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Google Business Profile Secrets & Hidden Gems

By Charley Vail

So you think you’ve set up your Google Business Profile (GBP) listings (formerly known as “Google My Business” or GMB) nicely and neatly. Maybe you’ve even read our GMB best practices blog and optimized your Google Business Profile listings to their “full extent”…or have you? 

SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. Although most marketers will set up their GBP listings and then move on, there are always things you can do to help increase visibility and clicks. If you think you’ve done all you can, here are a few Google Business Profile secrets and hidden gems that will help you gain that extra edge.

Ask for Reviews About Specific Topics or Items

It’s clear that reviews in Google Business Profile are extremely important. It’s your job as a marketer or business owner to try and gather reviews on your GBP listing. Doing so will increase your listing’s visibility and subsequently increase the number of customer impressions of your business. 

But, did you know that the specific words and phrases that users leave in reviews can help your GBP listing show up for those specific keywords

If you search for two similar queries, different local business results may appear depending on the exact words you use. That’s because each variation pulls different businesses whose customer reviews left in GBP mirror or include those exact words you type in. 

For example, when I search for “Chinese food near me,” this is what Google shows me” Two Chinese restaurants near my location in Avondale, Chicago. 

Google search query for "chinese food near me"

Search Version 1:

Search Query: “Chinese food near me”

Search Location: Neighborhood of Avondale in Chicago, IL

If I change my search, and make it more specific to an item that usually appears on a menu at a Chinese restaurant, in this case “Crab Rangoon near me,” my business results may look different.

Google search result for "grab rangoon near me"

Search Version 2:

Search Query: “crab rangoon near me”

Search Location: Neighborhood of Avondale in Chicago, IL

In the more generic search for “Chinese food near me” two businesses, clearly Chinese food restaurants, appeared. But when I typed my craving for a particular food item in, I was shown a GBP listing that has a specific review for a Chinese restaurant about “crab rangoon.”

The benefit of “best” in your GMB listings

Just as business-related keywords found in customer reviews can help improve GBP visibility and pull different businesses to the top of your results, so too can keywords like “best.”  

If I search for “moving companies near Logan Square, Chicago,” TB Monster Movers, Hollander International Storage and Moving, and Pay Less Moving Inc. appear in my results.

Google search results for "moving companies near logan square chicago"

Search Version 1:

Search Query: “moving companies near logan square, chicago”

Search Location: Neighborhood of Avondale in Chicago, IL

However, if I add the word “best” to the search, the results ordering change…

Google search results for "best moving companies near logan square, Chicago."

Search Version 2:

Search Query: “best moving companies near logan square, chicago”

Search Location: Neighborhood of Avondale in Chicago, IL

Notice the difference between the two mobile SERPs? When I added “best” to the front of the query the company “Chicago Movers Co” jumped into the top 3 of the local pack, and the search filter “Top Rated” was auto selected. 

Why did this happen? Chicago Movers Co has a customer review containing the word “best,” confirming its quality. TB Monster Movers, who appeared in both queries, now has a review highlighted with the word “best,” which could persuade the user to call them. 

Subtle differences and highlights in qualitative words could be the difference between a click or no click. 

How to solicit Google Business Profile (GBP) reviews with specific/positive language

To obtain reviews with these types of specifics we encourage you to ask your customers for these reviews by following Google’s best practices. 

Perhaps pose the question to them after their meal, “What’s your favorite menu item? Let us know when you leave us a review on Google.” Or, “Are we the best at what we do? If so, let us know when you leave us a review on Google”

Leave the narrative up to the customer, but you can ask them to leave a review in a certain way.

Google Business Profile: Bonus Gem

An easy way to get users to land directly on the review section of your listing with only one click is to head to this page, type in your listing address and obtain a Google Place ID. With that ID acting as an appendage, you can create the following URL for an easy one click step. 

Why You Should Monitor Your GMB Q&A Section

Once someone finds your listing you have the opportunity to persuade them to click to your website or make a call. You can use your photos and videos, business description, services and the attributes fields to tell the customer what you’re all about and what you offer. 

One section that is often forgotten and not addressed is the “Q&A” section of the listing. 

The Q&A section is easily forgotten because it’s not accessible via the GBP management interface. Instead, it can only be found in your listing in search results. Make sure you login as the account that manages your GBP listings and check the Q&A section to see if any people have asked important questions about your business. 

You’ll find customers may ask questions about specific specials or services. Answering these customer questions can be the difference between a customer calling you or moving onto the next listing. 

In the example below, this potential customer asks a very specific seasonal question, which is “Does this bar do a fish fry during lent?” This pub was very lucky on this occasion because a fellow Google user stepped in to answer the question before the business did. As a result, the customer got an answer that likely helped them make a purchase decision! 

Google local guide comments for the restaurant "Paddy Mac's"

Local Guides:

But you don’t want to leave unanswered questions up to chance. Make it part of your local SEO best practice to take initiative and get your customers’ questions answered by answering them yourself.

Add More Images and Videos to Your GBP Listing

The photos and videos uploaded to your GBP listing will help sell your products or services to the end user. You’ll find differing opinions on whether adding photos or videos actually affects ranking of your business listings, but it’s clear that Google wants you to upload photo and video content. 

**They make this clear in the “Insights” tab on the BGP interface with two specific charts shown below.**

Screenshot of Google insight's report for photo quality.
Screenshot of Google Insights report for photo views.

By comparing your business listings to “businesses like you,” Google demonstrates that it wants you to add more visual content. We can strongly assume that your users and Google will favor your listing when you periodically upload photos and videos to your GBP listings. 

While Google hasn’t explicitly said it will favor listings that are consistently updated and tweaked, you’ll find SEO’s strongly believe users’ click activity is factored into Google’s ranking algorithm. Which means…the more clicks and interactions with your photos and videos, the better your listing will do. 

Another crucial element to successful utilization of GBP’s photo and video element is to maintain control over the visual portion of your listing. In the past I’ve seen customers associate their own photos with your listings, and most of the time they are low quality. Google will favor the content getting the most views and clicks so if a user uploads a blurry or irrelevant photo before you upload a marketing quality photo, it may be the user’s photo that is shown in search results next to your business name. Make sure to check in with your listings periodically and add fresh photo and video content relative to your business.

Use Insights for Keyword Research

Speaking of insights, if you’re unsure how customers are finding you, what questions they may need answered, what you should post pictures of, or what they should leave reviews about, mining data in the “Insights” section of your business profile can be very helpful.

For example, the casino below was curious about what content they should include in their business description and on their homepage. What games are people looking to play? GBP insights below showed two popular search choices, now they can use this information to make content driven decisions. 

Screenshot of Google insights for searches breakdown.
Screenshot of Google insights for searches breakdown.

This casino now knows that users are finding their listing looking to play baccarat and roulette. Perhaps they should upload visual content of those games or stop by the roulette table to ask a customer if they could leave a review about their roulette or general casino experience. 

In Conclusion…

In conclusion, SEO and GBP (formerly Google My Business) are not set it and forget it strategies. There is always something more that can be done to try and move the needle or turn the dial up on your optimization meters. Our hope is that you have found a few new secrets or hidden gems to share with your marketing team that can give you the extra edge against your competition.

If you need help with Local SEO at a larger scale, checkout different ways to overcome local SEO challenges.

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