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Do Services in Google Business Profiles Impact Ranking?

In August 2019, we started noticing pre-defined services show up as an option in the Google Business Profile dashboard.

Certain categories have several items listed like plumbers (see image below).

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

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

Back in 2019, we tested to see if adding these pre-defined services to a Google Business Profile (called Google My Business profile at the time) listing increased ranking for keywords related to the service.  At that time, we determined it did not.  However, we decided to retest this in 2022, and the results were very different.

For this test, we added the service “DUI injury litigation” for a lawyer in New Jersey.  In our previous testing, we did not see an impact on rankings, but in the image below, you can see this time it did have an impact on rankings.

 

So, we had to see if we could do this again.  So, we went to a dermatology client and added the service “vampire facial.”  Again, in the image below, you will see it had a major impact on ranking.

 

 

We have been able to recreate this with various clients in various industries.  However, the ranking impact seems to vary based on the industry and market.

TL;DR:

  1. Services impact ranking.
  2. They seem to impact both explicit and implicit keywords.
  3. Explicit keyword ranking impact is more dramatic.
  4. The ranking impact seems to vary based on the industry and market.
  5. The ranking impact can take 24-72 hours to take effect.

 

 

 

 

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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 38 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.

  5. I think this should really have been a completely separate article instead of rewriting and republishing the original article. It’s kind of pointless to say the test results changed when you specifically erased the original test off the Internet.

  6. Thanks for the great insight yet again. You’re going to open the floodgates of spam if you come back and say custom services rank. Google accepts anything and everything as a “service” and I don’t believe they have a limit on how many services you can add. “best dentist near me” is not a service but it will be if you come back and say custom services rank.

  7. Services are historically a pretty inconsistent feature. Google is constantly adding and removing them in my experience. Does this change toward ranking indicate any shift in how often Google updates them?

    I tried to manage services previously and they honestly became a black hole in which I’d change them one day, two days later Google would change them, and it was this constant back-and-forth. So I stopped doing it due to that inefficiency. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Harmony, I don’t think this changes how Google handles the updates. I feel your pain by the way. We setup tasks to check the services on a quarterly basis and update them. Seems to be the sanest way to approach it.

  8. We had a similar problem to Harmony.

    Google just couldn’t understand what our client did and kept adding services they did not offer. I would edit and delete and add the ones they did back in. And Google would edit, delete and add the old ones back.

    It was like whack a mole 🙁

  9. Hi Joy,

    This is very insightful. Thanks for sharing.

    I have a quick question, it’s a bit off-topic but it’s still about GMB.

    I erroneously added a link to the ‘Menu’ option in a Google My Business profile for a business that is not a restaurant, now I am trying to take out the link and leave it blank (since the business is not a restaurant) but I can’t save without a link. I keep getting ‘The link you’ve entered is invalid’.
    Do you have any Idea how I can go about taking out this link and leaving the field blank?
    Or perhaps deleting the entire ‘Munu’ option?

    Thanks

    1. HI Obinna, you should contact GBP support and ask them for assistance with that one.

      Glad you enjoyed the article!

  10. Hi, thanks a lot for the valuable information. Great information for SEO optimization as well. I will definitely apply it, I’m sure it will work. Lots of love.

  11. Does the amount of services effect ranking for the overall service? I went a little crazy and added a ton of services (unique but semantically relevant) and it seems like my overall listing has dropped..

    1. In my experience no, but you are more likely to hit the exact wording to throw in a justification. In my experience so far, having the exact wording of the service is more important (although google will often show a different one anyway, which may be 100% incorrect!).

  12. I’ve been keeping track of some queries for *custom* services, and I’ve noticed something interesting.

    These services seem to impact ranking, but *only* if Google has not already determined the vertical(s) that these services should be associated with. Once Google does, the service signal is drowned under the category signal and loses the majority of its usefulness.

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