5 Steps: Add Keywords to Your Google Business Profile (for Local SEO)

Featured Image - Polly Wants a Keyword Optimized Google Business Profile

Local Keywords, Google Business Profile, and You!

Let’s dig into how to add keywords to your Google Business Profile. Is it hard? Not really, but there are a few things to watch out for, and few things you might miss. Let’s tackle getting the keywords into the right locations within GBP and get your profile to the top of the rankings!

What is a Google Business Profile?

A Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a FREE tool provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

image of local hvac business and their google business profile listings under the map in Google
Local HVAC business and their Google Business Profile listings

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Critical for local SEO: Google Business Profile helps businesses appear in local search results and on Google Maps.
  • Essential information for customers: It provides potential customers with key information about your business, such as your address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and reviews.
  • Improved visibility: A well-optimized profile can improve your visibility in local search results, making it easier for customers to find and engage with your business.
  • Works together with your website: Many businesses focus solely on their website, overlooking the importance of their Google Business Profile. However, these two work together to strengthen your online presence.
  • Quick snapshot for customers: Your website provides detailed information about your products, services, and brand, while your Google Business Profile serves as a snapshot, helping customers quickly find key information and interact with your business directly from search results.
  • Attract more customers: By optimizing both your website and Google Business Profile with relevant keywords, accurate information, and positive reviews, you can improve your local search rankings and attract more customers to your business.

Here’s another thing you need to know – in the screenshot above, the top item says “sponsored“. That means that result was the placed at the top of the list due to a Google Ad listing (paid). The other 3 businesses listed above did not pay – for free, they have matched the search intent of the user (HVAC near me), they have keywords within the profile that matches, and Google has other signals that suggest these are the best businesses based on the request (user reviews, engagement, etc.).

bare canvas esthetics 1x1 logo

I am using one of my customer’s Google Business Profile (with permission) as the demo business in this post. If you are needed an Esthetician in the northwest Twin Cities metro area, book some time!

Why adding keywords to your profile is important for local SEO

Adding keywords to your Google Business Profile is crucial for local SEO because it helps Google understand what your business is about and when to show it in relevant local search results. Here’s why:

  • Matching with relevant searches: Include keywords potential customers use when searching for businesses like yours to help Google match your profile with relevant searches.
  • Location-specific keywords: Add city, neighborhood, or nearby landmark keywords to improve your chances of appearing in local search results for those areas.
  • Relevance and prominence: Google uses your profile’s keywords to determine your relevance and prominence for specific local searches, impacting your ranking.
  • Communicating your offerings: Strategically place keywords in your business description, categories, products, and services to effectively communicate your business’s offerings to Google and potential customers.
  • Combine with website optimization: A keyword-rich Google Business Profile combined with a well-optimized website creates a strong foundation for local SEO success, making it easier for customers to find and choose your business.
A pop art image of a chef making local SEO success stew encouraging the viewer to work on their google business profile. he knows how to Add Keywords to Your Google Business Profile

All of these items work together to tell Google your business is the right business for the person doing the search. Get your business to the top of the list, and you are sure to get messages, clicks, and calls!

Step 1: Identify the right keywords for your business

Identifying the right keywords is essential for optimizing your Google Business Profile and attracting relevant local customers.

  • Understand your target audience: Research the language potential customers use when searching for businesses like yours.
  • Improve local search visibility: Optimize your profile with the most relevant and effective keywords to increase your chances of appearing in local search results.
  • Attract the right customers: By using targeted keywords, you’ll be better equipped to reach the customers most likely to engage with your business.

Investing time in keyword research ensures that your Google Business Profile is optimized for maximum impact, helping you stand out in local search results and drive more qualified traffic to your business.

Now, how do we come up with these keywords? Guessing? Shot in the dark?

