Restaurant Local SEO: The Google Characteristics of America’s Top-Ranked Eateries



I analyzed three businesses in the “local pack” that are “best restaurants (city)” in a major city in each of the 50 states. I then looked over 11 aspects for each listing, yielding the equivalent of 4,950 information points. I put aside my food processor for this study and conducted the entire process manually. I wanted to minimize the effects of proximity, therefore, I didn’t look for the city in that I could be actually in. The results are the kind of results a tourist would get when searching for the top restaurants in destinations.

Restaurant results

Now, let’s examine each of the eleven data points in conjunction and see what we discover. Sit down a place in the dining room!

Categories prove no barrier to entry

It’s possible to imagine that a company trying to be localized on Google on Google for “best restaurants” would want to pick only “restaurant” as their primary Google category to ensure a closely related category. You might also consider that, as we’re looking at the top restaurants that something like “fine dining restaurants” or the wildly popular “French restaurants” might top the charts.

What we’ve found is that even restaurants from all kinds can get into the top three. The ranking includes 51 percent of restaurants came from a variety of categories, such as Pacific Northwest Restaurant, Pacific Rim Restaurant, Organic, Southern, Polish, Lebanese, Eclectic and just about every possible name. American Restaurant is winning out in large numbers, by claiming 26 per cent of the total as well as an additional 7 percent goes to New American Restaurant. I find this to be an interesting reflection on America’s contemporary aesthetic of gustatory, which could signal a change away from what could be considered fancy food to more the more familiar and hosier dishes.

In the end, however we have the famous American “melting pot” perfectly depicted when people search for the top restaurant in the city of their choice. Your client’s particular food preference whatever it may be, it shouldn’t be a barrier to admission in the local pack.

Prices that are high don’t necessarily mean “best”

It’s going to cost you more than 11,000 dollars per person to enjoy a meal at Urasawa The nation’s most expensive restaurant. an analysis suggests that the median cost of a dinner at a restaurant in the US is $12.75. If we examine the cost attribute of Google listing, we see that the term “best” is most common for establishments that have prices that are in between the affordable and extravagant.

The majority of the top-ranked restaurants in our search are marked with the designation $$ and another 25% have the designation “$$”. $$$. We don’t know the specific monetary significance behind these symbols, but in the sake of context, a Taco Bell with its $1 to $2 meals will typically be labeled with $, while the famous French Laundry gets $$$$ its $400-$500 plate. In our research, the most expensive and least affordable eateries make up a tiny portion of what’s considered “best.”

There’s not a lot of information on Google’s pricing guidelines however, it is generally thought that they result at the very least in part from attribute queries Google asks searchers. Therefore, this aspect of your client’s listings will likely be influenced by the public’s perception of. For example, Californians’ conceptions of the value of a meal may differ than those of North Dakotans’. However, on a average across the nation, restaurants with a reasonable price are more likely to be considered “best.”

Anecdotally interesting:The only locale in the world where all three top-rated restaurants were listed $$$$ the time was NYC The other was Trenton, NJ. in Trenton, NJ, the top place in the pack local to Trenton goes to Rozmaryn which serves Polish food at a price of $. It’s fascinating to think about the role that regional economics play in bringing to expectations. Your most savvy customers will be able to study the local market and what it can afford. In contrast, 7 out of 150 restaurants we reviewed did not have any pricing information whatsoever and this suggests that Google’s absence of sufficient information regarding the pricing of a restaurant doesn’t deter an establishment from being listed.

Five stars less than not a reason to be discouraged

Negative reviews are a source of stomach aches for restaurateurs, and I’m really hoping this study can provide comfort. Average star ratings for those 150 “best” restaurants we surveyed was 4.5. It’s that simple: 4.5. And what is the total number of perfectly 5-star joints in the study? Zero. The time has come for your agency to take a moment of deep breathing with your clients.

The highest score for every restaurant in our database is 4.8 which is the only establishments have been rated this high. The lowest rating is 4.1. All other businesses are somewhere between. These ratings come from reviews by customers. The 4.5 average shows that perfection isn’t necessary for being “best.”

The breakdown of a single restaurant with 73 reviews a 4.6 rating was earned by a combination of fifty-six 5-star reviews four reviews of four stars, three three-star reviews 2 2-star reviews along with three one-star ratings. 23 percent of the diners in this tiny review group were unhappy with a poor experience, yet the restaurant continues to earn high ratings. For your customers there are occasions when the pho was not as good as well as the paella burned is a good idea to throw into the heap of the unforgivable errors.

