The Local SEO Stats & Practical Tactics of Google’s Top-Ranked Grocery Stores

Posted by MiriamEllis

Grocery collects belong at the centres of the 2021 neighbourhood SEO industry conversation.

Other than medical equipment , no endeavour stands out more clearly on the map as essential to daily life in the US, and few horizontals have had to adapt more rapidly in mid-flight than our vicinity food stores in the COVID-1 9 age. From independent grocers to major supermarket bonds, there are heroes in every alley deterring the society fed. Any data that supports the strong continuance of these businesses is well value sharing.

In this article, I’ll add results from 900 data points I plucked while analyzing the top local-pack-ranked grocery store in each of the 50 US capital cities. I’ll too summarize the practical tricks I’ve learned from listening to grocers and their marketers, foreground how they’re adapting and have been successful in unprecedented hours.

It’s my to be expected that both in-house and agency grocery marketers will discover important takeaways in my analysis to ensure a successful 2021 for each vital store.


I manually queried Google for “grocery store”, modified with the city name of each of the 50 US capital cities. I was not physically located in any of the cities where I searched, which should exclude the influence of user-to-business closenes. In a spreadsheet, I manually recorded 18 characteristics for each of the triumphing food market, and then outlined my statistics from this data.

The GMB the special features of top-ranked grocery stores

Review these statististics to assess how a grocery store you’re marketing assesses up.

Orientation within city restrictions

100% of the grocery stores ranking# 1 had a physical spot within the city limits of the specified search phrase city. No supermarket, however strong, was coming the number one spot in the local bundle if it wasn’t within the city.

Takeaway: Having a point within municipality restraints correlates with a good chance of grading for inquiries that contain that city’s listed.

Keywords in business claim

Only 6% of the top-ranked businesses had business deeds that joined any part of my rummage utterances. This was good to see, imparted Google’s known( and unfortunate) reinforcing of brands that material keywords into their business entitlements in violation of Google’s recommendations. I met simply one business that had incidental keywords in its title.

Takeaway: You don’t need to spam Google with keywords in your business entitlement to rank as a top grocery store.

Symbol diversity

No one label is triumphing the top spot across the country. Solutions were extremely diverse, and made up of a vibrant combination of independent grocers and vast bonds. Some brands were earning out in more than one state, nonetheless. Safeway acquired five neighbourhood carries, Whole Foods acquired four, and Hy-Vee and Hannaford each won three. Beyond this, labels were very varied.

Takeaway: Any symbol, big or small, can compete for premium local visibility. No one firebrand has a monopoly on rankings.

Page Authority of GMB arrive page

Page Authority( PA ) is a 100 -point score developed by Moz that prophesies how well a specific website page will rank within search engine outcomes. PA is believed to exert a strong influence on regional multitude positions.

Examining the PA of the website landing page linked to from each grocery store’s Google My Business listing, I found that the average PA was 40. The highest PA was 58 and the lowest was 26. Five of the top-ranked supermarkets had no website link at all, amazingly, and this must be a source of riddle and thwarting for lower-ranked grocery stores in these cities with GMB listings that do link to their websites.

Takeaway: An median PA of 40 is not prohibitively high. Using Moz Pro to measure competitive PA and actively seeking related local relations for each orientation of a grocery brand can help you beat out sleepier adversaries. When low-grade PA or even a missing website tie-up is in progress honored with a high grading for a contestant of the symbol you’re marketing, it’s time to conduct a local business audit to discover which other local pursuit ranking points might be at play.

Primary GMB category

82% of top-ranked grocery stores use “grocery store” as their primary category. The residue of symbols had chosen a few other lists, like “supermarket” or “organic food store”. The primary category chosen for the GMB listing is believed to have the most impact on which expressions the business grades for in Google’s neighbourhood backpacks.

Takeaway: “Grocery store” has a much higher thought monthly scour volume than any other keyword phrase I investigated, such as “supermarket” or “food store”. Grocers wishing to rank for this top term are best off picking “grocery store” as their primary GMB category.


The average rating of top-ranked grocery stores is 4.2 hotshots. The highest rated market had 4.7 adepts, and the lowest had 3.6. Star ratings are believed to influence neighbourhood rank.

Takeaway: No top-ranked grocery store had a perfect 5-star rating. Don’t be overly concerned about the occasional negative evaluate, but do aim for customer satisfaction that harvests ratings in the 4-star range, cumulatively.

Review count

Grocery stores receive a big number of reviews, and re-examine countings are believed to influence rank. Overall, the 50 convenience store I analyzed had received a total of 62,415 scrutinizes, expressing just how common practice of Google as a reigning purchaser evaluate programme has become.

