How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing In Halifax

Is Halifax the most important city in Atlantic Canada? We’re not going to answer that question – we don’t want to make other cities jealous.

Is Google My Business the easiest way to improve your search engine marketing and get more customers to visit your business? We’re not going to answer that question, either – we don’t want to make other search engine marketing strategies jealous, either.

What we will say is this: Halifax is a vital part of Atlantic Canada’s economy, and Google My Business (GMB) is a vital part of any digital marketing strategy.

We’re going to teach you how to optimize your GMB listing to drastically improve online marketing for your Halifax business. And this isn’t a generic GMB guide – it’s specifically tailored to the needs of Halifax businesses.

There’s a lot to cover. So without further ado, let’s dive in:


What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) is Google’s business directory – you can think of it as a massive, online only version of the Yellow Pages. A GMB listing looks something like this:

GMB Halifax

Just look at all of the information in that one listing! Vital information, like name, address, and phone number. A brief description of the business (or in this case, university). Here, we see things like student enrollment – for a restaurant, we might see the types of food that are served, reviews, and more.

You can set up your GMB on this page if you haven’t already. This guide is dedicated to optimizing an existing GMB listing, so be sure to set yours up before continuing!

3-Pack workout

Having an optimized GMB listing gives you the ability to rank in Google’s much coveted 3-Pack. The 3-pack looks like this:


Note that the 3-Pack appears before all other search results. You’ll also note that it gives more information than a typical search result, including reviews, pricing, features (in this case, like dine-in or takeout), location on the map, and more.

Landing in 3-Packs is essential to local SEO (SEO that targets a particular region). Most of our efforts to optimize GMB listings are geared towards having your Halifax business rank in these 3-Packs.

Location, location

Even if you’re in Dartmouth or Bedford, you’ll want to list your location in GMB as Halifax. In the same vein, you’ll want your location listed as Halifax everywhere else on the web – see our guide to citations in Halifax to learn more.

The reason for this is pretty straightforward – as impressive as algorithms are, they’re easily confused. By listing your location as Halifax, you can attract customers from throughout the city, all while limiting the chances that the algorithm won’t understand where Bedford is and lower your ranking because of it.

You should also be mindful of your hours of operation and business name. Google will allow you to make changes in hours of operation for holidays and other events. We’ll cover this in greater depth in the “update frequently” sections – for now, just remember that consistency is key.

Categorically better

Be as specific as you possibly can when selecting a primary category for your business. Let’s say, for example, you sell fish and chips as your primary menu item. You’d be better off choosing the category “Fish and chips restaurant” over the category “Seafood restaurant”.

You can also select secondary categories for your business – and you often should, if your business conducts activities that fall outside of the scope of your primary business. Imagine you own a grocery store, and inside your grocery store there’s a pharmacy – you can choose “Pharmacy” as your secondary category.

Don’t overdo it, though – choose as few secondary categories as possible to cover the scope of your business.

Not sure what primary business category to choose? Look at what your competitors who are ranking in the 3-Pack are doing. You can find their business category here:

Business category

Adding attributes

You can also add attributes to your GMB. Unlike categories, you should add as many relevant attributes as you can. Attributes are features of your business, instead of ways of describing it. “Wheelchair accessible” is one such attribute. “Air conditioning” is another. Google even adds attributes for certain events (good or bad) – for example, there are currently COVID-19 attributes. Here’s a full list of GMB attributes.

Filling in the details

It’s important to fill in every part of your GMB listing. First, fill in your business description. In the first 250 words, you should include your business name, your business location (Halifax), and your primary business category. You have a 750 word limit. Be sure to follow Google’s Business Description guidelines.

You’ll also need to add products and services to your GMB. They’re an excellent way of giving Haligonians who are using mobile devices more information about what you offer. They also give Google and its algorithms a better idea of what your business is all about.

Products and services on GMB are complex enough that we could create a whole article about optimizing them for Halifax. For now, we’ll leave you with Google’s very well written but somewhat generic guides. Interested in an optimized product and services guide for Halifax? Let us know!

Update frequently

Your customers can and will interact with your GMB listing. They’re going to leave reviews, which you should respond to every time. A positive review can be replied to with something as simple as “Thanks!”. A negative review should be met with an apology, and an offer to discuss the problem offline (via email or phone – tell them to contact you).

There’s also a Q&A section on GMB – answer every question you can!

Finally, you should be aware that customers can add attributes and even recommend changes to vital information, like your address or hours of operation. Ignorant and nefarious actors can actually make unwanted changes to your profile, so it’s essential you check your GMB regularly and correct any errors.

Google My Business is essential to SEO in Halifax

We hope this brief guide helped you understand the importance of your GMB listing, and what you can do to optimize it. GMBs require constant attention. If you’ve got better things to do (we know you do), leave it to the pros at First Rank. We’re Halifax search engine optimization experts – we’ll manage your GMB listing for you.

Contact Us

Please call (204) 272-7265 or fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours. Also, make sure to follow us on social media
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The purpose of First Rank is to help businesses generate leads from their websites. We put a focus on SEO, because we believe it is one of the most cost effective and highest converting forms of traffic generation, however traffic alone is not enough on its own to grow your business. SEO should be combined with conversion optimization, email marketing and retargeting to maximize the ROI of your advertising dollars.