Insights You Should Leverage in Google My Business in 2021

Written by: Briony Cullin

Published: 28 January, 2021

Google My Business (GMB) metrics are getting a refresh in 2021, and we wanted to share some of the key insights you can leverage. 

Your GMB listing is shown in Google Maps as well as on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). You have the power to claim your GMB listing as the owner of the business so if you haven’t done that already, make sure you do - Google will send you a verification postcard or call your business number to verify you’re the owner.

Once you’ve unlocked the listing, you can access Insights. Changes to your Insights information are coming in 2021 and you can read more about them in Google’s help center.

Insights are now split into: 

How people interacted with you:

This report tells you how customers interact with your business on a daily basis. Interactions are either phone calls from the GMB listing, or messages.  

Check these metrics - do customers prefer calls or messages? If you’re getting a lot of clicks to call your business but you can’t answer the phone, do you have an answering service set up? 

Messaging is a newer feature to Google My Business so you might not have it set up yet. If you do set it up, make sure you have a process in place to reply to messages on a timely basis. 


Google My Business SEO Insights

How people discovered you

The search terms in this report will provide you crucial insights into how new customers are discovering your business. Review these search terms - are there terms in there which surprise you? Perhaps there are terms which aren’t relevant to your business, or you’re not getting found for the term you’d like to. Knowing what people are searching for will help you understand your customer better and can give you inspiration for content ideas to create. 

Review your GMB listing to make sure you’ve completed it fully - including the category section which is crucial for SEO and local search

Bonus: Insights from the previous version in GMB

While Google My Business updates their metrics, the “old” insights are still available. We expect that most of these will move over to the new report so we wanted to include them here in anticipation of that.

  • How customers search for your business

As defined by Google: 

  • Direct searches: A customer directly searched for your business name or address.
  • Discovery searches: A customer searched for a category, product or service that you offer, and your listing appeared.
  • Branded searches: A customer searched for your brand or a brand related to your business. This category will only appear if your listing has appeared at least once for a branded search.
  • Total searches: The total number of direct, discovery and branded searches.

The pie chart shown will give you an idea of how much brand awareness your business name has. Not seeing any direct searches? Then your brand awareness is low, and customers aren’t searching for your business name. Seeing only direct searches? Then you’re missing the opportunity to be discovered for the products and services you offer. 


  • Where customers view your business

As we’ve already mentioned, GMB listings appear in Google Maps and Google Search results. These reports tell you where customers are seeing your listing, and are a good way to help you identify where there’s room for improvement. If you’re getting a low amount of views in maps, it might be because Google doesn’t have specific enough information about the business location. 

This is also a useful report to look at for a broader time period (e.g. 3 months) to see if there are any trends emerging in terms of popular days of the week. 

  • Customer actions

This is the previous version of the “how people interacted with you” report mentioned above. This report also contains information about website visits from your GMB listing so it’s worth double checking this information in your analytics tool to see where those customers are landing. Is it the home page, or is there a more relevant page you can direct them to? 


  • Direction requests

For businesses with a physical location, customers will often use Google Maps to get directions to your door. Insights into how many customers request directions will help you see what percentage of your footfall is being driven by your GMB listing. 

For these insights, you’ll need to consider the kind of business you are to really decide what these results mean - for example, a retail business will rely heavily on footfall traffic from brand new customers. However, if you’re a law firm looking at your insights, when people request directions, it’s probably for an appointment they’ve already made with the firm. 

Direction requests might also indicate customers checking if they’re within your delivery area. 

Take a look at the information about where customers are requesting directions from. This can give you insight into where your customers are located, and perhaps help you spot areas for improvement if there are key geographic locations you’re missing. 

  • Phone calls

This contains more granular information about what days of the week and what time people call your business from your profile. 

  • Photo views & quantity

High-quality, relevant photos are a really important part of your GMB listing, and an area a lot of businesses miss. Ensure you’re updating the photos of your listing regularly.

This report tells you how many photos your listing has in comparison to businesses in your industry. It also breaks down the comparison into photos added by the owner compared to customer photos. Consider ways of encouraging customers to add photos to your Google listing. 

Other features of GMB you need to know about 

  • Posts

Think of a post on GMB as a mini blog post. Posts stay live for 7 days and are a great way to highlight a special offer or seasonal offering for your business. Once you share a post, remember to check the insights on the post to see how it performed, and help you create an even better post the next time. 

Breaking news as at 20 January 2021: posts are no longer only valid for 7 days. We can see posts which are 6 months old and more still appearing on listings. 

  • Reviews 

Customer reviews will help your listing get discovered, so make sure you take the time to reply to them. A well-crafted, grateful reply to a 5-star review will be seen by potentially hundreds (or thousands!) of customers, so it’s a great way to show off your customer service. 


GMB is a veritable gold mine of valuable information, and an under-utilised one at that. For local businesses, the insights are key to improving your local search performance and attracting more customers to your business. 

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Written by: Briony Cullin

Briony's background as a lawyer in Australia is a uncommon but very handy foundation for her attention to detail and enthusiasm for improving rankings & ROI.

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