How Often Should You Change Your Targeted Keywords?
Whether you have a business with seasonal business flows or perhaps are looking to change up your services, the question of how often to update or change your GBP keywords may come up. In this episode, Jesse, Bob, and Sue discuss whether or not you should be updating your GBP seasonally to reflect business trends, or whether it’s best to keep consistent with your keywords and messaging throughout the year!
Visit us on our questions page and hit us up with your questions! We’d love to use your question for a future episode!
Thanks for stopping by!
Don’t miss an episode – listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart, and more!
What you’ll learn
- Why it may be best to target even seasonal keywords year round.
- What to consider for ranking your GBP.
- How important reviews are to your GBP.
Transcript For Frequently Changing Your GBP Description to Target New Keywords – 155
Jesse Dolan: These words that you are going to be trying to rank for, that you’re kind of manipulating your description about, have them in the first sentence or two. Put them in there early, not at the end. Again, Western culture, we read top to bottom, left to right. So does Google. So your first sentence, make sure those keywords that you’re trying to make your most important are at the beginning of your business description.
Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, here with Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg.
Sue Ginsburg: Hi.
Jesse Dolan: Ready to answer some SEO questions, and let’s see we’ve got in store here today. Sue, what exactly are we going to be talking about?
Sue Ginsburg: Okay. Today’s question comes from a listener at the end of last year, who is a photographer in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a beautiful part of the country. And she wrote in this question, “Just listened to the episode on GBP business description. My question is, is it okay to change your business description to highlight different keywords, perhaps seasonally? And if so, how often is it okay to do that?” So thank you for the question, Cassandra’s Photography, and we will do our best to help you out with that here on this episode.
So my quote for today is, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” That’s a quote from Will Rogers, an American vaudeville performer, actor, and humorous social commentator. He was born as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, that was a surprise to me, in the Indian territory, and was known as Oklahoma’s favorite son. Who knew that about Will Rogers?
So before we get to this question, I will share a marketing story that I’ve lived through. Years ago, when I worked for a law firm, an industry notorious for thinking they don’t need marketing, I led a long and arduous process to launch a new website. Their website was outdated. The attorney photos looked like they were from high school and the website was not very user friendly.
It also was being hosted on a very expensive platform that even my marketing colleague, who was very tech savvy, and one of the smartest marketing professionals I know, found difficult to make changes on, which meant that almost every change had to be made by them and a lot of time and cost money. That sounds like the Stone Age compared to the websites of today, but it wasn’t that long ago. And it was the case then.
Note to listeners, if this sounds like your current website, any listener, please contact us. There is better and more cost efficient ways to have a website that you can more easily work with. It does not, and shouldn’t be this way.
Anyway, we were very proud of the new website, got a lot of positive feedback on it when it launched. If you’ve ever launched a new website or updated one, you know that great feeling when you get positive feedback, people are noticing it. They’re seeing new things and current things about you. And it’s just one of the greatest moments of a business showing growth.
Anyway, with the new website launched, there were many things I wanted to do as marketing director to leverage the new site. My marketing colleague and I brainstormed many strategies and many tactics to get us more visibility, drive clients and prospects to this now attractive, user friendly, and informative website, and ultimately use the website as a sales tool for the law firm. Great idea, right? We tried hard to convey the impact that this would make, whole statistics, Google analytics, case studies, and everything else we thought would help demonstrate to the firm, the firm leadership, that our new website could truly be a valuable sales asset for the firm.
And we got told no. The website design and build took more marketing investment than the firm was used to spending on marketing, and that was the only way they could think of this. By now, you have all heard us talk about the importance of looking at ROI versus the investment itself for your website and your SEO, which is how smart businesses view it. Well, this was not how this law firm thought about marketing at all. In a very short time, new business waned and other law firms began taking work from this law firm. I left to work with businesses who embraced the impact marketing can make and were more open-minded about making changes that would help their business grow.
