How Google Business Profile’s Predefined Services can Impact Local SEO?

google business profile

Recent tests conducted by Sterling Sky (Disclosure: I am employed at Sterling Sky) and Whitespark suggest that Google Business Profile (GBP) services may have a more significant impact on local rankings than previously believed.

In particular, the inclusion of pre-defined services within Google Business Profile (GBP) appears to have an influence on local search rankings.

Prior to this discovery, there were limited options to leverage Google Business Profile (GBP) for influencing local search results, primarily focusing on factors such as location, categories, reviews, and keywords incorporated within the business name.

With this recent finding, the addition of Google Business Profile (GBP) services can now be included among the essential factors for local SEO optimization, deserving a prominent place on your priority list.

Since When Did GBP Services Matter?

During our initial test conducted in 2019, Google Business Profile (GBP) services did not have a significant impact on local rankings.

During that period, Google was discreetly and gradually incorporating pre-defined services into numerous Google Business Profile (GBP) categories. However, when we conducted a retest in 2022, the outcomes revealed a substantial difference in results.

Darren Shaw from Whitespark conducted a comparable test, and the outcomes were positive as well.

Both tests demonstrated a notable improvement in local search rankings when pre-defined services were added to the Google Business Profile (GBP) listing.

However, the enthusiasm surrounding this discovery is primarily limited to the local SEO community, as many small business owners are unaware of how to add services to their listings or where to begin.

The reason for this lack of awareness is that Google does not frequently announce new features, often concealing them within a new and perplexing search edit interface that is generally unpopular among users.

Where to Find Services in the GBP Dashboard (NMX)?

To locate services within the Google Business Profile (GBP) new merchant experience (NMX), you need to navigate to the services section in the menu.

Once you access the services section, you will be presented with a list of categories along with their corresponding services listed under each category.

Clicking on “Add more services” will open a new screen displaying the existing services available for selection within that particular category. It is important to note that certain categories may have a greater number of services, while others may not have any services listed.

Before proceeding to click for more services, it is necessary to address any pending service suggestions that require acceptance or removal. Once you have resolved these pending suggestions, you can then proceed to access additional services.

Do all Categories have Services to Add?

Notably, not all categories have pre-defined services that can be added. However, it has been observed that Google regularly introduces new pre-defined services, indicating an ongoing expansion of available options.

It is advisable to regularly check your Google Business Profile (GBP) to determine if any new services have been added that are relevant to your business.

It is worth noting that there have been instances where businesses have multiple listings with varying pre-defined services under their primary category. 

If you are responsible for managing multi-location businesses, it is important to regularly review and update the services for each location. 

How do GBP Services Impact Local Rankings?

Extensive testing has shown that incorporating services within Google Business Profile (GBP) contributes to improvements in both implicit and explicit keyword rankings. This discovery is particularly thrilling, especially in light of the challenges posed by the Vicinity update, which significantly impacted the ability to rank for implicit keywords that are geographically distant from a business’s physical location.

Furthermore, these services play a vital role in enhancing the rankings for specific and niche service-based keywords.

For instance, within the electrician category, Google displays two services that are related to “alarm installation” and “electric car charging.” 

If “alarm installation” and “electric car charging” are services that you aim to generate more leads for, selecting and indicating them in your Google Business Profile can significantly enhance your local visibility for relevant searches. 

a. Sourcing Unique Content Ideas from GBP

This feature is particularly valuable for generating content ideas, especially if you oversee multiple businesses and accounts.

These pre-defined services offer a valuable source of unique topics and keywords for your service pages, presenting opportunities you may not have considered on your own.

Based on my understanding, Google recommends these services based on user searches that are relevant to the category or industry in which the business operates. 

In a sense, Google provides valuable insights into what people are searching for by suggesting these services. Therefore, it is beneficial to include these services on your website, especially if you actually offer them.

b. Track your Local Search Results

As with any aspect of local search, it is recommended to take multiple screenshots to track the results and changes over time. 

Be sure to capture before and after screenshots of the search engine results page (SERP) and local finder when you add new services to your Google Business Profile (GBP) listings. 

Capture screenshots of the top keywords and related keywords that are relevant to your business and take notes on your observations. 

After a few days of adding the services, take another set of screenshots of the same keywords and compare them with your initial screenshots.

The impact on rankings typically becomes noticeable within 24 to 72 hours. To streamline the process, I suggest utilizing tools such as Mobile Moxie’s automatic SERP tracker, which can track the changes for you automatically. Alternatively, you can perform the tracking manually by using a location-changing extension like GS Location Changer. 

I suggest using geogrid tracking tools like Places Scout or Local Falcon to monitor your local rankings accurately.

Both Places Scout and Local Falcon allow you to visualize your listing’s rankings across a specific service area.

By monitoring local rankings both before and after incorporating services into your Google Business Profile (GBP), you are likely to observe a significant boost in local rankings for keywords associated with the added services. 

c. Keep your GBP Strategy Updated

Local SEO is a dynamic field that undergoes continuous evolution, primarily driven by the numerous changes introduced by Google to its Google Business Profile (GBP) platform. 

To stay ahead in local SEO, it’s essential to keep yourself updated with the latest news and developments. 

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