How to Choose the Right Google My Business Categories

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how to choose the right google my business categories

It’s easy to see why Google My Business (GMB) debuted to rave reviews from the small business community. Thanks to this free tool, entrepreneurs were finally able to boost their local web presence and engage more customers online. 

Different GMB elements, such as category, address, or phone number, can directly impact your local pack ranking. Google Business Profile categories help showcase your enterprise to customers seeking products and services in your niche.

Essentially, categories enable Google to understand what your business offers so that it can insert you in relevant searches. So, if your establishment is classified under ‘fine dining restaurant’, Google may include it in local search results for ‘restaurants’, ‘multi-course cuisine restaurants near me’, or ‘luxury places to eat’. 

Google Business Profile categories also determine the features available to your GMB profile.

Based on your category, you may (or may not) be able to receive reviews, add booking buttons, or use GMB posts, among other things.

Also, considering there are 3000+ Google categories at present, choosing one for your business can quickly turn into an uphill struggle. Unless you are laser accurate with your category selection, you may lose out on a ton of potential customers! Needless to say, there’s a lot at stake here.

To make your life simpler, here are a few methods and tools you can use to pick the perfect Google category for your enterprise. 

Google My Business Category Research Methods

1. Determine Significant Search Phrases

determine significant search phrase

Contrary to what many people believe, selecting the right Google Business Profile categories comes with a lot of research. It’s not just about checking the box for what you identify as.

For starters, you’ll need to know which search terms and phrases relate to your target audience. Here’s how you can do this.

  • List out search phrases that best describe your business type and its variants. For instance, bakery owners can add ‘birthday cake decorators’ or ‘wedding cake bakers’ to their catalog of subtypes. Likewise, a high-end department store is also a ‘clothing outlet’. 
  • Note down all the goods and services you offer, highlighting any unique features. For example, if your restaurant provides vegan options, you can include this attribute in your list of amenities.
  • Once this is done, you can enter your keywords into Ahrefs to see which ones rank high in terms of search volume. Remember to track the results for each phrase on your list.
  • Try and pare down your list to the highest-scoring search phrases that are most relevant to your business. In some cases, you may have to target lower-volume search terms if they: 
  • Describe your company more accurately.
  • By being one of the first people to add a new category, you can make a quick ascent to Google’s coveted first page.

You can set both primary and secondary categories for your GMB profile. While the primary category holds the most weight, the secondary categories allow you to add more nuances to your listing. 

2. Investigate Your Competitors

It never hurts to scope out your competition. In this regard, you’ll want to use your final list of search phrases to survey your local market and make a note of all your active competitors.

Usually, the size of your local market depends on several factors, such as your business model and the distance people are willing to travel to arrive at your location.  Think of it like this: a museum is likely to have a larger local market than a small mom-and-pop fast food joint, simply because more people will go a greater distance to visit it. 

Nevertheless, you can use Google Chrome to download the GMB Everywhere extension and spy on your local market rivals. This Chrome extension can help you fine-tune your GMB listing and help outrank your competitors.

gmbeverywhere

When you use this extension, you’ll be able to search for your competitors on Google Maps and see their categories. Because Google doesn’t reveal category information at once, this nifty tool is sure to save you a lot of time and stress. 

While you must examine all the categories your competitors are using, pay special attention to the categories availed by the top-ranking businesses for each of your search phrases. Doing this will give you a fair idea of the most popular Google Business Profile categories.

Although this approach seems pretty cut and dry, it may be a bit tricky, because a competitor’s categories may not always fit your business goals. Use your better judgment and stick to categories that align with your services.

3. Take a Look at Category Suggestions

Whether you’re looking to make the most of neglected opportunities or trying to hold your own in a fiercely competitive market, a little data-based insight can help you plan your next move. 

For this, you can use PlePer’s GMB Category Helper. All you will have to do is type in your business name and up to three search phrases separated by commas. In case you haven’t decided on a company name yet, just enter your proposed business location. PlePer will show you your current categories, the categories in active use around your area, as well as category suggestions, among other things.

pleper gmb category helper tool

You can also check out PlePer’s complete GMB category list to ensure you haven’t missed the boat on any possibilities. 

Furthermore, based on your existing choices, Google can also add category suggestions on the GMB dashboard. It could be worth your while to see if they benefit your company in any way.

4. Conduct Competitor Category Research Using Bright Local’s Local Search Grid Report

To stay a step ahead of your local search competitors, you’ll have to know what makes them better than you. Discovering how well your market rivals are performing can help you beat them with ease. 

local search grid screenshot

Bright Local’s Local Search Grid report allows you to collect category data on all your competitors in one place. With this tool, you can:

  • Get a bird’s eye view of what customers look for in your locality, town, or city.
  • Track visibility for your most important search phrases.
  • Pinpoint key ranking factors for your top competitors.
  • For this, all you’ll have to do is:
    • Visit Bright Local’s website and click on Local Search Grid.
    • Check high-ranking competitors for specific keywords.
    • Look for the primary and secondary categories used by competitors.
    • Extend the panel to the right of the secondary category column to see all the categories your competitor has included in their GMB listing.

What to Do if Google Does Not Have a Category You Need

category not found in google business profile

As of now, there are nearly 31.7 million small businesses in the USA, with 303,000 new businesses launched in the first quarter of 2021 alone. Given this vast number, it’s safe to say that there are a few unusual companies out there. 

In case you’re driving off the beaten path with your business model, you may find it hard to find Google Business Profile categories that represent your products and services accurately.

Plus, Google constantly removes categories and adds new ones, which can complicate things further. 

So, what do you do when you don’t fit in?

Start by studying the Google help forum thread and enter a query of your own. You’ll need to make a convincing, well-thought-out argument detailing why Google must heed your category wish.

In case that does not work out, your next best bet is to select a category that closely describes your business. You can then add pictures, descriptions, and Google posts to fill in the remaining gaps in your GMB profile. Note that this is only a last resort. Google will always want you to select Google Business Profile categories that define your business to the tee.  

The Bottom Line

Now that you know how to select a Google Business Profile category for your company, you’ll have no trouble scaling the heights of SEO success. Although this entire process may seem labor-intensive at first, it can certainly pay off in the long run. Be patient, and you’ll see the results for yourself!

Do you need more information on how to select Google Business Profile categories? The team at Foxxr will be happy to help you out. We offer local SEO, content marketing, web design, and a host of other services to boost your business’s online performance. For more information, feel free to reach out to us today!