Review counts are important, but they can the results differ greatly

It’s a well-known fact that any business trying to rank locally needs to compete with native Google reviews. I’m with you however, I was amazed by the wide range in reviews across the country and within specific packs. Consider:

  • The most critiques in our study was sparked through Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville, TN and came in at a staggering 4,37
  • In the meantime, Park Heights Restaurant in Tupelo, MS has managed to earn a 3rd place ranking with only 72 reviews, which is the lowest in our database.
  • A majority of “best”-ranked restaurants have between 100 and 499 reviews, while another 31 per cent have 500 and 999 reviews. Together, that’s 66 per cent of competitors who have not yet crossed the 1,000 mark.
  • A restaurant that has under 100 ratings is only a one percent chance of ranking on this kind of search.

Anecdotally speaking, I’m not certain how much information you’d need to look through in order to discover a real-time pattern of reviews that have won. Take that city Dallas in which the top spot has 3,365 reviews, but spots #2 and 3 each have just under 300. Compare that with Tallahassee which has a company with 590 reviews has come in as #1 over a rival with twice as number of reviews. Everyone is ranked in Boise has more than 1,000 reviews, yet no one in Bangor even breaks into the 200s.

What we can learn from this information aspect is that the average number of reviews is 893 in Our “best” search, but there isn’t a minimum threshold that you can indicate to a restaurant customer they have in order to make it into the ranks. The number of reviews varies so widely across cities that your best course for action would be to look into the market for your restaurant and encourage full review management but without any guarantee that achieving 1,000 reviews will result in beating that unknown competitor who is coming up with only 400 pieces of consumer opinion. Keep in mind that each ranking factor is local and cannot stand in the absence of any other.

Restaurants that are the best don’t have the best response from the owner

What percentage of America’s top chophouses have responded to critiques in the past 60 days?

With a thank you for Jason Brown at the Local Search Forum for this great example of a memorable response by the owner in response to a negative review. I’m sorry to report that I’m sorry to announce that I’ve got some bad news. Just 29 percent of restaurants that were rated the best in all 50 states replied to reviews in during the period of 60 days preceding my research. There were praises of extravagant praise, prayers for compassion, and scathing comments from patrons, but less than one third of the restaurant owners appeared to pay even the tiniest bit of attention.

On one hand, this suggests that responsiveness to reviews isn’t a requirement for ranking for our desired search terms However, let’s take a move further. My view is that any time restaurant owners might gain from not responding is completely offset by the amount they’ll lose if they adopt a habit of not addressing reviews. Neglecting to review has been reported as a potential cause for closing down a business. My friends David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal always state:” Your brand is its reviews” and being able to master the customer service environment is the best method to create a brand that will last.

For clients of yours I’d suggest looking at any local newspaper that has a lack of reviews as a sign of a flaw. In the end, your customer’s active management of the owner’s response capability could be a advantage that others do not have. But let me go even further than that: Restaurants who don’t realize the large chunks of customer service are moving online are demonstrating a lack of dedication to the long run. There are restaurants that have a reputation for success even in the face of rude customers however in the typical city, a superior commitment to responsiveness can boost the number of restaurants’ regular business, revenues and ranking.

The reviews of critics are nice, but they’re not crucial

I’ve always wanted to research critiques of restaurants’ reviews because Google provides them with a large amount on screen in the search results:

How many times have reviews of critics cited in the Google listings of America’s most popular restaurants ? And how can an establishment get this kind of recognition?

With 57 reviews, Lonely Planet is the most trusted review site for professionals using our search phrase with Zagat and 10Best putting up strong impressions as well. It’s important to note that 70/150 of the businesses I researched did not have any reviews of critics in any way. These aren’t a prerequisite for being considered “best”, but most restaurants would benefit from reviews. There are a few alternatives for prompting a professionally-written review. For instance:

Lonely Planet -Established in 1972. Lonely Planet is a travel guide publisher with its headquarters in Australia. Reviews of critics similar to this are written for their website as well as guidebooks at the same time. You are able to submit a business to be reviewed through the form however the company does not make any guarantees regarding inclusion.

Zagat Zagatwas founded in 1979. Zagat started out as a platform for aggregating reviews from diners. It was acquired in 2011 by Google in 2011, before being transferred by The Infatuation in 2018. Restaurants aren’t able to request reviews from Zagat. Instead Zagat makes its own survey and chooses companies to be rated and reviewed in this manner.

10Best is owned by USA Today Travel Media Group 10Best has local writers and travelers who evaluate restaurants as well as other locations. Restaurants are not able to solicit a review.

The Infatuation -founded in 2009 and is headquartered in NY, The Infatuation employs diner-writers who write critiques such as this that are based on a variety of anonymous dining experiences. These reviews are then posted on their application. They also offer a service for restaurant recommendations via SMS. They don’t accept requests from restaurants that want to be evaluated.

AFAR –Established in 2009. AFAR was founded in 2009, AFAR is a travel publication that has a website magazine, app, and website that publishes critiques such as this. There isn’t a form for asking for a review.

