Google My BusinessLocal Search

Selecting Your Primary Category on Google My Business – Proceed With Care

By September 30, 2020 October 5th, 2020 4 Comments
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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

When optimizing a Google My Business listing, it’s crucial to understand the importance of your primary category selection. Most marketers understand your primary category will impact your ranking, but many may not know it’s tied to the majority of the features within GMB. Your primary category determines:

    • Which attributes, amenities, and service options you have
    • Whether or not reviews are prominent or available for your listing
    • If Q&A will be available
    • If primary hours will display
    • If you have access to secondary hours and which ones
    • If you have access to Google Posts and which ones
    • If you have access to Product Editor, Food or Service Menus, Food Ordering and Booking features
    • And most recently, when GMB limited functionality, your primary category determined which features returned to your listings and when 

Some attributes display prominently on your listing in the map pack and on your knowledge panel. Others may only display on mobile on the ‘About’ tab. 

In the last few months, Google has rolled out a number of new attributes and amenities to businesses in order to help communicate updates to services and offerings. I’ve dived into the top primary categories and reported on what attributes and features are available for each type. 

It’s important to note that there are two different types of attributes, objective and subjective. We will explore the objective attributes, or facts that can be set by the business owner. Subjective attributes, or consumer opinions about your business, are added to your listing based on user feedback on Google Maps. 

The categories reviewed are top-level and I would keep in mind that more specific subcategories are not guaranteed to have the exact same features. The availability of attributes also varies by country. 

After reviewing 46 different categories, we’ve identified over 167 different attributes and detailed these by category below. 

This is the list of categories we reviewed: 

  • Addiction Treatment Center
  • Air Duct Cleaning Service
  • ATM
  • Auto Repair Shop
  • Bail Bonds Service
  • Bank
  • Bar
  • Beauty Salon
  • Brewery
  • Cannabis store
  • Car Dealer
  • Casino
  • Coffee Shop
  • Construction Company
  • Day care center
  • Dentist
  • Dermatologist
  • Doctor
  • Florist
  • Garage Door Supplier
  • Gas station
  • Grocery store
  • Gym
  • Hospital
  • House Cleaning Service
  • Insurance Agency
  • Lawyer
  • Legal Services
  • Locksmith
  • Mailing Service
  • Medical Clinic
  • Mortgage Broker
  • Mortgage Lender
  • Movie Theater
  • Painter
  • Pest Control Service
  • Pharmacy
  • Plumber
  • Property Management Company
  • Real Estate Agency
  • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Restaurant
  • School
  • Spa
  • Store
  • Towing Service

*Please note, I’ve left hotels off of this list as their attributes are slightly different than other business types and cannot be accessed or updated in bulk or via API

Google My Business Attributes are broken up into a number of categories. Each category of attributes should aid potential customers in the decision making process. These categories include: 

    • Service Options – How you can receive your product or service
    • Highlights – Unique details about the business
    • Place Page URLs – Additional URLs to begin or complete your transaction with the business
    • Accessibility – Locations access details for impaired or handicapped shoppers
    • Offerings – Unique and detailed services or products that will be available when you engage with business
    • Amenities – Features and elements of the business or service
    • Dining Options – How and when you can dine
    • Crowd – Overall customer environment of the business
    • Planning – Considerations to keep in mind prior to visiting or engaging with the business
    • Payments – How you can pay for your product and services
    • About this person – For professional listings, specific details about the person
    • Health & Safety – COVID-19 health and safety precautionary procedures

Health & Safety Attributes Update

We’ve updated the attribute data to expand the categories as well as include the Health & Safety related attributes. While many retail, dining, healthcare, and service categories received these new attributes, it wasn’t applied as a blanket across the industry. Here are some notable categories that surprisingly did not receive Health & Safety attributes: 

  • Bank
  • Coffee Shop
  • Hospital
  • Movie Theater

Ben Fisher, Owner of Steady Demand and Google My Business Platinum Expert, notes that in his research he’s found that service area businesses can have even more limited attribute availability. For businesses or professionals looking to communicate Health & Safety features that do not have these new attributes available to their category can still leverage posts to share this info. This is also a great opportunity to ensure you have the most relevant primary category selected. 

Here is the list of each section of attributes by category. 

Attribute Service Options

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Attribute Highlights

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Attribute Place Page URLs

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Attribute Accessibility

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Attribute Offerings (broken into 3 charts for visibility)

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Attribute Amenities

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Attribute Dining Options

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Attribute Crowd, Planning, Payments, & About This Person

(The reservations required attribute that used to be available for Restaurants under the Planning section has now been migrated to the Health & Safety section)

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Attribute Health & Safety

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A complete Health & Safety section was also added to the Hotel Attributes dashboard. These cannot be accessed in bulk or API but we’ve included a screenshot, shared by Craig Harkins on Twitter. 

Click to enlarge

As you can see, the available attributes based on your primary category vary greatly. It’s critical to ensure both your primary category and available attributes are selected to inform consumers of the services you offer. Work with your internal teams or local marketing partner to ensure these are selected across all your locations and ensure you are monitoring your listings for new and changing attributes. 

Krystal Taing
Find Krystal
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4 Comments

  • 05girl says:

    Can you please add Plumber?

    • Krystal Taing says:

      Hi there! Thanks for the suggestion. We will be looking to add additional categories every few weeks to this article. We’ll make sure to include plumber. In the meantime, if you have access to a listing with the category of ‘Plumber’, you can look in the Google My Business Dashboard for all available attributes. Thanks for reading 🙂

    • Carrie Hill says:

      Hello 05girl – FYI we updated this post last week and Krystal added Plumber!

      Thanks,
      Carrie

  • Great research, Krystal! Thanks for sharing. It’s a bummer that they don’t use secondary categories to determine which attributes show.

    Example: Many retreat centers have activities as well as overnight accommodations.

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