Local SEO’s have spotted Google My Business adding a random new category to business profiles today called “POI Establishment”. The issue appears to have first been spotted by Tim Colling over on the Local Search Forum. No one is certain what this means and there is no word from Google on why it is happening.
While this isn’t impacting every business, it is appearing in a lot of business profiles with no apparent connection. The POI Establishment category has appeared for both service-area and non-service area clients of ours as well as for various types of businesses including; Home Builders, Marketing agencies, CPAs, Home Health agencies, Lawyers, Restaurants, Jewelry Stores, Acupuncture clinics, and others.
— Jason Brown (@keyserholiday) April 23, 2019
Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Roundtable seems to think this might be a good thing, that the POI Establishment category stands for “Point of Interest” and might be displayed as such to users on Google Maps.
What should you do about the POI Establishment category?
For now, leave it alone. Google may remove the category soon or it may help you. There doesn’t appear to be any reason at the moment to remove it. If you do remove it, you can’t add it back.
Here are some examples of what it looks like inside Google My Business
Google Product Expert Tim Cappers says he’s seeing position (ranking) drops for local businesses where this category has been applied.
Not the kind that I'm seeing that rely on a specific category search and ones that have had this added I am seeing big dips in positions
— Tim Capper (@GuideTwit) April 23, 2019