Your Greatest Local Marketing Questions: Answered

If you could ask an SEO expert anything to help solve your brand’s search challenges and improve online performance, what would it be? We recently invited multi-location enterprises and marketers to “Ask Us Anything” in a live webinar and fielded questions on everything from getting multiple locations to rank in the same city, the value of marking up your local content with schema, dealing with difficult Google My Business verifications and much, much more.

Our three knowledgeable search experts tackled SEO and GMB questions from enterprise brands looking to solve persistent issues and make real gains in their local marketing strategy. Webinar participants heard from Krystal Taing, our Google My Business Gold Product Expert and Listings Specialist, and Scott McNulty, Mobile and Location Strategist here at Rio SEO, as well as content & digital marketing strategist Miranda Miller.

Together, they tackled over 20 wide-ranging questions from marketers in hospitality, healthcare, automotive, retail, agencies, and more. Choose a topic in the menu below to navigate to that specific question, or grab a beverage and dig in from top to bottom. If you prefer to listen to the audio, you’ll find the webinar recording on-demand at the end of this post. And of course, if you have any questions as you peruse the contents of this webinar, reach out to Rio SEO and we’re happy to help.

Want to hear the full webinar? You can access it here:

Navigate to the Q&A on:

Industry-Specific Keywords and Terms
Multi-Location Brands Using Duplicate Content on Local Pages
Getting Multiple Locations to Rank in the Same City
Achieving Multiple Listings for a Service Area Business
Business Locations Lacking a Mailing Address to Verify for GMB
Difficult Google My Business Verifications
Brand Message Consistency and Duplicate Content
Agencies Supporting Franchisees in Their Local Marketing
Calculating ROI Enterprise-Wide When KPIs Vary
Opening Dates in GMB
The Value of Schema for Local SEO
How Google Populates Knowledge Panels
What Schema Is and Why Local Marketers Use It
Local Marketing for Hospitality Brands
Measuring Local Pack Ad Performance
Customer Testimonials in Google My Business
The Relationship Between Organic Rankings and Three-Pack Rankings
The Impact of Specific Optimizations in Your GMB Profiles
Getting Multiple Professionals in One Physical Location to Rank
The Impact of Geotagging Images for Google My Business

On Industry-Specific Keywords and Terms:

Tony, an independent consultant in an SEO, asked:

“I’m doing SEO for senior assisted living. The main keywords are assisted living, senior living, etc. This is not a nursing home or convalescent home, but many people searching for nursing home and convalescent home are actually looking for assisted living.

How can we rank for these keywords without marketing them on the website as a nursing home, which is inaccurate (and the client does not want to use that term)?”

Miranda Miller: “I think your client needs to acknowledge that if customers are misinterpreting the language that you’re using, it is their job to mirror the customer’s language. You have to do a bit of research and figure out what it people are actually looking for. Just because you don’t provide nursing home services, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about it.

You could be writing about it—what are the key differences between assisted living and nursing homes? Or, what are some reasons that people choose assisted living over nursing homes? That allows you to still tap in and capture that audience who are already talking about that term in a way that you can reeducate and convert them to learning more about your service.”

On Multi-Location Brands Using Duplicate Content on Local Pages

Tony had a follow-up question and asked:

“If we have 50 locations that offer the same services (like assisted living, respite care, memory care, etc.) do we need to create these pages under each location, so there are 50 memory care pages? Or can we have one page for memory care that applies to all locations? Do we need 50 pages of unique versions of the same content to avoid duplicate content penalties?”

Miranda Miller: “This is a great place to use specialty pages. With Local Pages, you can actually create specialty pages as well. If you go to ‘Learn’ on the Rio SEO website and navigate to the case studies, you can see how Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts did this recently. They had a segment of locations with spas and by creating specialty pages were able to capitalize on those valuable, non-branded spa-related searches—those people who aren’t looking for Four Seasons, but are looking for spa services.

You want to make sure that the specialty pages you’re creating are optimized properly, marked up properly, and have good hyperlocal content. That’s why it’s important to choose a good technology partner who can help you do that at scale.