Yo ho ho, and a keyword bottle of SEO buried treasure map

To optimize your Google Business Profile effectively, you need to identify the most relevant keywords for your business. Follow these steps to create a targeted keyword list:

  1. Brainstorm: Start by listing keywords that describe your business, products, and services. Consider the terms you would use to search for your own business.
  2. Analyze your website: Look at your website’s content, including page titles, headings, and meta descriptions, to identify keywords you already use to describe your business.
  3. Research competitors: Check out the Google Business Profiles and websites of your local competitors to see what keywords they use and gather inspiration for your own keyword list.
  4. Use keyword research tools: Utilize free tools like Google Keyword Planner to find keyword ideas, assess their search volume, and gauge competition levels.
    • Note: this can be a bit of a challenge since local SEO volumes often do not reach the levels needed to really flag in tools like GKP. I’ll be creating another post on how to do local keyword research in the future.
  5. Focus on local keywords: Include location-specific keywords, such as your city, neighborhood, or nearby landmarks, to improve your chances of appearing in local search results.

By following these steps, you’ll create a list of keywords that accurately represent your business and help you attract the right local customers. The great news here is that you don’t have to get all of the keywords on the first pass – this is an iterative effort and it’s fine if more ideas or keywords come into play later on!

Step 2: Access your Google Business Profile

How to sign in to your Google account

google com slash business page with sign in button

Head over the https://google.com/business and sign in with the Google account you use to manage your business profile.

Navigating to your Google Business Profile dashboard

Now, select your profile (if you manage multiple). If you’re signed in with the right account, your page should look something like this:

Step 3: Add keywords to your Google Business Profile

Now that you have a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to strategically incorporate them into your Google Business Profile. Add these keywords to your business description, categories, products, and services to effectively communicate your offerings to both Google and potential customers.

bare canvas esthetics google business profile editing the business description

Adding keywords to your business description

Your business description is an excellent place to naturally incorporate your targeted keywords while providing a clear and compelling overview of your business. Follow these tips to optimize your description with keywords:

  • Summarize your business: Begin your description with a concise summary of your business, including your primary products or services and your unique selling points. Naturally weave in your most important keywords.
  • Provide details: Expand on your summary by adding more details about your offerings, target audience, and what sets you apart from competitors. Use secondary keywords where relevant, but avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Highlight local ties: Mention your location, local landmarks, or community involvement to reinforce your local presence and make it easier for customers to find you in local search results.
  • Include a call to action: End your description with a call to action, encouraging potential customers to visit your website, make a reservation, or contact you for more information.

KEY: while the description can be 750 characters in length (and should be), you want to front load the description (first 250 characters) with the parts of your business that your customers/clients/patients are looking for because that’s the part that actually shows on the screen without them clicking.

Notice less than 250 characters are show here without the user clicking on “More”

Remember to keep your description readable, engaging, and under 750 characters. By strategically placing keywords in your business description, you’ll help Google better understand your business and improve your chances of appearing in relevant local searches.

Selecting the most relevant business categories

Selecting the most relevant business categories for your Google Business Profile can be challenging, given the extensive list of options available. As of early 2024, there are over 4,000 Google Business Profile categories to choose from, making it difficult to identify the most appropriate ones for your business.

To help with this process, you can:

  1. Research competitors: Use tools like the GMB Everywhere Chrome extension to identify the categories your competitors are using. This can provide valuable insights into which categories are most relevant for businesses similar to yours.
  2. Refer to a comprehensive list: Visit websites like https://daltonluka.com/blog/google-my-business-categories, which maintain an updated list of all Google Business Profile categories. This can help you explore the available options and find the most specific and relevant categories for your business.
esthetician maple grove search with GMB everywhere featuring bare canvas esthetics

When selecting your categories, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose a primary category: Your primary category should be the most accurate and specific description of your core business.
  • Select relevant secondary categories: If your business offers additional products or services, choose appropriate secondary categories to provide a more comprehensive description of your offerings.
  • Avoid irrelevant categories: Focus on categories directly related to your core business, even if you think other categories might be popular search terms. Irrelevant categories can confuse both Google and potential customers.

By researching competitors, referring to a comprehensive list of categories, and following best practices for category selection, you can optimize your Google Business Profile to improve your visibility in local search results and attract more qualified leads.

