This article, first published on Feb. 12, 2020, has been updated to reflect that Google removed language around using keywords in Google My Business descriptions shortly after adding it.
A new “Describe your business(es)” section in the “Improve your local ranking on Google” page of the Google My Business (GMB) Help site appeared early this week, encouraging local business owners to include relevant keywords in their GMB descriptions.
Immediately, there was a lot of controversy within the local SEO community around this change. Within a day, Google backtracked, removing the language around using keywords in GMB descriptions in the Google help document. Local SEO experts say keywords in descriptions have no role in rankings in the local Google results. We have an updated story from local SEO expert, Joy Hawkins named No, the Google My Business description does not impact ranking.
Think about how users search. The new section, first spotted by Stefan Somborac, founder of Marketing Metrology, advised businesses to include keywords customers would use to find their business within their listings.
“Think about the words customers would type to find your business, and make sure that your listing actually includes those keywords within it,” the section reads. “For example, if someone who lives in Dublin, California is looking for a NY Pizza restaurant and you also own that business, it’d be easier for the customer to find your listing on Google if your description included, ‘Harry’s NY Pizza in Dublin, CA,’ instead of only ‘Harry’s Pizza in CA.’”
Detailed and accurate. Google also still advises in the “Relevance” section on that page to give it as many signals as possible about your business: “[A]dding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches from customers.”
Why we care. The new section explicitly referenced including keywords within a GMB listing’s description. However, business names should still be consistent with their real-world branding. Do not keyword spam to try to manipulate your rankings.