On Getting Multiple Locations to Rank in the Same City

A marketer from a storage company asked:

“We have trouble getting multiple locations within the same city on the same website to rank well in search. Google seems to favor one location over others in search results. Trying to find a way to structure this in a little bit better manner?”

Miranda Miller: “First, make sure that you’re measuring rank and visibility accurately. Results are super personalized and it’s really unlikely that Google is going to show five or six of the same brand’s stores to one consumer. They want to choose the one best answer. They’re probably going to choose the one physically closest to the searcher. You might need to do a local search audit to make sure that you truly understand how things are appearing. Then Scott, what would you do?

Scott McNulty: “I think you can utilize more localized content. If the user’s going to use voice search to say, ‘What’s the nearest storage facility near the I-5 Freeway?’ You  need to make sure that localized content reflects some of the different landmarks that are in and around that facility. Obviously, if you’re going to do that, those pages and those items need to be wrapped in schema.

There are different answers that you can put in your FAQs, too. I think that local reviews are very helpful as it relates to local content around those facilities. All of that builds a sort of three-layer cake of data that’s going to help you get found and help that location get found in the Google search.”

On Achieving Multiple Listings for a Service Area Business

A marketer from a car service company asked:

“How do we get multiple location listings for limo businesses?”

Krystal Taing: You can only get multiple locations listed within Google’s guidelines if you truly have multiple brick and mortar locations. If you’re a limo business and you have one office but provide service to a bunch of different areas, you can convert your listing to a service area business or a service area and brick-and-mortar combo business type in Google. But you really couldn’t create, within guidelines, multiple listings for your business unless you truly have multiple brick and mortar locations.”

On Business Locations Lacking a Mailing Address to Verify for GMB

Diane in the realty industry asked:

“We’re trying to claim Google My Business listings for our 450 shopping centers that do not have a mailing address to postcard-verify. Neighborhood grocery strip centers don’t have an office on site, therefore nowhere to mail the postcard. How do we claim GMB for these shopping centers? It’s very frustrating. I would think Google would want their users to be able to Google a shopping center and obtain correct information.”

Krystal Taing: “This is a tricky one, because shopping centers aren’t technically the same as a business, but sometimes there is potential anyways. If you think of Westfield Plaza, for example, they will have listings on Google. If you have over 10 locations, you shouldn’t have to do postcard verification. Going through the process of getting bulk verification is going to be helpful, and from there it really is just delineating whether these truly qualify for separate listings on Google, or if they’re considered a landmark. I think there’s a little bit of gray area there, but it’s worth us following up with you afterwards to discuss in more detail.”

On Difficult Google My Business Verifications

A marketer from a solar company asked:

“How do we combat Google’s constant requests for additional verification to get a GMB listing verified?”

Krystal Taing: “There was a conversation on Twitter earlier about additional items that Google is going through to try and prevent some spam, and I think it’s probably impacting people that are within guidelines. Honestly, outside of providing Google the information they ask for, there’s not really much more to do. What I’ve found helpful is to lean on others in the industry, because oftentimes you can learn from what they’ve learned and that’s a lot of what we do here at Rio.”

We may be doing things that are not necessarily published within the guidelines, but because we’ve done this with so many brands we are utilizing that groupthink. We’re able to understand what worked with one brand and how we can adopt that and apply it to others. Google’s guidelines are sometimes vague and they don’t always publish all information.

In this case, take a look at your listing and see if there’s anything that could be questionable when it comes to the guidelines. I know solar companies are notorious for review spam and those types of things, so sometimes there are industries that are just harder to manage on Google. It just requires following up and doing what they’re asking for, unfortunately.”

On Brand Message Consistency and Duplicate Content

Natasha with a pharmacy group asked:

“How can you be consistent with your brand message and also avoid duplicate content penalties?”

Miranda Miller: “You might have hundreds or thousands of locations and need to not only protect your message, but also the integrity of location data across all of these different locations. You need to be able to push national campaigns, but you still need the benefit of that locally authored content. That’s where the best content comes from. This is where a technology solution like Local Manager is really important.