Incorporating keywords in your products or services section

more valuable than doubloons location specific keywords in your service descriptions

The products or services section of your Google Business Profile allows you to showcase your offerings and include relevant keywords to help customers find you more easily. Here’s how to effectively incorporate keywords in this section:

  • List your products or services: Create a comprehensive list of the products or services you offer, using clear and concise language. Include your primary keywords naturally within the product or service names and descriptions.
  • Use specific and descriptive names: Instead of generic names like “Product 1” or “Service A,” use descriptive names that incorporate your keywords. For example, a plumber might list “Emergency 24/7 Plumbing Services” or “Residential Water Heater Installation.”
  • Add descriptions and prices: Provide brief descriptions for each product or service, highlighting key features and benefits. Naturally include secondary keywords where relevant. If applicable, include prices to give customers a clear idea of what to expect.
  • Optimize for local search: Include location-specific keywords in your product or service descriptions, such as “San Francisco Bay Area” or “Serving the Greater Houston Area.” This can help you appear in local search results when customers search for products or services in their area.
  • Update regularly: Keep your products or services section up to date, adding new offerings and removing outdated ones as needed. Regularly updating this section with fresh, keyword-rich content can help improve your search rankings over time.

By carefully crafting your products or services section and strategically incorporating relevant keywords, you’ll make it easier for potential customers to find your business when searching for the specific offerings you provide.

Here’s an often missed location within the Google Business Profile. The service names themselves are obvious locations for keywords. For example, Bare Canvas Esthetics offers facials.

But, you can actually open each of these services and provide a specific description here as well!

bare canvas esthetics facial service within google business profile showing no service description

We have some To Dos!

Encouraging customers to use keywords in their reviews

5 Star Reviews with Keywords are Gold pirate giving a thumbs up

This one can be a bit of a challenge. It can definitely feel weird to ask your customers to provide specific feedback, however, for those customers and interactions where you feel you can make the request there can be definite benefit.

  • Provide excellent service: The foundation of getting keyword-rich reviews is providing exceptional products or services that customers want to rave about. Focus on delivering a top-notch customer experience to inspire glowing reviews.
  • Ask for specific feedback: When requesting reviews from customers, ask them to mention specific products, services, or aspects of their experience. For example, a restaurant might ask customers to share their favorite dish or comment on the ambiance and location.
  • Guide customers with prompts: Offer customers prompts or questions to help them structure their reviews. For instance, a hotel might ask guests to comment on the room’s cleanliness, the staff’s friendliness, and the hotel’s proximity to local attractions.
  • Showcase example reviews: Share examples of helpful, keyword-rich reviews on your website or in follow-up emails to customers. This can inspire customers to write similar reviews that highlight your business’s key offerings and location.
  • Respond to reviews: When you receive a review that effectively uses relevant keywords, respond to it, thanking the customer and reiterating the keywords they used. This can help reinforce your business’s association with those keywords in Google’s eyes.

Remember, while encouraging keyword-rich reviews is beneficial, it’s essential to maintain authenticity. Don’t pressure customers to use specific keywords or phrases, as this can come across as insincere. Instead, focus on providing an excellent experience that naturally inspires customers to mention the aspects of your business you want to highlight.

Step 4: Optimize other sections of your profile

Adding keywords to your business name (if applicable)

This one can be a challenge. If your business is already established, then your business name is what it is. It might be tempting to try and stuff a keyword into your business name, however, this actually goes against Google’s policies and can end up with your profile suspended. Here’s an example. Let’s say you have an HVAC company called Scott’s HVAC. Now, let’s say on the side of the van, on the website, on the business cards, etc. it says “Scott’s HVAC: Heating and Cooling Services“. From a Google Business Profile standpoint, it is totally fine to have the name of the company be “Scott’s HVAC: Heating and Cooling Services“. This is how the business is represented to the customers in real life. It’s a match.

What you CAN’T do in this case is go with a name like “”Scott’s HVAC: 24/7 Service 7 Days a Week“. While it might be true AND it might be eye catching for those in the need of furnace repair (our furnace went out this week – good times), Google will most likely flag this as a violation – and, in fact, if your competitors are watching you climb the rankings with jealousy, it is super easy to report a business that’s not representing themselves correctly.

