What is Google Business Profile Keyword Stuffing?
Each Google Business Profile has a business name. According to Search Engine Land, the name of your business is one of the most crucial local SEO ranking factors.
The 3-Pack results get 44% of actual clicks on Google’s results page. Since the name of your business has such a high ranking factor, people often manipulate the name of their business to rank higher on Google. They do this by incorporating keywords into their business name despite that not being the official name of their business. This is the definition of keyword stuffing when it comes to Google Business Profile.
Examples of Keyword Stuffing (Legitimately)
Stuffing keywords into the GMB name has gained so much prominence that businesses have named their company based on keywords. This isn’t technically against Google’s guidelines since the name of their business reflects what’s on their Google Business Profile.
Below are examples of businesses I have encountered incorporating keywords into their business name.
Related Blog: How to rank better on Google for “Near Me” queries.
Great Asian Restaurant
The Great Asian Restaurant incorporates “Asian Restaurant” into its business name. They are located in Westerville, Ohio, so when people search for “Asian Restaurant Westerville,” this helps them populate in Google’s local pack.
Related Blog: Difference between organic and local pack rankings
Correlation Between Business Name and Local Pack Rank
- If you conduct a Google search for “Asian Restaurant Westerville,” Great Asian Restaurant is ranking number one organically.
- Having the keywords “Asian Restaurant” within their business name is helping.
- Many factors go into the local pack ranking, with the business name being one of the most important.
- This example is not against Google’s guidelines since it is legitimately their business’s name.
Coffee Shop Near Me
One of my favorite examples of a business name that was created with the sole intention of ranking better on Google was “Coffee Shop Near Me.”
My wife and I were on vacation in Hilton Head. Down the street from our hotel was a coffee shop named “Coffee Shop Near Me.” The name made sense since 90% of their visitors were likely tourists searching for the exact term. Again, this is not against Google’s guidelines since this is legitimately the name of their business. It’s just a bit awkward from a branding perspective, which I hit on later in this blog.
Google Cracking Down on Keyword Stuffing
In 2021, Google introduced the Vicinity Algorithm Update. One of the main reasons for the rollout was to crack down on businesses using keyword-stuffing tactics. Businesses that don’t have keywords in their business name benefited.
Despite this crack-down, in 2023, Search Engine Land still puts keywords in the business name as one of the top local SEO ranking factors. While it has gotten better, the issue has not been resolved.
Competitors Can Report Your GBP Page
Competitors can report businesses violating Google Business Profile Guidelines. If you can prove that the company’s name is not reflected on the Business Profile, you can suggest an edit or use the business redressal form. I include much more detail on reporting competitors in the blog referenced above. I also recorded a YouTube video about detecting and reporting a fictitious Google Business Profile name.
Google can suspend your Google Business Profile if the redressal form proves you aren’t using your actual business name. The Google My Business guidelines clarify that your business name should not be misrepresented. Below are key excerpts from the Google My Business guidelines:
Your name should reflect your business’s real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers. Accurately representing your business name helps customers find your business online. Including unnecessary information in your business name is not permitted and could result in your listing being suspended.
If there are three businesses all with a similar name to “Westerville Dentist,” it will be hard to differentiate your brand. While you might rank on Google’s local pack, all other marketing efforts may be challenging. Imagine running a radio spot for “Westerville Dental Associates.” There’s a strong likelihood that they may click on a competitor’s site.
Decision Time on Google Business Profile Name
- There are pros and cons to incorporating keywords into your business name.
- Keywords in the business name can still benefit your local SEO rankings within the local pack, driving more localized traffic to your site.
- Starting in 2021, Google devalued the use of keywords in business names, but this is still a top-ranking factor.
- If you try and manipulate your name, while you can reap the benefits, there’s a risk involved as competitors can report your business and your page can get suspended.
You can contact The Media Captain for guidance if you are debating what to do with your Google Business Profile name.