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Why the &*$@ Does This Storage Business Rank For Restaurant Queries?

Google has a section inside Google Business Profile that helps businesses understand the keywords searchers typed into Google to find your business. This section is often extremely valuable for businesses and marketers to find out where they are ranking on Google and where to improve.

But is the data accurate? This question came up at a recent LocalU event from Kyle Harris who works at the DAC Group.  He wanted to know why his storage client had queries for restaurants showing up as their top queries. 

I asked Google about it and they said after checking, nothing seemed abnormal. Seriously Google? It is not normal for a storage business to rank for restaurant queries, and for these queries to be the top way people find their business.

So I had a theory and started digging. I told Kyle that I believe it is happening due to the Performance Max campaigns. If you search something like “restaurant” or a specific business name and your business has one of these branded map pins (ads),it will actually trigger as an impression because your map pin showed up beside the business related to the search. This is how some Performance Max campaigns work, depending on how your settings are configured. 

Yes, Google Ads data does show up in Google Business Performance Insights. Yes, this is stupid. Yes, this is very different than other products like Search Console where Google strictly eliminates paid search data.

Kyle was able to confirm that my theory on this is likely correct by comparing the search query data for a location that was running Performance Max campaigns with one that was not. The results were telling. 

Location running ads:

Location not running ads:

The location running ads had stupid queries showing up in their top search terms like “Walmart” and “restaurants”. Also, can we also point out the difference between those view counts? Marketers who don’t realize ads data shows up in Performance insights could easily think SEO is always to blame for drops in searches or views, but it could easily be changes in the Google ads account that are responsible. 

TL;DR:

  • Branded map pins can trigger an impression if your map pin shows up beside the business related to the search.
  • Google Ads data does show up in Google Business Performance Insights unlike other products like Search Console where Google strictly eliminates paid search data.
  • If you see drops in searches or views, don’t be quick to blame SEO. It could very well be ads.

 

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Joy Hawkins

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I have the same issue! Client does house raising and foundation repair but I indeed see ‘restaurants’ amongst the search queries.
    We are running a Performance Max campaign, a Discovery Campaign and Google Search ads.
    What do you recommend to do about it?

  2. This is fascinating. Great insight on your part, btw. The implication also feeds into the Discovery Report and explains (I think) something that has often bewildered me, namely the dramatic and “unexplainable” differences month to month in “Number of times this listing has been viewed on Google Search or Maps.” I speculate that if I went back and parsed the numbers, the “times viewed on maps” would be where the volatility is, and it probably would relate to G Ads activity. As you said, this is stupid.

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