The average review count per place spot is 1,248. The tally for the most-reviewed grocery store in my data set is 3,632. The fewest recollects a top-ranked store received is 227. Bear in spirit that its consideration of the item each accumulation locating needs to achieve maximum visibility will be predicated on their peculiar geographic grocery and height of race.

Takeaway: The happening that the overwhelming majority of critiques I recognized are unmanaged( have no brand responses) leads me to believe that professional asses acquisition campaigns aren’t likely the force driving the high number of total reviews in the grocery manufacture. Instead, I’d suggest that Americans are self-motivated to review the places they shop for food. Nevertheless, if a brand you’re marketing is being outranked by a challenger with more shopper sensibility, launching a formal recall buy platform is a smart bet for affecting grade and improving customer service for a supermarket place.

Review recency

The recency of your reviews signals to Google and purchasers whether your business is a place of bustling task or a bit on the quiet side. It’s long been theorized that review recency might have some impact on rank as a consumer behavior signal. In my data set, 52% of top-ranked stores had been reviewed within the last day. 46% had received a review within the last week. Simply 2% had insured more than a week go by without receiving a new review.

Takeaway: Multiple consumer sketches have found that customers tend to be most interested in your most recent discusses when making a decision about where to shop. If a food market point you’re marketing hasn’t been reviewed in weeks or months( or years !), it’s definitely a signal to begin actively questioning customers for feedback.

Always remember that your purchasers are your grocery store’s best auctions make. They freely convince each other to shop with your busines by dint of what they say about your firebrand in reviews. A steady creek of recent, positive sentimentality is priceless auctions copy for your market.

Owner responses to reviews in 2020

Making use of Google’s owner response function on the reviews a food market receives is absolutely basic to providing good customer service. However, in my data set, 60% of top-ranked grocery stores had not responded to a single review in 2020, and of the 40% that had responded to some recollects , not one brand had responded to all of their reviews.

Takeaway: While dismis recollects appears to have had no negative impact on grocery stores’ ability to achieve top regional compres ranks, I can’t emphasize enough what a squander of possibilities is happening in this horizontal.

Every review is a customer starting a gossip with a symbol, whether their goal is to thank the business or to complain in hopes of receiving assistant. Ignoring the majority of speeches customers are starting must be extremely deleterious to customer comfort and stature. 2020 was a year like no other, and grocers have had their hands full adapting and enduring, but move forward, supermarkets that allocate resources to responding to every asses will have an incredible customer experience edge over less-engaged competitors.

Residence topics

Google excerpts common topics from the body of each store’s reviews and settles them at the top of the review display. 40% of top-ranked grocery stores have “produce” as their most-mentioned place topic, and it was also present for numerous, many other storages even if it wasn’t their# 1 topic. 6% have “organic” and another 6% have “to go” as the most-talked about element, but beyond this, plaza topics are seriously went. This area of Google’s interface is scattered with calls like “clean”, “cashier”, “deals”, “sales”, and many other words.

Takeaway: I’m not yet convinced of the usefulness or eventual staying power of this aspect of Google’s review flaunts. Nonetheless, it accommodates very shorthand sentiment analysis for grocers and marketers craving an at-a-glance idea of what patrons are saying in reviews for a symbol and its adversaries. You it is necessary drill down into the text of the reviews, though, to see whether frequent mentions of something like “clean” are from patrons saying a business is or isn’t clean. Place topics just aren’t awfully advanced sentimentality analysis, at this time.

My data set reveals that Americans are putting payment focus on produce, so one takeaway here is that the quality of your raise agency drives consumers to leave revaluations. A enormous develop district could lead to a great rating and huge consumer-created content about your grocery. A disappointing grow region could create the reverse. I likewise procured the prevalence of “organic” place topics exposing, opened stats I had construed on the 10X growth in purchases of organic produce between January and March of 2020. There is a clear demand trend here for healthful nutrient that should be informing inventory.

Price attributes

Google lieu a 1-4 site “$ ” attribute on numerous enumerates as an evaluation of costliness. It’s conceived these identifications stem, in part, from property questions Google asks users, but the overall data set is incomplete. In my sampling, Google exclusively had a price attribute for 42% of the top-ranked grocery stores. Of that amount, 76% were observed with the moderate “ $$ ” toll peculiarity.

