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Do Google My Business Identity Attributes Impact Ranking?

Last October, Joy covered 4 Google My Business Fileds That Impact Ranking on a Whiteboard Friday. The four fields Joy covered were:

  1. Business Name
  2. Categories
  3. Website
  4. Reviews

Up until recently, those were the only features inside the GMB dashboard that had a direct impact on ranking. As of this month, we discovered a fifth feature that has a direct impact on ranking in the 3-pack and Google Maps – Identity Attributes.

Key Takeaway: GMB Identity Attributes have a strong impact on ranking for keywords related to the attribute.

What are Identity Attributes?

If you log in to your GMB dashboard, navigate to the “Info” tab, and select the edit button beside “From the business”, you will see the available identity attributes. I refer to them as “Identity Attributes” because each attribute starts with “Identifies as”.

gmb identity attributes as ranking factor

Once added, these attributes can appear on the business profile as well as in the 3-pack and on Google Maps and the local finder.

women led identity attribute as ranking factor

Do Identity Attributes Impact Ranking?

We love testing and figuring things out, so we performed a test to see what sort of impact adding one of the attributes has on ranking. What we discovered is by adding the identity attribute you would start to rank for searches related to the attribute.

What We Did

On March 10, 2021, I added the “Identifies as Women-led” attribute to a GMB profile that was doing virtually no other SEO. Their website doesn’t mention anything about Women-led, so there were no existing ranking signals. I added keywords to both Bright Local and Places Scout to track rankings.

On March 18, 2021, I confirmed that the attribute was live.

identity attribute gmb as ranking factor

There was no immediate ranking impact as of March 18, but by March 29, we started to see this business ranking for the keyword “Women Paralegal”. And by April 21, rankings for that keyword started to explode – again with no other SEO work done on the website or profile. The green pins represent ranking in the 3-pack.

ranking improvements with adding identity attribute in GMB

Here’s what the April 21 date looks like zoomed in.

ranking grid women paralegal ranking improvement

Did Adding the Attribute Create a 3-Pack?

I made another interesting observation when I started looking through ranking screenshots of the March 18 date compared to the April 21 date. It appears that the keyword “Women Paralegal” didn’t even have a 3-pack, to begin with. It appears that adding this attribute contributed to triggering a 3-pack where there once was no 3-pack.

women paralegal identity attribute ranking factor

women paralegal 3-pack identity attribute ranking factor

So What?

Knowing, and understanding which Google My Business features impact ranking is one of the most important factors for local search success. Google doesn’t comment directly on ranking factors. They do give some general ranking guidelines, but you need to be continually testing the GMB features to understand the value of each one.

Have you been utilizing the identity attributes for your clients or business? What impact has it had?

Let us know!

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Colan Nielsen

Colan started in the local SEO world back in 2010 and is also deemed a product expert by Google as a Top Contributor on the Google My Business Forum. He is a contributor to Moz’s famous Local Search Ranking Factors survey and is a former Google MapMaker Regional Lead. Read Colan's full bio here.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. This is very interesting. That’s a general rule I’ve learned. If a platform like Instagram, Facebook or Google has a feature for you, then you should use it. The platform will give you more reach. In the case of Google, a better ranking.

    1. I agree 100%. If Google giveth, you should useth. Even if it doesn’t impact ranking, it likely has a CTR benefit.

  2. I understand this was a test of the feature but what kind of search volume would “women paralegal have”. Did you search for related terms to see if it was triggered? Something like female paralegal or female legal assistant?

    1. Hi Dwayne, here in Canada, “women paralegal” does not have a lot of search volume. I was tracking some other related keywords, but this was the only one that had a significant increase in ranking.

  3. Hey, the article on Do Google My Business Identity Attributes Impact Ranking? is up to date, which definitely help novice like me. Did Adding the Attribute Create a 3-Pack? was really new to me and possibly for some other people as well.

    1. Yes, in this case, it seems that it created a 3-pack where a 3-pack did not exist before.

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