Identifying the proper category of your business is still an important part of the local SEO process. First and foremost, the category you identify for your business will be used when creating your local business listings. These listings, whether they're on Google My Business, Yellow Pages, or Yelp, all provide important signals to the search engines.
- Identifying the proper category of your business is still an important part of the local SEO process. First and foremost, the category you identify for your business will be used when creating your local business listings. These listings, whether they're on Google My Business, the Yellow Pages, or Yelp, all provide important signals to the search engines. They reinforce the categorization of your business and help provide additional context to the keyword strategy you'll be choosing to use. Many businesses establish themselves under the wrong category, which will impact overall rank.
Now, for some, categorization is fairly straightforward. If you're a bakery, Google, for example, will limit you to three choices, wholesale bakery, bakery, and wedding bakery. But, there's over 400 category options for a restaurant. Identifying the most accurate result will be a benefit to the value a local listing provides. Now, identifying the right category will also be instrumental in your keyword strategy. It helps to understand how your business is categorized, so that you can identify the terms people are using to search for your business type.
Let's walk through the resources available to you, to help you determine what category makes the most sense for your business. I've got a website open on my screen here, that's an excellent resource for reviewing the category options available in Google. Now, I know it doesn't look like much yet, but you'll see what it can do, in just a second. So, first things first, you'll find this tool at blumenthals.com/google-lbc-categories. Now, since most of our effort is around Google's understanding of our business, we want to select a category that they already recognize.
Now, Google doesn't have a great way to navigate the category options, but lucky for us, Mike Blumenthal has pulled together a complete list, which will make life a lot easier. It's not the prettiest or the most user-friendly, but it does get the job done. From this tool, you can enter a search query to see all the terms that contain the word, or words, you've entered. Let's say that we're a dentist. I'll type in dentist into the search box, and select Search. What we get here, is a list of categories, along with synonyms, and this is where the tool really becomes helpful.
Some of these categories don't actually contain the word dentist, but they are synonyms. And our goal is to find the most specific category that we can fit in. So, in this example, you may find that endodontist makes a lot more sense for your industry than dentist. But, perhaps you're an orthodontist. You'd need to run another search for that specific category because you can see, it doesn't show up alongside any of the dentist terms, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Alternatively, if you're looking to just browse all of the categories, you can just choose Search.
Leave the criteria blank, and you'll get a list of everything that's available in the Google world. When you're looking for categories, select those that complete the statement this business is a rather than this business has a. The goal is to describe your business holistically rather than a list of all the services it offers, products it sells, or amenities it features. Focus primarily on adding the most specific categories for your business, and Google will do the rest behind the scenes. For example, if you opt into the category golf resort, you won't need to also link in categories such as resort, hotel, or golf course.
Google can understand what is redundant, and it will also parse out additional information from your website. In this case, let's say that we're looking to find a category for our cupcake business. I might try to look for cupcakes first. So, we can see that there's no results. And noticing that I can't get to cupcakes, I could try, maybe, pastry. So here, we can see something a little closer. I have bakery, culinary school, pastry shop, and wholesale bakery.
It's here, that we then need to pick the most specific type of bakery to our business. The way we do that, if you remember, is by picking the one that describes what our business is, not has. So, let's say in the cupcake world, we decide that we don't want to be associated with pastry shop. We really want to be a bakery. Perhaps, we consider the fact that the majority of our consumers are buying cupcakes for weddings. Well, we might want to consider categorizing ourselves as a wedding bakery versus just a bakery.
If I search, instead, for bakery, we can see if that option is available to us. So here, indeed we can see that wedding bakery shows up. Now, on the alternate side, if we just sold cupcakes to the general public, a bakery is going to make a lot more sense. We are a bakery that has cupcakes, or we are a wedding bakery that has cupcakes. Google will figure out that you're all about cupcakes when they crawl your site. In general, search engines will consider your business listing as being relevant if the keywords you're using also relate to your chosen category.
But, pick the wrong category, and you might find yourself pushed aside by your competition.
First, get an overview of the local SEO landscape, tips for evaluating and optimizing your site, and advice on conducting keyword research. Author Brad Batesole also shows how to optimize your site structure and on-page content, acquire local citations, and make sure your name, address, and phone (NAP) information is consistent across the web.
Want to appear in Google Maps and local search results? Find out how to make sure your listing shows up by setting up your Google My Business page, and learn how to incorporate links and reviews. Finally, discover how to secure backlinks from reputable sources and handle SEO for a business that has multiple locations. If you want to boost your ranking, understand the competition, or just understand how search engines like Google operate at a local level, this is the course for you.
- What is local SEO?
- Understanding local ranking factors
- Identifying your top keywords
- Researching the competition
- Optimizing your site structure
- Using and testing structured data
- Creating localized content
- Optimizing on-page elements
- Tracking results
- Acquiring local citations
- Creating a Google My Business page
- Securing backlinks
- Collecting reviews
- Handling multiple locations
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 08/30/2017. What changed?
A: The following topics were updated: identifying your top keywords, researching local keyword modifiers, optimizing page speed, setting up Google Search Console, creating a Google My Business page, outfitting your local listing with content, using the Google My Business interface, and securing reviews on Google and other sites.