Are you making these big mistakes with your Google My Business listing?


Google My Business can be one of the most valuable tools for any local business – a tool that can help you earn clients or customers and, most importantly, income.

However, many GMB announcements suffer from critical issues that are all too common.

On June 16, I hosted a sponsored Search Engine Journal webinar presented by Mark Luckenbaugh of Local viking.

He explained how to make sure you avoid these pitfalls, whether you’re dealing with a single GMB ad or thousands of them.

Here is a recap of the webinar presentation.

Do local customers struggle to find your business when they search for you?

If your business doesn’t appear for relevant search queries, you’ll likely need to check your Google My Business (GMB) profile.

Most GMB issues cannot be fixed by brute force. You should start by auditing your ad and then address each issue accordingly.

Here is a step-by-step guide to performing a GMB technical audit.

Google My Business: SEO technical audit elements

1. Diagnosis of branded dilution

We want to make sure that Google assigns some degree of recognition or authority to our business.

To find out, search for your business name on Google.

Trademark query

  • Does the trademark query serve a knowledge graph?
  • Are competitors or irrelevant results served for the trademark query?

If a Knowledge Graph is not showing for your brand query and you only receive irrelevant results, the following solutions may help:

  • Brand insulation. Create and optimize authoritative profiles and social accounts. Take advantage of schema and data aggregation platforms.
  • Reverse engineering of your competitor’s Knowledge Graph.

2. Address verification

Some local business owners overlook the accuracy of their business addresses in various online listings.

To find out if you’re having this problem, drop your Google My Business listing address on Melissa.com. It will list any issues related to the specific address used by your business.

Melissa research

You also want to check your business PIN in Google Maps and make sure it’s within the actual city limits.

Here are some more tips for resolving address issues:

  • Fixed non-existent sequels.
  • Update address formats.
  • Modify expectations on service areas.

3. Fight the “Possum” filter

Google may filter out low-quality or spammy-looking GMB ads from local search results.

Make sure your business doesn’t have duplicate ads that could affect your visibility. To verify:

  • Paste your business address into the Google Maps search bar.
  • Select the “Nearby” filter.

Google Maps - Check for duplicate listings

This will show all other businesses registered at that address.

Duplicate GMB ads are easy to deal with when they’re yours.

However, Mark and his team at Local Viking encountered issues on practitioner rosters while working with a large chain of hospitals.

They found that when practitioners sharing a similar category at the same address, one could get filtered out and not have visibility in the area, while the other got all rankings.

While this is not an easy problem to resolve, you can tone down practitioner lists with proper categorization.

For businesses located in large metropolitan areas and having competitors in the same building, creating a “flip filter” can be useful.

With this approach, your goal is to convince Google that your ad is more authoritative than others at the same address.

For Mark’s team, it was an arduous process that required building a small outreach team on behalf of their client and running traditional PR campaigns to build the company’s credibility and stand out from the crowd. competetion.

4. Telephone number health check

Phone numbers can also cause problems on GMB listings. To avoid them, you’ll want to:

  • Make sure more than one business is using the same number.
  • Identify data consistency issues, company listing issues, etc.

You can search for your phone number, using different variations, in Google to check the consistency of your contact information.

Telephone number variants

Then using Google’s advanced search operators, you can enter everything as a search query.

Phone number request

5. Audit of the Google My Business listing

Follow these tips to optimize your GMB profile:

  • Completely fill out your ad. Providing Google with more data about your business will help you show up in relevant search results.
  • Go the extra mile with attributes, images, Q&A, articles, reviews, and more. It helps you stand out in the local map pack.
  • Intelligent category optimization. Find four of the most relevant categories for your business and look no further. Stay as specialized as possible in order to get quality leads from your ad.
  • For businesses with multi-site service areas, follow the “department rule”. If you are in a city and have multiple locations, avoid overlapping another of your locations when creating your service area radius. These overlaps can cause visibility problems.

6. Local signals

Focus on essential quotes, such as Yelp and the yellow pages, and niche directories.

Don’t spend too much time on quotes and start thinking about high quality local signals.

There are plenty of ways to build hyper-relevant and geo-specific links that don’t involve shady citation sites.

[Slides] Are You Making These Big Mistakes With Your GMB Ad?

Check out the SlideShare below.

More resources:

Join us for our next webinar!

Where site migrations go wrong and sabotage SEO

Join our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, August 11 at 2 p.m. ET and learn how to avoid the common pitfalls of site migration that can impact your visibility and lead to lost traffic and revenue.


Image credits

All screenshots taken by author, June 2021


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