Ever since David Mihm’s The 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors, the whole Local SEO world has striven to make adjustments to their local search tactics in order to get their business ranking higher in the local listings of Google. As many “local” geeks know, the #1 local search ranking factor is “Proper Category Association.”

Proper Category Association

Proper Category Association is so important for on the Google Places for Business dashboardIn a Moz blog post entitled, Top 20 Local Search Ranking Factors: An Illustrated Guide, Miriam Ellis explains each of the top 20 of the 83 foundational ranking factors. Upon submitting your business information on Google Places, one of the first details is selecting a primary category for your business. Ellis emphasizes that this is the most important category you will choose. After that, you have 9 more categories you can choose.

Unlike the old Google Places, the new Google Places Dashboard does not allow you to custom create categories. “All categories must be chosen from Google’s pre-set category taxonomy.” The concept of proper category association is simple and the execution, rewarding. If you want your business to show up in the local results for the keyword search of dentists in Seattle, you must choose dentist as your primary category. If you need help choosing additional categories, you can us Mike Blumenthal’s Google Places for Business Category Tool. Just type in the word “dentist”, and the tool will give you other related categories that you can use for your business.

Why Choosing the Proper Category is Important for Local Search Engines

GetListed.org explains that “search engines use this data [the categories you choose] when deciding which businesses to show for particular searches.” And pay attention to this fact: “As a rule, the search engines will not display a business which is not categorized, or even worse, mis -categorized, for particular sets of keywords.” So we can see that proper categorization is paramount to having your business show up in Google result’s for particular searches.

For example, if you own a french restaurant and you choose “restaurant” as your category, you may not show up for “french restaurant” searches. So it is very important to choose as many relevant categories when filling out the details of your business on the Google Places for Business dashboard.

Austin Lund