When it comes to local rankings, every business wants to be in the local pack. But, what really affects local pack rankings? Joy put common theories to the test to share what does have an impact, and what doesn’t.
The results are in and according to Joy’s research, the following efforts do not impact your GMB listing’s ability to rank.
Linking to your GMB listing.
Stick to focusing your link building efforts on your website. It won’t do you much good to direct links to your listing.
Adding GMB products.
Using the Products feature didn’t increase rankings or lead to a noticeable increase in clickthrough rate, but there’s still value in using this feature.
Keywords in image file names.
Save yourself time and energy by not over optimizing your photo and video files with keywords, it won’t help you rank.
Keywords in your business name for Google Ads.
In a test on a rebranded business, impressions actually decreased on the location extension in Google Ads. It’s important to note that GMB business data does not automatically sync to Google Ads – it needs to be resynced to reflect updates.
A combination of having an impact and not having an impact: Adding/Removing Additional Categories.
Does having more categories on your listing hurt ranking? We know that the Primary Category you choose for your GMB listing is an important local ranking factor. But what about Additional Categories? Category dilution is a theory that multiple related but generic Additional Categories negatively impact the listing’s ability to rank for the Primary Category and related keywords. The results of this test showed that adding or removing related, generic Additional Categories on a listing had no impact on ranking for the Primary Category and related keywords.
But on the flip side, adding Additional Categories for your other services can help your listing rank for those categories (we did a case study on this).
Then, what does have an impact local pack rankings?
The local filter.
The local filter is a function in Google Maps that hides listings it considers to be too similar or duplicates.
Merging duplicate listings.
You would be wise to merge any duplicate listings with your main Business Profile. Duplicate listings can ruin your rankings. In one example, a client who was in 10th-15th place moved up to the 2nd position after removing a duplicate. According to Joy, the local filter is directly influenced by a website URL, location on the map, and (possibly) the phone number.
Removing keywords from competitor business names.
Spam fighting and reporting incorrect business names that are being keyword stuffed by your competitors will help decrease their rankings.