For about as long as Google My Business has existed Local SEO’s have tested placing keywords in the description to see if that improved rankings. The answer has always been an unfortunate no.
Today however, it would appear that the search engineers in charge of Google Maps / Local rankings have had a change of heart. The change was first spotted by Yan Gilbert of Sterling Sky and Stefan Somborac of Marketing Metrology and then tweeted out by Brodie Clark, an independent local SEO consultant in Australia.
Well, that changes things for local SEO.
There's now a section in the support doc saying that if you add keywords to your Google My Business description, it will result in higher visibility.
— Brodie Clark (@brodieseo) February 12, 2020
The change was noted by Google in their guide “Improving Your Local Ranking on Google” which you can find here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091
The full text of the change says:
“Enter unique and valuable information that describes your business. Think about the words customers would type to find your business, and make sure that your listing actually includes those keywords within it. The more unique your business name and description are, the easier your customers will find you. A well-organized and clear business profile may provide a better experience for customers, and make it easier for them to find you.
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.””
The second paragraph is the most interesting part here as it describes adding a keyword stuffed version of a businesses brand name to the business description instead of just the brand name.
This appears to be Google admitting that keyword spam in business titles is out of control on Google Maps and that they are currently unable or unwilling to take appropriate measures to stop it. By allowing businesses to include keywords and phrases in the description of a listing that might impact rankings, it may help level the playing field in same cases.
Here’s a screenshot of the change by us in case the above tweet become inaccessible.