Backlinks To Your Google My Business Listing: Does It Help Ranking | TOP-Rated SEO Services | Sterling Sky Inc.

Does Creating Backlinks to Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing Help Ranking?

This article is part 3 of 9 from my LocalU presentation from March 2020. If you missed the event, the videos are available for purchase here.   

Jump to: Test 1 – Yext Links, Test 2 – Using Quality Domains, Test 3 – Topically Relevant Links, Conclusions, Contact Us

This is a question I see frequently in online forums and Facebook groupsDoes building backlinks to your Google My Business listing help it rank better?  Depending on who you ask, you will get a very wide variety of answers to this question.  We wanted to test it for ourselves and share what we found.

Test 1 – Yext Links:

We found the link to the Google listing that we wanted to build links to by getting the CID number.  For the first test, we used the featured message section in Yext and pushed these links out to their network of directories (h/t to Blake Denman for the idea).  We were able to use a very specific anchor text so we knew what keywords to track movement on.



We tracked the impact over several months and although we did see some original uptick in rankings for this keyword, it didn’t stick long-term (Tool used: Places Scout).

The original uptick was right in the middle of the huge ranking fluctuations we saw in the month of November thanks to the Bedlam algorithm update.  I was also skeptical of the links being responsible for the increase because out of the entire Yext network, we could only find one page that was actually indexed on Google that had the anchor text (it was

Test 2 – Using Quality Domains:

For this test, we picked a plumber that had no clear SEO efforts going on.  He ranked on the bottom of page 1 for his main terms (around position 18-20) and didn’t even have a website.  We set up backlinks to the Google listing from 3 pages on different domains that were indexed on Google already.  One of these pages was on our website which had a domain rating of 69 at the time.  Our concept here was quality over quantity.

Over the course of the next few weeks, the number of keywords that had first-page rankings dropped and so did the overall average ranking.

However, since the links weren’t topically relevant (the websites linking out were marketing websites), we decided to repeat this test once more using a listing for a Local SEO consultant.

Test 3 – Topically Relevant Links:

For this test, we linked to a listing for a local SEO consultant from 3 different pages that were already indexed, had decent authority, and were also topically relevant.  We also used very specific anchor text for a keyword that had very little competition so it would be easier to measure the impact.

Like the first example, we did see an increase in rankings originally, but the ranking increases did not stick and things went back to how they were before after a couple of months.  This GIF of the rankings over time (generated with Places Scout) helps illustrate that.


Something interesting to note was that in the 2 cases where we did see a slight lift temporarily (test 1 and 3), both used anchor text pointing to the listing.  On the case with the plumber, no anchor text was used and there was no positive movement at all.


Although we did see some temporary increases, none of our tests yielded long-term positive results.  Getting quality links to a Google My Business listing from authority sites is also going to be hard, if not impossible, to do at scale.  It’s a much better strategy to focus on things like building quality links to your website which have a long-term impact on local rankings along with organic.

Contact Our Google My Business SEO Experts At Sterling Sky Inc.

If you’re a local business that needs help with their Google My Business listing or their business’s online presence on Google and other search engines, at Sterling Sky we can help. We offer SEO auditsconsulting, or monthly local SEO services. Contact our office today for more information or see valuable SEO insights in our latest case study.


Check out what Anna had to say about our local SEO services on Google.

“Colan has been great to work with. We are extremely happy to be able to work with the Sterling Sky team. Our team has appreciated knowing that we have a GMB authority we can reach out to if they have specialized questions.”

October 21, 2020

And See These Other Articles By SEO Expert Joy Hawkins:


35 replies on "Does Creating Backlinks to Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing Help Ranking?"

  1. “It’s a much better strategy to focus on things like building quality links to your website which have a long-term impact on local rankings along with organic.’

    How? I have used the ‘build it and they will come’ approach, and ‘they’ are a long time coming. Do outreach? We are an e-commerce site selling greeting cards and posters, so we are not going to set the world of fire with anything we publish. I think I choose poor keyword phrases, but nothing I can think of is that world shattering. Pay Per Click is a problem because of the low value items we sell.Our converting traffic comes from Google search and direct, not from social media (as far as I can analyse) so it’s hard and I am at a standstill.

    1. Hey David,

      Link building is definitely time consuming and difficult. Here, our approach is to have several people on staff who have backgrounds in PR and can get clients quoted in various media outlets. Often, you don’t need a giant linkable asset because reporters just need an opinion on a particular topic from an expert or form someone who runs a business. For example, we had several businesses quoted in articles that dive into how COVID-19 is impacting their business. Another strategy we’ve seen work well is B2B testimonials. So if you have other businesses that you’d recommend, offer to give them a testimonial that they can use on their website and they’ll often link back to your site to help prove you’re a real person. I’d also check out ZipSprout’s local sponsorship tool if you have a focus on any particular local market.

      1. Thats is a subject I was looking for weeks, however I still have some questions on why will rank wont stand up IF I manage to get the DA 60 and DA80 authority sites linked to it. Why no?