Like all of our listeners, listening and learning things that you can do to strengthen your online presence and turn your website into a selling machine is what smart business owners do. This question resonated with me, because it is from a business owner who’s interested in making changes to strengthen her online presence and attract more leads online. Whatever success she’s had up until now, she’s not just sitting there. And this quote resonated with me because if you’re not moving forward, you are moving backwards, and just sitting there is not moving forward.
A sharp business owner knows that it isn’t the good idea that gets you ahead. It’s the execution of the good idea. And that doesn’t happen by just sitting there. It happens by taking action. So with that, Jesse and Bob, what can you tell us about taking action by changing the keywords in your GBP, formerly GMB, and what guidance can you give our listeners on changing keywords that will help them rank higher and get found by more prospects through their GMB or GBP?
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, I think Bob, I don’t know about you, but that last bit Sue was saying about taking action versus ideas, I know you and I, we’ve worked together for over 25 years. I don’t even know how many ideas between us that we’ve come up with.
Sue Ginsburg: Thousands.
Jesse Dolan: Some haven’t taken action, probably for good reason, like maybe didn’t need action on it. But how true is that? How often have we come back to take an action, take a massive action, as Pat Flynn will often say, from Smart Passive Income, and that’s where the rubber meets the road, right? You can’t just be an idea factory if you’re not actually doing anything with them. So yeah, I think that’s a really good point, Sue, just parsing that bit out.
But okay, yeah, so as far as framing that up and taking action, the specific question here about changing the GBP, formerly GMB, business description. First to set the stage for everybody, so everybody knows what we’re talking about here, so of course you have your free GBP, Google Business Profile listing. Within that, you have various fields and spots where you can optimize and input the information. One of the more important ones from an SEO standpoint, and it’s somewhat visible to the public, is your business description. A lot of things on your GBP profile, we consider it that you are inputting this and optimizing this more for Google’s benefit than for human beings.
This is one of those little areas, you know, in general, your GBP really isn’t seen by people except for maybe some photos or some quick things they’ll see in the map pack, but there’s an extensive amount of fields and things that you can modify, your services, your products, things like that. And again, now your GBP description, it’s kind of a summary paragraph. I want to say it’s 750 some characters, if I remember correctly, that you can input for your business. We’ve talked in some previous episodes about how to optimize it, some good strategies for it, and now here we talk about changing it, perhaps seasonally. Correct me if I’m wrong, Sue, the context here isn’t just changing it, like hey, we’re not ranking good for the particular keyword. We want to target something different now, and kind of change, change the direction and then modify the GBP.
So as far as the frequency of changing it, things like that, there’s no limit. I’m going to give some advice on maybe how to temper that and not change it all the time, but technically speaking, yeah, you can log into it and modify it as much as you want. I would say there’s a bit of a danger in the whole GBP ecosystem of looking spammy and maybe getting suspended by Google if you make too many changes too often. If you think about it from Google’s standpoint, does a legitimate business really change this stuff every day, back and forth and sideways? No. So you don’t want to seem fishy or seem spammy in that regard by changing it too often.
Likewise, if you’re changing this for the impact of SEO and for trying to change your rankings of your GBP, understand that the changes are not immediate. So if you tried something today, you’re not seeing that ranking tomorrow. That’s not how it works. Sometimes it takes days, if not a week or two, for the overall traction to make a difference. Sometimes it can happen quick, don’t get me wrong. There’s no exact kind of code or book to follow here, but I wouldn’t just willy-nilly be changing my business description, attempting to get my GBP to rank higher tomorrow by tweaking it today, and doing that over and over.
Pulling back a little bit, talking more in the context of maybe seasonally, that is something that you’d probably have a little bit better results with than kind of a more frequent day to day or week to week manipulation of your rankings by editing your business description. That being said, I wouldn’t expect just changing the business description to be a big thing in and of itself for modifying that. So if I pull back, the question is seasonally, if I want to go after different things, the question here is can I modify my GBP description, with the short answer being yes.