Takeaway: As I found in my previous article on The Google Characteristics of America’s Top-Ranked Eateries, neither Google nor customers tend to consider either the cheapest or most expensive food options to be the most relevant. Abstraction of thrift and spendiness differ greatly across the US, but it’s good to know that a modest toll evaluation tends to correlate with top regional rankings. That seems to be in-step with the current economic picture. The grocery brands you’re marketing don’t need to be the cheapest or the most expensive; the ideal would be delivering good value for a reasonable price.

Google Posts usage before and during COVID-1 9

Google Posts are a form of microblogging that enables firebrands to announce fresh content to their Google Business Profiles. Prior to the COVID-1 9 pandemic, 24% of grocers were publishing Google Posts, but in 2020, simply 16% were actively making any use of this feature.

Takeaway: Google offered special COVID-1 9 announce capabilities to businesses in 2020, but top-ranked grocery stores principally dismissed such opportunities. Pre-pandemic usage was very meager, with exclusively about a quarter of grocers exploiting Google Posts to boost involvement. The 8% falloff in 2020 may paint a picture of a vertical more preoccupied with other, even more urgent priorities to give this feature a try.

Use of Google berths is not believed to impact ranking, and forget of this aspect clearly didn’t harboured any of the subjects back from achieving top rankings, but if a label you’re marketing can allocate resources to this type of publishing, it’s worth trying. Moz Local can help you produce Google Posts to your directories, and increase the opportunities for consumers to engage with your profiles.

Google Questions& Answers

Google Q& A is a Google Business Profile function that tells a company publish and answer its FAQs, as well as causing the public ask and answer questions. Cumulatively, the fifty grocery stores in my overlook have received 1,145 questions. The highest number of questions for a single location is 192, and the lowest is two.

Just 14% of grocers have responded to any of the questions their supermarkets has received a total of, and in no case had a grocery store responded to all of its questions.

Takeaway: The majority of the questions I construed were makes — customers asking if a market had this or that product, or offered a particular service or amenity. Sadly, public reacts, often left by Google’s Local Guides, were often flippant and barren of information to help the customer compiling the inquiry. While Q& A is not believed to have any impact on rankings, rejecting clients is not consistent with goals of equipping excellent customer service.

Moreover, discounting guides has a monetary context. One generator estimates that the average American grocery trip bill is $60. This means that the total number of questions in my examine, if reacted, could bring in $68,700 for that pool of supermarkets. However, in my household, the average grocery bill is about $150 per junket, which could make answering this many questions in California worth something like $ 171,750, if the shops have the goods and services the customers are aiming. My amounts are just approximates, but one thing I know is that few brands can afford to leave fund on the table.

I would highly recommend that grocery stores determine the time to populate Google Q& A with their top FAQs, including whether the business offerings transmission, curbside service, and compels mask-wearing. Beyond this, employing a produce like Moz Local will let you know each time a new question comes in at any of your sites, so that you can be sure no possible customer is being ignored and that everyone is heads are the subject of careful stewardship.

The COVID-1 9 adjustments top-ranked grocery stores have induced

Beyond analyzing the GMB listing points in my information and data, I phoned each of the grocery stores to ask them a few questions to understand how they have adapted fulfillment and policies in response to the pandemic.

I could have relied on the Google attributes depicting curbside and bringing work, but I’m glad I drew the scolds, because I received divergences in use of these attributes and actual service provided. In some occurrences, stores with these amenities had not been called with these attributes more, and in others, the attributes that were exposed were wrong.

These are my meets ๐Ÿ˜› TAGEND Home grocery delivery

62% of the supermarkets in my inspection placed are now offering home grocery delivery. I was surprised that this number wasn’t higher, dedicated consumer demand for the safest ways to keep their households gave, read in conjunction with the clear need to keep grocery proletarians as safe as possible.

Of this multitude, exclusively 12% of grocery store I “ve spoken to” have managed to create an in-house delivery service. 31 of the 50 symbols in my data set were having to go with the costly option of third-party last-mile fulfillment. Of this multitude, 29% are using Instacart, 26% are using Doordash, 8% are utilize Amazon Prime, 4% are using Peapod and Shipt, and 2% are using Grubhub. Three firebrands were partnering with more than one third-party service, and two were offering both third-party and in-house delivery options.

Finally, I understood several instances of Google allowing third-party fulfillment companies to advertise on the Google Business Profiles of grocery stores. Grocery store staff who told me they had no delivery service are almost certainly unaware of these best practices. I find this scenario to be one of the least-acceptable in Google’s regional playbook, especially because they place the burden on business owners to try to get such advertise separated from their rolls.

A business working hard to develop an in-house delivery team doesn’t deserve to have Doordash or Instacart or Grubhub parked on their listing, eating away at advantages. Be sure you’re checking the Google Business Profiles of any convenience store you’re marketing and endeavouring removal of any third-party connects you don’t want.

