GMB Ranking Step by Step Guide and Case Study…Yes it survived the Update!!

Mark LuckenbaughLocal SEO32 Comments

With the 7 pack turning into the 3 pack, and soon to be two pack in certain serps, it is important to be able to confidently rank your client GMB. My team is behind the DFY Google My Business Optimization service offered at Web20Ranker and this post will actually layout exactly what we had them do for this client.

Keep in mind the algorithmic layout of the serps are going to play a role in determining your GMB strategy. If the serp shows a blended algo then you are going to have to improve the associated site’s organic rankings to help push the maps as well. EDIT: This has been mixed up during the last update a bit.

Let’s start showing some rankings for our case study. I had to eliminate some of the sensitive information to respect the anonymity of our client. Unfortunately, even our LCT site got hammered with negative seo so we most definitely cannot risk getting a client in any type of trouble.

I will however detail everything we have done to achieve these rankings, leaving nothing to the imagination. Let’s have a look.


Gmb Case Study


I understand it sucks not having all of the information but I can add a bit of context. This is a service based business that operates via a virtual office in Tampa. I signed out and used an incognito window to ensure my search history did not skew the results.

Seeing there is almost 500k results you can tell it is not the most competitive and general term, but considering the Tampa locality it speaks volumes about it being a solid mid level competition serp. Not the hardest but by no means the easiest.

I know you guys didn’t come to stare at chopped up pictures so let me explain exactly how this was done.


  1. First thing we will did was have our in house content creator prepare a professional press release for each location and submit it through our publishing platform. This will create an influx of branded links for each location from authoritative properties. We will supply a branded link to the website in addition to a link to a specific GMB.NOTE: Some people still get confused when we perform actions to boost organic serps. We do this because more and more keywords are serving blended algorithmic results. Read more about this in our huge Google My Business Training 
  2. We took the client’s NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) and inserted it inside of a complete set of social profiles with complete descriptions, logos, and then we interlinked all of them for maximum seo benefit. These profiles were wired together using IFTTT networks and our social syndication strategy.If you want you can learn how to build IFTTT Networks for SEO 
  3. We optimized the categories of the client GMB listing so it was completely built out for optimal local reach. Too often the categories are quickly selected but our team is mindful of selecting the best categories for each specific client, not rushing it. You should take your time as well. 
  4. Our in house content creator optimized the GMB listing description. She wrote it to ensure there were plenty of LSI and thematic relevance for the best results. The biggest mistake you can make here is to skimp on the content or the planning of how to integrate long tail and other keywords that are synonymous with your target keywords. 
  5. We geo tagged all of the photos on the GMB listing intelligently optimized EXIF data. Additional photos were added for profile completeness. We have a cool little tidbit on using Google+ to tag your images and some important factors a lot of people miss when it comes to photo optimization at this post, Optimizing your images.
  6. We published a series of optimized articles, geo specific mymaps, and videos onto the client’s Google + account. I love doing stuff like this. Creating content on the Google+ is something a lot of people skip and they shouldn’t. It takes relatively little time and we found it creates a small link wheel that helps the boost. EDIT: There seems to be a freshness factor with the last update so we are confident this did play a part in us weathering that storm. 
  7. Using that same link wheel concept we did the same using a plethora of other Google platforms like sites, docs, blogger, etc. It really created a monster ecosystem of authoritative sites citing our GMB.
  8. We did a citation audit of the top competitors and pulled a list to start building. Long story short we built citations on the top 20 or so data aggregate platforms. We also built some based on the competitors and another 40 or so citations from our list. 
  9. One of our in house local seo experts intelligently created an optimized Google MyMap with LSI laden content, 6 driving directions, plus links back to the client GMB. This MyMap was then embedded on over 100 web2.0 sites to push even more link juice to your brand.Of course we then ran a small tiered linking campaign to those embeds as well just to further push the link juice up through the tiers. I love this strategy as well and suggest everyone make it a part of their local seo.
  10. We embedded their Google Maps with a tiered linking campaign to boost the embeds a bit. The web2.0 platforms acted as a buffer between the tiered links and the money site. Couple that with the map being embedded and the client’s NAP everywhere it really gave us a great boost.
  11. We published optimized articles and MyMaps on the client’s Blogger to gain some additional authoritative placements. If you did not already get the hint we do a lot with Google owned properties and data partners. We always see good results doing this.
  12. We shared the GMB to aged, authoritative Tumblr social profiles. Tumblr is another highly utilized resource for us.

As a lot of you know it can be tough to get this type of work done in a scalable fashion so we agreed to let you guys tap our in house teams to perform this work for you. Check out the GMB optimization service here. If you guys have any questions please drop it in this thread and we can continue the conversation in the group. Get ranking!

32 Comments on “GMB Ranking Step by Step Guide and Case Study…Yes it survived the Update!!”

  1. This is a great reference to see what is working for some locally in the current Google state. Guess we have to play G game to keep the rankings up there. Thanks for the share and outline.

  2. Good stuff, thanks for sharing.

    Question about #10 where you say, “We embedded their Google Maps with a tiered linking campaign…” which map are you talking about here; the GMB or the MyMaps? And what do you mean by embedding it with a tiered linking campaign? Do you mean you embedded the map (which ever one you’re referring to) on all posts within a tiered link campaign?

    Thanks for any clarification, much appreciated.

    1. We basically embed the map on any web 2.0 and then build tiers of links to that web 2.0

  3. Can I ask what your success rate is in getting a business listed in the 3-Pack and about how long it generally takes to get them there after all this work has been done by your team? I know there isn’t an exact answer and location and competition play a roll, but I imagine you have a fairly good idea. Maybe a time frame for the mid-level clients and one for the high competition level clients.

    Also if you have some insight on the blended result issue that you’ve noticed since the latest shake-up in Google Maps that took place in the last week and a half (early Sept. 2016 I think it was).

    1. 50% of our clients hit the 3 pack after using our one off service. 70% experience a significant increase in rankings. Pretty incredible for a one off service, but there are a lot of factors we cannot control so we do not offer guarantees.

      Vis a vis the blended algo…It just seems that the update affected organic or maps but not both in some of the blended results. Website authority is still going to play a role but I think Google wants to see more GMB specific actions

  4. Thank you for the reply, those are solid percentages. I take it that if added services beyond the one-off GMB package are also added like some back-link building and some IFTT packages then those percentages will go up as well over time right?

    It looks like you missed one of my questions which was how long it generally takes on “average” to make that 3-Pack using the one-off GMB package.

    Thank you. 🙂

    1. Sorry I didnt miss the question I just cant give a definitive answer to that. It is a one off optimization service so there is no guarantee it will hit the 3 pack. There are factors we cannot control at play so we really do not want to oversell by making promises

  5. Heya, I was revisiting this AWESOME post and optimizing my clients GMB page using some of these tips. I have CS3 and i updated the IPTC data in a TON of images (he has 4 GMB pages and locations). I wasn’t quite finished and asked my husband to continue. I uploaded all the images to Google Drive so he could continue where I left off and NONE of the IPTC data showed (he uses CS4). I learned that the metadata doesn’t communicate between CS3 and CS4. So, to test if the metadata stuck i loaded an image to the GMB page from my computer (CS3) to the GMB page, then saved it from the GMBp page once more to my computer with a new name to view meta data and it was BLANK! please tell me i didn’t waste hours changing the meta data in literally 100 images…have you seen this?

  6. Hi Mark Luckenbaugh

    I would like to ask you a question, why to use mymap for map embed optimization through web 2.0 platform. Can we directly use our google map link there?

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