But then, you know, Sue and Bob, if we were talking to the person here live, giving advice, I’d say, “You need to do more than that.” If you’re trying to change for the next season and go after something different, or for whatever the reason, even if it’s not revolving around a season, if you just want to rank for something different now, you can’t just change your business description only. You’re going to have to do some other stuff to your GBP, your products, your services, obviously the website that your GBP is tied to, what it’s saying and things like that. So that’s one part of it, I guess, to parse out, is that yes, you can do it. Yes, you can change it. I wouldn’t change it too often.
The second part to your question, Sue, was if so, how often is it okay to do that? I wouldn’t have a rule, and I don’t know what you think, Bob, but I wouldn’t have a rule of wanting to update this on a regular basis, kind of only if it’s needed. This is definitely one of those things, once you get your ranking set, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You don’t need to change it every so often if you’re ranking well. If you’re not ranking for the thing you’re targeting, that’d be a different story. You’re going to want to keep trying.
Hey, everyone, just a quick message about our free SEO audit tool on localseotactics.com, and we’ll get right back to the show. If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, go on out to localseotactics.com/freeseoaudit, or look for the yellow button up on the top right corner, click that. And it’s going to take just a couple seconds. You enter in the page that you want to optimize, what you’re looking for, the audits to score against, enter in that page, enter in the keyword you’re looking to get optimized for, and enter in your email address, click the button. And it’s going to take a few seconds. And then it’s going to send you off a PDF report via email.
It’s a great report. It’s going to give you an overall score of some vital SEO areas for that page and for your website at large, even though it’s auditing this page, that’s going to tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too, and give you basically a checklist of some things that you need to shore up and what you can do to improve your SEO for that page, for that keyword that you’re auditing. Now, you can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page.
You can even use this to check against your competitors, right? If you want to do a little reverse engineering, see how they’re scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good that you’re not, and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it, completely free. Again, go on to localseotactics.com/freeseoaudit, or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website. Do you have anything to add to that, Bob?
Bob Brennan: Yeah. While you were talking, I was just, I pulled up my phone and did some searches for photography, Cape Cod, wedding photography, Cape Cod, and family photographer, Cape Cod. And so the ones that are in what we call the three pack, the reviews were like anywhere from 38 to 52, and they were all five stars, 4.9, I think was one of them. But okay, so I guess my advice is if you’re just starting out, you have no money, do your own GMB. If you want us to do it, we charge a fair amount for it, as do other people, but whatever they charge, it’s about return on investment.
So let’s say somebody charges $500 to get you in the three pack. How many jobs do you have to get to pay for that? But that’s not enough in that if you get in the three pack, guess what? You’re halfway there. You still need to get, I would say a minimum of 30 to 40 reviews to potentially get the proper number of calls that would warrant you getting the work. And then if you want to absolutely dominate, you need to get a hundred reviews because then you have a two to one ratio over all your competition. And again, you’re in that five star rate.
So I don’t know if that kind of answers your question, but it’s what it’s going to take to make it work. And then you could optimize, again, I don’t know what kind of photography goes on in Cape Cod during the main season. I would imagine there’s some wedding photography perhaps, again, family photography, crime scene photography, I mean, I don’t know. But ultimately-
Jesse Dolan: Sometimes.
Bob Brennan: You can adjust, or you never really, I wouldn’t say you would mess with it seasonally, but you would just go after all of those, knowing that during the off season, maybe family photography takes over more or even, what would it be, student photography or something of that ilk. But the key, excuse me, the key takeaway in this is that you’re going to have to get those reviews. So it’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint. Dig in, get to work. If you do it yourself, it’s free, but you do have to work at it and you have to work as hard on this, I think, as your website, to get the calls.
