We all know and love Google’s business platform—best known as Google My Business (GMB) and now rebranded as Google Business Profile (GBP). This tool is a fan favorite in local search, and for good reason. It has a wide variety of features that can be used to our advantage as marketers when it comes to boosting local visibility.
Optimizing Google Business Profile
Something that I’m sure of—but that there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence of in the industry—is that GBP can be used to enhance keyword visibility for products and services. You can optimize a Business Profile to target certain keywords in the same way as you can a web page or an entire site.
Optimizing GBP for specific keywords might seem a bit of a weird way to do things. However, when you think about how we encourage consistency in local search, and how we optimize our websites to perform in national search, why shouldn’t it work?
You might have noticed when performing local searches—either as a user or to check rankings— that ‘mentions’ statements are often highlighted underneath a result. These ‘mentions’ appear to rationalize Google’s decision to display a particular profile as a good result for your query.
We also often see what we call ‘justifications’, such as review justifications, post justifications, and menu highlights. These are essentially what we’re aiming to create within GBP by mentioning our target keywords in the best places—without overdoing it, of course.
Here are some examples of where you might see keywords in justifications.
Consistency and relevancy are big things in the search space, but especially in local. So why not make your listings as consistent as possible if you have the opportunity?
Here are some ways you can boost your keyword optimization within Google Business Profile. As an example, imagine I run a Mexican restaurant and one of my most popular dishes is tacos. I want to optimize my online presence for taco-related searches.
Okay, so this one might seem obvious, but I can guarantee there are a lot of profiles out there that haven’t selected the right GBP category for their business. The categories available are ever-expanding, so there will likely be a category that matches the business perfectly.
Choosing the most appropriate category will help to boost keyword visibility, so be sure to look for the best fit.
Here’s an example.
Category listed as ‘taco restaurant’:
Sneaking keywords (but not stuffing them) into your business description is a great way to encourage consistency for those keywords.
Descriptions should be friendly, informative, and, of course, descriptive. You’ll need to tell searchers who you are, what you sell, where you sell it, and why they should choose to buy it from you.
It’s a good idea to make your descriptions short and sweet while ensuring that your keywords are included. The use of keywords in your business description reinforces what you’re claiming to Google, and to your customers, that you do.
Sticking with my taco example, here are some businesses that do this particularly well:
This description is short and sweet, but very effective. It clearly demonstrates the voice of the brand.
This description mentions where the business is, what they serve, and answers questions on how to eat there.
The friendly and colloquial tone fits this kind of restaurant well. It’s welcoming and explains what they serve as well as why you should eat there.
We’re going into an era of search where we treat Google much more like a person than we used to, and that includes within local search. You’ll remember from my Q&A guide that using questions for additional keyword optimization is a common GBP tactic, and doing so also helps to provide a great user experience.
Here’s a great example:
While these were lucky user-generated questions, answering questions like these can really enhance visibility for selected keywords.
This is an ideal way to optimize your profile for food options where the menu isn’t available, such as for those using desktop devices rather than mobile.
This is especially key if your business serves food and is within close range to office blocks. The people working at these businesses might be more likely to use Google on their work computers to search for lunch options, as opposed to using their mobile devices.
Similarly to the above, if you have the option to add a menu, optimize your menu to clearly include the items you’re targeting as keywords. For example, ensuring you have a clear ‘tacos’ menu option—with details as to what is in the tacos and how much they cost—provides all the information the user (and Google) needs in one spot.
Benito’s has put tacos on the menu, and the term ‘taco’ is used in the menu highlights within Maps:
In a nod to old school SEO, as many mentions of tacos as possible—without overwhelming the profile with mentions—is likely to help with optimization. Posting frequently about tacos as a Mexican restaurant that sells tacos is going to have an impact. Posts also allow you to add offers, incentives, and other key information.
Lone Star Taco Co. in Texas do a great job of creating simple but engaging posts that feature key offerings. As an example, the following post contains a call to action to encourage clicks, a fun comment, and a mention of the menu:
There are few things more important in local search than reviews. Getting reviews that explicitly demonstrate your ability as a business to satisfy a need—in this case, serve good tacos—is ideal.
Reviews will not only boost mentions of the product on your profile, which can encourage further visibility, but will also reinforce trust in the brand. So, if you want to be more visible when people are searching for tacos, then when you ask for reviews, encourage people to say what they ate and why they enjoyed it!
Products & Services
This seems a little obvious, but using the products and services features is fantastic for earning more visibility. These two features aren’t available to everybody, but I’ve experienced direct improvements in service-led search visibility from utilizing both.
Using the products and services features are yet another way to optimize your profile further for your target keywords. Unfortunately, restaurants aren’t usually able to use these options.
Here’s two examples of businesses using products and services to capture their critical keywords.
The term carpet is being used in both individual products and for product categories:
Mentioning ‘Freight Forwarding’ as a service helps to encourage visibility for ‘freight company near me’ searches:
Making an Impact
Using all of these features—when appropriate—can be incredibly impactful. Doing so can help a business to regularly remind searchers what they’re offering and why it’s a great choice.
By using these GBP features alongside a well-optimized website, you’ll be onto a local winner. This will allow you to earn additional keyword visibility without touching your website.