Is Google adding new Google My Business categories (slowly)?

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
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Jul 26, 2012
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Have you seen any new GMB categories that simply didn't exist before?

I've got a client who owns an escape-rooms business. Until very recently, the closest category we could choose was "Amusement Center," which we did. All other escape rooms had that category, or one that was even less relevant. Then, today, while doing my routine anti-spam patrol, I saw a new category on several competitors' listings: "Escape room center." That did not exist a few weeks ago. A couple other "tells" that it's real new are (1) the whole phrase isn't capitalized, and (2) the phrasing is a little clunky, in that an escape-rooms business often has more than one escape room, so that category probably should be "Escape Rooms Center."

Like most lists of categories, Google's list is pretty ossified. It doesn't change often, which is one reason many new types of businesses go without a GMB category for a long time or indefinitely. On the other hand, Google updates it at least often enough to add things like "Electric Vehicle Charging Station" and "Coworking Space" to the list.

Noticed any new GMB categories recently?
 

JoyHawkins

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Jul 18, 2012
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Hey Phil,

I can confirm that this one was added some time between April and August of this year. I keep an updated list in my guide and there were 19 new categories added between those months this year and one of them was "Escape Room Center". Google also deletes categories frequently too. This last month they removed 9. They also sometimes change names. For example, "Lincoln Mercury Dealer" became "Lincoln Dealer" in recent months.
 

Phil Rozek

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Jul 26, 2012
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1,522
Thanks, Joy!

Must've been August. Late August.

The pace at which Google adds, edits, and removes categories has always been unclear to me. I see them tweaked from time to time. Don't remember a time I've ever seen one removed, though.
 

JoyHawkins

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Jul 18, 2012
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Yeah the ones they add are interesting but the ones they remove are generally ones that I don't care about anyway. A few they removed earlier this year included Nanny, Shower Door Supplier, City Center & Dog Sitter.
 

Ewan Kennedy

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Jul 4, 2017
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10
I have a physiotherapist client whose competitors are nearly all under the Physiotherapist category which seems to have been replaced by Physical Therapist and Physical Therapy Clinic. I think that happened this year.
 

JoyHawkins

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@Ewan Kennedy I think that one may actually get reverted. I have a thread I'm working on over at the GMB forum about that category and how it got changed and the new name doesn't make any sense in the Canadian list of categories.
 

Rich Owings

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Apr 21, 2014
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Yeah, the "escape room center" one helped me land a client and move him to the front page map pack overnight. I have Joy's Expert's Guide to Local SEO to thank for that one. I read her monthly changes, including new GMB categories, very carefully. Now I just have to keep him on page one!
 

Amy Toman

Member
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Oct 3, 2018
Messages
25
Just curious if there's a way to get categories added. As @JoyHawkins mentioned above, they removed "dog sitter," which applies to many of my clients. Unfortunately they replaced it with "dog hostel," a term no one in North America uses. Same with the cat care categories: the only ones available are "cat hostel" and "cattery." I've asked on the GMB forum, and via Twitter, and via email to a Google rep this summer, all without any luck. Is this a lost cause? Just curious if I should just leave this alone and not keep trying...
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
38
Just curious if there's a way to get categories added. As @JoyHawkins mentioned above, they removed "dog sitter," which applies to many of my clients. Unfortunately they replaced it with "dog hostel," a term no one in North America uses. Same with the cat care categories: the only ones available are "cat hostel" and "cattery." I've asked on the GMB forum, and via Twitter, and via email to a Google rep this summer, all without any luck. Is this a lost cause? Just curious if I should just leave this alone and not keep trying...
I have nothing to help but i just have to say that is nutz! A cat hostel, and cattery lol??
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
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Jul 18, 2012
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Hey Amy,

The GMB forum is the best place to suggest categories but the downside is that it's not something Google acts on quickly. I found your thread - it looks like no one ever responded to it. I'll respond to it now and escalate it to Google.

Dog Hostel has existed as a category since Jan 2017 when I first started tracking this. Dog Sitter was removed some time late 2017 so I just wanted to clarify that Google wasn't replacing "dog sitter" with "dog hostel" since that category has existed for some time. Sometimes they do rename categories but that's not the case here.
 

Amy Toman

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2018
Messages
25
Ok thank you. I've been working with these pet industry clients for a few years, and have yet to have the terms "dog/cat hostel" or "cattery" enter a conversation. If there's documentation on how these categories - well actually the words - are chosen, please let me know. I don't want to keep putting down Google's wisdom, but when I see granular categories like "electronics vending machine" but not my "cat care" categories, I wonder what I'm missing. (Mike B started to explain to me the use of these terms and how they translate out, but we didn't get to finish the conversation; really wish there was a writeup on this).
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,522
@Amy

My hunch long has been that many of Google's category names come from old local directories' category lists and from NAICS. All the oddball categories were someone else's oddball categories first, I would guess. A number of years ago I spent many hours researching those third parties' categories, and can say there is some weird stuff in there.

In general, Google is the world's biggest scraper / crowdsourcer. That would seem to extend to categories.
 

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