med-just

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Greetings everyone,

My colleagues and I are considering changing our business' primary GMB category. At this time, our business is primarily defined as an "internet marketing service." Our secondary category is defined as "legal services." Our business is equipped to help clients in need of both kinds of services, but since the pandemic, we've noticed an uptick in conversions and queries specific to legal services and patient conflict. By way of background, our organization serves doctors.

To capitalize on the increasing number of legal inquiries, we are considering updating our primary business category to "legal services" while retaining "internet marketing service" as a secondary category. The hope is that by aligning ourselves more closely with "legal services", Google will serve more of our content to more prospective clients in need.

My understanding is that the primary category is weighed heavily by Google. Organic traffic has been rising consistently for the last several months, which we perceive as a positive. We can't help but wonder if we are "swimming against the tide" by defining our primary category as an "internet marketing service" when content specific to legal services is driving the most traffic and revenue. With that said, we are hesitant to turn any influential dials until conducting proper research.

In the interest of sharing knowledge, I've enclosed links to related content I've found around the forums.

7 things you might not know about Google My Business categories

Google My Business Categories: How to Choose the Right Category

Switch the Primary Category?

My impression thus far is as follows: "When it comes to changing categories, outcomes vary. You won't know until you try. Have a plan and measure key success metrics."

Is anyone on the forum willing to either a) share a summary of their experiences/outcomes specific to category changes or b) direct us to content that addresses this question in detail?
 

Colan Nielsen

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The super condensed answer is...test it.

One of the interesting things about GMB categories is that the impact of changing them can be reverted in most cases by simply switching them back. So I would make the change, assess the impact, and based on the results, change back or carry on.
 

Eoghan_MFeed

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+1 test it. If you have multiple locations to play with, try it in a pilot group or a lower priority market first vs. globally switching over.

As Colan said, you can always reverse course quickly if traffic conversions decline.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Agreed. Test it. It's nerve wracking and I used to be very hesitant. But at the end of the day, you won't know until you try it. Give it a few months and see what happens.
 

med-just

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Agreed. Test it. It's nerve wracking and I used to be very hesitant. But at the end of the day, you won't know until you try it. Give it a few months and see what happens.
+1 test it. If you have multiple locations to play with, try it in a pilot group or a lower priority market first vs. globally switching over.

As Colan said, you can always reverse course quickly if traffic conversions decline.
The super condensed answer is...test it.

One of the interesting things about GMB categories is that the impact of changing them can be reverted in most cases by simply switching them back. So I would make the change, assess the impact, and based on the results, change back or carry on.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. We plan to test. If the results yield kernels of wisdom, I'll likely share them here.

Shortly after changing the categories, we received a notice specific to our GMB profile. The changes suggested by the interface are inconsistent with our swap. Has anyone experienced a similar issue in the past? To be clear, our intent is to change our primary category to legal services while retaining internet marketing service as a secondary category. The interface suggests the opposite.

Revised Categories.png
 
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That's Google's way of telling you that your changes don't jive with what it's finding online. E.g. If you changed your primary category to "Italian restaurant", Google would look at your website, Facebook page, etc. and reject your edit, based on the fact that the category clearly does not apply.

I'd start with your website and Facebook page. Make sure there's emphasis, or at very least, mention of internet marketing services. (E.g. in <title> tag) There may be other internet properties you have to adjust to help Google trust that your edit is appropriate.
 
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