Choose The Right Categories for Your Google LBC Listing

by on February 10, 2010 · 29 comments

Getting your offline business into the Google “Lucky 7 Pack” depends on number of factors. One of the most important is the categories that you choose for your business.

When you claim or update your Google LBC listing you can choose up to 5 categories for your business.

Finding all the categories that apply to your business can be tricky though, because Google doesn’t allow you to select from a complete list. It only provides a short-list of suggestions related to what you are typing in.

Maps guru Mike Blumenthal recently released a tool that allows you to search the entire database of Google Maps categories based on synonyms. It’s a great way to discover all the categories that might apply to your business.

A Video Tour of the Google LBC Category Preview Tool

Here’s a link to the Google LBC Category Preview tool.

This is a very useful tool. Thanks Mike!

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Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, the SmallBiz WordPress Theme and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 266 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthew Hunt February 10, 2010 at 11:20 pm

I personally found that categories you choose can really determine what you will show up for in the 7-Pack (assuming you have done everything else).

I also do keyword research on the category to see search volumes and put the category in Google to make sure it’s triggering a 7-Pack. Once I find 5 that have good search volumes and trigger the 7-Pack then that is what I typically use for categories.

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Rob February 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

Matthew, Don & Mike,

This seems to be working like gangbusters. I changed five different LBC listings on one day (last Saturday) and today I checked the stats. The impressions have doubled for all of them. The businesses where I had only one category have increased by 5 to 10x the last two days. Thank you for sharing, I hope it sticks.

Rob

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Don Campbell February 27, 2010 at 11:32 am

That’s great Rob! So do you think it is because the business is listed in more categories now than it was before? Or because the categories are more relevant?

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Rob February 28, 2010 at 5:35 am

Don,

I think it is the combination of:
-increasing the number of categories from 1 to 5
-making sure all five categories selected trigger the 7 pack
-selecting the categories with the highest keyword volume

In addition to the above the % complete score was 100% before updating the catagories.

Rob

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John Dermott July 7, 2011 at 1:07 am

And there is no better tool I have found than the free pack finder from Huss which checks packs for multiple keywords in one go – I think the site is localseoaustralia.com and he has released a new version which also checks neutral keywords.

Mike Blumenthal February 11, 2010 at 8:01 am

Don

GREAT VIDEO! Thanks.

What tool did you use to have your webcam embedded in your demo? Very cool.

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Don Campbell February 11, 2010 at 8:42 am

Matthew – Great tip on checking the search volumes first and making sure the category triggers a 7 -Pack result in the region. Thanks!

Mike – My pleasure. Thanks for putting this great tool together!
I used Screenflow on the Mac to produce the screen cast video with the webcam embedded.

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MiriamEllis February 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Don,
What a nice video you’ve made here! It should be a great help to many business owners who are trying to improve their understanding of using the LBC for their benefit. Mike’s tool is just fantastic and it was a very good idea to give it this type of coverage. Well done!
Miriam

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Don Campbell February 11, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Thank you Miriam!
As you said, what a great tool Mike put together; I think it will help a lot of small business owners (and their consultants :)

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Ken Peacock February 15, 2010 at 4:45 am

Cool tool ~ thanks for developing Mike.
But what does it mean when there are a bunch of questionmarks where there is normally a category listing?????

Thanks!

Ken

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Mike Blumenthal February 15, 2010 at 3:58 pm

It is one of the bugs that I hope to have fixed shortly.

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Rob February 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

Don,

I really appreciate this video and the above comments. I have already found several applicable categories for my client’s local business listing. So, if we find applicable categories that do not activate the seven pack, but have significant keyword search volume. Is the next step is to put this keyword phrase in our list of words to target via additional content, SEO and linking? And select the next category word down the list (sorted by keyword volume) that does activate the 7 pack.

Thanks,
Rob

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Charlotte February 24, 2010 at 2:48 am

What a neat tool.

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about it.

This may help explain why some past map submissions of mine for other sites seemed to go nowhere.

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Chris February 24, 2010 at 6:11 am

What a great tool…with some industries I struggle with finding categories that are relevant.

