How to Optimize your GMB Description

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Updated February 12 – GMB added new language to the GMB answers section regarding Descriptions


There are about 15 key components to your Google My Business listing which you should make certain you fully optimize. One of these components is your GMB Description. 

What is the Google My Business Description

The GMB Description is a chance to tell prospective customers your story and what makes your business unique. From Google’s Guidelines, Google provides a brief rundown of what you can and can’t include in your description. There is also separate, longer rundown on another Guideline page

I’ll go into depth of what each says below. I recommend following the Guidelines Google lays out because they will review your business description before it is posted live.

Google My Business Description Guidelines

The first section of Guidelines from Google comes from the GMB Help section on how to edit your listing on Google. Here is the exact text from the site:

Enter a brief description of your business: What you offer, what sets you apart, your history, or anything else that’s helpful for customers to know. Focus primarily on details about your business instead of details about promotions, prices, or sales. Do not include URLs or HTML code, or exceed 750 characters in the description field. For the full list of guidelines, read business description guidelines.

Example: We’re an independent ice cream shop located steps from the center of town, and are proud to be the favorite for locals to meet friends for a cone or call for a fresh pizza, delivered straight to their home. We serve 35 flavors of homemade, hand-churned ice creams and sorbets year-round, and the pizza oven turns out New York-style pies every day from midday until close. Come see us today!

GMB updated a section of their website in mid-February to state:

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.”

To me, this looks like Google is saying it is fine to keyword stuff your business description, AND that it could be a ranking factor!

The second set of Guidelines is from the section on representing your business on Google. The full text from that page is here: 

Published content should highlight what makes your business unique. You can use this field to provide useful information on services and products offered, as well as the mission and history of your business.

You should be upfront and honest about the information provided, focusing on content that is relevant and useful to your customers to understand your business. Content that’s irrelevant to your business or has no clear association with it isn’t allowed. Refer to our overall guidelines for representing your business on Google.

Content published in this field should not:

  • Be misleading to users. Do not provide inaccurate or false information about your business or the services and products offered.
  • Display low-quality, irrelevant, or distracting content. For example, misspellings, gimmicky character use, gibberish, etc.
  • Focus on special promotions, prices, and offer sale. Examples of content not allowed include, “Everything on sale, -50%” and “Best bagels in town for $5!”
  • Display links. No links of any type are allowed.
  • Display offensive or inappropriate content:
    • Harassing, bullying, or hateful content. Published content must not promote hatred or incite violence against individuals or groups based on ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
    • Content containing obscene, profane, or offensive language.
    • Terrorist content. We do not permit terrorist organizations to use this service for any purpose, including recruitment. We also strictly prohibit content related to terrorism, such as content that promotes terrorist acts, incites violence, or celebrates terrorist attacks. If posting content related to terrorism for an educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic purpose, be mindful to provide enough information so viewers understand the context. 
    • Sexually suggestive or explicit content. Content must not include profanity, sexually graphic and offensive slang terms, terms that are common signals for pedophilia, content that promotes pedophilia, bestiality, or sexual violence, or content that promotes escort services or other services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation.
  • Display unpermitted content:
    • Do not upload content related to the sale of dangerous and illegal products or services.
    • Do not upload content that exploits or abuses children.

Important: We do not allow content that contains private or confidential information such as personal financial information, government-issued IDs, contact information linked/associated with a name, sensitive records, images, transcripts or links that contain personal information. We also do not allow solicitation of the above information through local posts/business description other than user’s own name, email and phone number.

How to Write Your Google My Business Description

If we dig in deeper, we can see exactly what Google wants you to write in your description. Write about what you have to offer, what sets your business apart, your history, and avoid promotions or sales. Highlight what makes you unique, your mission. Be honest, upfront, and focus on what is useful for your customers. Google then lists a slew of items which it does not want you to highlight or talk about. 

A couple other things to think about:

  • Google only allows the description to be 750 characters BUT
  • Only the first 250 characters will show in the Knowledge Panel so make the first couple sentences count.

Here are a few ways I would go about writing a GMB description:

  1. Get your most important message out early
  2. Tell your potential customers how you stand out from your competitors
  3. What else makes you stand out from other businesses? Are you located in a historic district in town? Historic building? Next to a famous restaurant? Been in business 100 years? That sort of thing.
  4. Add a phone number to potentially increase your Call To Action (CTA) by having customers call your number if they see it 
  5. Do NOT add links
  6. Don’t spam. It won’t work or help your rankings, so it’s only going to take up precious space in your description
  7. Don’t use the space to sell or promote special offers

How to Add the GMB Description to your Profile

This is a simple process. Once you are in your GMB dashboard, go to the “Info” section and scroll down until you see “Add business description”. From there, simply add the description you have created. 

Once you have the GMB description in place, click “Apply” and you’re good to go. At times, there may be a waiting period of about 3 days before the description is approved and goes live. 

This is where you will see the description on a desktop.

This is where you will see the description on mobile.

Contact a GMB Expert Today

Optimizing your GMB profile takes time and hard work, but will pay off big. You want your business to be easy to find when someone in your area is looking for what you sell or provide. Monitor your listing to be sure the information is not changing due to competitor edits or spam. If you want additional help with GMB or Local SEO, give me a shout and we can chat about your business goals.

I've been in the Local SEO game for over a decade. I help all sorts of small businesses gain traction in Local, and have extensive experience with Lawyers and Insurance Agents. I really enjoy helping small businesses with their local marketing. I also dig whiskey, hockey, and smoked meats.

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