What is a Google Business Profile?

A Google Business Profile (GBP, formerly Google My Business) is a free tool that allows businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Your GBP listing appears when users search for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps. It provides potential customers with essential information about your business, such as your:

  • Business name, address, and phone number (NAP)
  • Website
  • Hours of operation
  • Customer reviews
  • Photos and videos
  • Products and services
  • Posts and updates

Having a complete and accurate GBP is crucial for attracting more customers to your business, both online and offline. Why? Because your Google Business Profile is often the first thing potential customers will see when they search for you online. Therefore, you want your profile to rank higher than your competitors. That’s where GBP ranking factors come in.

What are GBP ranking factors, and why are they so important?

GBP ranking factors are signals that Google uses to determine where to rank your business profile in local search results. In other words, these factors help Google decide which businesses to show users searching for products or services like yours. The higher you rank in local search results, the more visible your business is to potential customers.

There are over 200 ranking factors, and Google is constantly updating its algorithm. However, some ranking factors are more important than others. Understanding and optimizing these factors can significantly impact your business’s visibility and success.

The Big Three Ranking Factors:

Google organizes its ranking signals into three main categories:

  1. Relevance
  2. Distance
  3. Prominence


Relevance refers to how closely your GBP listing matches a user’s search query. Ensuring your business information is accurate and relevant to what users are searching for is important. To improve relevance, ensure your:

  • Business category is accurate and specific.
  • Business description is keyword-rich and highlights what you offer.
  • Products and services are listed accurately.
  • Website and landing pages are optimized for relevant keywords.


Distance refers to the proximity of your business location to the user’s location at the time of the search. If someone searches for a “coffee shop,” Google will prioritize showing businesses near them. While you can’t control a searcher’s location, you can ensure:

  • Your business address is accurate and consistent across the web (more about this in the next section).
  • Target location keywords in your GBP profile if you service a specific area.
  • Create separate GBP listings for multiple locations if applicable.


Prominence refers to how well-known and reputable your business is online and offline. Google wants to show searchers businesses with authority and trust. To improve prominence, focus on:

  • Building a strong online presence through your website and social media platforms.
  • Obtaining high-quality reviews from happy customers. Encourage reviews and respond genuinely to all of them.
  • Building high-quality backlinks to your website from other reputable sources. Backlinks are links from other websites to yours, and they act as votes of confidence.

Primary Ranking Factors:

Within the Big Three, numerous primary ranking factors influence your GBP ranking.

1. Google Business Profile Optimization

1a. NAP Consistency (Name, Address, Phone number)

NAP consistency is crucial for local SEO. Ensure your business’s name, address, and phone number are consistent across your GBP listing, website, and other online directories.

1b. Choosing the Right Categories

Choose categories relevant to your core business activities. Don’t stuff keywords or choose categories irrelevant to your offerings.

1c. Writing a Compelling Business Description

Your business description should be engaging, keyword-rich, and accurately reflect your brand. Incorporate relevant keywords naturally while maintaining a reader-friendly flow.

1d. Uploading High-Quality Photos and Videos

Visual content is essential for capturing attention. Upload high-quality photos and videos showcasing your products, services, team, and physical location.

1e. Gathering and Managing Reviews

Positive reviews build credibility and trust. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, and address negative reviews professionally and constructively.

1f. Utilizing Google Posts and Updates

Keep your audience engaged with regular Google Posts showcasing promotions, events, updates, and valuable content. Engaging content keeps your profile active and relevant.

1g. Adding Products and Services

Listing products and services with descriptions and prices provides users with detailed information about your offerings directly on your GBP.

1h. Answering Frequently Asked Questions

The Q&A section allows you to address common customer queries proactively. Answering questions thoroughly and helpfully provides valuable information to potential customers.

2. Website Optimization

2a. Website Quality

A well-designed, mobile-friendly website improves user experience and signals credibility to Google.

2b. Content Relevance

Create high-quality content relevant to your business and target keywords. This helps Google understand and rank your website and GBP listing.

2c. Local Keywords

Incorporate location-based keywords naturally throughout your website content to improve local search visibility. For example, if you’re a plumber in Seattle, use “plumber in Seattle” on your service pages.

3. Backlinks and Citations

3a. Backlinks from Authoritative Websites

Earning backlinks from reputable websites is a powerful signal of authority to Google. Focus on building quality over quantity.

3b. Local Citations and Directory Listings

Listing your business on relevant online directories and industry-specific platforms can boost visibility and local SEO. Ensure your NAP information is consistent across these platforms. Examples include Yelp, industry-specific directories, BBB, etc.

4. User Experience (UX)

4a. Mobile-friendliness

With more people using mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website and GBP profile is crucial for providing a positive user experience.

4b. Website Speed

A fast-loading website keeps users engaged and improves their experience. Optimize your website’s speed to reduce bounce rates and improve rankings.

4c. Accessibility

Ensure your website and GBP profile are accessible to users with disabilities, following accessibility guidelines for optimal user experience.

5. Behavioral Factors

5a. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

A higher CTR from search results to your GBP listing indicates relevance and can positively impact rankings. Optimize your listing to entice users to click through.

5b. Phone Calls from GBP

Track the number of phone calls generated through your GBP listing, as it signals user engagement and can be a ranking factor.

5c. Website Visits from GBP

Monitor the traffic driven to your website from your GBP listing. A higher number of website visits can positively impact your local rankings.

Additional Ranking Factors

While the above factors hold significant weight, Google considers additional factors. Implementing these can further enhance your GBP ranking.

  • Google Business Profile URL: Customize your GBP short URL to make it memorable and easy to share.
  • Opening Date: While not a major ranking factor, including your business’s opening date can help establish credibility, especially for older businesses.
  • Business Hours Accuracy: Keep your business hours updated, especially during holidays or special circumstances. Inaccurate information can lead to customer frustration and harm your rankings.
  • Spam Reporting: Google encourages users to report spam or fraudulent listings, which helps maintain the integrity of the platform and protect businesses from unfair practices.

Staying Ahead of the Curve – Best Practices for GBP Optimization:

The world of local SEO is ever-evolving. Google continuously updates its algorithms, making staying informed and adapting your strategies crucial for maintaining a competitive edge.

  1. Regularly Check Google’s Guidelines: Stay current with Google Business Profile guidelines and best practices to avoid penalties and maintain a healthy listing.
  2. Track Your Performance: Utilize Google Business Profile analytics and other tracking tools to monitor your listing’s performance. Analyze data on views, clicks, calls, and other metrics to identify areas for improvement and measure the effectiveness of your efforts.
  3. Adapt to Algorithm Updates: Google frequently updates its algorithms, which can impact local search rankings. Stay informed about these updates and be prepared to adjust your optimization strategies accordingly. Following industry blogs, forums, and Google’s announcements can help you remain proactive in the face of changes.
  4. Focus on Quality and Consistency: Ultimately, success in local SEO revolves around providing value to your customers. By consistently delivering excellent products or services, maintaining accurate information, and prioritizing customer satisfaction, you create a solid foundation for a thriving online presence.


Mastering Google Business Profile ranking factors is essential for any business looking to succeed online. By understanding and optimizing your GBP listing, website, and online presence, you can attract more customers, increase visibility, and achieve your business goals. Remember that GBP optimization is an ongoing process that requires attention, adaptation, and a commitment to providing value to your audience.

Note: Zing Business Systems provides done-for-you solutions for Google Business Profiles or provides ideas and solutions for the DIY business owner.

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