Why The Right Categories Are Crucial For Google My Business

We’re on a mission to make sure every business is on the Internet! We’re continuing our discussion about Google My Business Listings, and more specifically, why setting up the right categories is crucial for appearing in relevant search results and accurately describing your business to customers.

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Sarah: Good morning, everyone! All right, we have to say something. We are on a mission to make sure that businesses are set up correctly on the internet. Today we’re going to talk about your categories and why it’s so important to have the right categories for your business and how it can impact you if you don’t.

Glyna: Hey!

Sarah: Good morning!

Glyna: Good morning! Welcome to Marketing Mix! Every week, we’re going to have different segments and highlight all different kinds of digital marketing topics. We’re just going to mix it up. We’re going to do some tips, trends, just talk about the things that we love and the things that we love to help businesses with as far as digital marketing goes. You never know what we’re going to come up with!

Sarah: You never know. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, Fusion One Marketing. We update it every week with new and helpful videos to help you with all things digital marketing. Do not forget about our podcast, Marketing and a Mic. As always, we stream live on Twitter, on Facebook, and on YouTube. So let’s get started. Last week we had talked about in your business and essentially what that was, was how to check out to see what your business looks like online, what your business listing looks like. What errors to look for, and how to fix any inconsistencies that are showing up. Well today, we’re going to talk about categories, specifically the categories that you use to describe this. And you may not know this, but it’s very important that you set up the right categories because it can really hurt you not only in the search results but also with customers finding you.

Glyna: That’s exactly right. You want to make sure that people know what you do. It seems pretty simple, but you’d be shocked when we go to work with a company, what categories they have listed. Usually, it’s a result of they don’t even know what’s out there or they didn’t do it, and it just happened naturally for whatever reason. Let me just first start off, Sarah, by showing people what we mean by a Google My Business listing, because that’s what we’re going to be really talking about here today. And if you’ll bear with me.

Sarah: You talked about the Google listing really is kind of essentially the first place that you should start when you’re setting up your business online.

Glyna: That’s exactly right. You should look at this as your main listing on the internet. Again, it helps to do all the other things that we can do for SEO, but you definitely need this listing. I’ll put up an example here of our Fusion One Marketing listing. I’m talking about the area over on the right-hand side. It gives all information about your business and it lets people find out more about you at the tip of their fingertips. They can look on their phone and find out information without having to go to any other place. It also allows you to have a place for people to give you reviews. It’s very, very important, and it’s kind of the cornerstone of your SEO.

Sarah: Yeah, exactly. It’s got your basic information and you want to make sure it’s accurate, which is what we touched on last week, which is your hours of operation and the reviews. All of that is very helpful to the customer when they’re searching.

Glyna: That’s exactly right. And these Google listings are very important because they show up when people are searching for what you do. And you want to make sure, and I think that maybe …Hopefully that’s not too small, but these Google listings appear in the local or map area, as you see here. This is what over 85% of the people use when they’re searching for a business, is this area to find out what companies do. You can see our Fusion One Marketing listing. This is one of our listings in Helena. If you can’t see it, it’s right here. Let’s see if I can make it a little bit larger. It tells what we do. This is what we’re talking about by categories. Internet marketing service, it tells us what we do. That’s what we’re talking about today.

Sarah: Yeah. So the top that you had searched it by SEO company, so that was kind of interesting. It wasn’t by Fusion One, which is another thing talking about keywords. But let’s talk about the categories more specifically. What are primary categories and how did they help enhance my listing?

Glyna: Okay. The primary category should be … Again, it kind of sounds like it should be pretty obvious, but the primary category should be the main thing that you offer.

Sarah: Okay.

Glyna: For us, the one that came closest to tell what we do is internet marketing service because you’re at the mercy of Google, and their official list or keywords that you can use. Let me go in here a little bit more and I’ll kind of take you in the back area here of our listing.

Sarah: We’re kind of at the mercy of Google listings. Does Google kind of give you a full list of all their approved categories, and you just kind of choose which ones are relevant? How did we select internet marketing service, marketing agency, those types of categories?

