Keyword stuffing your business name on Google Maps and your Google Business Profile may seem like a shortcut to SEO, but it will cause more harm than good.
Adding keywords to your business name to gain a temporary SEO advantage on Google Maps is a big no-no.
Some people are convinced it helps their SEO, but it can hurt your SEO in the long term.
Google tries to sort information about companies, people, places, and things into the Knowledge Graph, which is their own repository of information about named entities.
The main places Google begins to look for information about your company are your website, your Google Business Profile (Google Maps listing), Wikipedia (usually only very large companies), news articles, industry listings, and social media accounts.
When your business name is different in a bunch of different places, then Google distrusts that information. It does not know which information is accurate. Plus, it makes you look like a big spammer if your business name is keyword-stuffed only on your Google Business Profile.
A foundation of local SEO is making sure your NAPW citations (Name, Address, Phone, Website) info is the same across the board: Google My Business, all social media accounts, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, Manta, Better Business Bureau, Hotfrog, Axciom, Neustar, etc., plus any industry websites.)
These are data aggregators that push that data to smaller sites. Meaning, your information should be consistent everywhere, especially if you are trying to rank in your local market.
Spamming Google Maps is a Losing Strategy
Did you know that any Google user can suggest an edit to your Google Business Profile if it is inaccurate? This is one reason why keyword stuffing is a weak local SEO strategy.
Google has a program called Local Guides that allows anyone with a Google account (Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, etc.) to suggest edits to your Business Name, Hours of Operation, or Business Category. If enough people report a name change, it will automatically be changed to the correct name. Google has automated systems that also corroborate this information with other sources, so keyword spamming your “business name” on Google Maps is all that more difficult.
In short, don’t keyword stuff your business name with your City or Service Offerings in your Google Maps listing. It muddles the information, hurts your long term SEO, and makes you look like a desperate spammer to Google.
Proximity is a Big Part of the Google Maps Algorithm
I know many people will tell you that they have the “secret formula” to getting your Google Business Profile to the top of Google Maps. Don’t buy some gimmicky “Google Stacks” package, because it simply will not work.
The top ranking factors in Google Maps are relevance, distance, and prominence.
Relevance is how closely the business services match what a user is searching for. Google looks at what phrases and words a website mentions to help determine relevance to a search. The Business Categories of a company on Google Maps and other third-party listing also gives context to what a business is about. Make sure all these messages align with the customers you are trying to reach.
Google expressly says their ranking algorithm, “considers how far each potential search result is from the location term used in a search. If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, we’ll calculate distance based on what we do know about their location.”
Essentially, Google Maps is a transportation app. They are trying to match users with the closest businesses they appear to be searching for.
This makes it very difficult (almost impossible) to rank everywhere in a large metro area if you only have one location. People don’t want to hear this, but it is true.
Prominence is all about how well-known a company or location is in the offline world, as well as the online world. Google will favor businesses that have many links from reputable websites to their website. Any information that Google can find about a company, like directory listings, news articles, industry news, local mentions and links, and other markers of importance will all be considered.
Reviews and ratings also have an effect on where your location ranks in Google Maps. Note: You should be getting reviews on other sites besides Google Maps! A real-world prominent company would have reviews from more than just one site! So your company should also have reviews from different industry websites to establish that it prominent.
Interestingly, Google also says this about “prominence” when it comes to ranking in Google Maps:
Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.
To rank higher in Google Maps, you will need to focus on all the aspects of creating a world-class company, and making sure that can be measured through online evidence that Google and other search engines can easily find.
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