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Here is an interesting move by Google. Google updated its improve your local rankings help document to show an example of how keywords in your business description can help improve your local rankings. But local SEO experts say that is not how it works and keywords in the description have no impact.
Firstly @StefanSomborac spotted the original change in the document, which set off this whole thing. What was added?
For example, if someone who lives in Dublin, California is looking for a NY Pizza restaurant and you also own that business, it’d be easier for the customer to find your listing on Google if your description included, “Harry’s NY Pizza in Dublin, CA,” instead of only “Harry’s Pizza in CA.”
Google also previously had a line in there that read:
Think about the words customers would type to find your business, and make sure that your listing actually includes those keywords within it.
Google has removed that line about keywords.
Why? Well many local SEOs said it is not true. Keywords in business descriptions do not impact your local rankings.
The Local Search Forums has tons of comments on this change. Ben Fisher said ” I can say, in our testing of 100’s of profiles, I have not seen the description impact ranking… at all. The description is great for the user though that reads them.” DJ Baxter added “Indeed, for Google to use that as a ranking factor would be to invite and encourage even more spam listings – like there isn’t enough of that already.”
Joy Hawkins said it is misleading and she asked Google to remove it:
I’ve asked Google to remove it since it’s really misleading.
— Joy Hawkins (@JoyanneHawkins) February 13, 2020
Darren Shaw said it doesn’t work that way:
We’ve tested a few times and keywords in the business description did not appear to impact rankings. So either Google changed something (doubtful) or they really should update this content quick before SEOs keyword stuff the hell out of every description on GMB. @GoogleMyBiz https://t.co/l4EZmmXqsN
— Darren Shaw (@DarrenShaw_) February 12, 2020
So it looks like Google may revert this change fully.
Forum discussion at Local Search Forums.