How to Check Competitors’ Google My Business Categories

Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, we’re talking about Google My Business categories again. I’m going to show you a cool little trick that lets you check which categories your competitors have chosen.

I’ve been talking about Google My Business for a few weeks now, and one of the things I’ve mentioned a few times is how much influence categories have in how your business shows up in local searches. Last week’s video talked about how you choose the right categories to include, but sometimes it’s not just about knowing the right ones to choose.

Sometimes, you want to check out what your competitors are doing, especially if they’re out-ranking you in local searches. Unfortunately, Google only displays the primary category for any business when you see its GMB listing in search results.

Wouldn’t it be super rad if you could see every category that a competitor picked? It’s actually pretty easy to do.

  • Search for the business name. In the GMB panel that appears on the right, click on the map to be taken to a search for that business on Google Maps. Pay attention to the category that’s listed underneath the review stars, you’ll need it in just a few seconds.
  • In the empty white area next to the business name and reviews, right click and select “view page source”. This will bring up the raw HTML code of the page. If you’re on a PC, click control-f – or if you’re on a Mac, click command-f, and you’ll see the search function appear. Type in the primary category that you saw under the review stars.
  • Skip to the third iteration of that category–the first two times it shows up in the code, it’s associated with their reviews. When it shows up the third time, it will be directly after the business name and the word “null”. Listed directly after it, you’ll see all the other categories that were selected.

In this case, Toyota dealer is their primary category, and they’ve also chosen Car dealer and Used car dealer. The list of categories will end with a “slash n”.

Keep in mind, you don’t want to simply copy what they’ve done. But, if they’re consistently beating you in searches for a certain keyword phrase, you might notice that they’ve got a category selected that matches the keyword and you don’t. You’ll know you need to add that category to your own listing. Obviously, make sure that it’s actually a related category. You don’t want to cause problems by adding unrelated categories to your listing.

So now you know how easy it is to check which categories your competitors have chosen in Google My Business.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Be sure to check out our Ultimate Google My Business Optimization Checklist!

Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at SearchLab, a boutique marketing agency that provides Local SEO and PPC to SMBs all over the US and Canada. He's got over 17 years of online marketing and web design experience, and he’s one of the most in-demand conference speakers at digital marketing conferences all over the world. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.