It lets you empower your local owners and franchisees to create that rich locally relevant content and make sure that their business listing information is correct, and you give the search engines and all your consumers all of that content they love—but it still gives you control over what you’re publishing. You can set different permissions and user access levels, schedule content, push campaign content across all your locations or just subsets of locations. Then you can track the history of each change and edit. Doing all of this at scale does require the technology backing and experts to help you implement it.

When you’re talking about avoiding duplicate content, I like to think of it as how newspapers syndicate content. Associated Press might put out one article and you’ll see it on 500 different international news sites. That’s because it’s marked up and structured in a way that Google understands the relationship between those different websites.

Your Local Pages need to be structured and marked up in such a way that Google understands the brand relationship, and how each of your locations is relevant to the local area. That’s why Local Pages need to be built properly, optimized, structured and marked up properly, as well.”

On Agencies Supporting Franchisees in Their Local Marketing

Jesse with an SEO company asked:

“How can we, as an agency, work better with franchisees?”

Scott McNulty: “I think one of the benefits right off the top is this agency-level customer service that you bring to the table. Agencies are known for having a fantastic level of service with their clients. As a part of that approach with your service, I would be thinking that you really want to manage these issues or have a hands-on approach in managing duplicates, making sure that those are found and brought underneath the brand.

Make sure that any type of hosting that you’re doing is handled well and communicated to the client. Understand what the KPIs are for each of those individual locations. We know that an individual franchisee is very busy running their business. Make sure you have the ability to be very transparent in your reporting back to the client and in helping them manage their location data. How is it growing? Are they seeing accurate results? Are the results trending in a positive direction? Making the reporting easy for a franchisee to digest is even more important.

These franchisees are doing everything themselves and don’t have time to digest a deep analysis of how they’re performing within GMB. Give them an easy-to-digest monthly or weekly email; that will certainly help you build that rapport and relationship with big franchise brands. If you’re going to choose a partner to help you do that, you need one that understands the growth and needs of the franchise business.”

Krystal Taing: “Sometimes it’s really good to launch with those franchisees that are really active, as that can make an impression on other franchise owners and get their buy-in before you roll it out to everyone. Be flexible and understand that not every franchisee is going to be on board. You don’t want them to feel like they’re trapped, but that they are participating in this decision and in this process.”

Scott McNulty: “For sure. If you can find one of those major franchisee advocates, it can be the ticket for you as an agency to get them on board; to help other franchisees understand how much easier what you’re doing makes their job. Ultimately, anything we can do to help these franchisees and make their day easier is going to build longer-term relationships.”

On Calculating ROI Enterprise-Wide When KPIs Vary

John in healthcare asked:

“How can we calculate ROI for an enterprise-wide company when different KPIs are needed for each audience?”

Scott McNulty: “That’s a good question. There’s a lot to chew on there, John. One of the things that we do where we see value with our enterprise brands is reporting across a lot of the various keywords that are important to those brands. We’re able to help you understand—from a KPI perspective and ROI perspective—how you’re performing in both local and organic ranking. We want to make sure that the data is also sliced and diced depending on different attributes or service lines, and to be able to deliver that reporting to the client when they need it in order to help prove ROI. We have a simple calculator that allows our clients to understand an average order value across their different metrics.

If there’s a value that we know from Google for a click on a driving direction, for example, we can calculate the value of those clicks over time so that you understand the value that this traffic has brought to you through this platform. Ranking data can also really help you. If you’re working with someone to optimize both your local and organic search presence, for example, and you are number one, two or three in organic and you’re number one, two, three in local, why spend more to advertise in those markets? Using that ranking data, you can take a laser approach to paid search only in those markets that need a bit more love. Or, maybe those locations are ranking down the middle of the first page or off the first page in local, so you can use your dollars there to really drive value. You can really see gains in ROI when you use that approach.”

