries you can adjust your strategy.
After talking to people at GMB, I realized that the on-site content does indeed affect how your GMB listing will rank in local. In the examples below you can see that this is entirely true.
As a side note, when we see a majority of search queries using the “near me” term we can assume that these came from mobile searches.
Lets take a look at a few GMB profiles:
Luxury Real Estate Agent
Most queries are for “Palos Verdes Homes” (present on the website). Another is “best realtors near me” (local intent search), one’s for “hiking and trails near me” (present on the homepage), and one’s for “gardening club near me” (present on the blog).
Interestingly my company is displaying for “Google Maps” and “Google” (both are present on the site), “inner workings” (not on the site), “lafayette” (also on the site), and displayed alongside another company, (which I cannot replicate).
Lawyer in Toledo, OH
This client is showing queries that are all applicable to the company. All the search terms are present on the website and they are getting many good local intent queries like “lawyers in toledo”, “work lawyer”, “lawyers near me”, and “custody attorneys near me”.
Veterinarian in New Market
In this example, the client is displaying for terms that are all relevant to their business: “veterinarian”, “newmarket vet”, “vet near me”, “animal hospital”, “exotic vets”, and “bunny boarding near me”. This one’s interesting, as they talk about “rabbits”, not “bunny” on the site. There’s a semantic correlation between “bunnies” and “rabbits” that Google sees, so this makes sense.
I could go on, but the results seem to be the same no matter what profile I look at. While there are some terms that make no sense at all, the majority of terms are spot on!
I also believe the real reason Google has implemented Search Queries comes down to the people who keeping coming back to the GMB Dashboard. This way Google helps a listing owner discover the value for themselves and… ads! (There, I said it.)
If you have visibility into how people are searching for you then you can take action to create ads that target those users who are actively searching for a business like yourself.
Also note that this excerpt is directly under the general description on the page that talks about queries.
The takeaway from all of this is that your website content still matters, as it can influence how people are discovering you. As an agency, you should test adding content to your clients’ sites to see if this impacts their visibility in GMB and in GSC. If you see something is working, then continue to test and see what data is revealed.
Or you can just go and buy ads 😛