Jesse Dolan: I was mentioning about it’s not just a business description that’s going to get you ranked, or kind of changing that, to your point, Bob, get reviews. And SEO is like planting crops. We’ve talked about that all the time. Sometimes it’s days, sometimes it’s weeks, sometimes it’s months before you get that return, before those things sprout. But here, if you’re trying to change direction and target a different keyword to get better ranking, you change your business description, to your point, keep getting reviews, like period, all the time. Have that just be part of your MO.
But then now, if you change your description to go after, let’s say wedding photographer, in your example, when you’re getting reviews, try to ask people to mention those words too. Like again, it’s not just your business description, your products, your services, the text in the reviews that you’re getting. Getting your review is great, of course. You want to get that score doubled, like you’re saying, Bob, but if you can coach the people leaving the review, your clients, your happy customers, have them mention, “Hey, do you mind mentioning the service I provided to you, wedding photography, I’m trying to get ranked for that.”
“Oh, sure, I’ll gladly mix that in.” That’s where you’re going to want to tack on those multiple levels, for the keyword part, right? To your point, Bob, you want to get reviews. You want these signals, these engagements, to get you ranking, but if you’re changing this season, this quarter, whatever the direction, you’ve got to hit it everywhere you can with those keywords, not just in your description.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And you just put that up front. Once you know they’re going to do work with you or whatever, just say, “My goal is to give you the best possible service and experience. If I can do that, at the end of the day, would you leave a review?” And then help them leave a review. Because most people, I guarantee you, they don’t know how to do it. You know what I mean? They really don’t. And nobody likes to admit that we don’t know how to do something quote simple. And anyway, that’s a whole different podcast and a whole different deal on how to coach people on how to leave reviews.
Sue Ginsburg: Well, you both touched on seasonality and this listener, Cassandra’s Photography, does a lot of senior graduation pictures, or school pictures, graduation pictures, which I’m guessing is much earlier. Just say they graduate in June, that’s going to be February, March, April, May. And if she changed her description to emphasize graduate photos versus family vacation photos, would Google see that as enough but not too much of a change? She’s emphasizing something different instead of opening up an outdoor furniture store on her GMB. Would that be acceptable to Google?
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, I can answer that. I think in general, I don’t know if we’re going to talk about it on a different episode, so it’s kind of a familiar topic I have in my brain here, but in general, I wouldn’t want to see people chasing things on a seasonal basis. Kind of for your question, for me it’s more about when the things are closely related, you should be able to rank for both. If your business was just for wedding photography, then that’d be different. If that’s all the content you had was for wedding photography, but you wanted to be found for family portraits or something else, yeah, then you’re going to need to change things and update things and add things to your website and your GBP.
But if you do these things for your business, maybe some of them just have different seasons, you still provide them and you should have content talking about them. And regardless of the season, you should be able to rank for them without having to kind of chase things around all the time. So there’s that.
But kind of like you said earlier, that’s a different podcast, that’s a different topic, that’s a different lesson here. So for this one, although I guess I would preface everything, even though this is at the end, with not chasing things around seasonally, if you do want to pivot, yeah, I think the things that we’re talking about here with regards to your GBP itself, some things that you can definitely do to take advantage of in addition to your business description itself.
And kind of what you’re asking too, Sue, something else I want to throw on, is these words that you are going to be trying to rank for, that you’re kind of manipulating your description about, have them in the first sentence or two. Put them in there early, not at the end. Again, Western culture, we read top to bottom, left to right. So does Google, so your first sentence, make sure those keywords that you’re trying to make your most important are at the beginning of your business description.
Sue Ginsburg: That’s awesome. A related question that she asked about your Google Business Profile, or GBP, reach and the impact of it, which I think other listeners may have as well, was if most of her customers come from outside the Cape Cod area, what impact is her GBP really having and how important is that? I think you both had really good things to say about that. Want to enlighten our listeners on your thoughts about that?
