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December 13, 2022

How the Home Depot Competes in 4 GBP Categories Simultaneously // Local Marketing Insider #048

Learn from Home Depot and master a multi-GBP strategy. Why? Rank higher in local search for distinct search categories unique to each department of your business.

Maybe (hopefully) you’ve heard us talk about a “multiple-GBP strategy” before. Today’s article is my attempt to really drive home the “why.”

A multi-GBP strategy can be defined as creating unique GBP pages for your top-level business and all its unique, public-facing departments.

*If your business has no unique “public-facing departments that operate as distinct entities” feel free to skip this article. I’ve included Google guidelines for what constitutes “a department” in GBP land, so if you’re not sure skip to that section toward the bottom.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at The Home Depot.

How Home Depot Uses a Multi-GBP Strategy to Compete in Four Unique Keyword Markets per Rooftop

For each store Home Depot has built four unique GBP pages:

  • General
  • Garden Center
  • Professional Building Supplies
  • Tool Rental Services

It has done this for one key reason - to rank in multiple search keyword categories: “home improvement,” “garden center,” “building supply” and “tool rental.”

To give an extremely brief local ranking factors overview, the top 3 local ranking factors are:

  1. GBP information
  2. Reviews
  3. Searcher proximity

By “GBP information,” in simple terms, you can think of this as your business’s Primary Category

First, your business needs to fit the basic keyword bucket related to the search term, and then Google will look at reviews and proximity to see how favorably your business matches up.

Primary Category always comes first.

In the case of Home Depot, for each physical store it has four different GBPs with four different Primary Categories, meaning it competes directly in four unique “keyword markets.”

GBP #1 - Home Improvement

Primary Category: “Home Improvement Store”

Search term: “home improvement stores lebanon nh”

Target audience: home projects for general public, smaller pro jobs

GBP #2 - Garden Center

Primary Category: “Garden Center”

Search term: “garden center lebanon nh”

Target audience: yard, lawn care for general public, smaller pro jobs

GBP #3 - Building Materials

Primary Category: “Building Materials Store”

Search term: “building supply store lebanon nh”

Target audience: contactors, professionals

GBP #4 - Tool Rental

Primary Category: “Tool Rental Service”

Search term: “tool rental lebanon nh”

Target audience: professional and general public in need of advanced equipment for home projects

You’ll notice each search term brings up a (mostly) unique set of competitors. For example, Gardener's Supply isn’t competing in the tool rental market but shows up when looking for garden center search terms.

Breaking out multiple GBPs means Home Depot can compete directly for traffic, and therefore customers, with different groups of businesses based upon the products/services it offers.

Automotive: Sales vs. Service GBPs

Let’s take a look at the automotive industry, where sales and service departments work really well.

Widewail client, Koons Annapolis Toyota, dominates both retail and service searches for the Annapolis region.

The search “Toyota dealership annapolis maryland” sources its sales GBP.

The search “Toyota service annapolis” sources its service GBP.

With this strategy, Koons now competes against the likes of independent repair shops, think Midas or Meineke. For dealerships, this is the birth of an entirely new marketing channel.

Where This Strategy Breaks Down

To do multiple GBPs effectively, you need the review content to support each page.

Home Depot hasn’t executed on this, since most of their reviews are on the Home Improvement GBP (at least for the Lebanon, NH example store):

Home Improvement: 4.0-star rating, 784 reviews

Garden Center: 4.0-star rating, 6 reviews

Building Supply: 5.0-star rating, 1 review

Tool Rental: 3.8-star rating, 9 reviews

*Hey, Home Depot, our DMs are open

I’m guessing Home Depot is not using a proactive review generation strategy and, because of that, the vast majority of its organic reviews, understandably, end up on the home improvement page. 

Generally, your customers won’t easily find your departmental GBPs on which to leave reviews on their own, especially in the beginning. Your customers are not students of this strategy, it's new for most marketers! They need to be sent to the correct page directly.

Compare The Home Depot to Koons Annapolis Toyota.

Koons uses Widewail to automatically generate and route reviews to its GBPs, resulting in a more proportionate distribution of review volume:

Dealership: 4.8-star rating, 4,752 reviews

Service Center: 4.5-star rating, 912 reviews

Now for a little reader engagement to illustrate my point. Fire up a new Google window and type in the search “toyota service annapolis.” You should see a GBP panel for “Koons Annapolis Toyota Service Center” on the righthand side and nearly every listing on the page mention Koons. 

When we talk about dominating local search, that is what we mean. Shoutout to Jake and the Koons team, amazing work!

Departmental GBP Requirements from Google

Not all businesses can support multiple GBP pages. You need a department that operates as a distinct entity.

Read Google’s guidelines.

“Publicly-facing departments that operate as distinct entities should have their own page. The exact name of each department must be different from that of the main business and that of other departments. Typically such departments have a separate customer entrance and should each have distinct categories. Their hours may sometimes differ from those of the main business.

  • Acceptable (as distinct Business Profiles):
  • "Walmart Vision Center"
  • "Sears Auto Center"
  • "Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Dermatology"
  • Not acceptable (as distinct Business Profiles):
  • The Apple products section of Best Buy
  • The hot food bar inside Whole Foods Market

For each department, the category that's the most representative of that department must be different from that of the main business and that of other departments.”

Ah, Sears. How nostalgic of Google.

Anyway, if your business meets these requirements we highly recommend a multi-GBP strategy.

Plug for Invite

Widewail’s SMS-first automated review generation software sends requests automatically via integration with client CRM systems and uses information housed within the CRM to identify the correct GBP and customize the messaging specific to the department. The entire process is hands-off for the client. Plus, we don’t charge extra to support multiple GBPs per location - our competitors charge for each GBP.

Learn More

 

See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @Widewail

Jake Hughes

I’m the Director of Marketing here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. I'm in Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0 to 100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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