In September 2019, we analyzed 600 cafes on Google to learn more about how they managed to rank in their Local 3 Pack.
Along the way, we learned strategies that can help coffee shop owners to improve their Google ranking.
Like where to list your cafe and how to collect customer reviews.
Here’s a Summary of Our Key Findings:
- 89.7% of Cafes had claimed their Google My Business profile.
- 76% of Cafes had Relevant Keywords in their name.
- They Average 562 Google Reviews.
- The Best Country in the World to get a Coffee is…
- The Best Cafes Average 400 Photos.
- 86.2% of Cafes had their own Website.
- 96.8% of Cafes ran a Facebook Business page.
- Trip Advisor is the Number 1 Website for Cafes.
- The World’s Most Reviewed Cafes on Google (Top 10).
I have included further details of our research below.
How We Analyzed 600 Cafes on Google
To gather enough useful data, we searched 200 popular cafe locations across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
For each location, we searched on Google for the term: cafes + location.
From the search results we focused only on the Top 3 ranked cafes on Google.
Which brings us to the type of data we collected in our study.
The Data We Collected From 600 Cafes On Google
From all 600 cafes we looked for data that could provide clues as to how each cafe was able to rank so highly.
This data included:
- Did they claim their Google My Business profile.
- How many Google Reviews and their Average Rating
- The Number of Photos.
- Exact Name of the business.
- If they ran a Website or Facebook Page.
- Any Missing information (phone number, opening hours).
And then for each location, we scrolled down further to note the Top 3 websites in Google’s organic search.
For example in Nashville, United States, the Top 3 websites for cafes on Google were Trip Advisor, Eater and Yelp.
We wanted to learn where the best cafes were listed in each country and which local blogs were influencing each specific location.
To learn what the best cafes on Google were doing to earn their position in their Local 3 Pack. Using cold hard statistics.
And then translate those statistics into an easy guide for cafe owners to follow.
The first of our statistics suggests that its best to claim a Google My Business profile.
89.7 % of the Best Cafes Claim their Google My Business profile
Most local SEO experts will suggest that businesses should start by claiming their free Google My Business profile.
So it would certainly surprise a few to see that 10.3% of cafes still managed to reach their Local 3 Pack without claiming their profile.
Which suggests that there are other factors that Google uses to rank local cafes.
Though from this evidence, we suggest that not only do businesses claim their profile, they should be filling it out completely.
Fill Out Your Google My Business Profile Completely
The next step is to complete all of your cafe’s business information correctly.
Our results show that your address, phone number and opening hours are essential to ranking on Google.
It’s virtually impossible to achieve a high ranking without filling in important details about your business.
Use our Definitive Guide to Google My Business to help guide you through the setup and completion process.
And don’t forget to include special trading hours for upcoming public holidays.
Every cafe owner wanting to improve their results on Google should register for their free GMB profile and fill out as much detail as possible about their business.
76% of Cafes on Google Have Keywords in Business Name
From every cafe, we recorded the exact name that was listed in their Google profile. And we found some pretty interesting results.
Over three-quarters of the Top 3 cafes on Google include at least one of these keywords in their business name.
But results varied between our four countries:
If you remove Australia from the equation (we are a strange bunch when it comes to naming cafes) the average climbs to 83.7%.
So there is evidence to suggest that including relevant keywords in your Google business name DOES help with ranking.
On the topic of business names, would you believe that NONE of the Top 3 cafes in Toronto, Montreal, Dublin, Melbourne or Perth include a location in their name?
Only 8% Of Cafes Add A Location To Their Name
One common myth in Local SEO circles is that adding a location in your name helps with ranking on search.
However, we found that only 8% of the top cafes on Google had the search location in their name.
Which leads in nicely to my favourite statistic from this study.
98.8% of The Best Cafes On Google DON’T Add Spam To Their Name
I enjoyed learning that according to this study, adding spam to your business name on Google doesn’t work.
We found that almost 99% of the best cafes use clean and easily searchable names.
Which would lead to higher branded searches because they are easier for new customers to remember.
For a while I was a crazed fan of editing business names that appeared spammy on Google Maps.
It was a lot of fun until I learned that when the name was fixed, the business got a rankings increase.
Spam Doesn’t Work
One cafe I edited in Melbourne, Australia made a jump from 14th to 6th within just a few hours.
When I checked it a week later, the owner had re-entered his spammy business name, and guess what?