    1. Building reviews, real reviews will be the future of local seo. Backlinks are great, ur we all know that first page is making the #1 organic spot feel like #5 lol. After 3-4 PPC ads, the map and 3 pack, people are just stopping there and either clicking to call or clicking through. Google Reviews 2021!

  2. Nicely done Joy. It sure takes time and effort to test things within GMB. Thank you for sharing. I have noticed spammy businesses adding plenty of citations links to the GMB business sites. I called them spammy because a lot of them don’t have real locations, yet they are displaying random houses or parking lots and they are ranking in the local pack.
    Have you seen that kind of tactic? Literally, in the few businesses I’ve seen they have added citation links to the business site you get from a verified GMB location.

  3. So, it sounds to me like the links worked. Do people really think in SEO that you can do something one time (links) and then sit back and it’ll bear fruits forever? No, you have to continue working. I don’t know how you can come to the conclusion it didn’t work. Your analsysis showed it worked.

    Now if you were asking: Does building links to a GMB profile permantently increase rankings? The answer would be no.

    That’s like saying don’t get backlinks because you’ll just have to get more backlinks as time goes on. Who would ever say that?


      1. Disagree with what? Didn’t I read that the rankings increased after the backlinks but then diminished over time?

        1. The increases that we saw didn’t last longer than a month or 2. I don’t think it’s a good idea to constantly try and build links to the GMB listing. We also don’t see this pattern with tons of traditional SEO tactics like normal link building to your website or onsite optimization tactics. We don’t see the impacts of those reverse after a month. Sure, as time goes on and your competitors build links too, you need to do more to keep up with them. But even in that case, we don’t see this pattern of reversal.

          1. Interesting. I’ve seen that overtime, it seems that overtime a single backlink eventually loses power over time. Perhaps its because competitors are doing SEO work and gaining on your site. If I can get clients results by backlinking to their GMB profile, and it’s something I need to do every few months, it certainly seems like something to do. Minimal amount of actual work, and high potential for ROI. I appreciate you doing this analysis, but I think you came to the wrong conclusion. Perhaps its because you want to stay on the ‘white hat’ side, but your findings definitely indicated that backlinks help, it’s just a process. What is the difference in building backlinks to a GMB and reporting spam of competitors? Both are ongoing processes, both can improve results (both do improve results based on your findings).Just wondering, why you report one works and one doesn’t when both work, and both require continual monitoring, and activity?

          2. For the first test we did, we couldn’t conclude at all that the increase was related to the backlinks because there was too much going on with the site as whole and there was only 1 page that was even indexed that got the link from Yext. For case 2, there was no improvement whatsoever. For case 3, the improvement only lasted a couple of months. My conclusion is that it would be extremely hard to replicate the increase we saw in the 3rd test due to the fact that these links were coming from really high domain authority sites (not sure how I could continue to replicate that for several months on end) and the keyword we targeted had extremely low competition. You’re dead on that my conclusions are coming from a white hat perspective so I’m not surprised that there are people that disagree with me 🙂

  4. I always love the content from sterlingsky! I know it’s trustworthy and I generally use it to hone my skills as an SEO practitioner. Thank you…this was just the type of info on backlinking to my GMB that I was looking for.

  5. If the rankings do improve for a two month window. The click through rate from those improvements should also move the needle. If that listing provides a relevant result. Click through and engagement with GMB listings are the most prominent values to Google in the testing we have done. On going backlinking, posting, value and engagement will always keep you at the top of the map pack.

  6. I’ve seen similar results from experiments with social media backlinks, I think google is trying to embrace the what’s popular here and now attitude of our generation.

    Its a temporary increase but so are backlinks to normal website, so its working… that’s why ahrefs or moz has link velocity (which has been proven) because google is assuming that if your content is good and people are linking to it because of that, then we will show it, when the new links stop coming then the content is becoming old or perhaps somebody has something better, perhaps the business is becoming irrelevant, lets drop that rank.

    I agree though to weigh up the amount of effort in building such links with the time its going to give you an increase. If its exceptionally short and your link building process takes time and money it may not be worth it.

    My overall opinion about all backlinks and ranking site organically is that google would have things change up an base it on popularity ( or whatever else they choose ) the easier it becomes to create long sustained ranking pages for especially SME’s they will be less likely to consider Adwords.

  7. This gmb stuff really baffles me. I see gmb’s with 2 reviews and few citations ranking #1 in 3 pack for competitive headings. How is this possible?? I know their LG sites but still, how are they doing that?

  8. Thank you for sharing your experience. Saved me some time and money. I guess it’s better to stick to what actually works and still does: Building quality links to your main website and keeping your GMB optimized and updated.
    For a client, we created a HQ Article with one link with a local keyword anchor text. Published it on a topically relevant page. After the page was in the index, we build several somewhat lower quality tier 2 links with an embedded map of the clients location in it. This worked very well and gmb rankings went up for our target keywords. After a montht or 3, the results went down and we repeated the tier 2 Links. Again, it went up.
    My conclusion: This works, as long as you don’t build too many tier 2 links and add some regularly.
    Hope this helps.

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