If you have a competitor that’s misrepresenting their business in this way, here is how to address.

How to Report a Competitors GBP if They are Misrepresenting Their Business for SEO Gain
  1. Go to their Google Business Profile with a search and find their business.
  2. Under the listing, find the “Suggest an edit button”
  3. From there, you can click on Close or remove and then you have a few different options to bring the profile to Google’s attention.

You might feel bad for reporting a business that is misrepresenting itself within their profile by stuffing keywords in their name. Don’t. The goal is SEO is to compete and to compete by the rules set out by Google. Them’s the rules!

Using keywords in your Q&A section

Seeding your Q&A section by having friends or colleagues ask questions can be a good way to get initial content in this section and demonstrate to potential customers that you’re actively engaged with your Google Business Profile. Only seed a handful of questions you feel your customers are going to ask anyway. It’s the perfect opportunity to get keywords in your profile and to get additional information in front of your customers!

In general, the Q&A section of your Google Business Profile allows customers to ask questions about your business and enables you or other users to provide answers. Utilizing keywords in this section can help improve your profile’s visibility and provide valuable information to potential customers. Here’s how to effectively use keywords in your Q&A section:

  • Ask genuine, relevant questions that potential customers might have, incorporating keywords naturally.
  • Provide comprehensive, informative answers that showcase your expertise and include keywords.
  • Encourage organic engagement from actual customers by responding promptly and offering incentives.
  • Avoid overseeding with too many fake questions to maintain authenticity.
  • Balance seeded questions with organic customer engagement to establish a valuable Q&A section.

By actively monitoring and participating in your Q&A section, you can provide valuable information to customers, incorporate relevant keywords, and improve your Google Business Profile’s visibility in local search results. Remember to maintain a helpful and professional tone in your responses, as this section is a direct reflection of your business’s customer service and expertise.

Including keywords in your posts and updates

Mark yer territory, mateys! Include local keywords in yer posts, or Google be treatin' ye like a ghost ship!

Your Google Business Profile allows you to publish posts and updates to share news, promotions, events, and other valuable information with your audience. Incorporating keywords in these posts can help improve your visibility in local search results. Here’s how to effectively use keywords in your posts and updates:

  • Focus on relevance: Ensure your posts and updates are relevant to your business and target audience. Include keywords that are specific to your products, services, or location.
  • Use attention-grabbing titles: Craft compelling titles for your posts that include your main keyword. This helps attract users’ attention and signals to Google what your post is about.
  • Incorporate keywords in the body: Naturally integrate keywords throughout the body of your post, but avoid overstuffing. Use synonyms and related terms to maintain readability and avoid repetition.
  • Highlight local events and promotions: When sharing events or promotions, include location-specific keywords to attract local customers. Mention the event’s location, nearby landmarks, or the areas you serve.
  • Optimize images and videos: If you include images or videos in your posts, optimize them by adding relevant keywords in the file names, titles, and descriptions. This helps Google understand the content of your visual assets.
    NOTE: This one can be tough if you are uploading from mobile. Do your best!
  • Encourage engagement: End your posts with a call-to-action that encourages users to engage with your content by liking, commenting, or sharing. Higher engagement can improve your post’s visibility and help it rank for relevant keywords.

RECOMMENDATION: Truly the best recommendation here is to post and to post often. If you are posting about your business, your offers, events, etc., inevitably your target keywords are going to organically become part of the posts. There’s limited real estate in these posts (at least that anyone is going to pay attention to and read), so the focus should really be on the core message of the post and not about unnaturally including keywords and keyword phrases.

Step 5: Monitor and adjust your keyword strategy

google search showing the top 3 business for skin care near me with the more places button highlighted
We want to be in the top 3 if at all possible. Shuffled under “More places” means more clicks for your competitors and less traffic for you!

