Search Engine Land recently published an article about keyword stuffing, a controversial practice on Google My Business. Although Google has suspended listings of businesses that add keywords to their name, some companies are actually “re-branding” in order to achieve a ranking boost. We’ll take a closer look at this trend and provide our take on what’s happening.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
By Colan Nielsen, published by Search Engine Land on May 7, 2021.
“Keyword stuffing has been a hot topic in the Google My Business world for a long time. Keyword stuffing or “adding descriptors” to your name on Google My Business is when someone adds words to their business name on GMB that aren’t part of that business’s actual legal name…We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that keywords in the business name impact ranking directly and dramatically…
We also know that Google historically and presently takes action on GMB profiles that engage in adding “unnecessary” or “unreasonable” descriptors that don’t match the business’s real-world name. I analyzed the impact of reporting 50 examples of keyword stuffing, and in that study, Google took action on 40% of them. Some businesses were given a soft suspension, and others were given a hard suspension…
What we have been observing over the last year is that some verticals, but mainly law firms, are experiencing what I refer to as a local SEO phenomenon. Law firms are legitimately re-branding in order to get keywords into their GMB name so they can experience the ranking benefit without the negative impact of Google removing the keywords or suspending their listing.”
Here’s our take on keyword stuffing in GMB:
There must be a better way, right, than to resort to keyword games with GMB and risk a penalty? However, this practice goes to show just how competitive the digital arena is with businesses vying to get a boost in page rank, to achieve a spot on that coveted page one of a Google search. It seems some businesses have found a keyword-stuffing loophole and are reaping some benefits, but how long will this trend last before Google finds a way to penalize businesses who rebrand simply for the sake of getting keywords into their GMB listing?
So far, Google hasn’t penalized companies that actually go through the trouble of rebranding their names in order to squeeze in those keyword descriptors that lead to a bump in rank. However, the general consensus among digital marketing specialists is that this practice is just ‘lazy SEO.’ It’s a crude way to maneuver around keyword stuffing rules and it’s payoff may ultimately be negligible since the bump in rank is likely to be offset by the creation of branding issues.
Nevertheless, the practice has been growing in popularity. The author points to law firms, but they aren’t the only businesses engaging in rebranding for the sake of keywords on GMB. Although businesses are getting away with rebranding on GMB for now, it’s unclear if this practice will have staying power or if the temporary benefit is worth the trouble.
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