Glyna: Well, that’s the magic question because what we have learned after doing this for 10 years out is that we’ve never seen an official Google list. Now, you can google official list and you’ll find some that other people have put out. Probably other marketers that have done this for a while and just happen to know what categories are available, but you really just have to start thinking about what you do. This is our area right here, and I’ll kind of show you. You first start out with your primary category, which I would rather have probably digital marketing agency. But if you look, it’s not available. If I started typing in and this is what you can do as well, there’s no digital marketing agency. There’s digital printer, digital printing service. Digital marketing company was out. That’s how we came up with internet marketing service. That just happened to be the closest thing that we could think about for our primary category.

Sarah: Okay. So you just have to start typing in kind of what you think are the relevant keywords to describe your business and see if it pops up and if it’s available.

Glyna: That’s exactly right. The other thing that you can do, let’s see, is you can Google internet marketing service or SEO company and see what other agencies are using. That might give you some ideas of some different topics or different categories that you could use as well.

Sarah: Okay.

Glyna: Like on here, we could also … I know we do graphic design, so we could put that in there. We could add that if we wanted, but that’s not our main thing. You want to keep it to the main categories that you do for your business. I think what we have here so far describes us pretty well.

Sarah: Yeah, I would say so. I can’t just come up with a category. What if I want to do my own category because I don’t find it? Would that work? Would Google accept it?

Glyna: No, they wouldn’t. There’s all these rules, and I know … This is where it really comes into play or where it’s a great idea to work with a company like ours, just because we’ve been doing this for so long. We kind of know the categories and what’s out there before we get started. But no, you can’t make one up. Now we’ll get into other things here in a couple of weeks when we really go through the Google My Business listings, or you can put in services. That gives you another area to put in things that you do if that makes sense. It’ll make more sense when we go over it.

Sarah: Right. How do you choose your categories? If I’m in my mind, I’m trying to figure out how do I pick this ‘business is’ something or ‘this business has’, or ‘this offers’ … What’s the thought process?

Glyna: Yeah. You really want to think about really what business is-

Sarah: Okay.

Glyna: … instead of what it has. And I know that may be kind of simple, but it’s what it is and what you offer as a product or service first.

Sarah: Okay. Okay, so that’s the main place to go to. All right. You say that we should focus primarily on adding those specific categories for your business on Google. How does Google come into play once you’ve kind of added those services or those categories?

Glyna: Yes. It’s very important to Google to make sure that you are representing, again, what your business does. Like we talked about, you can’t make anything up. You can’t put categories in there that don’t pertain to your business. It is a huge part of their algorithm to make sure that you are advertising not only on your Google My Business listing, but everywhere else on the internet that you’re advertising your services and what you do. People have tried to fool them and put other topics in that don’t really relate to their business. That really just hurts them in the end because they will actually go … And this is kind of scary, but they will actually comb the internet and look to see what’s mentioned about your business. What’s on your website, what’s on your social media, all that good stuff. And what we saw just a second ago … Let me show that again. This is a great example. And again, like I said, it’s kind of scary because you’re like, “Okay, how did they do this?” But for instance, I actually put in SEO company because I would love for SEO since it’s so important to be one of the main categories. I just put that in there, knowing in the back of my mind that’s not a normal Google category and it still brought us up. Because look at this little thing right here, it says their website mentions SEO services. That’s a perfect example of how Google comes into play and how important these categories are because they’re out looking to see what you’re really doing.

Sarah: Okay. You’ve used this term buckets with describing categories with Google My Business. Would that be an example of a keyword that kind of falls into … Or a category that falls into that bucket list of SEO is not necessarily an available primary, right? But it’s still going to show up in search because it falls into the same bucket.

Glyna: That’s a perfect example of it. Again, because they go out and search to see what they can find that you do that’s relative so that people if they do search those other keywords, they’re able to find you. Another good example of what I would say a bucket is, is pest control. When we first started, pest control had a lot of different categories that we could put them in. We could put them in termite control, mosquito control, wildlife, animal control, all of these other ones. But Google said, “No, we’re going to assume that most pest control companies do those things. We’re going to take the primary keyword of pest control or category. And then we’re going to make sure that if you’re searching for pest control, all of those other things fall in that bucket.” That’s the way I like to think of it. Those other things are going to allow you to be pulled up, but they’re not official Google categories. And if that’s not confusing enough, I don’t know what is.

