Google began a test in letting its users set permanent food preferences in their profiles. Using the gear icon within your map settings, users will be able to choose several options related to personal taste and/or dietary restrictions. This would be a convenient filtering option for users but indicates greater necessity for businesses to give data to Google.
Google listings for over two years now have become heavily reliant on attributes. These attributes can range from wheelchair accessibility to recycling programs to particularly relevant in this case, food and drink options. While some businesses may give the minimum information needed for their listings, a name, address, and phone number, these additional optional attributes become less optional by the day. Even if not visible to the user, the additional data of gluten-free, halal, or even just the style of food your business serves are important data points that will affect the results served to users.
A gluten-free bakery can’t just state gluten-free in its name or on its website. Google Business Profiles ask for these attributes to be entered manually, no matter how obvious it may be from all other of the business’s sources. This new “food preference” option will automatically filter search and map results for the user. It is no coincidence that the options offered are identical to the business categories and attributes that Google already asks businesses to include in their profile.
To take advantage of this new preference system, or simply not to be filtered out by it, business must fill every attribute available and primary and secondary category for their business. Businesses must highlight every one of their restaurant’s styles of food, whether American, quick-service, or health conscious, and include every other type of service in their attributes, whether kosher, kid friendly, or happy hours. No matter how obvious you may think it is that your business offers these things, Google’s system looks at direct data entry first and all other avenues later. Do not forget to include every category and attribute you can directly in your Google Business Profile.