Google My Business is more than a platform for reviews. GMB is a search engine optimization opportunity.

I hope I’m not taking this for granted, but I believe most people know Google My Business is the core of local organic search. Yes, you want to claim your business in the Google world, and yes, it’s so simple anyone can do it. Well, I discovered in my research, it’s also easy to fall off the tracks. I’ll get to that soon.

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Google My Business Ranking Factors

Most importantly, your presence on Google My Business (GMB) has value beyond a platform for reviews. Potential customers exploring reviews for your brand are usually in a buying mode which makes GMB the place to be found. By making GMB posts an essential part of a company SEO strategy, they can exploit this local search opportunity. Additionally, company control over messaging offers a lot of creativity for milking their keywords.

If you’re new to local search optimization, a quick read of our blog post-Local SEO Simplified should help you determine its relevance to your business.

In case you find search engine optimization confusing, SEO is simply the science and art of driving visitors (traffic) to your website from search engines. We use the word science a little loosely, but Google guidelines for optimization are formulas in themselves. Knowing how to apply Google guidelines is where the art comes in. That’s when we create useful and engaging content within the hundreds of Google algorithms. That might sound a little pompous, but it’s the reason optimization of a website is best left to professionals like us.

What is Google My Business and where does it appear.

As a directory listing, GMB is the king of local citations. Your primary business listing is editable in the GMB dashboard and publicly appears in more than six locations. Two significant places are:

Image of Google My Business Listing1) Google Search knowledge panel for a specific company the GMB appears on the right side of the search page.

Image of search results page2) Local Pack that appears on the left side of the search page for a general search – like local dentists. Your listing in this pack has enormous value as it appears just below the paid advertising and just before the organic listings. Since only three companies are shown, the hundreds of companies listed are rotated. A well optimized GMB listing will appear more often.

Search optimization is an essential part of our business at Imagine, Inc. and we want our customers to understand how to get the most from their GMB listing and how to do it the right way.

At the end of 2018 MOZ conducted a Local Search Ranking Factors survey. Although the survey included specific and competitive factors, I thought it would be easier for my readers to understand negative ranking factors. MOZ asked experts to rank 34 negative factors in order of most damaging to most benign. You might be as surprised as I was to see people doing what seems to be counter intelligent business practices.

Falling Off The Tracks

Like all things Google, ranking factors fall within a scale of importance which in turn affect your search placement. Sometimes we can learn more from negative ranking factors. Here is the list of Negative Ranking Factors starting with the most damaging.

image for failure1 – Listing Detected at False Business Address
2 – Address is a PO Box, UPS Mail Store, or Other False Address
3 – Incorrect Business Category
4 – Site Hacked / Presence of Malware
5 – GMB Listings with Same Address/Phone Marked as “Permanently Closed.”
6 – Reports of Violations on Your GMB Listing
7 – Association of GMB Account with Other Suppressed Listings
8 – Presence of Businesses in the Same Category at the Same Address
9 – Mismatched Address on GMB Landing Page
10 – Presence of Multiple GMB Listings in the Same Category with Same or Similar Business Title and Address
11 – Incorrectly Placed Map Marker in GMB
12 – Incomplete/Missing Data on the Primary Data Sources
13 – Mismatched NAP / Tracking Phone Numbers Across Data Ecosystem
14 – Negative Sentiment in Google Reviews
15 – Presence of Multiple GMB Listings with Same Phone Number
16 – Absence of Crawlable NAP (Name/Address/Phone)on Website
17 – Low Numerical Ratings of Google Reviews (e.g., 1–2)
18 – Reports of Fake Reviews on Your GMB Listing
19 – Category Dilution
20 – Absence of Crawlable NAP on GMB Landing Page
21 – Choosing to Hide GMB Address
22 – Keyword Stuffing in GMB Business Name
23 – Choosing Service Area for Business in GMB (as opposed to in-location visits)
24 – Reports of Review Gating – filtering candidates before asking them to leave you a review.
25 – Mismatched NAP / Tracking Phone Number on GMB Landing Page
26 – Listing 800 Number as Only Phone Number in GMB
27 – No Hours of Operation on GMB Listing
28 – Receiving Too Many Google Reviews Too Fast
29 – Low Numerical Ratings of Third-Party Reviews (e.g., 1–2)
30 – Negative Sentiment in Third-Party Reviews
31 – Presence of Multiple Crawlable NAP on GMB Landing Page
32 – Keyword Stuffing in Title Tag of GMB Landing Page
33 – Malformed Phone Number on Website (dots or spaces instead of dashes)
34 – Multi-Lingual GMB Listings for the Same Place
36 – Mismatched or Private WHOIS Information
37 – Keyword Stuffing in GMB Description
38 – Keyword Stuffing in GMB Q&A

To read the complete list of specific and competitive MOZ GMB ranking factors visit their survey page.

What does your Google My Business profile look like?

If you see yourself in this negative ranking factors list, we can help you clean up your Google My Business listing. Or if you’re wondering what GMB is all about call us at 954-257-7066, we would love to have that conversation.

At Imagine, Inc. our search engine optimization focus is more or less the same as always:
– Is your website or blog content useful and engaging?
– Is Google properly crawling and indexing your website?
– Is your site relevant and authoritative for your target market and location?
– Do your pages target the search queries you want to rank for?
– Is your backlink profile competitively strong?

Depending on your answers, Imagine, Inc. offers:
• A technical SEO audit will show you what you need to do to beat your competition.
• A Content strategy designed to align your messages with the needs of your target market.
• Content creation that engages your audience.
• Internet marketing to reach your target market. Read more about our Internet Marketing.
• A Link Building campaign which may be the best bet. Call us at 954-257-7066

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