Michelin Michelin founded as a tire business in the year 1889 in France and its affiliate ViaMichelin offers a electronic mapping system that stores the reviews Google has been able to pull. My research revealed that Chicago, NYC and San Francisco were the only three cities to have produced Michelin reviews similar to that one and one report states that just one-third of US restaurants have been awarded a famous stars ranking. The company offers this guide for restaurants.

As you will see, the most effective method to get a expert review is to make yourself famous enough in the dining industry to receive the unintentional notice of a reviewer.

Google Posts rarely are able to secure a place at the best tables in restaurants.

How many of your top restaurants that use Google Posts? Google Posts microblogging feature?

It turns out that only a small fraction from America’s “best” restaurants in my study have made usage in the use Google Posts. In reality, the majority of the use I observed was not even current. It was necessary to hit on the “view previous posts on Google” link to display previous efforts. This number is significantly higher than the one Ben Fisher found when he conducted a a deeper study of Google Posts utilization and found that 42 percent of local businesses had attempted to use Google Posts at one point or another.

No matter the reason, the restaurants in my research are mostly overlooking this crucial aspect that could provide a edge in competition for customers of your restaurant.

Do you know a restaurateur trying to climb the ranks? It are an indication that committing a small amount of time a every week on this type of microblogging may aid them in getting a advantage over their lazy competitors.

Google posts are a natural companion for restaurants since they are always a good way to promote, a delicious food photo to show off or a innovative menu item that is worth celebrating. If you are the SEO for local who is on your job, you must be recommending the adoption of this feature to maximize the screen space in your Google Business Profile, local search as well as possibly in Local Packs.

Waiter, there’s a question and answer in my soup.

What is the mean number of inquiries top restaurants receive in the Google Business Profiles?

Commander’s Palace in New Orleans is the most impressive restaurant in my survey, which had 56 questions posed via the Q&A section of the Google Business Profile. Four restaurants were not asked any questions. The median amount of questions in all the restaurants was eight.

After I started looking over the results, I decided to do the previous study by me to discover what percentage of the questions were getting responses from the owners, since I was coming up with the exact same scenario. Every time, the answers were left to the public. This resulted in the following consumer relations:

The takeaway: As I noted in a earlier post, Greg Gifford found that 40% of customers’ Google Questions were leads. For those leads to be left up to the discretion of the public, which includes a number of wags as well as jokesters is to leave money in the open. If a prospective guest is looking for the dress code, dietary restrictions gifts cards, parking rates, average prices or ADA compliance Can your restaurant customers be able to afford a open-ended “maybe” to be the only response?

I’d suggest a determination to respond to inquiries promptly can increase bookings, which in turn will create the sort of reputation that helps build rankings. It could also directly affect rankings due to a consequence of being a sign of action.

A moderately priced PA & Da can get you in the game

What is the mean Authority and Domain Authority of a page? Authority as well as Domain Authority of restaurants which are ranked as “best”?

Examining the landing page to which Google listings point at and the importance of each restaurant’s website I was able to determine that:

  • The median PA is 36. There’s a maximum of 55 in the middle and a lowest of null illustrated by one restaurant with no website, and one restaurant which appears to not have a website whatsoever.
  • The average DA of 41 with a high of 88. one company not having a website, despite having a average DA of 56, and another with no web presence at all. One of the lowest-linked DA I could find was 6.
  • PA/DA do not = rankings. In fifty local pack I reviewed 32 of them showed the top restaurant with a less DA than establishments in the #2 or #3. In one instance, a restaurant with a seven-point DA outranked a website that had a 32 DA and then there were two companies that had no weblink or website. For most of the time knowing the PA/DA range in a pack you’re looking to attract will help you develop a basis for competing.

While the number of packs DA/PA isn’t the same in each city but the average figures we’ve uncovered shouldn’t be a problem for businesses that are established. If the restaurant you’re working with is new and is just opening, it’ll require the time to work hard to get the market averages up obviously.

Local Search Ranking Factors 2019, discovered that DA was ranked 9th in importance as a local pack ranking signal with PA being ranked as the 20th most important local pack ranking signal. When you’ve identified a number of DA/PA levels in a local SERP you’re trying to get a user up the top ranks, your best option to improve your site is the improvement of content so that it can earn links and increasing your marketing efforts for local hyperlinks or linktations.

Google’s local Finder “web results” show the areas to concentrate management

Which sites do Google consider reliable enough to use as references to restaurants?

In the end, this trust is restricted to a few sources:

As the pie chart above depicts:

  • The restaurant’s website was mentioned as a source to 99.9% of applicants in our study. This is further evidence to show that you still require a web presence in 2019 and for the excellent purpose of feeding information to Google.
  • Yelp has a high level of trust at 76 percent , and TripAdvisor continues to grow with 43 percent. Your client is likely aware of the necessity to monitor the reviews they leave on both platforms. Make sure to check the accuracy of their basic data.
  • OpenTable and Facebook have each received a little bit of Google trust, too.