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Diana Ratliff February 24, 2010 at 6:27 am

This insight is extremely valuable, as is the tool itself – but I’ve found that locally, quite a few more keywords trigger a map than are listed in it. So if a high-volume keyword/keyword phrase makes sense to use, go ahead and enter it into Google to see if it triggers a map anyway – whether or not it shows up in the tool!

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Bob February 24, 2010 at 11:50 am

Hi Don:
Great video. Do you know if Mike has created a similar tool for Yahoo, Bing, InfoUSA, UBL, etc.?
Thank you.

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Mike Blumenthal February 24, 2010 at 12:40 pm

@Bob

We are looking at developing (and have in alpha form) an expanded version which includes NAICS categories (used by UBL & InfoUSA) as well as other Google categories. We are looking at other features as well and any and all suggestions are welcome.

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Bob February 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Thanks Mike:
I’m looking forward to seeing and using it. Thank you.

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Michael February 26, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I hope that this question is not out of place for this discussion.

What can be done when you have a business that does several services – i.e. Residential Roofing, Siding, Replacement Windows, Gutters, Insulation and Commercial Roofing?

They have one main website and then have a separate website for each of their services.

Is there a proper way to get a business listing for each of their sites?

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Bob February 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I just completed a comprehensive article on “How To Select The Most Profitable Categories on Google, Yahoo! and Bing.” It’s a three step process and it’s different for all three search engines. It will also answer the question you asked Michael about offering multiple services.
http://www.visonthenet.com/selecting-the-most-profitable-categories-for-your-local-business-listing-1785.html

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Michael February 27, 2010 at 9:43 pm

@Bob – Thank you very much for sharing your very informative article. I will put this into practice right away.

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Michael February 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm

@Don & @Mike – let me make sure I understand your approach:
1) Use Mikes Google LBC Category Preview tool.
2) In the Google LBC – Use the “Categories” that best matches the type of service/product I put in.

For instance, if I need a category for “Home Improvement” (for a home improvement contractor), I should choose the category “Sunroom Contractor” as I’m not a home improvement store? Is this correct?

Do the keyword phrases that are used most to find the site not work as well as the Pre-Existing Categories that Google already lists?

Or is it that the Pre-Existing Categories will actually alow our 7-box listing to show up for more terms? This woud be an awesome reason to use the pre-existing categories.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer these questions.

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Boyd Butler March 25, 2010 at 6:17 am

Great article and links – thanks. Can’t wait for the UK
version of this (I’m in London) Getlisted is coming to the UK
soon so that’s going to help me too. Yippee.

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Boyd Butler March 25, 2010 at 6:20 am

Oh, forget to mention I call this the “Magnificent 7″ and not the Lucky 7.
Saw Yul Brynner on stage in London as a child. And it’s a great theme musically. And it’s good guys (i.e. local businesses/Yul’s team) v bad guys, (bandits/big business) so kinda fits…sorry for rambling…

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Don Campbell March 25, 2010 at 6:23 am

I like it – the Magnificent 7 – Thanks Boyd!

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Barbi Williamson April 2, 2010 at 8:35 am

Don,
What a useful tool this is turning out to be!! As an offline consultant, of course my goal is to get clients in the 7 box. Thanks for the addition to my “Toolkit of Secret Weapons.”
–Barbi

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Rob April 2, 2010 at 9:02 am

I experienced a nice bump in traffic after updating all of my listing for several different businesses, but now they have all slumped back down.

Has anyone else seen a recent decrease in the number of impressions for LBC listings?

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Sam March 17, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Hi there . . . This seems like it could be a useful tool. A question I have is this . . . based on the following results:

Category Synonyms
Chiropractor pain, chiropractic, lower back pain, back, neck, back pain, lower back

I typed in Chiropractor, does this mean I should list all the synonyms as categories? Or just the word “Chiropractor Pain”? When I did a Google search for chiropractor pain, no map pack came up, so it has me wondering if I’m doing something wrong?

Thanks

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Taneka Videtto March 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.

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