New Performance Reporting for Google My Business

Google has kicked off the new year with updated Google My Business performance reporting. The new reports appear in the Insights section and include metrics detailing how consumers discovered listings and business profile interactions. The time frame has also been extended with data now available for up to six months rather than three months.


When listing managers log into their Google My Business accounts and view the Insights section, they will be greeted with a message that says, “Your insights are moving.” Once users click through to the new performance reporting they will see a pop-up window allowing them to choose a date range to view their metrics within a six-month timeframe.

Source:  Google

The number of business profile interactions including calls received and messages sent are displayed. A breakdown of search terms visitors used to find the business profile is included as well.


Source:  Google

Business Profile Focus

Google has released a help document to provide information about the new performance reporting and the refocus on the Business Profile. One of the changes within the updated performance reporting is a change in frequency. The searches detailed in the report will now be updated monthly, instead of quarterly. While metrics that are included in the current Insights, such as driving direction requests and website clicks, are not included in the new performance reporting, Google notes that this version of performance reporting is still evolving, and we will see the appearance of additional metrics in the coming months.

Source:  Google

What’s Next?

Google says that interactions within the new performance reporting are just the start. New metrics will be coming soon and the old versions will be removed from Google My Business. Although the new performance reporting is only available on Search, it will soon be available on Maps as well with the same six-month data timeframe.

We believe the evolution of these Insights will prove to be helpful in managing Google My Business profiles and evaluating the value they provide to our clients. Stay tuned for more updates to the GMB platform throughout 2021.

2020 Local Ranking Factors Survey

Originally developed by David Mihm 12 years ago, the annual Local Search Ranking Factors survey has been used by brands as a guide to understand the most important factors influencing local search results in order to prioritize marketing efforts. This year’s survey, conducted by Whitespark’s Darren Shaw, polled about 50 local SEO experts to collect their opinions on which activities and factors impact local business rankings. The study hopes to help marketers understand what could be changed on their current listing and gives insight into what has helped others increase page rank and conversions. This year, the survey explored seven themes:

  • Google My Business
  • Citations/Listings
  • On-page Factors
  • Links
  • Reviews
  • Behavioral Signals
  • Personalization

Changes in Local Ranking Variables

Source:  Whitespark, 2020 Local Search Ranking Factor Survey

According to the study, there has been a noticeable shift in influences on the Local Pack and Local Finder variables.

Local Pack Results

Source: Whitespark

Local Finder Results

Source:  Whitespark

Google My Business and reviews are local ranking variables that have increased the most in recent years, while local links, citations and on-page signals are on the decline.

Source:  Whitespark, 2020 Local Search Ranking Factor Survey

When comparing the local organic results found lower on the search results page to the Local Map Pack and Local Finder, reviews and GMB seem to have less impact on local organic rankings. The top factors in local organic ranking are links and on-page factors.

Local Organic Results

Source:  Whitespark

Top Local Organic Factors

The impact of local SEO variables was also considered in the study. At the top of the local organic SEO ranking factors, was authority of inbound links. The top five local organic factors were:

  • Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
  • Volume of Quality Content on Entire Website
  • Keywords in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Domain
  • Topical (Product/Service) Keyword Relevance Across Entire Website
  • Geographic (City/Neighborhood) Keyword Relevance of Domain Content

Source:  Whitespark, 2020 Local Search Ranking Factor Survey

Top Map Pack and Local Finder Ranking Factors

While the primary GMB business category was the top factor, close behind was adding keywords into the GMB business title, even though Google has stated placing keywords in the business title is prohibited. Additionally, keywords in native Google reviews appear to be a greater ranking factor than review scores, quantity of reviews and completeness of GMB listings.

Source:  Whitespark, 2020 Local Search Ranking Factor Survey

When taking a detailed look at the GMB Local Pack variables, the top five factors are:

  • Primary GMB Category
  • Keywords in GMB Business Title
  • Proximity of Address to the Point of Search
  • Physical Address in City of Search
  • Additional GMB Categories

Google My Business Conversion Factors

One of the last questions within the survey was, “Which individual factors do you think have the biggest impact on conversions from GMB?”

