Google Adding Over 1,000 Categories in the new Places Dashboard

This Saturday Google announced in the Google and Your Business product forum that they are working on adding over 1,000 business categories in the new Places dashboard.

If you had to set up a Google+ account for your business or for one of your clients’, chances are that you had some trouble picking the categories you really needed. I’ve been seeing people struggling with finding the right category in the dashboard, especially for newer and not so well-established professions like ‘Professional Organizer’.

Not being able to pick the right categories for your business can be a little bit frustrating and probably somewhat damaging. According to the opinions stated in David Mihm’s annual survey for the most important local ranking factors, in the “Foundational Ranking Factors” category, “proper category association” ranks #1, meaning that picking the correct categories for your Google Places for Business profile is believed to be crucial for your performance in the local rankings.

The news was announced by one of Google’s Community forum managers – Jade W. In her own words, Google’s been working to improve business categories “based on merchant feedback” but of course not without the help of the Google Product Forum’s Top Contributors – thanks for prodding Google’s awareness.

Another good aspect of the newly planned update is that the categories won’t be updated only for the US but “globally.” It’s understandable that doing this internationally won’t be easy and as Jade explained it – if you’re searching in English for local businesses in Greece, then probably you won’t find exactly what you need since Greek Places for Business will probably be set up in Greek and translating the categories to English isn’t that straightforward. I can buy that – direct translation among a variety of languages is not an easy linguistic problem and probably sometimes there are local business categories which make sense only for the given country/region.

Today, we are taking a first step of many to improve categories that merchants can use to represent their businesses. Specifically, we’re adding over 1,000 new categories in the new Places dashboard. These categories are available globally and translated to every language Google supports.

~ Jade W

It looks like it might take a while before the new categories make it to the Places for Business Dashboard. What are your thoughts on this most recent change? Are you going to revise your client’s category when the new categories kick in?