Google Trends recorded the massive spike in pursuings related to grocery delivery that occurred in spring of 2020 as Americans attempted strategies for hindering their households furnished while stick safely at home. When you marry this with the distressing reporting UFCW has been offering on the COVID-1 9 fatality of grocery craftsmen, increasing bringing alternatives is essential.

Keeping the majority of the public at home and limiting face-to-face contact for grocery store staff has uttered residence give a vital COVID-1 9 adaptation that must expand beyond the 62% adoption charge I considered in my study.

Curbside work

For brands that are still struggling to develop a workable bringing planned, curbside getaway has been a welcome option. 64% of the accumulates in my study are offering curbside service now — a number just slightly higher than the home transmission figure. I identified that in multiple occasions, labels that weren’t yet set up to do transmission were at least able to create this fulfillment alternative, but we’d need to see this figure at 100% to ensure no one has to walk into a food market and risk infection.

Concealment plan

When I requested grocery store staff if their locale involved all staff and shoppers to wear cover-ups, 83% said yes and 17% said no. This was the main question in my inspection, given the state of the pandemic in the United Country, and I want to share what I learned beyond the numbers.

In the cities/ regimes where convenience store employees reported no masking requirements, they invariably told me they “lacked the authority to enforce mask-wearing”. Lack of government policy has left the people in these communities helpless to protect themselves. Reviews sometimes told another story for the 83% of grocery stores where employees told me disguises are required. Despite a stated mask-requirement program, reviewers report instances of encountering uncovered staff members and patrons at some locations and express distress over this, sometimes territory they won’t return to these venues. This means that the actual enforcement of PPE-wearing is actually little than 83%. On a strictly human grade, I sensed that my question about disguising made some employees desirous, as if they feared a negative response from me when they told me that cover-ups is a requirement. I can only imagine the experiences some of these staff members have had trying to cope with patrons refusing to protect themselves and others from contagion. The exchanges I had with faculty further cemented my understanding of the need for clear, national programme to reduce and, hopefully, eliminate COVID-1 9 so that everyone in our local communities is safeguarded.

My friend and colleague Mike Blumenthal has done the best job in the neighbourhood SEO industry documenting consumer demand for masking as evinced in reviews, and also, how to get political tirade critiques from anti-maskers removed from your GMB listings, should the store you’re marketing received from the governments. Out of my deep concern for convenience store workers and communities, it’s my strong hope that national leadership will be reflected in 100% participation in grocery industry masking requirements in 2021.

Full contactless realization

0% of the grocery store brands in my study have switched to contactless-only fulfillment, but this methodology may become all-important in overpower the public health emergency. When grocery store can operate as depots where nutrient is stored for curbside pickup and delivery, instead of any in-store shopping, workers and trade purchasers can substantially reduce contact.

When the COVID-1 9 pandemic first emerged in America, groceries like Oneota Community Food Coop in Decorah, Iowa switched to pick-up-only for a hour, and may need to do so again. Meanwhile, my neighbour is receiving her terminated grocery delivery every week from Imperfect Foods, which launched in San Francisco in 2015 and has known phenomenal expansion in the past few years on its mission to deliver efficient foods in a handy style. This comes on the heels of the meal kit delivery bubble, including Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Purple Carrot, and many other options. Even convenience stores like 7-11 are making a strong effort to go contactless.

In April of 2020, 40 million Americans placed online grocery seeks. Rapid adaptation is absolutely possible, and until COVID-1 9 can be placed in the country’s rearview mirror, a national effort may be essential to recast grocery labels as curators of meat bringing rather than places to patronize in person. Local search marketers should fully participate in grocery store client ideation on how to mold public perception that supports safety for all.

Satisfaction, reputation, and rankings

Delivery, curbside service, and strict masking programs may not seem to have a direct connection to local rummage positions, but in the larger scheme of things, they do. Purchasers reward customs they adoration with positive examines. When a patron is extremely satisfied with how a business like a grocery store takes care of them, studies register this motivates them to gift remembers as a thank-you.

The more you demonstrate to customers and communities that the grocery store you’re marketing helps for them, the more you’ll grow your corpus of positive discuss with high-pitched sun ratings. This, then, will support the neighbourhood multitude ranking destinations you’re hoping to meet for peak online visibility. And your stature will have become the kind that generates high-pitched changeovers. 79% of customers say contactless pickup is very important to them — whatever you can do to deliver satisfaction to the consumer majority is a very smart move.

