Increase Local SEO Rankings With Predefined Services

Huge local SEO news! Adding predefined services to your Google Business Profile can now significantly impact rankings.

Until now, services have NOT been a ranking factor. In fact, the idea that services impacted rankings was the #4 local SEO myth in the latest Whitespark Local Search Ranking Factors survey.

They were still valuable for other reasons: they drove more conversions and they triggered eye-catching justifications in the search results. But rankings? No.

However, new research by Sterling Sky shows that selecting Google’s predefined services now has a positive impact on rankings. In this video, I go over their study and show you how to make the most out of your Services section.

Want to track the impact of your SEO work? Check out the Whitespark Local Rank Tracker!

Video Transcript

Hey, I got a good one for you today. Huge local SEO news. Sterling Sky recently published some research that shows that adding predefined services to your Google Business Profile can have a significant impact on your rankings.


Some of you might be thinking, “well, obviously,” but the reality is that the Services section has long been thought to have zero impact on rankings. Previous testing has shown that no matter what you put in that Services section, it doesn’t really impact rankings, but it can have a positive impact on conversions because of justifications and because you can see them on mobile. So if people see that you offer that service, it might help them convert.

But ranking impact? No. It actually comes in as one of the local search myths in the most recent Local Search Ranking Factors survey.

Summary of Sterling Sky’s Findings

Huge shout out to Joy Hawkins and her team at Sterling Sky for testing this again and discovering something really phenomenal. This is a new tactic that we can now use to improve local search rankings. Let me show you.

What they found is that if you take any of these predefined services that Google is suggesting and click them and add them to your Profile, you’ll generally see a pretty significant ranking boost.

Let me show you an example. So you can see here that prior to adding that service to their profile, they only ranked in their immediate area. But then after clicking that button and adding the service to their profile, wow, look at this now ranking quite well, in a pretty wide range.

And then they did it again on another listing. Look at what happened here. So previously this business was not ranking at all for vampire facials, a pretty obscure term. But when they added the predefined service that Google was suggesting to their profile, boom. Look at that huge impact in rankings.

How to Add Predefined Services

Let me walk you through the action items to take advantage of this new local search tactic.

You want to go to your Google Business Profile and then click the “Edit services” button. This will bring up the services section.

It’s important to note that if you have any pending services that Google is suggesting, you either have to edit or accept those before you’re going to get the predefined services options.

Once you do that, any of the ones that you’ve accepted, you can edit. You can add a price, you can add a description, edit. If you have any services in there you don’t want, you can click here and delete them.

After accepting those, you get this magic button: “Add more services”. When you click on it, you can see all of the predefined services you can now add to your Google Business Profile.

As I add all of these predefined services to my Profile, I’m improving my rankings for those terms. Sterling Sky has shown that these predefined services will have a positive impact on your ranking.

Click save after you’ve selected the ones you want, and then add descriptions to them.

Now, you might be wondering, some of these will have “Add custom services”. 

The jury is still out about whether or not adding custom services has any impact on rankings. Joy and her team say that they’re testing that, so I look forward to their follow-up. But you might as well add custom services because they can help you rank for extra terms.


This is truly a wonderful new discovery that can have a huge impact on your ranking.

I actually think this should now be a new weekly task for anyone that cares about their local search rankings. Once a week you should check your GBP and see if Google is suggesting any categories. If yes, accept or edit, remove the ones that don’t make sense. Then click “Add more services” and see if there are any additional predefined services you can add to your category.

It seems that every time you add one of those additional services, you’re casting a wider net allowing you to rank for those services. Plus, you get the benefit of additional “Provides” justifications.

Shout out and a huge thank you to Joy Hawkins and the team at Sterling Sky for giving us this new local search strategy to add to our tool belt. Great job.

All right. I hope that was helpful. See you all next time.

Want to track the impact of your SEO work? Check out the Whitespark Local Rank Tracker!


Darren Shaw

Darren Shaw founded Whitespark in 2005. The company specialized in web design and development, however, Darren's passion and curiosity for all things local search led Whitespark to focus primarily on local SEO in 2010 with the launch of the Local Citation Finder, followed by the Local Rank Tracker.

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