The Definitive Guide to Google Business Profile Optimization

What you need to know to optimize your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business listing).

Darren Shaw

Last Updated: July 21, 2023.

Top 10 GBP Conversion Factors That Will Help You Grow Your Local Leads

Today we are discussing the Top 10 GMB Conversion Factors that experts agree are critical from the latest Local Search Ranking Factors study.

Video Transcript

Hi there, Darren here with another Whitespark Weekly video! These videos are to help you understand local SEO, give you new optimization strategies, and keep you up to date on all the latest in local search. If you’re new here, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up for our newsletter.

How you can crank up conversions on your Google My Business listing? The main thing I really want to get across here is that if you get your Google My Business listing right, fully optimize and enhance it, then ranking in the fourth, fifth, sixth position, or even a ninth position ranking can outperform the number one ranking. You can actually be driving more leads from your listing even though you’re not rank as high as another listing. The greatest way to demonstrate this is by example.

This example here illustrates this point. I did a search for Drain Cleaning Edmonton and the number one result is All About Drain Cleaning. You can see that they’re at a P.O. Box. The only photo they have is this picture of an industrial complex on street view, it’s not even a photo added by the business, Google automatically pulls it in from Streetview. They don’t have any business hours listed. They’ve got one questionable five-star review. I’m not going call that business, they do not look like a legit business. They’re very sketchy, they might have ranked number one, but they have not earned my trust with their listing.

Now on the other hand, take a look over here on the other side, Mr Rooter. They’ve got this amazing little box that’s related to my search. This is pulling Google Posts where they’ve mentioned “drain cleaning”, so anything related to my search term is showing up here. They’ve got their hours listed. They’ve got an appointments URL. They’ve got this nice Q&A section that talks about specifics related to the business. They’ve got nice photos. There are 628 Google reviews with a 4.8 star rating. This business just looks legit – they look trustworthy.

They’ve got a bunch of stuff on here that is speaking specifically to my search query. So, this listing is going to get the call. And I can tell you that it gets the call because I actually was looking for a drain cleaning service a couple weeks ago, I ran this search and I called Mr. Rooter. Even though they ranked #4, I’m like, “Oh, they’re #1!” That’s the business I’m going to call, they definitely earned my business.

This question of Google My Business conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a new concept and important to Local SEO. I wanted to include it into the 2020 Local Search Ranking Factor survey. I asked the survey participants,

what individual factors do you think have the biggest impact on conversions from Google My Business?

These were the results.

(Want to see all of the top highlights and takeaways from the 2020 study? Check out this presentation from the Whitespark Local Search Summit).

These are the top 10 factors. I want to work through them with you and look at each one individually.

#1. High Numerical Google Ratings (4-5 Stars) + #2. Positive Sentiment in Review Text + #3. Quantity of Native Google Reviews

The first thing that you’ll note is that reviews are the top three factors that will drive conversions. That makes so much sense. If you’re looking for a business, you’re going to look at their reviews. Do they have good ratings? Is there positive sentiment? Are people talking about the reviews? What is the total quantity of reviews?

If we look at Mr. Rooter, you can see they have 692 reviews, lots of positive sentiment, lots of responses from the business owner. The business owner is taking the time to respond. That’s an important factor that you see that they’re active. You can tell that they care. They’re also showing review attributes in the reviews.  Positive attributes, professionalism, responsiveness.

Reviews can play a huge role in your conversions, so make sure you’re getting lots of good reviews. A couple things you should do to grow your reviews: ask every customer, ask them to mention the service that they had performed that will help you to get keywords in your reviews (which can also drive that “related to your search” box results) and make sure you’re responding to all your reviews.

#4. Proximity of Address to the Point of Search

The next thing is proximity of address to the point of search. The trouble with this one is you can’t do anything about it. You can’t pick up your business and move it to whoever is searching and so there’s nothing you can do about it. But it does make sense as a conversion factor, because if you’re looking for a dentist, you may want to find one that’s closer to you or if you’re looking for a coffee shop, you want to find one that’s close. That’s why this ranks high as a conversion factor. But it’s not actionable.

#5. GMB Messaging Feature is Enabled

You can turn on messaging in the Google My Business app (and since recording this episode, Google has enhanced messaging functionality on desktop). In the GMB app (and in the GMB dashboard on desktop), you’ll get a notification if someone sends you a message. The message can either come through the Google Maps app on a mobile phone, or through desktop (there’s a request a quote button that shows up for searchers). People can message you directly and of course, that makes perfect sense as a conversion factor. Because if you can provide an instant means for person to ask you a question, that’s a lead, and you’re driving conversions and leads directly from a good listing.