On Opening Dates in GMB

Several webinar attendees had questions about the opening date in Google My Business.

Krystal Taing: “The opening date is a fairly new feature. It’s been around for about a year and was really born out of necessity. A lot of brands struggle with the way users are interacting with Google. There have been many trying to game the system and get Local Guide points, and so we were seeing a lot of rogue uncleaned listings appear even when the business was just being built. People were leaving reviews for it and customers who then saw that information in Search complain because they drive there and it’s not even actually open.

I know that when I talked to Google and gave them this feedback, they said, “Don’t worry, we’ve heard this from a ton of other businesses and brands, as well. We’re working on it.”

Google then created this GMB opening date, which allows you to submit a business to Google up to a year before it opens. If you happen to know those advance dates, you can include them so that they’re in your Google My Business account. It won’t display on search or maps until 90 days before it opens. A couple of things you have to include are the name and opening date, which just has to be a month and a year. Say you have a location that’s opening August 2019, but you’re not sure if it’s going to be the 10th or 15th—you can put August 2019  then add that exact date once you’re closer to opening.

If you have hours on your listing, they won’t show until it’s been converted. Also, for those first 30 days that it’s open, your local listing will show that it was recently opened. It looks like a scissor cutting ceremony logo on your listing.

A couple of other questions about this opening date feature have come in. We can see that some are still struggling with reviews prior to that opening date. What Rio has done to combat this is we’ve coupled the opening date with a pre-opening Google Posts strategy. I think the challenge with opening date is, although Google made it large, it’s still pretty small and really requires users to be familiar with what a GMB listing is for them not to just immediately see it and click on driving directions. They have to actually read. I know that’s a challenge.

But this specific user is saying, ‘We add a listing to GMB prior to opening, but they also need help before that 90 days to help with the vendors and construction personnel getting directions.’ In this case, a lot of times, you have to be giving them driving directions to the address. If you can provide latitude and longitude and they can put that into Google, it helps. I know it’s not ideal, but those are the parameters within the Google My Business guidelines right now. They’re only allowing up to 90 days, but I imagine if this gets more popular and we leave more feedback and say, ‘We need six months in advance for this exact thing. We don’t want customers showing up, but we need vendors to deliver materials,’ and those types of things, I know they would listen. I don’t know if they would change it, but I think this is a very valuable piece of feedback to provide to Google.”

On the Value of Schema for Local SEO

A marketer from a financial company asked:

“Does structured data (specifically schema) help with local SEO?”

Scott McNulty: “Yes. For sure. I think you’ve already heard Miranda and I mention it, as we believe that schema is critical for local SEO. It’s a key identifier, without a doubt. Updating your schema regularly is critical.

Schema is definitely essential for long-term growth and presence, and again, we believe that all attributes should be marked up to earn your listing more real estate within the organic search. If you have reviews, if you have FAQs—obviously name, address, phone number, and data all should be marked up so that they can be found, ranked and shown.

Yes, talk to your Web Dev team and make sure they’re wrapping your pages or anything else in local in schema. It is going to be very important moving forward with voice search, as well. Voice search is really just about, what are you doing? The foundation of your business needs to be wrapped in schema; everything needs to be correct and marked up, so you can be found when someone asks, ‘Where are you?’”

On How Google Populates Knowledge Panels

Jamie from a digital marketing company asked:

“In what ways does Wikipedia affect GMB listings? How do knowledge panels come into existence for some companies but not others? Say a suggested edit is submitted… who was the person on the other end of that?”

Krystal Taing: “There is what’s referred to as a knowledge panel on Google, which is where you will see this panel. No one really owns it. It’s not a listing. It’s more, pulling in a lot of elements from the web that Google’s finding and has for whatever reason, determined that this is a prominent enough business or brand or whatever to deliver information in that way. Meanwhile, a Google My Business listing is the one that you can claim and manage within your Google My Business account.