The ones not included in the chart above are 13 restaurants that have a web link from a singular source, such as The Des Moines Register or Dallas Eater. Some of the most famous restaurants such as Brennan’s in New Orleans, have a Wikipedia page on their website however they did not do as frequently. I saw Wikipedia pages appear on one occasion as a reference , but then disappearing within a day. I wondered why.

My main conclusion from this is that If Google highlights your client’s listing on a specific platform as a trustworthy web search result, then your agency must go through those pages using a meticulous comb, examining for accuracy, activities, and completeness. These are references that Google will tell you that you’re of vital importance.

Other random ingredients

While I was conducting this research, I noticed a couple of things that I wrote down but did not analyze in a formal way Consider this to be mixed tapas:

  • Menu Implementation is across the board. While some restaurants are directly linking to their website using Google’s menu links Some are using different platforms such as Single Platform, and far more have no menu link in all.
  • Reservation platforms such as Open Table are making a good impression, but numerous restaurants are not drawing a blank in the Google listing field as well. Most, but not all of the establishments classified as “best” feature Google’s “reserve a table” function that originates from agreements with platforms such as Open Table and RESY.
  • Links to order are directed to various sources such as DoorDash, Postmates, GrubHub, Seamless, and in some instances the restaurant’s own web site (smart!). However, in many cases, the restaurant is not making use of this service.
  • Photos were provided in every restaurant with the highest rating. Their quality was varied, however, they’re clearly a “given” in this business.
  • Restaurants that are independently owned and operated were the obvious winners of my search phrase. Except for the Olive Garden location in Parkersburg West Virginia as well as a Cracker Barrel in Bismarck, ND, the most popular competitors were local or small multi-location brands. Most of the time it is not the case that Google nor the public at large consider large chains to be “best”.
  • Honorable mentions include Bida Manda Laotian Bar and Grill to what appears like a stunning and interesting restaurant that is ranked number one in Raleigh, NC and to Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen located in Tupelo, MS for the most famous name in my database. It is possible to get a lots of inspiration for your own ideas from just playing around with the restaurant information.

The last icing to help us understand this data

I’d like to highlight two things to keep in mind as we approach the conclusion of our course:

  1. Local rankings are a result of the constantly changing Google’s algorithmic opinions and public opinion and behaviour. Implementing Local SEO in restaurants involves managing a variety of components: SEO on websites linking, review management, link building and GBP signals, among others. We aren’t able to offer customers a universal “formula” for winning across all. This research has helped us comprehend the national averages to ensure that we go into the restaurant and feel comfortable with the market. In the real world, we’ll have to determine the most effective rivals in every market in order to develop a strategy for each customer. This is why we have some great news.
  2. As I said at the beginning of this research I specifically avoided the influence of proximity by looking for the same information as a tourist to another destination could. I analyzed the local packs for each metropolis that I “visited”. It is good news that for a lot of your restaurant customers you will be multiple chances to be listed in a query like “best restaurants (city)”. Except for the case where the restaurant is in a tiny area, Google is going to make a number of local listings depending on the location of the user. That’s a positive thing to talk about.

What can we learn from local SEO in restaurants?

A short summary of the TL;DR can easily share for your clientele:

  • While the US exhibits a regular tendency to favor American eateries, any type of restaurant could be a potential contender. Be bold!
  • Restaurants that are priced mid-range are thought of as “best” to a greater amount than the most affordable or the most expensive choices. Prices based on market.
  • Although you’ll probably need at minimum 100 genuine Google reviews to make it into these groups, more than half of competitors haven’t reached the 1,000 mark.
  • The average of 71 percent competitors have revealed a obvious weakness in their service by failing to reply to reviews. Get in the game and begin to embrace customer service as a way to distinguish your establishment!
  • Just over fifty percent of the competitors in your area have received criticism reviews. If you’re not yet able to get one, there’s nothing you can accomplish to get them, other than being well-known enough for professional reviewers who are anonymous to stop by. Don’t be concerned about it.
  • Three-quarters of your competition is disinterested in Google Posts Gain the advantage by becoming active.
  • Visitors to the restaurant are asking every competitor’s question and a lot of restaurants leave open the door to leads by allowing random guests to reply. Make sure you respond quickly to Q&A to make your restaurant stand out from the rest.
  • A few exceptions, commitment to genuine link earning efforts will help you build your PA/DA to levels that are competitive.
  • Take note of the platforms Google mentions as a source to make sure that the information provided is a correct and complete.
  • The present management of additional Google Business Profile features like Menus Reservations and Ordering depicts a vast array of services and a image of widespread lack of attention. If you want to increase your the visibility of your business, you should explore each profile feature Google offers you.
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