GBP Optimization

How to choose the best Google Business Profile categories

Getting your GBP categories right puts you on the path to higher local rankings.

Quick summary
  • Google Business Profile (GBP) categories help search engines rank your company in relevant local searches.
  • Well-optimized GBP categories attract the right customers and can improve your conversion rates from local search.
  • Semrush’s Listing Management makes sure your business categories are consistent across all platforms, which can further boost your local rankings.

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is an essential part of a good local SEO campaign, so it’s important to understand all the different features it offers.
The business category list is a commonly overlooked part of citation building, but ignoring them could be costing you rankings and the revenue boost that comes with it.
Choosing the right GBP categories for your business not only helps users find you online, but also gives search engines the information they need to decide how to rank you.

What are Google Business Profile categories?

Google Business Profile categories are a list of the most common business types that identify your business in local search engine results pages (SERPs).
The search engine giant itself says that GBP categories are a ranking factor , so it pays to invest the time in choosing the right ones from the business category list.
When you first create a Google Business Profile, you’ll be given the option to choose just one GBP category, but you can add more later once the profile has been verified.

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Browse the list of Google Business Profile categories and choose the one that best suits your company to start with.
Choosing the most relevant GBP categories is a fast way to signal what your business is all about and start appearing in local search results for people looking for businesses like yours.

Consistent categories: Once you’ve added the most relevant Google Business Profile categories to your profile, make sure they’re consistent with your choices in other business category lists. To make life simple, Semrush’s Listing Management allows you to select up to 10 categories for your location, then matches it up with the small business categories list on up to 70+ top directories.

How many Google Business Profile categories can you choose?

Google allows you to select up to 10 categories from a comprehensive business category list of more than 4,000 options.
Select one as your primary GBP category and add as many additional categories as apply to your business.

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It’s not necessary to select 10 options from the list of business categories if there aren't 10 categories that are relevant to your business, so just choose the ones that most accurately describe what your business does.

Which GBP categories are right for my business?

Choosing the GBP categories that best reflect what you do can really make or break your success with local SEO.
Failing to select the most relevant Google Business Profile categories can confuse both potential customers and search engines, losing you valuable revenue.

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Take your time browsing the Google Business Profile categories list to make sure you don’t miss any that could help you rank. Check out what your direct competitors are choosing for their categories and emulate them if it makes sense.
The more specific you can be, the better. For example, if your business is an Italian restaurant, that’s a better choice for your primary GBP category than simply “restaurant.”
If you’re not sure if a category is well suited to your business, run it through a Google Search and see what types of companies appear. If they’re similar to your business, it’s probably a good idea to include it in your own Google Business Profile categories list.

Change with the seasons: If your business focuses on different services at different times of the year, changing your GBP categories accordingly could help you maximize visibility year round. For example, perhaps you’re a small cafe that functions more as a coffee shop in the winter but sells more ice-cream in the summer months.

New options are added to the Google Business Profile categories list all the time, so if you can’t find the exact GBP category you’re looking for, check back at regular intervals.
Businesses with multiple distinct departments should choose the main product or service as the primary category and the other departments as additional categories. For example, a department store that has a pharmacy and florist should select “department store” as the main GBP category and “pharmacy” and “florist” as additional categories. However, a shopping mall housing multiple individual businesses should be listed under the “shopping mall” category, while each business should have its own Google Business Profile and relevant categories.
Some options from the business categories list unlock special features that can better showcase your business in SERPs. For example, Google Business Profiles listed under the “hotel” category can show their class ratings and even list the amenities available. Businesses listed under the “restaurant” category can add links to make reservations, as well as menus for users to browse before they visit.

To add or edit Google Business Profile categories:

  1. Bring up your Google Business Profile on Search or Maps.
  2. Select “Edit profile”, then “Business information.”
  3. In the “About” section, click “Business category.”
  4. Choose the primary and additional categories you’ve decided on.
  5. Click “Save.”

Once you’ve added your new Google Business Profile categories, it can take up to 10 minutes for them to be approved.

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Adding new categories may result in Google forcing you to re-verify your business to confirm you are indeed operating as the type of business you claim to be.

What else can I do to make more impact with my Google Business Profile categories?

There’s more to optimizing your business for local search than choosing the best Google Business Profile categories.
Make the most of the 750 characters available in your Google Business Profile description to let people know what your business is all about. Mention your categories, especially your primary category, in your description so users can quickly see they’re in the right place.

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Optimize your website with content about your Google Business Profile categories so it’s clear to search engines that you’re an expert in your field.
It’s important to regularly edit your Google Business Profile to reflect any changes in your business categories to provide users with the most accurate, up-to-date information.

Track your progress: Semrush’s Listing Management is the best way to check the impact of your Google Business Profile category optimization, with reliable local rankings and an advanced Heatmap for Premium Location users that shows positions in a handy visual.

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Go beyond GBP categories with Semrush’s Listing Management

With fully optimized Google Business Profile categories on your side, you’re now ready to take on some other important aspects of local SEO.

Semrush’s Listing Management is your trusty guide to outranking the local competitors that share your GBP categories—and does a lot of the heavy lifting for you too!

Make sure your profiles are complete

Once you’ve optimized your Google Business Profile categories, it’s time to get to work making sure they’re consistent with your other business listings.

Semrush’s Listing Management prompts you to add as many details to your location profile as possible, including your NAP data (name, address, phone number), photos and videos, social media accounts, description, website link and, of course, categories.

The tool will then distribute your details to 70+ top directories, saving you the hassle of creating individual accounts with each one and managing them all on a case-by-case basis.
The Edit Location page of Semrush’s Listing Management

Check how your categories impact rankings

Before you start optimizing your Google Business Profile categories, conduct an audit of your location with Semrush’s Listing Management.

With the local rank tracker, you’ll be able to see a reliable average position that you can compare against a few months down the line after you make changes to your GBP categories.

And with Heatmap, an advanced tool for Premium Location subscribers, you can track positions on a grid across your local area so you can see exactly where updates to your business categories list might be making a difference.
The Heatmap feature of Semrush’s Listing Management

Keep your categories consistent across platforms

It’s not just Google Business Profile categories that need to be optimized to best reflect what your company does.

While Google Business Profile is the most important place for your business to be listed online, you need citations on the web’s other big directories too—and they also feature business category lists.

To save an immeasurable amount of time adding all these categories manually to every listing, Semrush’s Listing Management does it all for you, so you only have to choose your categories once.
The category selection window of Semrush’s Listing Management

Manage the new reviews coming in

When you get your Google Business Profile categories right, you should start to see more customers coming your way—and with them come more reviews.

Best practice is to respond to every review that comes in from all platforms so your customers feel valued and new users can see that you take feedback seriously.

Semrush’s Listing Management brings all your reviews into one simple-to-use interface so you can manage all your reviews at once and never miss a single reply.
Google Business Profile and Facebook reviews as displayed in Semrush’s Listing Management
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