Miranda Miller: “Right. Krystal, you spoke of businesses that weren’t open yet, but someone else was still providing information about them. Google is constantly looking all around the web to see where they can pull information for these knowledge panels. It does this with your Google My Business listing too, which is why it’s really important that you’re constantly monitoring. We don’t know why they choose one source over another—I don’t know if there’s a certain volume of links that they’re looking at or they want to see a certain number of citations, but when whatever criteria are met that Google decides, ‘This is an important enough topic. We want to use this,’ the engine will weigh the data and information they’re finding to see how trustworthy it is.

You have to remember Google’s core mission in all things that they do is to provide the searcher the best answer. They’re looking at Wikipedia articles, information from directories, other websites, review sites… everywhere, really. And they’re bringing this all together. If Wikipedia says one thing, but six other semi-trustworthy sources say something else, the Wikipedia info might not make it into the knowledge panel.

That’s the same way it works with your Google My Business. There are users… Google Guides are a little more trusted, but then you have just everyday users, and they probably have good intentions. They’re trying to suggest changes to your business information. Maybe they showed up but didn’t realize it was a holiday and they think your hours are wrong. Maybe they want to leave a review but couldn’t find your actual profile, so they created a new profile. These things happen all the time and inconsistencies can spread really quickly because of the way Google is constantly scanning to find information to make sure everything’s up to date. That’s where local listings management is super, super important.”

Scott McNulty: “Yes, we know that Google utilizes those other 420 plus directories out there today to validate information. Making sure that you are synchronizing the correct information across the entire search ecosystem is only going to make getting found that  much easier. You need a plan and a partner who is going to make sure that your information is brought in, cleansed, synchronized, and then pushed back out to the search ecosystem accurate and complete.”

On What Schema Is and Why Local Marketers Use It

A webinar attendee asked:

“What is schema? Can you provide a little bit more background?”

Scott McNulty: “The easiest way to describe schema is that it’s the language Google speaks. It’s the language that your web developer is going to wrap everything in on your page. Your name, address, phone number, localized content, hours of operation, etc.; schema is the language that the bots use when they crawl these, in order to understand the relevance of that page. You would be astonished at how many pages we look at for clients that don’t have any schema at all. They put money into building these beautiful pages, yet when none of it is wrapped in schema markup, it’s very difficult for it to get ranked properly for the keywords that are important to you and your brand.”

A viewer submitted a follow-up schema question:

“Can we share an example of someone that does schema really well? Also, what types of schema should we be using for local listings?”

Krystal Taing: “There’s a ton of schema out there. To answer the second half of that question, what I would suggest is that if you are owning and managing your Google My Business account, it doesn’t hurt to wrap your location name, hours , and those types of things in schema, but it’s not going to get to Google any faster than claiming your listing and managing. Local listings management needs to be at the top of your importance list. However, if you have supplemental items that can’t be controlled by managing your Google My Business listing (and I’ll give you a couple of these), those would be where I would prioritize.

Events schema is important. If you are a department-style business and you want that located in schema, that’s a really important one, alongside department hours. We’ve seen with financial companies that many want to show their drive-up hours as well as their lobby hours. Unfortunately, there is no option for that in Google My Business, but we’ve seen success using schema to get that published on your GMB listing. It does mean that all this stuff you’re submitting to Google has to be very in sync with everything on your pages. You have to be using the proper URLs and the address needs to be in sync for that to get published on your GMB listing.

On Local Marketing for Hospitality Brands

Sam in the hospitality industry asked:

“How can we maximize views?”

Krystal Taing: “I think this can mean quite a few things. I’ll go ahead and speak from a listings management perspective and then Scott and Miranda, if you want to add anything about content or pages, please do.

Instead of looking to maximize views in regards to Google or any listings management directly that you’re on, I would rather try and maximize your click-through rate. I think just trying to get more people looking at you on your GMB listing, on your knowledge panel, may not necessarily mean more customers in the door or more foot traffic.

Take a look at the traffic and views you’re already getting and make sure that you’ve done everything you can to encourage them to click on those driving directions, or to click through to your website to learn more, or to start that order, look at your menu, or get more information about your business. Are they intrigued enough to learn more? I think that’s probably where your time and listings management efforts are better spent, rather than just getting more eyeballs. I think it’s about making sure the eyeballs you have are quality eyeballs, and that they are going to turn into those shoppers or those future customers.”

