What are best practices when no GMB category is found?


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Sep 16, 2016
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Hey everyone, I hope all is well :)

What are best practices when GMB doesn't have an exact category for my local business?

Currently when I trigger local pack I see 3 locations all using different categories.

Most of which do not make sense and are only, kind of, sort of, ok lol

I have always stuck with one category as it does semi-correlate with my clients services (one of the two).

I have no issues ranking local pack. I'm trying to gain an edge since there are so many hacks.

Anyone experience this before? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,
Christopher
 

DanLeibson

Local Search Expert
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May 17, 2013
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Hey everyone, I hope all is well :)

What are best practices when GMB doesn't have an exact category for my local business?

Currently when I trigger local pack I see 3 locations all using different categories.

Most of which do not make sense and are only, kind of, sort of, ok lol

I have always stuck with one category as it does semi-correlate with my clients services (one of the two).

I have no issues ranking local pack. I'm trying to gain an edge since there are so many hacks.

Anyone experience this before? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,
Christopher
I'm a big fan of testing in these situations. Just get a baseline of how much traffic GMB is sending to your site, and actions in GMB insights etc and play around with it. Modeling the winners in SERPs in the biggest markets as well as the biggest players in the vertical is always a good place to start in terms of what categories to test. Test which one is the primary, which one is the secondary etc. My suspicion is it's not going to matter much, if at all, but ?\_(ツ)_/?.
 

Durandl

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May 19, 2016
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Can you not tell us what business you're in? I guess that would be helpful to figure out an answer
 
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I'll echo what Dan mentioned. If you don't have a sure-fire category to choose from, there's really no harm in testing. What's the worst that could happen? Find categories that are close to your business type, and play around with the order. Test and measure, then stick to what returns the best for you.
 
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Double what Dan said. For what it's worth, Places Scout was helpful for me when gathering data to analyse for factors like that in the markets I'm interested in. It'd be overkill to use just for finding out the google categories for the 3 packs in different markets, but if you wanted to do a deeper dive while you're at it, they're awesome for that kind of thing, I know Dan and his team even used for his last local search algorithm study. Some industries just don't have great categories available though. I have no proof for this, but I suspect that in those cases, the categories aren't the factor that makes or breaks a business' rankings, since the categories Google's going to be seeing for the companies under those keywords is going to be all over the place. I feel like they'd be smart enough now to see the volatility of that signal for your industry and know not to trust it as much, but who knows.
 

Margaret Ornsby

Local Search Expert
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In my experience the category is only a suggestion, not a command. I think Google know their category list is high-level, and they have chosen not to make it extensive. Other listings as well as the associated website will have a bigger impact on refining it.

So as Dan says, play around with it, but honestly don't spend a huge amount of time on it. IMHO there are a lot more things that will have a bigger impact on search results than the category.

This page contains another way to find the categories Google has available, per country:
https://developers.google.com/my-business/content/categories
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
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Hey guys, thanks for the input. I did a 90 day test with a different category and of course all it did was rank for that category :) More clicks, high bounce rate, more non relevant calls and searches etc. Pretty cut and dry.

So I'm just sticking with one and not going to worry about it.

Thanks everyone!
 

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