Choosing the Right Primary Category for Google My Business

“The Google My Business category has been one of the top ranking factors for as long as I can remember.”

The aforementioned quote was by Joy Hawkins, one of the leading Google My Business experts.

The primary category holds the most weight when it comes to your Google My Business page.

How do you pick the correct one? Continue reading!

Let’s Get Real
I’m the Owner of The Media Captain. We’re a digital marketing and development agency. I like providing real-life business examples. It helps other business owners and marketers make better decisions based on actual scenarios.

Think About Your Business Structure
We have two different divisions of our agency, digital marketing, which consists primarily of SEO, PPC and Social. There’s also web design and development. We build custom, eCommerce and WordPress sites for clients.

Revenue Breakdown
70% of revenue from digital marketing and 30% of our revenue comes from web design and development.

When deciding on the primary category, the decision was an easy one for our agency based on revenue. We wanted to rank for agency related keywords, which falls underneath the category “Marketing Agency.”

Note: To change primary category, you’ll login into your GMB page and click, “Info” and “Category.”

Choosing Google My Business Primary Category
More Details on Reason for Selecting Primary Category
The reason? When someone signs on for a digital package, they are typically on a retainer, which means a nice recurring revenue stream. Additionally, we can sell a lot of client’s websites once they become comfortable with our agency.

Development projects are more “one and done” projects so they are not as profitable for our agency.

Do Local Research
I recommend looking in your local market and other cities to see primary categories that competitors are using and ranking for in the local pack results.

On The Contrary
If you feel there is an opportunity to rank for a more niche category and there’s too much competition on the primary category, this is also an alternative way to think.

Don’t forget, Google My Business still allows you to pick additional categories (see below). According to Joy’s article in Search Engine Land, “Adding more categories often results in an increase in ranking and clicks because you now show up for more related queries.”

My general rule of thumb is stick with your most profitable category.

Choosing Google My Business Additional Categories

Keyword Research
One of our favorite taco shops in Columbus (our hometown) is Condado Tacos. In the downtown area, they have three locations. When I did a Google search on my phone less than a mile away from Condado for, “Mexican Restaurants,” they didn’t even populate.

I quickly saw they use “Taco Restaurant” as their primary category.


Each restaurant that ranked in the snack pack had, “Mexican Restaurant” as their primary category. Clearly, Google is showing heavy favoritism to the primary category.

Example of Local Search in Columbus
Data Revelation
“Mexican Restaurant” gets more than 10x the search volume than taco shop. I was able to see this using Google’s Keyword Planner. Based on the keyword research, making the primary category “Mexican Restaurant” could help Condado choose a category that would drive more foot traffic. They could still keep “Taco Restaurant” as an additional category. This would not be deceptive either as a lot of people wouldn’t think to search “taco shop” when they are thinking of tacos.

Every Business is Unique & Different
I provided examples for how to come up with the primary categories for our agency and for a local business. Each company is different based on services offered, products sold and location. If you have any questions on choosing the correct primary category, ask me on Twitter, @themediacaptain