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. I’ll let you chime in, Bob. I only have one quick thing to say first, which is ultimately, if you’re a great business, you can break through that proximity barrier. For sure, Google’s usually going to, if somebody’s using a geographic reference, Google’s going to show businesses in that area. We’ve talked before about, like for Minneapolis, if you do a Google search for Minneapolis, Minnesota, Google’s going to show you on a map an outline of what it considers Minneapolis.
And for the most part, if you want to be found for searches containing Minneapolis, you need to be inside that zone unless you break through and you have the authority and the relevance that comes with being kind of the best in the area, not just in that town, and then Google will show you. So in this case here, if it’s for Cape Cod, if the business is physically located in Cape Cod, that’s where you’re going to be crushing it to begin with. But if you can get bigger, get more authority, the reviews, like Bob is saying, become more attractive, and then have Google see that people them outside of that area are searching for you, then you’ll be shown as kind of the shining example of that whole metro area.
We have another client, Sue, I know, that does like fine rug cleaning. And because they are so good in their niche, they get visibility from cities hours away because they are the experts in that niche. You know what I mean? And there’s just not a lot of competition for it. So that’s another example of where you can be shown outside your area there too. But Bob, you were talking earlier about doing some incognito searches through BrightLocal, things like that, to help her kind of experiment.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And you’re actually more up to speed on that, with that proximity search. So if you’re in Manhattan, you can show that you’re searching from Manhattan for photographer, Cape Cod, and then that verifies if you’re in that three pack. And let’s be clear, if you’re not in the three pack, quite honestly, it’s not, are you still going to get calls off your GMB or GBP? Yeah. They’re not going to be the kind of calls you want. They’re going to be people that are super tight with their money and they’re calling 80 people to get the lowest price. You want to be in that three pack. So that tool is through what, BrightLocal, is that right, Jess, that you can-
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, let me share my screen quick.
Bob Brennan: If you can, yeah.
Jesse Dolan: Let me get it loaded up here.
Bob Brennan: And to quote the great Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last,” so you really need to be in that three pack. If anybody’s like, oh, I could get you on the first page of Google for your keyword, well, I hate to say it, but it’s not really going to matter. You really need to be one or two naturally. And for sure, you need to be in that three pack with really good reviews, because you’re really wasting your money. It’s just not going to be, you’re just not going to get return on your investment otherwise.
And so if somebody charges 2X, but they’re going to get you in that one or two position, it’s definitely worth it. I mean, it all depends what do you do. If you’re a shoe shine guy, hate to say it, you may not get your money back, but if you’re a photographer and it’s 500 to $5,000 for each event, well guess what? All you need is one event. You get your money back.
Jesse Dolan: Right. This is the tool that we’re referencing. It’s from BrightLocal. Everybody who listens kind of knows we’re a fan of BrightLocal. We use their tools all the time. This is completely free. If you go to brightlocal.com, you’ll find it up at the top under their, I believe it’s under their solutions. Somewhere up at the top menu, but it’s brightlocal.com/local-search-results-checker.
This is really cool. So I just did photographer near me, as searching from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Check search results. And this is going to go out and do a search as if you were in Cape Cod and looking for a photographer near me. Click on this page one and it’s going to give us what those results are. So this is how you could check, if you are the photographer, wanting to see if you show up in Cape Cod for that search, when somebody does near me.
Now, you can also do something a little bit different. I’m just going to pull up a couple examples. I did photographer in Cape Cod, but maybe I’m in Chicago. Maybe I’ve got a wedding out there, like a destination wedding or something. Then you can also use this tool, open up page one again here, to show if I’m in a different city, but searching for something in Cape Cod instead of searching for something while I’m in Cape Cod.
Bob Brennan: So those were different results, right?
Jesse Dolan: Yep. So this first tab I have here was the photography, I’m sorry, photographer near me as if we were standing in Cape Cod. This is the results we’re seeing. We got this, what, Decastro, Beckford Studios, Photo Sasha, in the map pack. And they were naturals.
