Any Thoughts on What Determines GP Category Order and Categories Are Used by Google?


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Trying to get my HVAC client to rank for "HVAC Contractor" within the Local Search but there still seems to be some disconnect between GP and the site so I decided to try a little testing. Previously, despite having "HVAC Contractor" as my first category in GP dashboard, it was not being shown as either of the visible first or second category on the GP page. And, after poking around some, I guess the category order in dashboard may not necessarily be the category order on the page.

Fine... I guess.

Except I decided to try an experiment and only include one category in the dashboard - HVAC Contractor. But when the 'change' went through [meaning only one category showing up on the GP page instead of five] what Google decided to display in place of "HVAC Contractor" [ which IS one of THEIR available categories in the dashboard ] was "Air Conditioning Contractor".

Fluke? Google just being Google?
 

Linda Buquet

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Couple thoughts Don.

I have always filled up all 5 for the reason I'll mention below AND have never personally worked in that industry, so am not familiar with the cats.

So you are saying you had just HVAC Contractor in dash which is a Google default - but she's not displaying it at all and replaced it with "Air Conditioning Contractor"???

The reason I fill up all 5, is that if you don't, I think Google is more likely to supplement with whatever she thinks is correct.

I assume she adds cats based on 3rd party directory, Yp and authority sites and even pulls from the web site.

Try searching Google for "Air Conditioning Contractor" "phone" and see how many matches you find.

I've never researched any of this or anything, so just some assumptions.
 

Linda Buquet

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Couple thoughts Don.

I have always filled up all 5 for the reason I'll mention below AND have never worked in that industry, so am not familiar with the cats.

So you are saying you had just HVAC Contractor in dash which is a Google default - but she's not displaying it at all and replaced it with "Air Conditioning Contractor"???

The reason I fill up all 5, is that if you don't, I think Google is more likely to supplement with whatever she thinks is correct.

I assume she adds cats based on 3rd party directory, Yp and authority sites and even pulls from the web site.

Try searching Google for "Air Conditioning Contractor" "phone" and see how many matches you find.

I've never researched any of this or anything, so just some assumptions.
 
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hmm.... not sure what's happening now because if I check various Places pages, there IS only one category showing, unlike before when G showed two, then you had to click on those cats to see them all.

Are you seeing this?
 

Linda Buquet

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Oh dang Google, what now???

You are right Don, something is up. I noticed it a couple times earlier today but they were not client listings so I didn't know what was listed in dash for sure.

On that photographer we were just trying to help tonight here in the forum, I just critiqued him for only having 1 category. Then when you mentioned it, I went and checked some previous clients that I knew had all cats and most are showing 1 and some are showing 2. The 1st I checked is only showing one and it's not his CORE cat Dentist, it's Cosmetic Dentist.

Yep just checked my personal Place page because I know for sure what's in dash. I have all 5 cats and only 1 is showing. Not sure if this is a new update or just a temp bug. The later I hope! Oh dear, I don't have a good feeling about this.

Thanks for head's up. Off to research and check the G forum to see if any complaints or news. Also was gone all night and have not checked email yet. Maybe Google emailed me info, off to check.
 

Linda Buquet

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Don, one quick initial observation. This does not seem to me to be affecting ranking.
I didn't do a complete rank check comparison, but don't a quick manual check the dentist who's cats are gone and it only shows cosmetic dentist, still ranks for city teeth whitening and city dental implants. In past if you didn't have that cat in dash you normally would not rank for it. So it appears she's still READING what's in dash, just not displaying everything.
 

Colan Nielsen

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I'm seeing this on listings as well, in the insurance industry. So far I haven't observed any ranking drops that could be attributed to this.

In fact I have seen some ranking increases as of this morning...coincidence I'm sure..
 

Linda Buquet

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Started dedicated bug thread with more insights and quoted both of you.
<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-places-important-updates/534-google-local-category-bug-bites-listings.html">Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings</a>

Will report to Google and report back in that thread.
 
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Just a update regarding

Except I decided to try an experiment and only include one category in the dashboard - HVAC Contractor. But when the 'change' went through [meaning only one category showing up on the GP page instead of five] what Google decided to display in place of "HVAC Contractor" [ which IS one of THEIR available categories in the dashboard ] was "Air Conditioning Contractor".
and

hmm.... not sure what's happening now because if I check various Places pages, there IS only one category showing, unlike before when G showed two, then you had to click on those cats to see them all.
I am still seeing one category for my clients but this category now matches the primary category in Places.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for update Don.

The Dentist I mentioned is still showing Cosmetic Dentist as only cat. AND I submitted him through G+ feedback form AND told G personally about that one. No change.
 

Colan Nielsen

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I'm seeing most listings with one category as well, which is the main category. However, I just checked a listing that has 2 categories showing. One of the categories in our main category in our account, and the other isn't in the account, but it does appear on the corresponding MM listing...
 

Linda Buquet

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I've seen a couple with 2 cats also Colan.

Complaints are just starting to come into the G forum too.

Mike and I are pushing Google for answers...
 

Colan Nielsen

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Weird, now I just looked at a listing that has 2 showing, but 4 when you click on them.

3 out of the 4 are in the dashboard.
 

Linda Buquet

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Weird Colan... The 2 main listings I've been checking still only show one cat.

I just had a weird thought. (When Google won't tell us what's up, it leads to conspiracy theories.)

Mike and I are starting to wonder if this is an update or intended feature, rather than a bug.

Here's my conspiracy theory...

One of reasons I think the old dashboard can't go away yet, is that G+ has no feature for adding business categories.

We also know the Places category is frequently spammed and gamed.

We also know or at least I believe --- Google thinks SHE knows more about the business than the business owner, from data she gets from around the web etc. Hence her making up the snippets that show up on the page that the owner has no control over.

AND she knows and takes complete control over which keywords you'll show up for when you use AdwordsExpress.

Soooooo I wonder if she is testing removing cats to see if there are many complaints? So far only one complaint has even come in at the G forum because not many SMBs even check stuff like that on their Place page.

IF, similar to snippets on the page AND AdwordsExpress, she in the background decides to pick the categories FOR US, then she does not need to program it into the G+ Business page dashboard. AND why should she, since she's all knowing anyway and does not appear to trust the dashboard owner verified data much to begin with???

AND that takes one ranking element (that some try to game) away from the owner too because SHE decides what searches you'll show up for based on her infinite wisdom, keyword data and info gleaned from other authority sites.

How's that for a conspiracy theory??? :rolleyes:
And yes, I'm feeling a little ornery today. :p
 
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Linda

We also know or at least I believe --- Google thinks SHE knows more about the business than the business owner, from data she gets from around the web etc. Hence her making up the snippets that show up on the page that the owner has no control over.
Meant to ask this a while ago... but I'm not seeing those 'snippets' any longer.
 

Linda Buquet

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Don, Colan (and other interested Pros) Please see important post in the back room titled "Missing Categories."
 

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