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Does the URL You Link to in Google My Business Impact Ranking in the Local Pack?

This is a question I get pretty frequently in the Local SEO community: What URL should I link my GMB listing to?  The homepage?  A location page?  Something else?  We wanted to test & measure how the Google My Business landing page impacted ranking in the local pack (3-pack).

The Test

To test this we used Google My Business listings from Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf, a personal injury law firm in New York City.  Their office has existed for over 100 years, and subsequently, they have a lot of practitioner listings for lawyers that work there.  The issue is that a lot of the practitioner listings get filtered since they’re all using the same category and are located at the same office.

We took one of the practitioner listings that wasn’t ranking anywhere and we changed the URL on the Google My Business listing to point to their bus accident page instead of the homepage.  We picked this as a target due to how specific/niche it was and because the listing for the firm wasn’t ranking for any of these terms currently.  We didn’t want to cannibalize existing traffic which often happens with practitioner listings due to the filter.

The results showed that the landing page did have an impact.  The presence of “bus accident” queries on the landing page content and in the URL increased the relevance for the listing and the ranking increased as a result (screenshots from Places Scout).

We repeated the test a second time on a different practitioner listing.  This time, we linked the listing to the bicycle accident page.  We saw the same result a couple of weeks later.

In Summary

The content on the specific URL you link to is important and impacts ranking in the local results.  For most businesses, it makes sense to link to the homepage since that URL has the most authority, backlinks, and relevance.  However, for some businesses that qualify to have multiple listings, using a strategy like this can help provide better results.


This article is part 7 of 9 from my LocalU presentation from March 2020.  If you missed the event, the videos are available for purchase here.   

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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 14 Comments

  1. Hi Joy,

    Great article. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t quite understand, did these listing now rank better for local searches such as “bicycle accident lawyers” (related to the keyword of the webpage they were linking to) or did they now rank better for all queries?

    Would you have any recommendations for restaurants with multiple locations in a city? Link to the homepage or a specific location page? I don’t think the filter issue comes in to play for restaurants but i’m just curious if you have any guidance.

    Thank you!

    1. Pierre,

      We only looked at ranking increases on the keywords we were specifically tracking (like bicycle accident lawyers).

      For restaurants, I’d normally say to link to whatever page ranks the strongest organically which is normally a homepage.

      1. Thank you for the sharing Joy, I’m agree with your test that “For most businesses, it makes sense to link to the homepage since that URL has the most authority, backlinks, and relevance”

  2. Joy can you have 2 GMB pages, 1 physical office location + 1 service area location? Btw, thanks for sharing this info, I never knew linking to a URL from GMB helps ranking.

  3. I have a great company-provided website that I am unable to merge to my own domain name, so am forced to pay for a second website that can occupy my own brandspecific URL. I am afraid the company domain (company name/ my name) won’t perform as well if I use it as my google website- Am I correct on this?

  4. We design a secoundary landing pages with brand new domain on them that is way more optimized than existing domains and covers all the locations the business want s to rank for. do you think more traffic is important or more Domain authority and backlinks if we werre to replace business original websites with the landing pages that rank first page fast?

  5. Joy,

    Would it confuse GBP’s if completely different domain’s were used for different locations? I would think we could use each location for a specific niche ranking with this strategy especially in the attorney space.

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