Based on the survey’s findings, the top five GMB conversion factors were:

  • High Numerical Google Ratings
  • Positive Sentiment in Review Text
  • Quantity of Native Google Reviews
  • Proximity of Address to the Point of Search
  • GMB Messaging Feature is Enabled

Source:  Whitespark, 2020 Local Search Ranking Factor Survey

As seen in the survey results, higher ratings, positive reviews and the quantity of reviews are all top factors in GMB conversions. These findings may add some confusion to the mindset of marketers that are attempting to understand these factors. So, does this mean that conversion factors are more important than ranking factors?

Rankings Vs. Conversions

When Darren Shaw was asked for his key takeaways from this study, he stated, “A #1 ranking isn’t going to drive any leads to your business if your profile doesn’t have any information on it. A complete GMB listing ranking in the #5 spot with products, photos, descriptions, special offers and tons of positive reviews will always beat an empty GMB listing ranking first.”

The findings within this survey suggest that while rankings are important to visibility, Google My Business conversions are more important to potential sales conversions. Higher conversion rates can equate to generating sales and that is not necessarily true of ranking higher on search result pages. Therefore, marketers should continue to fill their GMB profiles with consistent and accurate information to increase customer engagement on search result pages.

There are so many factors influencing how well a business ranks in local search results, it can be difficult for brands to manage their local listings efficiently, especially for hundreds or thousands of locations. Mindstream Media Group offers a full suite of location services solutions including listings management, store locators, data management and location pages. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your brand connect with local consumers searching for the information they need to make buying decisions.

Health and Safety Measures Coming to Google My Business

The COVID-19 pandemic has made business difficult for both proprietors and consumers in 2020. Several states are now allowing physical visits again, but consumers are often confused about the safety protocol at their favorite local businesses. Google has developed a new solution aimed at helping patrons understand what to expect.


Earlier this month, Google launched a new set of Health and Safety attributes businesses can add to their Google My Business (GMB) profile to help communicate the coronavirus protection measures they have in place. Although these new attributes have not been appearing in Search and Maps yet, it is believed that they will appear soon.

There are currently six options available for food, retail and service businesses: Appointment required, Mask Required, Staff gets temperature checks, Staff wear masks and Temperature check required.

Research data suggests that consumers are more likely to visit stores that communicate these health and safety measures as they prefer to patronize businesses that require masks. In August, GatherUp and Mike Blumenthal researched nearly 40,000 reviews across nine different business types after a business commented in the GMB forum that they had received an unfair negative review related to their efforts to enforce mask compliance. Results showed few anti-mask reviews. In fact, most negative reviews revolved around businesses not requiring masks or the lackluster enforcement of them being worn properly inside stores by both employees and shoppers.

Key Takeaways

Throughout the pandemic, Google has searched for ways to make displaying safety information easier. As consumers begin to venture out into their usual store locations and health facilities, businesses that use the Health and Safety attributes have a new way to communicate requirements. Informing consumers of safety protocols prior to arriving at a business could lead to positive reviews and more frequent visits.

These Health and Safety attributes are the most recent tool GMB has developed to help local businesses stand out from the competition and provide essential information to consumers. As experts in the local space, we’re constantly on the lookout for features like these to help our clients optimize their listing to stay visible in search results. If you’re interested in learning more about the Health and Safety attributes or GMB, reach out to connect with our team.

Which Features in Google My Business Impact Ranking?

Business owners that are utilizing Google My Business profiles have a variety of features on the platform to display their business’s information. These features continue to evolve over time on Google, but do these features impact business listing ranking in search results? Over the last few years, the Sterling Sky Agency has been conducting studies to help answer which features impact rankings in Google’s search results.