Sarah: It’s all right.

Glyna: You have that … Yeah.

Sarah: Oh, gosh, am I freezing this morning?

Glyna: You are just a little bit, but that’s okay. We’ll get through it. It’s not that big of a deal theater.

Sarah: I feel like my computer hasn’t had its coffee yet. It’s like, “Wake up!”

Glyna: Wake up, computer! Well, and then, on the other hand, Sarah … And this is where Google kind of drives people crazy and they drive us crazy, is that they’ll do that for pest control. They’ll put everything under one bucket, which kind of makes sense. You don’t have to worry about filling out all these categories. And then they’ll go to the other extreme, like heating and air. Heating and air is one of the worst examples because you have so many things, so many categories and legal categories that apply to heating and air companies. You can have heating and air company, air conditioning contractor, air conditioning repair service, HVAC, HVAC contractor. It goes on and on and on. They allow them to have all of those keywords, and you can use any of them as your primary. But for pest control and other things like that, they make you just choose one.

Sarah: Right. With heating and air, with that example, there can be a lot of them and it kind of becomes a little redundant. Do you feel like you should add all those or any category that kind of seems redundant, and just use the ones that are the most specific to your business?

Glyna: Yeah. What I would do is I would just be more specific. Again, we don’t want to confuse the search engines, so you really want to stay with your keywords. And as we saw, Google will go and do the rest. They’ll pick up other things that you do so that you’re not left out in the cold when people are searching. Another good example is when people put ‘something near me.’ That’s not an official Google category, but if you’re looking for a restaurant near me, they’re still going to allow that to show up, allow your company to show up even using that term just because they know a lot of people use that.

Sarah: Okay. Okay, that makes sense. Okay, so what is the difference categories and keywords in Google My Business? I know that’s always a loaded question because we always say that everything begins and ends with SEO.

Glyna: Yes. Yes, it does. If you think of categories … These directories and search engines like Google My Business, what you’re choosing to describe your business is a category. What do you fall under? Now, keywords on the other hand would be what people are putting in for the search.

Sarah: Okay.

Glyna: It’s whatever term or word that they’re putting in for the search. It also can apply to pay-per-click, Google AdWords, and that kind of thing. But that’s kind of a whole other topic that we can cover another day.

Sarah: Yeah.

Glyna: But I do want to say one other thing that kind of is confusing to people … When businesses have businesses within themselves, and I’ll give you an example for categories. If you were a hotel and you have a restaurant or you may have a little cafe, or you may have a bar inside of your hotel. You do not want to use those categories under the hotel’s listing. You want to take those … If they are their own entity, you want to make them do their own listing.

Sarah: Okay.

Glyna: You want to take what your primary thing is, let them put their listing up and choose their primary categories, and so forth. It’s all about keeping it simple, keeping it separate, and describing what’s the best thing for your business.

Sarah: Right. Okay. You wouldn’t think, you know what I mean? We talked about this before. It’s like unless you really know what you’re doing, it can … Truly, these little things, all of these little things truly matter. And if you really don’t know what you’re doing and you haven’t kind of kept up with all the ever-changing algorithms with Google, it can really hurt you and hurt you getting found. It’s just good to either spend the time doing it or just have a company that knows what they’re doing and can do all the leg work.

Glyna: Yep. That’s exactly right. I’ll put our last shameless plugin there. You can help me out. But if you want us to take a look at your listing and take a look at your categories, we’d be more than happy to do that for you. Because more than not, we find the reason that people aren’t showing up in the search engines is because they have the wrong categories. And the search engines, especially Google, aren’t recognizing them. So if you need help with that, just let us know, send us a message and we would love to help you out.

Sarah: Absolutely, absolutely. Again, we’re going to continue this series in future episodes because Google My Business and your business listing is so, so important. We hope that helps you today with categories and getting the right categories. And don’t forget about this talk on Friday! We’ve got a great guest for BizTalk Friday at 8:00 AM. Dr. Keith and Dr. Miracle from Quest for Health Chiropractic, it’s going to be a really good one. So thanks for tuning in everyone!

Glyna: Bye!

Sarah: We will talk to you later. Bye!