Sneak Peek – The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO

We decided to give our readers a sneak peak of what kind of information is in the Expert's Guide to Local SEO which just went on sale last week.

This particular section only covers 2 out of the 140+ pages in the manual currently.  Current LocalU Forum Members can receive 20% off, just visit the forums with your logins for details in the sidebar!

How to See ALL the Categories Your Competitors are Using on Google Maps

Since MapMaker has died, there appears to be no obvious way to see all the categories your competitors are targeting on their Google My Business listings. This is important to know to confirm if you have all the right categories on yours.  Sometimes it’s really obvious which categories you want to use, and sometimes it’s not.  For example, is it better to use Dental Clinic or Dentist? What about Physical Therapist vs Physical Therapy Clinic?  Some might advise you to use the one that makes most sense to describe your business, which is usually true, but won’t always result in you ranking for the keywords you want to.

Good news - there is a way to see these categories even though Google isn't publicly showing them on the listing.  What you want to do is open up the listing in question on Google Maps.  The category that shows up under their business name will be their primary category (which holds more weight when categorizing your business so choose this wisely).

To see the rest of the categories on the listing:

  1. Right-click on the listing on Maps
  2. Click View Page Source
  3. Press CTRL + F (to open the find box)
  4. Type in the primary category name you saw (For example “Handyman”) and you’ll see a list of all the categories in the page source.

Now here is the annoying part. The list of categories actually aren’t all categories that you can choose in GMB.  Some of them are kinda like “category folders” which could give you insight into how Google defines the category they fall under.

Here is an example of one I copied from the source code for a business.  The red one is the primary category - it always shows up first. Then, after that, it gets sorted alphabetically and mixes up the categories and category folders (that don’t exist in GMB).  The ones in blue are actual categories.

[\"Handyman\",\"Bathroom Remodeler\",\"Business Service\",\"Carpenter\",\" Ceramics\",\"Construction and Planning Services\",\"Construction Company\",\"Craft\",\" Decoration\",\"Dry Wall Contractor\",\"Fence Contractor\",\"Flooring Contractor\",\"Furnishing\",\" General Contractor\",\"Home Furnishings\",\"Home Services\",\"Interior\",\"Kitchen Remodeler\",\"Kitchens\",\" Machining\",\"Services Companies\",\"Tile Contractor\",\"Tradesperson\", \"Wood\"]

By outlining these in a spreadsheet, you can better map out what categories you need to have on your listing in order to rank better in the 3-pack based on what the businesses that are currently ranking are using.



13 Responses to “Sneak Peek – The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO”

  1. Oh Joy… such interesting data to be gleaned from within the source code – sharp observation – thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Hi Joy, I just tested this and couldn’t get it to work, could they have modified the code recently?

    I’m based in Australia if that makes a difference.

  3. Hi Joy,

    >>The ones in blue are actual categories.

    Carpenter and Fence Contractor are bonafide categories

  4. Hi thanks for the tip, I tried and it worked for me 🙂

  5. Hi. i cant get this to work. i can view source if i click the listings in the left frame but i cannot right click on the map pin, or anywhere on the map, or on the opened listing for the selected result e.g. the first result in the map pack. As a result i can only see the prime category. can you upload a screenshot of exactly where you clicked on a maps 3 pack to show source please?

  6. Hey Gail,

    This doensn’t work in the 3-pack or Local Finder. You have to be on Google Maps (

  7. Wow, that’s a neat little trick. I will be adding that one to my arsenal cheers

  8. Hi there,

    I can’t get this to work. I’ve searched “Home Depot, Dallas” to get the stores located there. I can see the primary category for the business listing when I click the name in the left column and the business’s info card comes up.

    However, viewing source shows no matches in the text for that category.


  9. Hey Ryne,

    So the categories only show up if you’re on a Maps view that only shows the one listing itself. When you click your link, you’ll see at the top it says “back to results” which takes me to a search results page when I click it.

    To get the right view, you need to do a search on Maps for the exact business listing. For example, search “The Home Depot 6110 Lemmon Ave Dallas” and you’ll see it show up in the drop down. When you click on it, you get the listing itself and then you’ll see the categories in the source code. (this is the link –

    The other way to get around this is to pull up the listing on Maps using the CID number (my preferred way). I also explain how to do this in my guide but published something on it here:

    Unlike that article (which still mentions MapMaker), I spend hours updating my guide each month to keep it current which makes it a bit easier to see what tactics still work and which don’t 🙂

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