Comparing Google Local and Acxiom Categories

The Google Local Business Center offers advertisers a way to geographically authenticate themselves and then select an appropriate category for their business listing.

Google Maps takes data from various sources including Acxiom which provides data for many of the phone directory type websites.

Taking a look at the categories available categories on allpages.com (which is powered by the Acxiom database), it’s immediately obvious that there’s more than the 520 listed in Google Maps. After looking 3 levels deep (many main categories go 4 levels deep), for the Pittsburgh region, I came up with just under 1,800 categories.

Some of the Acxiom categories do not map well, or are completely missing from what’s in the Google Local Business Center (LBC). Let’s look at a few examples:

GLBC is completely missing the entire main Agriculture category, which consists of at least 35, some of which include:

Agriculture
Agriculture – Agricultural-Crops
Agriculture – Agricultural-Crops – Agricultural-Chemicals-Pesticides
Agriculture – Animals
Agriculture – Animals – Birds
Agriculture – Animals – Specialty-Animal-Services
Agriculture – Farm-Equipment
Agriculture – Farm-Equipment – Dairy-Farm-Equipment
Agriculture – Farm-Equipment – Feeders-Automatic-Animal-Fish
Agriculture – Farm-Equipment – Irrigation-Systems-Equipment
Agriculture – Farm-Equipment – Tractors-Equipment-Supplies
Agriculture – Farms
etc

The Business section is structured differently with GLBC having a Business To Business and Services main categories, while Acxiom has a more extensive Business Services category.

GLBC has 8 categories for Real Estate, while Acxiom has at least 26:

GLBC
Real Estate
Real Estate – Agents & Realtors
Real Estate – Apartment Buildings & Complexes
Real Estate – Appraisers
Real Estate – Commercial
Real Estate – Home Inspection
Real Estate – Property Management
Real Estate – Surveyors

Acxiom
Real-Estate
Real-Estate – Commercial-Industrial
Real-Estate – Commercial-Industrial – Buildings
Real-Estate – Commercial-Industrial – Commercial-Industrial-Real-Estate-Companies
Real-Estate – Commercial-Industrial – Commercial-Industrial-Rental-Leasing
Real-Estate – Commercial-Industrial – Real-Property-Lessors
Real-Estate – General
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Apartment-Building-Operators
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Cemetery-Subdividers-Developers
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Land-Subdividers-Developers
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Mortgage-Companies
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Nonresidential-Building-Operators
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Operators-Of-Residential-Mobile-Home-Sites
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Professional-Relocation-Services
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Property-Maintenance-Services
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Property-Management
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Property-Operation-Retail-Establishments
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Real-Estate-Agents-Brokers
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Real-Estate-Appraisers-Consulting-Services
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Real-Estate-Managers
Real-Estate – Real-Estate-Services – Title-Abstract-Companies
Real-Estate – Residential
Real-Estate – Residential – Modular-Mobile-Homes-Sales-Service
Real-Estate – Residential – Residential-Apartments
Real-Estate – Residential – Residential-Real-Estate-Companies

I believe that to provide the best overall experience for the user and advertiser, the two (and possibly other) systems need to be merged and use one set of categories. I don’t mind which one Google prefers, but from an advertiser point of view, I want to be consistent in how I present my company within Google AdWords local ads, Google Local Business Center and listings on Maps. Just give me one place where I can edit my company name, description and other relevant information.

From Google’s point of view, I would expect them to push all businesses through AdWords for the local ads. This would give them the chance to upsell the business to use national cpc advertising, as well as content targeting, mobile and offline ads. I think we’re going to see some interesting things happen with local in 2007.