Report: Menu items, busier businesses may be Google local ranking signals

Google has not specifically confirmed this but a new local SEO report says these may be newly discovered local ranking signals.

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Google Search might be looking at the items in your menu within your Google Business Profile and how busy your establishment is during popular times as local ranking factors and signals.

That’s according to a report by Claudia Tomina. Tomina documented tests on this and believes Google is using these signals to rank businesses in Google Maps and the Google Search local pack.

Menu items. Adding menu items can help a restaurant rank for those menu items on Google, according to the report. So if you add “caesar salad” to your menu items in Google Business Profiles, Google may rank you for [ceasar salad] searches.

This chart shows the ranking improvement for that local restaurant on Google for a search on [best caesar salad near me]. It went from position 71 to position 1 with the change:

Best Caesar Salad June

I spoke with Tomina, who showed me several other examples of this working.

Popular times. Busier establishments during the Google popular times window tend to rank better than less busy establishments, according to the report.

  • “My research shows that if a business is busier at a specific time of day then they outrank their competitors,” Tomina wrote.

The charts below show local Google ranking reports for the keyword [caesar salad near me]. The rankings improved during popular times throughout the day.

Why we care. If you do local SEO or manage your own local business, maybe try some of these things out to see if your rankings will improve. You can easily add your menu to your Google Business Profile to see if it makes a difference in your foot traffic and online orders. And maybe that effort might also increase how busy you are during those popular times and help you rank better.

About the author

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz is a technologist and a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics.

In 2019, Barry was awarded the Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land, in 2018 he was awarded the US Search Awards the "US Search Personality Of The Year," you can learn more over here and in 2023 he was listed as a top 50 most influential PPCer by Marketing O'Clock.

Barry can be followed on X here and you can learn more about Barry Schwartz over here or on her personal site.

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