Our goal is to generate a list of categories that your competitors have. This will help you choose the right categories to enter into Google Places. The final product should look something like this:
Step 1. Find competitors
The first thing you want to do is make a list of competitors. You may already have a good idea of the competition, but it’s always good to search out new ones and check up on old ones. We’re going to do that by searching some of your keywords and seeing who comes up in your local area.
Begin with the keywords from your business’ keyword research. Choose a keyword to start off with (we’ll come back to the others later). For example, we’ll use the business Click4Capital.com, and the keyword “equipment leasing.”
Enter the keyword into Google’s search box along with your city. For example, we might enter “equipment leasing Houston.” Other cities can be used of course, but we’re going to start with immediate local competitors.
Now switch to Google Maps. This should bring up a whole list of relevant businesses in the area. Switch by clicking on “Maps” here:
Step 2. Copy competitors’ categories
Now let’s take a look at the categories listed by the competitors we found in step one.
If you click on a competitor in Google maps, it’ll bring up a listing with a “Category” field, like this:
Highlight the category or categories listed, then copy and paste into Notepad. You can use any word processing application, but Notepad is quick and easy.
Step 3. Rinse and repeat
Move on to the next competitor on Google Maps and do the same. Once you’re done with the first keyword, move on to another. You don’t have to do every keyword, because you’ll get the major competitors pretty quick. Pretty soon you’ll end up with a robust list of categories.
Step 4. Enter Categories in Google Places
You now have a list of categories that you know your competitors use to rank #1. When you sign up for Google Places use this list to help you choose the best 5 categories (Google Places allows for 5 categories) when adding your business.
That’s pretty much it, though there are a few tips to keep in mind.
Tip #1: Use only true competitors
Make sure the category is taken from a true competitor. Some results may come up that resemble your business, but which are not in the same business niche. For example, “truck rental and leasing” is not the same as “equipment leasing.” Stick to true competitors.
To put it simply, there’s no thinking involved here except “does my business do this?”
Tip #2: Focus on those that have done their research
Our goal is to quickly generate a categories list, so we want to find competitors who have done quality research and then copy that work. We might concentrate on competitors that have pictures, show up a lot in the search results, or have “owner verified” listings. This shows they’ve put some work into it, and we’re going to copy that work.
Tip #3: Don’t double up
You’ll likely get the same categories coming up, so make sure to go through and delete the doubles to keep organized.
Tip #4: Don’t get too niche-specific
Eventually you’ll reach a point where the niche gets too specific, like “forestry account financing.”
That’s too far afield.
Stick to the keyword research that’s genuinely applicable: broad terms, bolded terms, or terms you know for certain describe what your business does.
All in all, it’s pretty simple. Just follow these steps:
- Find competitors
- Copy competitors’ categories
- Rinse and repeat
- Enter categories in Google Places
For this tutorial, you will need: Google Places Category Tool