Scott McNulty: “Yes, I think reviews on your GMB page are important. If you have reviews, make sure those are showing up. If you’re doing local pages or you have a page with content is hyper local in nature or geared toward the specific things that you’re trying to get those consumers to understand about your business, I think that’s all really, really relevant to maximizing your views.”

Miranda Miller: “I think too that in hospitality you have to make sure that you understand the customer journey. Is it a bigger ticket item like a resort where they’re planning for six months or a year ahead, and they’re going to have several touch points with you and really in-depth information? Or is it a matter of, ‘I’m driving through Chicago and I want to get a hotel for the night.’

You have to understand with those shorter, near me moments that people are looking for an answer right now. Rio SEO did a study (I believe it was within the last two years) where they found that only 1 in 60 local searchers actually clicked through to a website. Often, they’re finding everything they need right in the Google search results. They’re never going to click through to your website at all.

They can book a hotel, see your menu, make a reservation,get driving directions, and show up at the front desk—and you might never know that they’ve interacted with you. This is where your Google My Business profile is critical and also making sure that you understand those insights and how many people are seeing your local presence but never actually communicating with you until they might already be your customer.”

On Measuring Local Pack Ad Performance

Ellen is with an automotive company and asked:

“How can you measure local pack ad performance?”

Krystal Taing: “GMB insights is within your standard insights data. We see this all the time when we’re looking in delivering regular Map Pack performance, that there’ll be a spike to views or one specific element of Map pack insights. We always check to see if the client was running any local ad campaigns during this time frame and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, we had that one.’ Right now, there’s no indication within GMB that this was a local pack ad performance. I do know we have provided this feedback to Google, so keep an eye out, but Scott, if you want to just speak a little to this…”

Scott McNulty: “I think one of the best ways to use that information is that we can report back (or you can find that data) as to how many clicks you had for driving directions. They will show this and how many clicks you had to call, which are all valuable data as to how that local map pack is performing. Ranking data can also help allow you to see how you’re showing up—whether you’re one, two, three or 10 on there—allowing you to just use a little bit more ad spend to get some lift there if it needs to be done.

GMB insights are really valuable to diagnose when or why locations might turn off the top three, two as well. They do have those insights there that you can take advantage of. Really understand how your consumers are interacting with the Map Pack. That data’s there for you.”

On Customer Testimonials in Google My Business

Edward is with an SEO company and asked:

“Has the new feature in Google My Business called customer testimonials been implemented?”

Krystal Taing: “The answer is yes. Essentially, this is a new feature when you log into your Google My Business account, where Google has really been telling you like, ‘Hey, your competitors are posting Google posts like this. Here’s their images, here’s their text.’ But recently they did start pulling in reviews and promoting those and building that out as a Google Post. All you have to do is click ‘Publish now’ and it automatically turns it into this really nice, artistic Google Post that highlights some of your best reviews.

Clients have asked, “Can we choose which review is here?”

Right now, you can’t. It’s random. I have no idea how they choose; they might just choose the most recent five-star review to do that. But it is a new feature. Obviously, if you’re managing in bulk, you still have that challenge of not being able to manage Google Posts via bulk import or the API at the moment, but if you’re in there and you want to test that out, it’s a new feature for you.

On the Relationship Between Organic Rankings and Three-Pack Rankings

Christina is with a digital marketing company and she asked:

“I have noticed more circumstances lately where a company is ranked very high organically but not showing up in the Local Three Pack for search terms in their physical city. It seems the organic rankings and a Three Pack ranking are not tied together as closely anymore. Do you have any insight?”

Miranda Miller: “Rio SEO did a study a few years ago in which there was a really clear correlation between organic ranking and local positioning across the 50,000 or more locations studied. However, I don’t know of any more recent changes to that. I’m going to roll that one over to Scott.”

