Why your restaurant with thousands of reviews does not appear on Google Maps


This is the agony of every owner and we often hear them ask: "But we have so many hundreds of reviews and with a high average score. Why the heck doesn't Google show us in the top businesses?" After today's article where we will write about our personal experience at a tapas restaurant in Barcelona, you will understand that things are much more complex.

And even the restaurant we visited, the Nix Tapas & Drinks in Barcelona, has 1446 reviews and an average of 4.9!!!! Fantastic, right? And yet. It is NOT in Google's recommended businesses. Let's see why.

What we liked in the restaurant

But let's start with the good stuff. We'll list things we saw and experienced that every business should do. Because a restaurant may not be visible on Google Maps, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make customers want to come back and recommend you to their friends.

Restaurant Reception

Initially, as soon as we arrived we were greeted with a smile at the door and asked if we had a reservation. We had booked a table a while ago with the app "The Fork" (more on multiple booking channels and their importance below). For the short time we had to wait, about 10-15 minutes, we were offered a free drink to make more pleasant our waiting. We even had to choose between wine and beer. So here we have what we call "a goal from the locker room". The restaurant was already starting to win us over.

Waiting in the restaurant

During our wait the staff did everything they could to serve us and always (we cannot stress this enough) with a smile. So when a table we didn't like was empty, we asked to be put at another one. So the waiter said to us in a low voice: "I have a table where I can see them ready for dessert. Give me a few minutes and I'll serve you" and winked at us.

There was a menu with prices at the entrance, which helped us save time and order much faster once we were seated. But the most fantastic thing was that there was a screen with images from the menu, which helped us even more. Especially when it comes to restaurants that have special menus, such as tapas, it helps a lot for people who are trying it for the first time. This is where the business gets a double win. And it helps us to make a better decision as far as the menu to order but also reduces the waiting time at the table. The quicker we order, the quicker we eat, the quicker the table is cleared to serve the next customers. Win-win.

Digital menu

While we already had an idea of what we wanted to order, as soon as we sat down there was a QRCode where by scanning it, we can see the menu again. And not just the variety and prices but again the pictures. It's hard to understand why there are businesses that have gotten into the digital menu creation process (which between you and me is not a special process, the printed catalogue is much more difficult to manage). So we chose, confident that we made the best choice for us.

Interaction with social

In a prominent place on the wall, there was an invitation to follow the company's Instagram. But not just that. There was a live update of followers, so it was a very nice gamification that put us in the process of interaction. And from what we saw from the site, we were not the only ones. So break out of the mundane and find new and delightful ways to get your customers to interact with your business.

Menu quality

There is no need for many words here. No matter how hard you try and do your best in all areas, if the final product is not excellent, then all efforts fall on deaf ears. Whatever we tried was excellent and there is no way we won't visit it again or recommend it. This is a way to increase repeat and new customers (word of mouth).

Customer service

The A and the Z. Everything else was perfect, even the food we mentioned, if the service was not excellent, it would not be something we would prefer or recommend again. So throughout, the smiling waiters made sure the experience was the best possible, always making themselves available but with discretion.

So if all of the above means that it's not easy to find such a business when you search online (here, for example, we searched for tapas barcelona), then what luck do other businesses have. You'd be surprised...

How visible is your business?

This is something to find out, you need the right tools. This is because in the localized search Google takes into account factors such as your search history, personalisation signals from all your online behaviour and the proximity of a business to the user you are searching for. So the next time you take the test from your mobile device and while you're inside the business, don't be too quick to rejoice in any high rankings in the search results.

Next to it you will see the ranking of "Nix Tapas & Drinks" in the Barcelona area when searching for "tapas barcelona". As we said, why is a business with hundreds of positive reviews so low in the search results? The average ranking is 116 and in a location with a low "Area Difficulty"

All the reasons a business is low in local search results.

A business can significantly improve its discoverability on Google Maps by doing local SEO. Among the 260 or so Google ranking factors at the local level are Google My Business. Here you have all the important information of the company, such as the NAP (Name - Address - Phone). You need to make sure that all of this is correct in all of the company's online reports.

And especially you should pay attention to your working hours. The searches that have a very high user appeal are the "open now" searches. Google even has it as a filter. That's how important it considers it. So if on GMB you have 11:00-22:00 hours and on TripAdvisor you have 10:00-23:00 hours, then Google will recognize that and get a very negative signal as far as the credibility of the business is concerned.

The content is very important and especially as far as the posts you can make on Google. These posts are considered as fresh content for the first 7 days. After that they have no value. So make sure you post at least 1 post per week but we will recommend as often as possible. And of course, as long as the content is still relevant, you can recycle your posts.

You need to make sure that you are registered on as many websites as possible. This helps Google to trust you for a start. The more people talk about you, the better. But something that is too often overlooked is that all those backlinks are potential customers. And here we go back to the beginning of the article. "Nix Tapas & Drinks" may not have been visible on Google, but we found it through The Fork and at a 40% discount. So the backlinks are not just about improving your ranking. They are also ways to increase your customer base.

Never forget to ask for reviews. Here our business gave us a card with 2 QRCode that redirected us to leave a review on Google and TripAdvisor. Here the bad thing was that there was no filtering of any kind for online reviews. The good thing is that the company was so excellent at everything that it does not need it. But this rate of satisfied customers is not something that applies to the majority of businesses. So don't be afraid to ask Google Reviews, if you use the proven strategy of Mail-Marketing.gr

And of course it needs and review management. And this is for 2 reasons. For Google and for your (potential) customers. Let's start with the latter:

  • Customers: Here we have to ask ourselves what is the experience of the customer who left the review. Is there any chance that someone will give you a good word in the restaurant and you will not respond? Even a thank you? Of course not. So why do you do it online where thousands of eyes are watching you? Why do you give the impression that the business doesn't care what its customers say? Some customers spend entire minutes writing text and uploading photos. Why don't you spend the same amount of time on them?
  • Google: What Google is looking for are healthy businesses that maintain high customer interaction rates. Personalized and tailored responses are the best recipe to achieve this.

And finally, don't neglect your online storefront. Refresh your Google My Business photos often, just like you refresh your site and your menu. Don't keep images of menus that are no longer valid and don't let your customers have control over your storefront (if you don't upload images yourself, Google will find them elsewhere). Show your best image and make your restaurant an attractive destination. This will also help the interaction algorithm by making them want to see all your pictures. Because it's not enough to just be visible but the business has to be attractive. You don't just want them to see you. You want them to visit you too!

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