The cafe had dropped back down to 16th!
Don’t add spam or a location into your business name if it’s not the name you use everywhere else.
Top Ranking Cafes on Google Average 562 Reviews at a Rating of 4.4
Our study outlined a daunting challenge for all coffee shop owners around the world; To collect around 500-600 customer reviews on Google.
In truth, the average Google reviews a cafe needs to compete for the Top 3 varied greatly by country.
As seen here, the United States is over double the United Kingdom and almost three times the average required in Australia.
Not an easy task for any cafe. Because unlike some industries, selling a cup of coffee doesn’t automatically generate a customer’s email or phone number.
They just get up and walk away.
How To Collect Google Reviews For Cafes
We anticipated this problem prior to the study and made contact with 200 cafes to see what strategies they use.
Not many replied, as expected, but some did.
Most found that once they had a consistent method in place, about 50% of the customers they contacted would leave a review.
One of these methods from a cafe in Canada is described below in our Cafe Tip. But before that let’s take a look at the best country in the world to get a coffee.
The Best Country In The World To Get A Coffee Is ….
It’s the United States with an average cafe rating of 4.47.
So I wouldn’t be too bothered if you receive some negative feedback. As long as your cafe is hovering around the benchmark of 4.2-4.5.
During the study, we contacted 200 cafes around the world three questions. One of the questions asked if they had any advice on how to collect customer reviews.
This particular question yielded 34 responses but the best suggestion came from a coffee shop in Kanata, Canada.
A Google Review Strategy from Kanata, Canada
One cafe in Canada gives every customer a small feedback flyer with their order. On the flyer is an offer for a free coffee in exchange for some honest feedback.
To qualify, the customer must return the flyer with some feedback and either their mobile phone number or email address. A staff member then sends every reply a SMS or email with the voucher for the free coffee.
Shortly after, for customers that provided positive feedback, the Coffee Shop sends another text or email, with a shortened link, asking if the customer would leave a review on Google.
According to the owner, between 40-60% of those asked actually go on to leave a review. A pretty high strike rate.
A large number of reviews is a common theme for the top ranking cafes on Google.
In this modern age of online reviews, every cafe should be implementing a regular strategy to collect them.
The Best Cafes on Google Average 400 Photos
Another clear statistic was that a high number of photos was associated with the top ranking cafes on Google.
An average of 400 photos was found to be another key element of a cafes success.
Although again, it varies greatly between our four countries:
Although it seems a huge number, the method behind collecting them, is not too different to collecting customer reviews.
How To Collect Photos On Google
With customers able to attach photos with their reviews the strategy of collecting hundreds of photos is virtually the same.
Adopting a consistent strategy towards collecting reviews is often the trigger to getting customers to naturally add their own photos.
Start the process off by taking lots of photos of your cafe and uploading them to your Google My Business profile.
Types of photos that work well include:
- Exterior, Entrance, Outdoor Signage
- Interior, Counter, Tables and Chairs
- Staff, both posing and working
- Meals, Drinks and Menus
Aim for between 50-100 photos to begin with but avoid adding lots of one type.
Then, as you post on Facebook, add the same photo to your Google My Business profile.
Take and upload lots of photos of your cafe. Gradually, your customers will start helping out as they leave reviews.
86.2% of the Top Cafes on Google Have a Website
There is a lot of discussion about Google My Business semi-replacing the need for a website.
And that may work for other industries.
But if you own a cafe and want to rank high on Google, this study suggests that you must have a branded website.
How Branded WebsiteS Help To Rank Cafes On Google
Here’s how a website helps cafes to rank better on Google:
- It confirms to Google all of the cafe’s business information.
- Displays text of available products which double as search terms.
- Describes the location, atmosphere and style in greater detail.
- Provides Google information to draw from for search queries.
- Gives local blogs a definitive place to link their readers to.
It’s true that not every customer will click through to a website but those that do are often ready to buy. Or are looking for one final question to be answered.
With 86.2% of the Top Cafes on Google linking to their website from their GMB profile, it is clearly a solid investment for improving ranking position.
Starting a new website is no longer as difficult as it use to be.
In many examples from our study, cafes were only using a one-page website to keep it simple.
Creating a one-page website is easy on sites such as Squarespace, Site123 and Jimdo but be sure that your end product ticks all of these boxes:
- Includes all business contact information and opening hours.