What I’ve was informed about agility from grocers and their purveyors

“There shouldn’t be a brand between you and your patron. You shouldn’t be introducing them to somebody else and no one should own your information.” — Brian Moyer, CEO, Freshop

It’s not overstating the action be mentioned that the grocery industry is undergoing a revolution. Annual online grocery sales in the US increased from $1.2 billion in August of 2019 to $7.2 billion in June of 2020.

As a regional SEO, I can’t think of another industry I can learn more from about change, ability, and resilience. I’ve been following food industry news, and was especially engaged by a webinar I tuned into hosted by digital grocery software provider, Freshop. I’ll summarize seven key takeaways here ๐Ÿ˜› TAGEND

1) If you can develop an in-house delivery program, do it, because it’s the only way to maintain ownership of the full customer event with your brand. It also obligates monetary ability in the long run, as I crossed previously here in my article on Third Party vs. In-house delivery: A Guide to Informed Choice. In the Freshop webinar, Brian Moyer prompted attendees that Blockbuster once had the opportunity to buy Netflix, but passed on the fortune. Now is the time for grocery stores to protect themselves from paying their sell apart to the Instacarts and Doordashes on the situation.

2) Whatever software you use to digitize your grocery inventory, it is desirable to strong on POS integration, inventory conduct, and analytics. I was excited with the short-lived demo I verified of Freshop’s analytics dashboard coverage of select seasons and slot fulfillment for transmission control, profitability across meter, moving of both non-transactional and transactional behaviors, and desegregation of Google Analytics for calibrating transition rates.

3) Take a sheet from meal package services and offer them yourself. Create breakfast paraphernaliums, supper packs, dessert gears, vacation banquet paraphernaliums, etc. Make it easy for customers to think in terms of meals and get everything they need in a got a couple of sounds.

4) Consider leveraging digital ads on your grocery store website from labels you already carry. This can create an additional revenue stream.

5) Create online shoppable fliers. Remember that I ascertained “deals” and “sales” showing up as GMB place topics? Many customers who used to make clues from photograph circulars can learn to transfer this wont to clickable digital circulars.

6) Carefully evaluate the community funding alternatives of the digital shopping software you choose. Most grocery stores aren’t direct adversaries and can help one another out. A enormous pattern I visualized was how one grocer shared the character he wrote to apply for making SNAP fees. He was happy to let other grocers facsimile this form letter to use for their own lotions.

7) Celebrate the facts of the case that online busines has removed historic an obstacle to customers situating store record in a complex floor plan. With a examine casket, any purchaser got to find any concoction in any alley. As difficult as things are right now, this is one silver lining of genuine cost to grocers and their marketers.

Summing up

The dominant characteristics of Google’s top graded convenience store in the 50 US funds are ๐Ÿ˜› TAGEND Being located in the city specified in the searchAccomplishing GMB landing page PA in the 40 rangeNot relying on spamming GMB business titlesUsing “grocery store” as their primary categoryWinning a 4+ ace ratingBeing heavily reviewed and having received a review in the last weekReceiving extends in the form of Q& AOffering delivery and curbside shopping optionsRequiring masks

The key areas of GMB opportunity that are not yet being utilized by this group to protect dominant visibility are ๐Ÿ˜› TAGEND Client service in the form of discus responsesLead management in the form of answers to Q& APR in the form of Google Posts

The grocery industry is undergoing a period of significant challenge and opportunity including ๐Ÿ˜› TAGEND The challenge of digitizing inventoryThe challenge of managing the full customer ordeal with give and curbside service to avoid being cut out by third parties and to greatly increase safetyThe opportunity of selling to customers in new ways by fulfil new needsThe opportunity of house permanent patriotism in the process of creating memorable know-hows of care and satisfaction during the pandemic that will inform post-pandemic rapports

I want to close with a thank-you note to my favorite, great-hearted neighborhood grocer — a family-owned country store in a rural area. You met me frost during a superpower shutoff in the midst of a fire, you discovered me bath material during the shortage, and locally-distilled hand sanitizer to keep my family safe. You set up curbside pickup to protect me, and when my auto was out of service, your family offered to bring groceries to my home, even though you don’t yet have the staff for a full bringing service.

My grateful patriotism is yours.

As a local exploration marketer, I may look at data, I may share multitudes, but really what I’m thinking about is beings. People feeding the society, deserved of every shield and safeguard ingenuity can lay to get us through these hard time together. If you’re flowing or selling a convenience store and have regional SEO questions, satisfy ask them in the comments and I’ll do my best to provide helpful answers to support your success. Thank you for all that you’re doing!

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