This topic has been receiving a lot of buzz lately, so it only seems appropriate that we touch base on the subject of the Big G and their +Local pages categories.
Remember the good old days when there seemed to be no problems with your “Google Local business listing,” and you could have ten categories? Below is an example of what this used to look like.
The above screenshot was taken August 1, 2011.
It used to seem at that time as though anything you did would be live on your listing in less than 30 minutes. Now-a-days, the same listing edit can sometimes be invisible for weeks, if seen at all. What’s the deal with that? You would figure that such a simple change would have a simple output. Unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore and it probably won’t change anytime soon.
You still have the same capability to put five categories on the back-end of your listing and Google states that you must have one category they suggest. On October 5th, Jade (Google Local’s community manager) touched briefly on this topic in a “Google and Your Business Forum Wrap-up“ video. She basically stated that if you are using custom categories, Google probably won’t show them on your listings any longer. After hearing this, we scrubbed a list of around a hundred and were unable to see any custom category showing on any of them.
Let’s look at a couple of examples here:
You may need to hover over some of the listings to see more of the categories.
Some listings show two categories and nothing when you hover over them.
Some listings just show one category.
While comprising this data we started noticing a “trend.” We didn’t see any service area listing showing more than 2 categories on their +Local page. If there is an example of this, we would love to see it so that we could record the data.
What does this mean? For the most part, a majority of service area listings just have one category showing up on the front end of Google despite having submitted five categories to the Big G. We can state that even though you may not see all of your categories on the front end of your listing, you are still able to have high visibility for those non-showing categories. To ensure such, simply check Map Maker, which is another Google product that was launched in 2008, and has seen some incredible moves in the right direction since then. Let’s check on some of those examples from above.
Example 1 above had five categories show when “hovering’ over the category, but when you go to Map Maker, you have way more than five…interesting.
Example 2 had two categories showing and in Map Maker they have over fifteen.
Example 3 had only one category showing, while in Map Maker they have seven.
On the categories that were in Map Maker, for the most part, each example’s location was on Page 1 and/or usually had high visibility in the Search Engine Results Pages for those categories. So check your listings out and see what you can find. My take away on this is that I’m not going to get frazzled and I don’t think you should either. Just sit back and ride the search engine waves.