ThriveHive Data Suggests Emerging GMB Best Practices, Opportunities

Yelp and Google have lots of internal data about what kinds of local business content consumers engage with. The information is not widely circulated, though Yelp has occasionally exposed it and has presented it at LSA’s digital marketing bootcamps for small businesses (SMBs). For its part, Google hasn’t offered much discussion of GMB profile best practices (beyond this).

Some of the questions might include:

  • How many photos and videos should a business have?
  • What types of photos are most important?
  • How many reviews and how quickly to respond to them?
  • What’s the minimum star rating I should be aiming for?
  • What types of review responses “work best”?
  • How many business categories should my business occupy?
  • How many and what business or location attributes are most important?
  • What’s the optimal business description length?
  • What types of Google Posts are most effective, what calls to action work best?

ThriveHive has started to expose some this data aggregated from its ThriveHive Grader. Numerous companies offer similar tools (see, e.g., Yext Listings Scan, Vendasta Listings score). However, I see an opportunity to create local benchmarks for SMBs and their agency partners. This can and should be done by vertical/industry and geography, which it appears ThriveHive is starting to do.

SEOs might welcome this type of information as another way to prove ROI to their customers. In other words, as agencies improve an SMB’s profile vis-a-vis industry benchmarks, the SMB will have a sense that SEO or presence management is “working” — at least as an interim step before any rankings improvement, which takes longer.

In a post, ThriveHive analyzed 4,000 local businesses GMB profiles and found the following:

  • Only 15% of GMB profiles had video (74% those that do basically have one or two videos)
  • 47% of GMB profiles have 10 or fewer photos (Yelp says the magic number is 10 or more)
  • The most common CTA in Google Posts is “learn more” (which may not be especially effective)
  • 9% of CTAs in Posts for trades/service businesses are “book,” which may be a proxy for the capability (indicating a need/opportunity)
  • The average profile review-rating is 4.5 stars (this seems too high and suggests some level of gaming)
  • 59% of consumer reviews feature a response from the business

These findings (and others not discussed) indicate areas of opportunity for business owners, as well as vendors and agencies seeking to help them. They also start to indicate what some best practices might be, provided the SMB data is combined with consumer response information.

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