Google MapMaker Nukes Custom Categories

Custom categories, long missing from Google Maps, had retained their presence in MapMaker.  That distinction has now ended. MapMaker has announced the end of custom categories and that MapMaker would now use the standard 2500+ categories that have been available to My Business and Maps.

Hello Mappers,

Firstly, a BIG thanks for your continued support to improve Google Maps!

Google Map Maker offers you a detailed menu to add the most relevant category by providing a wide range of 2500+ categories to choose from. While we continue to expand this list, we’ve removed the ability to manually type-in the category of your choice.

Henceforth, any existing free-form categories will only be visible to the mapper who originally created them.

Once again, your understanding and patience is tremendously appreciated.

Thanks, and Happy Mapping!



Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google MapMaker Nukes Custom Categories by

8 thoughts on “Google MapMaker Nukes Custom Categories”

  1. This has come as a great relief to many and a great disappointment to others. Unification of categories across Maps is great, but even at 2500 there are still many missing from the list.

  2. Personally, I find this extremely disappointing because it was one of the very few options left over to submit a much needed category. Now, we have no recourse if one is missing as I understand it? Or am I wrong?

  3. *Now, we have no recourse if one is missing as I understand it? Or am I wrong?*

    No recourse directly with Google. But I think more and more she’s getting ranking based on info she gets from your site and 3rd party info. So make sure those custom cats are prominent on site and everywhere else.

  4. Thanks Linda. I can only hope so. My faith in Google has waned a great deal over the past couple of years though. Seems many doors are shutting.

  5. What I’m struggling with is businesses that have been around longer than my client that can have a certain category for their company, but my client with his newer Local page can’t select the same category.

    Anybody have a solution for this?

    1. James there is no simple solution. 1)change your name 2)try the descriptor option 3) be sure to have the most relevant categories set across the internet 4) be sure that your home page is optimized for the term 5) get reviews with the term 6)get a link with the phrase in ir perhaps near the link.

  6. This makes absolutely no sense why they would terminate custom categories. The biggest downfall of the yellowpages is their specific categories and the painful time it takes to find the appropriate category for the business I’m looking for. The results on the search engine are largely based on on-page SEO which can be customized to target searched phrases on keyword planner, so why google+ local wouldn’t be utilized the same way is mind boggling.

    I’ve used your blog as one of the many places to come for updates on Google Places/Google+ Local and found it amusing that you and several of your readers consistently criticized the custom categories, but if people are looking for “Best Chinese Food” it makes sense that I should be able to choose that as a custom category, just as I’m able to use it in my website title. Both are used by google to provide relevant results. As a user reviews are whether or not this is truly worthy of trying or not.

    1. Josh

      I have advocated for custom and improved categorization since Google announced the end of custom categories.

      While this doesn’t make sense for most businesses whether it makes for Google or not is hard to judge.

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