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Categories are one of the handful of ranking related levers under our control in GMB, so I'm wondering, how many do you use? 

Colan Nielsen wrote an interesting article about category dilution on Sterling Sky.  Turns out, as long as the categories are properly related, category dilution is not really a thing -- you can actually see ranking improvements from adding more related categories.  Adding totally random categories does seem to hurt your rankings.

I was curious how many categories the average law firm is using, so I set out to gather data on around 600 GMB listings.
As you can see here, the vast majority of law firms are using just 1 category.  Is this a missed opportunity for them?  (Yes, there is one intrepid law firm using 15 categories).

So what categories are most used out there?

I would say from this data that people are not putting a lot of thought into their categories.  There's the super generic "lawyer", but if you dig deeper, there is a very long tail of more specific categories.

My takeaway is that there's an opportunity here for most law firms to improve their rankings.  Adding a few specific categories that describe their services, instead of just "lawyer", can help Google understand their relevancy for certain queries.

What do you think?  How many categories are you using?
We do consulting in the automotive retail space, and encourage new car dealers to create separate GMB pages fro sales, service, parts and body shop, and then optimizing for non-branded, category search. "Brake service near me", "body shop near me", "chevy dealer near me". We track the searches, views, actions from GMB and see great results from that split. Following the lead of the big box retailers, Walmart, Lowes, Kroger, and getting Google to "nest" the department listings into the main listing, also displaying a dropdown for hours of operations, since service and sales have different hours. 
Awesome stuff Zach.

Seems like super low hanging fruit for businesses in basically any industry. 
How do you track how often your ads are shown with the Local Service Ads program?  I haven't used it myself, so I'm wondering if Google gives you any stats on how often your ads are being shown, and how they're performing. 
Hey  Zach . The LSA dashboard mainly focuses on leads, cost and cost per lead for accounts that have the ability to set a bid. You may be able to find some impression data when looking at the account through the Ads interface but the LSA dashboard does not tell you how often your ad is shown.
Hey folks, just wanted to share a free Chrome extension for busting spam on Google Maps.  Getting rid of GMB spam is an easy way to improve your own search visibility. 

There are all kinds of spam -- whether it's lead gen operators "ranking and renting" GMB listings, or companies opening a fake second location, these tactics hurt businesses that are playing by the rules.

Google offers the Redressal Form as a support channel for spam.  To have spam removed, however, you'll need some proof.

The GMB Scanner extension finds address issues that violate Google guidelines:

  • Virtual offices
  • P.O. Boxes
  • Residential addresses
  • Vacant properties

You'll still need to do your own research, but GMB Scanner can point you in the right direction.

Hope it helps, and I always like to hear feedback!
Cool idea, thanks for sharing Zach!
This is awesome! When are you gonna expand this for other countries?
Zach replied
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