- An embedded Google Map.
- A domain name that looks like it’s your cafe.
- A generous description of your cafe and what it offers.
- Includes some pictures of your cafe.
- It’s fast loading and responsive to mobiles/smartphones.
If in any doubt, search Google for cafes in larger locations to understand the words they are using and the layouts they are adopting.
For every cafe, it’s well worth the investment to develop and maintain their own branded website.
96.8% of All Top Ranking Cafes on Google Have a Facebook Business Page
Almost every cafe that was in the Top 3 for their location had a Facebook Business page.
Now although this statistic is not surprising, it does illustrate one of the weaknesses of cafes that don’t make the Top 3 in their local area.
Almost 70% of Cafes Not In The Top 3 Aren’t Using Facebook
With a quick run through ten locations in the United States, I found that 87 of the 128 cafes that didn’t make the Top 3 either:
- Didn’t have a Facebook Business Page.
- Had less than 50 likes on their Facebook page.
- Or hadn’t posted on their Facebook Business page for over 12 months.
Although 67.9% of 128 isn’t a reliable statistic, I believe this provides enough evidence to suggest that Facebook is now a minimum requirement for cafes in the 21st century.
Facebook and Google are like two giants who are best of friends. They are always sharing information.
So, take the time to fill in or edit your Facebook Business Page completely.
Include your business hours, write a decent About Us and add quality photos to your profile.
I realise there are hundreds of other things to do too, but try to post on Facebook at least once a week.
A Facebook Strategy from Bromley, United Kingdom
Remember that email survey I sent to 200 cafes? Well the second question asked cafe owners about how they manage their social media channels.
One of the replies supplied this strategy from a cafe in Bromley, England.
The owner purposefully hired a female high school student to run their Facebook page for them. How much social media can a high school student do in a three-hour shift? Lots.
The girl proved very effective at responding to comments, taking and posting lots of photos and was soon making promotional suggestions.
Within the first month the owner said that his cafe went from just under 2000 likes to well over 4000. More than a year later she is operating their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube accounts.
Not only should cafes have a Facebook Business Page, they need to be posting regularly and engaging with their customers.
Trip Advisor is the Number 1 Website for Cafes Worldwide
A key part of our study was to find out which websites the best cafes were registered for.
There was overwhelming evidence to suggest that Trip Advisor was by far the world’s most influential website for cafes.
To put our findings into practical terms, we created a list of websites that every cafe should be registering for.
THe Top 3 Websites By Country
Here are the Top 3 websites that cafes should be getting listed on and developing their profiles with quality photos and customer reviews.
Although each country have their differences, all of them have Trip Advisor as their most influential.
The tip here is to get lots of reviews for a small number of the best websites.
Reviews and photos collected on sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp, Zomato are taken seriously by Google and can help to increase your rank.
Get listed on relevant websites, add lots of photos and create an easy link to send your happy customers for a review.
The World’s Top 10 Cafes on Google with the Most Reviews
For a little bit of fun, we wanted to show a list of the 10 Cafes on Google that had the most reviews in the world.
The world’s most reviewed cafe in the world is Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, United States and in September 2019 had 27406 reviews.
2. Cafe Tortoni – Buenos Aires, Argentina – 19095
3. Leopold Cafe – Mumbai, India – 17525
4. Indian Coffee House – Kolkata, India – 16964
5. Cafe Las Violetas – Buenos Aires, Argentina – 14228
6. Hard Rock Cafe – New York, United States – 13818
7. Delirium Cafe – Brussels, Belgium – 13258
8. Cafe De Tacuba – Mexico City, Mexico – 12734
9. Cafe Central – Vienna, Austria – 11589
10. Majestic Cafe – Porto, Portugal – 11101
It’s no surprise that all 10 cafes have a Google profile, a Facebook page, a relevant keyword, their own website and are listed on Trip Advisor.
The purpose of studying the best cafes on Google across 200 locations was to develop a blueprint. A blueprint that could allow any cafe owner to achieve the same success by ranking within their own Local 3 Pack.
And now I’d like to hear from you:
What’s your best takeaway from this study?
Or maybe you have a question.
Either way, go ahead an leave us a comment below.
Josh Vinecombe lives in Melton, Australia with his wife, Leeanne and two boys, Noah and Billy. He is passionate about finding new ways to help small businesses to compete with big corporations. Follow on Twitter