Categories in the new Places for Business Dashboard

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 4.04.05 PMOne of the big changes in the rollout of the new Places for Business Dashboard is a change with categories. Categories have long been a key factor in Google’s determination of relevance of a listing. Google has added some additional categories, changed how categories are handled as well how many categories a business is allowed to have.

The bad news? The big change,  predicted for some time, is the elimination of the option of custom categories. Google has moved to a fixed list of choices.

The synonym feature is also missing. Thus a user that doesn’t know exactly what they want in terms of categories will find it very hard to locate the correct categories.

The good news? Up to ten categories are allowed. Google has noted at the most recent LocalU seminar that categorical information about a business is retrieved from across the internet. Exactly what web based resources are likely to impact this are not totally clear.

The category list is a dramatic improvement over what is/was available to businesses that verified via the G+ Page local interface and the list is very similar to those categories previously available to users of the current Dashboard.

There appear to be some additional categories in the new list, particularly in the area of restaurants. Upon an initial and superficial check I could not find additional categories in other areas besides restaurants although there may be a few. In the previous category list there were 76 types of restaurants. In the new category list there are 230 restaurant types. For example Google added the following restaurant types (amongst others):

Tongue Restaurant
Uzbeki Restaurant
Southwest France Restaurant

I am curious whether a “Tongue Restaurant” is what it sounds like? Why exactly do we need the category “Southwest France Restaurant”?

The new list contains a total 2295 category choices. I am including the complete Places for Business category list (US only) here in HTML format and hope to have the list integrated with my Google Places category tool in the near future.

Related posts:

Google rolling out new update to Google Places for Business

Visual Guide to the new Places for Business Dashboard 

Analysis: Google Places for Business or G+ Pages Lite?


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27 thoughts on “Categories in the new Places for Business Dashboard”

  1. Fantastic! this category change is really looking sharp Mike, I’ve been searching everywhere for a decent Uzbeki Tongue Restaurant 😉 this should makes things so much easier.

  2. Thanks for providing the comprehensive list of categories. You obviously know immensely more than I about this rollout, but is there not a chance that custom categories will be available in the future?

  3. @Kerry

    Predicting the future of Google’s behaviors is at best a very iffy proposition. But the handwriting has been on the wall re custom categories for quite some time.

    Custom categories are going away and they will only be available as long as a given business has access to the current dashboard.

    It seems very unlikely once that shift has been made, that Google will change again unless they are unable to provide relevant search results.

  4. Hey Mike, was the keyword list you provided meant to be comprehensive for everything that is in the new Dashboard? I have already found 6 that are not included in your list but available for selection on the new dashboard.

  5. We need the category ‘Southwest France restaurant” because there are different types of French Cuisine dependent on location. Just like how all Mexican food has specific uncharacteristic reflective of their geographical location.

  6. Hi,

    As I often post its more proof Google are just aiming at location enabled mobile phone users looking for a local eatery and drinkerie.

    I am afraid real small businesses supporting the countries infrastructure will find their business shrinking again where they are dependent on the Places product.

    The new reduced options you have to promote what your business is really about will mean even less search hits.

    Thats not what I call an improvement.

    1. @colan

      The only thing we know for sure is that Google no longer wants them going forward.

      We have seen over the past few months, the disappearance of categories off a limited number of merged listings.

      That could have been a test of some sort of removal process, who knows.

      Obviously at some level Google has the capacity to store and index these.

      The question is whether they contribute to higher quality results from Google’s POV. if they do then they will stay, if not they are toast.

  7. Wondering how many categories Google is now allowing per listing? I would like to input more than one category but it does not appear possible. Does anyone know if we are now limited to one category or can we still input up to 5 categories. Thanks in advance.

  8. Thanks Mike. It appears that the “old” dashboard still appears for those under the “old” format and the new appears for obvisouly for those who started since the dashboard changes. Wondering if they will eventually switch everyone over to the new dashboard? Thanks again.

  9. I set up a client on Placed this week and his business is not poping up under his keyword. He only fits in one of the new Google categories ‘tree service’ no one searches for tree service. His keywords are tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding and palm tree trimming. If I cant put these in categories where do i put them to be found in Places? They are all used in his Places/Plus descripton and on his website. HELP

  10. “I set up a client on Placed this week and his business is not poping up”

    And it can take new listings 6 – 8 weeks to work into the local database. During that time they won’t rank for any KW searches, only direct name + city or phone searches in map search.

  11. Hi Mike – Long time reader, first time commenting. I know this is an older post, but I was updating store information in Google Places when I noticed the ability to add custom categories is back. The “search for a category” feature wasn’t working for me last week, but when I typed in any phrase today, I receive the following confirmation: “Note: You have chosen a custom category”.

    Unsure of whether or not this custom information will transfer over to the live listings, but could be good news for those looking to add custom categories. Just passing along!

    1. @Jayna

      I just tried and got the message: “We didn’t understand your category. Please select from the suggestions that appear when typing.” in the new dashboard. I assume you are referring to the old dashboard?

  12. Ah yes, @Mike – in the old dashboard the feature is still available to add custom categories. Guess I should have clarified that we haven’t been upgraded to the new dashboard yet.

  13. Do you know anything about there being different category selections in the Places for Business app? I was working on a cigar shop listing in the app and noticed that I had the option for the category “smoking room,” but this is not a choice when managing on a desktop. Curious.

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