Business Name Keywords

In 2018, Sterling Sky Agency owner, Joy Hawkins, tested the impact of keywords within business names on Google My Business by adding and removing the words “Salad Bar” into the business name of a restaurant that did not actually offer a salad bar. The study reflected a large increase in visibility on Google when the keywords were included in the business name.

While an increase in rank might be appealing to business owners, including keywords in the business name of listings on Google is prohibited. Including keywords could result in Google suspending the listing, and business owners can report competitor listings that may be using this tactic to improve ranking. Instead of placing keywords in the business name, they should be used within the description of the business. Accurate categories should be selected as well.

Source:  Sterling Sky

Listing Categories

In January 2019, Darren Shaw conducted a study to see if visibility on Google would fluctuate if unrelated business categories were added to the listing, by adding random categories to a listing for Whitespark. He found that including unrelated categories had a negative impact; business owners should make sure that listings include only relevant categories. Additionally, it was found that adding related additional categories to a listing would not have a negative impact and could potentially increase ranking.


When Google began removing reviews from anonymous profiles in May of 2018, Joy Hawkins used it as an opportunity to find out if the number of reviews on a Google listing impacts ranking. During the case study, she studied the position of several dentist listings in New York City that had fewer reviews being displayed because of Google’s removal of anonymous profile reviews. While reviewing visibility over several weeks, Joy determined that fewer reviews on the dentist listings caused a decrease in ranking. Therefore, Joy concluded that the number of reviews on a Google listing does, in fact, impact ranking.

Website URL

A similar study was conducted in March 2020 to determine how the URL on business listings influences rank on Google’s search results. This test consisted of changing the URL on the listing of a New York City law firm from the business homepage to one of their specific law category pages within their website, the bus accident page. After making this change, the test showed that directing users to the bus accident page, and not their overall business landing page, did have a significant impact and caused an increase in ranking results.

Because the content on the specific URL you link to is important and impacts ranking in the local results, we typically recommend that multi-location businesses use the location’s landing page on the business website to help with local rankings.


While the above studies have highlighted the Google My Business features that do impact ranking performance, tests have determined that the Services field of the business profile does not. Both the usage of pre-defined services and custom services were included in the study. During the test of the pre-defined services, keywords used as services were added and removed, but there were no noticeable increases. The test of the custom services field resulted in a slight change, but there was not enough evidence to suggest that rankings were impacted by services within Google My Business.

Source:  Google My Business

Key Takeaways

Even though these experiments show that not all features offered in Google My Business impact ranking results, it is still important to make sure your Google profile is complete. Profile completeness not only impacts ranking, but ensures that essential information is readily available for customers, creating a better user experience that increases engagement. As many Google features continue to evolve, we will provide insight on these updates and how they will impact business listings.


New Video Creation Tool Launches for SMB Owners

In late February, Vimeo announced their new video editing tool, Vimeo Create, has officially been released on desktop, Android and iOS apps. Vimeo Create hopes to help small to midsize businesses create high quality, affordable videos to use for social media marketing campaigns.

Vimeo Create Pro

Users can download Vimeo Create and use their wide range of “smart” editing tools and video content; however, the purchase of a monthly subscription will be needed in order to save and share created videos. Vimeo Create boasts unlimited stock video, a growing template library and the ability to upload videos in every social media format and ratio.

Vimeo Create is designed to integrate your existing media marketing, such as CRM or e-commerce, while connecting Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more. Vimeo has also included features to help businesses that have dedicated project teams. Using Create Pro, collaborators can invite team members to add time-coded comments inside of the video while working on a presentation.

Who Is This For?

Video is now an essential piece of social media marketing. Prior to the launch of this new tool, Vimeo surveyed 1,000 small business owners and reported that 22 percent of them believed that they currently use enough video in their marketing strategies. Vimeo is offering a free trial of Vimeo Create and plans to add more editing components and templates as the year progresses. With this tool priced at $20 per month, Vimeo Create is perfect for small businesses that have limited budgets for video creation.