Do GMB Products Impact Ranking and Drive Website Traffic and Conversions? [Case Study]


https://www.sterlingsky.ca/

If you want your clicks from Google My Business (GMB), website conversions and traffic to increase, adding GMB Products should not be on the top of your local SEO to-do list. In this post, we have extracted the data to show you how we came to that conclusion. With that said, we still love GMB Products, and we will explain that to you as well.

The Products Beta inside Google My Business launched for almost all business categories in July 2019. The feature is most prominent on desktop.  It appears very high in the Knowledge Panel and is more visible than Google Posts. GMB Insights doesn’t track activity from the products but we wanted to know if they are driving conversions, website traffic or impacting rankings for SMB’s. To see more about how to track this activity yourself, see this post on how to track traffic from Google My Business.

In this case study, we looked at 22 locations across 12 verticals that have been using GMB Products since August 2019.

Key Takeaways

  • Adding GMB Products does not impact ranking
  • The overall impact on website traffic is low
  • The overall impact on driving conversions is low
  • An SMB  who actually sells a physical product and not just a service saw the most conversions and website visitors in our analysis
  • Adding GMB Products does not seem to increase overall click-through-rate (CTR) within the local knowledge panel (clicks to visit the website, request driving directions, mobile click-to-calls)

Before we get into some of the results, a little background on the GMB Product feature.

What are GMB Products?

GMB Products can be found inside the Google My Business dashboard.

https://www.sterlingsky.ca/

Here’s what it looks like on the front end on desktop and mobile. They appear above Google Posts so in that sense, they present a good opportunity to highlight products and services prominently in the local knowledge panel.

https://www.sterlingsky.ca/

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Google says this about the feature:

The Product Editor allows merchants to build a presence on mobile and the computer to showcase their products and drive customer interactions. Customers will see a more curated showcase of a store’s products on the Business Profile Products tab on mobile, or the Product Overview module on the computer.

Items added through the Product Editor appear in business profiles on the computer and mobile version of Google Search.

The Product Editor is for small- and medium-sized individual businesses. All categories of businesses, except for a few verticals, can use the Product Editor to showcase their products to potential customers. The Product Editor will not affect the use of the Popular Dishes features.

If you’re a larger chain, you can provide data about the products you sell and their availability through Local Inventory Ads.

 

What is the difference between the Products Beta and Product Posts?

The Products Beta has a lot more visibility.  When you do a product post inside Google Posts, it only shows up on your Knowledge Panel on Desktop for 7 days.  On mobile, it will appear permanently both on the Updates tab and the Products tab.

Does adding GMB Products drive website traffic?

The short answer is, “not really”. Over the course of six months here’s how many new users entered a business website by clicking on one of their GMB Product listings. We looked at one to four businesses per vertical. The only business that had a slightly higher number was in the home security/automation vertical. Interestingly, they are also the only business we looked at that sells actual products (home security and smart home equipment) and not just services.

Does adding GMB Products drive website conversions?

The number of website conversions that originated from a GMB Product was so low that a chart was not worth the effort. Across the 22 businesses that we looked at there was a total of 4 conversions.

Does adding GMB Products impact ranking?

We looked at rankings in Bright Local as well as Places Scout to see if there was a ranking increase around the date that the GMB Products were added. Not one single case indicated that adding the GMB Products had an impact on ranking.

Does adding GMB Products impact overall CTR on the local knowledge panel?

We wanted to check on one last thing regarding the impact of adding GMB Products. The question we wanted to answer was, “Does adding GMB Products increase overall CTR on the businesses knowledge panel?”.   We were looking for increases in driving direction requests, clicks to visit the website and mobile click-to-calls. This was inspired by Joel Headley’s research on the Moz blog where he saw a correlation between Google Posts and increased clicks on the GMB appointment URL.

To get the click-through-rate (CTR), we used the following formula using GMB Insights data from every month:

Actions / Searches = Click-Through-Rate

We looked at the CTR for the months after we added GMB Products and compared it to the same time periods before we added the GMB Products. Overall, CTR actually went down.

 

So what?

  • Adding GMB Products does not impact ranking
  • The overall impact on website traffic is low
  • The overall impact on driving conversions is low
  • An SMB  who actually sells a physical product and not just a service saw the most conversions and website visitors in our analysis
  • Adding GMB Products does not seem to increase overall CTR within the local knowledge panel (clicks to visit the website, request driving directions, mobile click-to-calls)

With all that said, we still think that GMB Products have value. This will vary by business and vertical but here are some final thoughts on how to make the most of them.

  1. Approach GMB Products as a way to enhance your branded search. Your local knowledge panel is your business card. Make it stand out.
  2. Adding GMB Products extends the length of your knowledge panel. By doing this you push down competitor listings. Google loves to surface competitor discovery on branded searches.
  3. Get creative with it. Do lots of testing. What types of images have a bigger impact? Can you highlight unique selling propositions? Testimonials?

Do you have any questions for us about GMB Products or this case study?  Let us know in the comments.

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