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Do Services in Google My Business Impact Ranking?

In August 2019, we started noticing pre-defined services show up as an option in the Google My Business dashboard.  Certain categories have several items listed like plumbers:

Others do not and allow you to create your own (we call these custom services).

In order to see the list of pre-defined services, you need to click first on the Services tab in the Google My Business dashboard and then “add another service”.

We wanted to see if adding these services to a Google My Business listing increased ranking for keywords related to the service.  The first business we tested this on was a security system supplier.  We added the pre-defined service “security cameras” to their Google My Business listing.

We monitored the keywords related to “security cameras” for several weeks and saw no noticeable increases (screenshot from Whitespark).

The second business we tested it on was an insurance company.  We added the pre-defined service “auto insurance” and watched their rankings for auto insurance over several weeks.  Just like the first test, we saw no improvement (GIF created in Places Scout).

We also tested custom services, which are the type where you can define the name of the service and also add a description:

For the first test, we used a family lawyer and added a service targeting a very specific keyword.  Using the Local Falcon, we tracked ranking on this keyword over the span of several weeks and noticed no significant changes in ranking.  The ranking movements shown below are minor which is completely normal. Small ranking changes consistently happen when your re-run ranking reports in competitive industries.

The second test was for a criminal lawyer and we also added a very specific custom service in GMB targeting a really niche, long-tail keyword.  Using BrightLocal‘s rank tracker, we saw no positive movement after adding the service.

In conclusion, like many of the Google My Business features, we found that the services menu has no impact on ranking.  Wondering which fields do have an impact?  See our articles on categories, the business name, reviews, & the website field.

This article is part 8 of 9 from my LocalU presentation from March 2020.  If you missed the event, the videos are available for purchase here.   


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 10 Comments

  1. Interesting to note that Google didn’t used to show the Services menu in the SERP. Within the past few months, they’ve been showing it on mobile.

    I’d recommend adding services because (1) you never know when Google’s going to use them as a ranking factor in the future, (2) users can see them in the SERP, (3) you can repurpose those descriptions to create Showcase pages on LinkedIn (for free), which I’ve seen rank for keywords in organic.

  2. I’ve long wanted to see some testing on this. I’d be interested to know though, whether security cameras were already mentioned on the first client’s website. We know that content there is connected to GMB.

    Also, ‘security cameras’ is semantically related to ‘security systems’, so perhaps Google would associate the business with this keyword regardless of whether it was mentioned on the website or GMB.

    What would be really interesting (and I wish I had the perfect client to test this with) would be to add an unrelated service that isn’t mentioned anywhere else. For example, if you added ‘cooking classes’ to a restaurant listing.

  3. It would be so interesting to see if and what impact the latest “Vicinity” Update has on the services…

  4. Thank you for the nice post. As per our experience and experiment, we have seen a mild ranking impact (2-5%) in ranking for the keywords used in services in GMB. Businesses using the services, products and offers are getting slight competitive advantages in local ranking.

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