How to Choose Categories in Google My Business

Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week I’m continuing the theme of the last few weeks with more information about Google My Business listings. Today, I’m going to talk about which categories you should list in your GMB profile.

Between my recent videos about department GMB listings and my video about choosing the right primary category, we’ve gotten tons of questions from car dealers about which categories they should be choosing in Google My Business.

WAIT – don’t stop watching if you’re not a car dealer… I’ve got help for everyone today. Car dealers, stick with me for a minute, you’re gonna love what I’m sharing.

For everyone else, PlePer Tools has a full list of all the available categories in Google My Business, and it’s organized by country, so if you’re outside of the US, you can see which categories are available for you. The URL’s a bit wonky, so I set up a bitly link to make it easier for you. Head over to bit.ly/gmb-category-list to see the full list.

They’re listed alphabetically, but there’s a search field. Once you find a category that applies to your business, click on it, and you’ll see a list of all related categories. They’re listed by “percent occurrence”, or how often they’re listed with the category you clicked on. Check that list to see what applies, then click each match to see more related categories. 

Keep in mind – you can only list ten categories in GMB, so pick the ten that most closely match what you do. If you haven’t seen my video on choosing the right primary category, check it out here.

Car dealers, here’s the good stuff…

I’m going to list all available categories for you, broken down by business center. I’m assuming you’ve seen the last few videos, so you know how to set up nested department listings. Since each department listing needs unique categories, it makes more sense to break them down per department. Don’t feel like you have to write all these down as I’m running through them. If you’re watching this video anywhere that’s not the SearchLab website, just head over to searchlabdigital.com/gmb-categories-for-auto-dealers and you’ll find the post with this video, and all the categories are listed in the text below.

• Your primary listing should be your sales-related GMB. You should list the following categories:
Car dealer
Used car dealer
Car leasing service
Car finance and loan company

If you carry trucks, include Used truck dealer

• If you’re a single brand dealer, include [brand] dealer–so that’s Toyota dealer, Ford dealer, or whatever brand you sell.

• If you offer car rental, you should include the Car rental agency category as well.

• If you’re a GM or FCA dealer and you’ve got separate departments nested for each brand, you shouldn’t use various [brand] dealer categories on your main listing. Each dedicated brand department should have its applicable [brand] dealer category listed as the primary category.

• For your service department, things get a bit more complicated because there are more than 10 categories available. You’ll want to think strategically and choose the ones that best match your business goals.

A quick note: I see a lot of dealers choosing Car service. You don’t want to use this one. That is a category for hiring transportation, like a taxi service or limo service. Iit doesn’t mean “service” like we use it in automotive. When you use categories that aren’t related to your business, you can cause visibility problems, so don’t use this one.

So for service department categories, here are the six you should always include:
Auto repair shop
Auto tune up service
Mechanic
Car repair and maintenance
Truck repair shop
Oil change service

• Then, fill out the rest of the categories with whatever best fits your goals. The other options are:
Brake shop
Wheel alignment service
Transmission shop
Car inspection station
Auto electrical service
Auto radiator repair service
Auto air conditioning service

• And then, depending on whether you offer them or not, you could also use:
Car detailing service
Car wash
Towing service
Auto wrecker

• There are also several body shop categories:
Auto body shop
Auto bodywork mechanic
Auto dent removal service
Auto glass shop
Auto painting

• And then for your parts department, there are 11 categories available. Here’s the list:
Auto Parts Store
Car accessories store
Car battery store
Truck parts supplier
Racing car parts store
Auto body parts supplier
Tire shop
Used tire shop
Muffler shop
Truck accessories store
Auto sunroof shop
–  in most cases, that’s the one you’ll want to skip.

Now you know which categories to include in your department listings in Google My Business, so you’ll be more likely to show up in searches for phrases that will bring in customers. 

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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.