How To Find Competitor Google My Business Categories (GMB Hack)

There are over 4,000 Google My Business categories, which makes it a bit hard to find what might be the most relevant.

Instead of looking through 100s of categories, spy on the competition.

Follow these steps to find competitor GMB categories:

  1. Go to Google Maps
  2. Find competitor’s Google Maps Listing
  3. Place mouse cursor next to primary business category
  4. Right-click on the competitor’s Google Maps Listing
  5. Select the “View Page Source” option
  6. Use CTRL + F or CMD + F to open the document search box
  7. Enter the competitor’s primary GMB category
  8. Scroll through highlighted text in the source code to find secondary categories

Pro Tip: You can automate this process by using the Phantom – GMB Audit Tool Chrome Extension and use the Google My Business Audit Template to document your findings and use for later reference.

Making A List of Competitors

It’s important to note that competition may vary for each marketing channel. For example, who is most prominent offline may not be who is most prominent in Google.

We’re only focused on who’s winning on Google, specifically in Local Pack (also known as 3-Pack).

Local 3-Pack results for personal injury attorneys tempe
An example of Google’s Local 3-Pack results

The first step is to identify the broad service offering. Depending on your business this will vary.

Here are some examples:

  • plumber
  • home builder
  • marketing agency
  • roofing contractor

Once this has been determined, add a geo-modifier to it for the targeted service area. For example, st. louis plumber.

Note the competitors in Local Pack.

Searching competitors in Google Maps

Once the competition has been identified, head over to Google Maps, and enter the name of a competitor.

Google Maps

Then, find the competitor’s primary Google My Business category…

Primary GMB Category

Copy this (Control + C on Windows or Command + C on Mac), and get ready to see the magic…

Viewing the Source Code of the Google Listing

Left click in the panel that contains the Google Reviews, and select “view page source.”

View Source Code

When doing this, make sure that the cursor is on the panel that contains the primary category  before clicking  “View Page Source” (otherwise, this won’t work).

Doing so will display the competitor’s Google My Business categories.

Next, search the source code for the primary category.

This can be done using Control + F on Windows or Command + F on Mac.

GMB Source Code

Everything to the right of the highlighted Primary Category represents the competitor’s additional GMB Categories.

The auditing process can be completed for different keywords, locations, or at a national level to gather more insights.

Note the common denominators between the competitors, especially the primary category. If this is consistent across the competitors who are ranking in the top 3 positions in Local Pack, it’s probably a good idea to adopt it as your own!

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to update categories for other local citations and business listings. This creates consistent relevancy signals for target services and keywords across local directories.

If used properly, this method can be extremely impactful for Local SEO, and used to win in Google’s Local Pack.

Happy SEO-ing 🙂