Scott McNulty: “Yes, I think that it’s just going back to the basics. Local and organic are different, so having the basics right is very, very important. The right schema markup on those pages, the right content that’s hyperlocalized for those individual locations. Are you matching the attributes on your GMB to what you’re saying on the pages? There’s a lot to align there. I’d love to learn a little bit more about the challenges that you’re facing and we can share some emails back and forth and if I can help you, I’ll certainly point you in the right direction to somebody who can.”

Krystal Taing: “Just to add a little bit more there, as Miranda mentioned, we did do a study and talked about how closely the two algorithms were aligned. I think in the next couple of weeks or months, we’re actually going to redo that same study. I expect to do the exact opposite—to show you in the last two years how those have changed so much and how they are further and further apart. That’s something that’s interesting and it’s happening.

I know for local, one of the really big things is prominence in location. When it comes to ranking in a specific city, it really depends on how close you are to the city center (or what Google believes is the city center). There are a lot of really new things and I think the local algorithm is making it harder to align your organic and local strategies.”

On the Impact of Specific Optimizations in Your GMB Profiles

Jeff in digital marketing asked:

“How do we fill in the ‘services offered’ section within Google My Business and how beneficial is this as a ranking factor in the Three Pack?”

Krystal: “I imagine this is the services menu in Google My Business, and so this is something that only shows up on mobile. It used to show on desktop as well, but I think in the last six months they stopped showing it. This is both if you have a restaurant menu as well as the service menu, and so it shows only on your knowledge panel on mobile and you’ll get a tab on your GMB listing if you add this that says menu. Right now, I think a lot of the benefit has to do with the type of business you are.

If users expect to see that information when they come to find you, I think that’s critical and it’s probably more about user experience than ranking. It’s such a new feature that I don’t know that filling it out really has an impact on ranking. It does just create that more holistic profile. It gives them more things to look at on your knowledge panel, so obviously taking that as a factor. I don’t think adding specific keywords in there is a huge deal, but definitely highlighting any branded or specific services that a user would expect to see I think is a really good idea.”

On Getting Multiple Professionals in One Physical Location to Rank

John is with an agency and asked:

“What is the best way to get multiple practices or psychiatrists with the same address but different suite numbers to display for the same query?”

Scott McNulty: “There are definitely categories based on specialties and attributes; make sure you’re getting that correct. You can do some keyword research or have someone work with you on those specialties. Miranda, do you have anything to add to that?”

Miranda Miller: “I would encourage you to go to the Learn section on Rio SEO’s website again. We have a case study there where you can see how one healthcare brand with hundreds of sites and 80,000 caregivers handled their citation and listings accuracy. That would definitely be something good to read up on.”

Krystal Taing: “I would just add that if you have 10 very similar physicians or psychiatrists at the same address, there is going to be a filtering element that Google’s going to give. They’re not just going to give you preference to the entire SERP. I would focus on differentiating them as Scott mentioned, and focusing on their specialties and their core competencies. Maybe one has really great reviews and another one has other things. One might rank the best, one might show because they’ve been there longer so they’ll have that historical play, but I would try to delineate strategy as much as possible between the exact same physician or psychiatrist.”

On the Impact of Geotagging Images for Google My Business

“How much of an impact do you think geotagging images on GMB has on brand placement in local search?”

Krystal Taing: “I know this was probably a bigger strategy to use probably a year or two ago. I think in regards to an image strategy, probably a better use of time is really just getting regular images added to your listing—rich images added to your listing. Geotagging is helpful for Google to rank you in specific areas, but I don’t think if you have 10 Geotagged images on Google My Business and 10 non Geotagged images on Google My Business that it makes much of a difference. But what I always suggest, especially to our enterprise brands, is that if image management is hard you should reach out to your business owner and store managers. Give them really quick instructions on taking a nice photo and have them load it directly to the listing as a user. Google tends to prefer user generated content anyway. I think that’s a good, easy, quick way to get some nice imagery on your GMB listings, especially if you have a lot of locations. 

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