If you don’t have that turned on, make sure you turn on the messaging feature, and start getting those direct leads. You might as well get them.

#6. Proper Hours Set on GMB Listing

Next thing is making sure you have the proper hours set in GMB.  Google has expanded the hours options and you can actually turn on special hours or more hours. You can share hours for specific areas of your business (brunch, online service hours, senior hours, etc). You can also add special seasonal hours.

#7. Completeness of GMB Listing

Another conversion factor is completeness of your Google My Business listing. This is important because the more enhanced your listing is the more likely people are to convert.

Our example of All About Drain Cleaning vs. Mr. Rooter really illustrates that. When your listing is complete, you have all of these great features – there’s just more for the searcher to consume on your listing, more areas for them to understand your business. You’ve got a description, you’ve got photos, you’ve got Google products, you’ve got lots of images, you’ve got great reviews – really building out your listing.

The action item here is, if there is a field in Google My Business make sure you fill it out! This will help you drive more conversions. Because it’s just more for people to understand your business. It’s like if you had a website, and one website just had name, address, and phone number on it, and then the other website had like lots of sections and services and photos and talked about all the different things the business does. Then you know which business we’re going to call. It’s the same kind of thing with your Google My Business listing.

Another benefit of this is that you can trigger the “Related to Your Search” panel through enhancing your listing. You can actually help drive this related to your search panel, and that panel can pull in information from the Google Q&A section, it can pull in information from your Google reviews and from your Google posts.  By making sure that you complete your listing, you can help trigger that extra little panel with related search queries, which is it’s fantastic. That’s actually the thing that really caught my eye when I called Mr. Rooter: that “Related to Your Search”. I was like, “Oh, they’ve got lots of stuff related to drain cleaning, this is probably a company that specializes in that.”

#8. GMB Booking Feature is Enabled

The next thing that you can optimize is the booking feature. This obviously would have a huge impact on conversions from GMB because if you turn on the booking feature, people can actually book an appointment with you right on Google. Not every business has this, so you have to be tied up with one of their partners. The way you book appointments at your business has to be through one of the applications that Google has a partnership with.

#9. Frequency of Google Posts Posted

Another one is frequency of Google Posts posted and making sure that you’re posting regularly. You should have a post up there at least once a week that talks about either your services, has a special offer that you’re promoting, if you’ve just launched an online store, this is an example from one of our clients, CosaFina.

Putting these Google Posts up there can really help convert because someone might be looking for a specific thing. As I mentioned earlier, Google can pull that content into the “Related to Your Search” results. There are huge benefits – huge conversion benefits – to making sure that you’re always posting with Google Posts.

#10. Comprehensive Google Questions & Answers Section With Owner Seeded Questions

Finally, the tenth top factor is making sure you have a comprehensive Google Q&A section that has been filled out by the owner with specific questions. Here’s a great example. This business, A.B. May Heating, A/C, Plumbing & Electrical, has all these different questions like:

  • How does your service work?
  • Do you install garbage disposals? (That’s actually a review of the company in there.)
  • Do you do furnace cleaning?

People that are coming to your listing may have these questions about your business. They might be wondering… Do you do this service? Is there parking nearby? What are your hours? All kinds of questions get put into the Q&A section. If you pre-emptively add those to your listing, any questions people have might be answered already. They’ll be like “Oh, yes, they do drain cleaning. I’ll call them.” And so anything that you can answer in advance on your listing, you might as well put it in there. Very few businesses are taking advantage of this. You should.

The takeaway here is to seed your own Q&A. Go into the front end of your Knowledge Panel (you need to be logged into your GMB account), then ask the question, and answer it. Do that on your listing.

Another thing you should do is you should up-vote your favorite question, the one that you really want people to see.  A great example is on the Whitespark listing, someone asked the question “Is manual citation building better than Yext?” We answered that question with a yes. That’s the one that we love having highlighted on our listing. Take the one that you want to be highlighted, and make sure you upvote it and get two other people to upvote it as well. If it has three or more upvotes, and it has more than the other questions, it’ll appear actually on your business profile when someone does a branded search.

Alright, so those are the top 10 factors. I hope it was helpful. If you need any help with this, we have an expert team that does this work through our Google Business Profile & Local SEO Services. That’s all I have for you this week. I hope that was helpful and see you next week.

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