Regularly monitoring your keyword performance and making data-driven adjustments is crucial for maintaining a successful Google Business Profile. Here’s how to effectively monitor and optimize your keyword strategy:

  • Check your search rankings: Use tools like Google Search Console or third-party rank tracking software to monitor your search rankings for targeted keywords. Keep track of your positions over time and identify any significant changes or trends.
  • Analyze your Google Business Profile’s performance: Regularly review your profile’s insights and analytics to assess how well your keyword strategy is working. Pay attention to metrics such as search impressions, clicks, and conversion rates. Identify which keywords are driving the most valuable traffic and engagement.
  • Gather customer feedback: Monitor your reviews and Q&A section to understand the language your customers use when discussing your business. Look for common keywords or phrases that you may not have previously targeted, and consider incorporating them into your profile.
  • Adjust your keywords based on results: Use the insights gained from monitoring your search rankings, profile performance, and customer feedback to make data-driven adjustments to your keyword strategy. Double down on keywords that are performing well and driving valuable traffic. Remove or replace keywords that aren’t yielding the desired results.
  • Stay up-to-date with changes: Keep an eye out for any updates or changes to Google’s algorithm, as these can impact your keyword performance. Regularly review your keyword list and make adjustments as needed to maintain your profile’s relevance and visibility.

By consistently monitoring your keyword performance and making informed adjustments, you can optimize your Google Business Profile to rank higher in local search results, attract more qualified leads, and ultimately grow your business.

SEO ho! This spyglass sees local customers in sight

This is all pretty straightforward and obvious – but you get busy! Unfortunately, SEO is not necessarily “set it and forget it”. While it doesn’t require daily maintenance, staying on top of Google updates and ranking shifts can be the difference between slots 1-3 (displayed in search) and falling under the dreaded “more businesses” button.

Common mistakes to avoid

a pirate holding his foot in anguish after dropping a cannonball on his foot

When optimizing your Google Business Profile with keywords, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that can harm your search rankings and damage your online reputation. Here are the key pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Keyword stuffing: Avoid repeatedly using the same keywords unnecessarily throughout your profile. Google’s algorithms can detect when a profile is overstuffed with keywords, and this practice can lead to penalties or even suspension of your listing. Instead, use keywords naturally and strategically, ensuring that your content remains readable and engaging for human users.
  • Using irrelevant or misleading keywords: Don’t try to manipulate search rankings by using keywords that are not directly related to your business or its offerings. Misleading keywords may temporarily boost your visibility, but they will ultimately lead to a poor user experience and damage your profile’s credibility. Focus on keywords that accurately represent your business and provide genuine value to your target audience.
  • Neglecting to update your keywords: Your business and the search landscape are constantly evolving, so it’s crucial to keep your keyword strategy up-to-date. Failing to regularly review and adjust your keywords can result in missed opportunities and a gradual decline in your search rankings. Set a schedule to periodically audit your profile’s keywords, removing outdated terms and incorporating new, relevant keywords based on your monitoring and analysis efforts.
  • Ignoring local keywords: Local keywords are essential for businesses targeting customers in specific geographic areas. Neglecting to include location-specific keywords, such as city names, neighborhoods, or nearby landmarks, can limit your visibility in local search results. Ensure that your keyword strategy incorporates relevant local terms to help you connect with nearby customers searching for businesses like yours.
  • Missing areas within the Google Business Profile such as Service Descriptions: Make sure and crawl through all of the nooks and crannies of your profile. There may be additional locations you can include keywords related to your business which only goes further in telling Google exactly what you do and the value you provide.

By avoiding these common keyword mistakes and focusing on creating a genuinely helpful, keyword-rich Google Business Profile, you can improve your local search visibility, attract more qualified leads, and build trust with your target audience.


Why or how this turned into a pirate themed post? I have no idea. Regardless, when it comes to optimizing your Google Business Profile, it is imperative to get the right keywords in the right spots so that Google and your customers know exactly what you offer and why you rock. Tackling the the fundamentals with your profile can be the difference between customers finding and selecting you or going to one of your competitors.

Recommendation: Take the time to go over your profile. Optimize. It’s easy to take the initial pass, set it and forget it. Your GBP is literally the difference between customers finding you or not. If you get stuck and want help, reach out! Hopefully this guide can help steer you towards getting the basics in place.

Happy SEOing!

ayv - updated logo 1x1

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