Now on the other example, if we were in Chicago, but search for photographer in Cape Cod, and then we’ve got, like you said, Bob, some completely different results, Fleeting Moments of Photography, and Emerald Eye. And even in the naturals down here, a little different. Now, I’m sure we could come up with three, four, five different examples here and find some interesting stuff. But this is kind of what you were talking about, Bob, before we hit record here, using some of these tools to find out what your true ranking is, and that’s within asterisks. I mean, everybody’s going to have different results all the time, right?
So this is a third party tool that’s not tainted by any browsing history, things like that. It may not be exactly what somebody would see if they’re standing in Cape Cod and all that fine stuff. But yeah, an interesting exercise to go through, to really see how things can be different depending on where you’re standing and what you’re searching for.
Sue Ginsburg: That’s great.
Jesse Dolan: Let me stop sharing that there.
Sue Ginsburg: Bob, I love the emphasis that you put on reviews, because I think this is a perfect example. Somebody’s coming to Cape Cod on vacation. They want to get a family photo. They don’t know the local photographers. They don’t know the landscape. They will likely be relying on the reviews that they see online, what other people who have experienced them have done. So yeah, super important.
Jesse Dolan: We’re doing that right now. Looking at some camping trips coming up this summer, going to places we’ve never been, places that I don’t know anybody who’s been there that we can rely on. So what do you do to make sure you don’t show up in some horrible camping spot? Yeah, you’ve got to read reviews, find information.
You can’t just trust maybe the photos or the information on the website of the campsite. I mean, who knows if this is a 20 year old photo or was it taken last year? You know, how nice is the place or not? The public always has great feedback and reviews, not just for ranking and score, but to actually read and find the stuff out. So that’s a good example too.
Sue Ginsburg: Great.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. So I don’t know. Hopefully that helps. We definitely dove into some layers that are relevant and necessary, but expanding on just the first question she had, you had some additional information there, Sue, but I think hopefully that paints a pretty good picture for everybody on some of the things you can do to manipulate it. Like we just showed at the end, before you start manipulating, definitely understand how and where you do show up first and develop a strategy.
We’re not even talking about how to determine what keywords that you want to put in your description to try to get ranked forward. That’s a whole nother topic, to make sure you’re on point for that. But yeah, do a little bit of research, get a plan together. And then hopefully we shared some spots where you can go in and manipulate your GBP to try to get those rankings you’re looking for.
Sue Ginsburg: I think you did. Okay, if you remember one thing and one thing only, I’d remember this, your GBP is a living, breathing representation of your business, as is your website. It is very important to keep it updated and dynamic while at the same time working within reality and honesty, and within the rules and confines that Google has in place. So to repeat the quote of the day, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there,” by Will Rogers.
Please don’t just sit there. Create a growth strategy, hire a marketing person to help execute it, contact us, have somebody else or yourself implement your marketing plan. Just don’t sit there. Do something, and you will see your business grow.
Jesse Dolan: Train’s coming.
Bob Brennan: Yes it is.
Jesse Dolan: I like that quote. I’m going to have to write that one down. I like a lot of ones you come up with, Sue, but that one in particular, it’s you’ve got to take action, get the heck out of the way, get going, whatever it is. So all right. Thanks for your input, Bob. Thanks for your question, Sue. For everybody listening, hopefully you got some good nuggets out of this episode, like the others.
If you’ve got a question you want us to talk about, like the one we covered here today, reach out to us at localeseotactics.com. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, click the link to submit a question. You can type it in and send it on over. Or you can call in. If you do, we’ll use the recording on the show and fire you off a free Intrycks t-shirt for your trouble. So all right, everybody, take care. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll catch you on the next episode. Bye now.
To share your thoughts:
- Send us a comment or question in the section below.
- Share this show on Facebook.
To help out the show:
Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.
- Leave an honest review and subscribe on iTunes
- Subscribe on Google Play
- Subscribe on Stitcher