Google calls the little icon and line of text you see underneath a listing in the local pack, a justification. For clarity, we’ll refer to them as local justifications. These are shown for both service businesses and physical stores, and help substantiate why Google has included that listing in the local pack or local finder.
You will see the extracts coming from a few of key sources:
- Customer reviews
- Your website
- Google Posts
- Google auto-generated (non-attributed) – often comes from info you provide in the GMB dashboard
- Services, Sold Here and In-Stock
- menu highlights and from the menu
In the example right (under the red line), I used a slight variation on the query to return the same business with a different justification. It appears the non-attributed justification is generated by AI using a combination of sources.
Justifications typically show just above attributes.
The icons you’ll see related to the justifications include:
from Google Reviews
from your Website
from Google Posts
Sold Here, Services &
Sometimes Google uses information from justifications in a higher priority than the attributes – particularly if the justification comes from a review.
Customer Review Justifications
These only come from Google reviews. If your business category is one where Google bring in reviews from other sources such as Trip Advisor, Wotif, and so on, they do not get extracts. Nor will you get extracts from reviews on your own site.
If you can encourage customers to leave reviews about the specific products/services they received, then you’ll give Google a chance to serve that content up.
This is one of the most common justifications you’ll see in the local pack, and gives an indication of how much weight Google is putting in reviews.
Website Local Justification
This reinforces the idea to have a strong description or page dedicated to products and services. Where possible, a page per service or product category will help with greater visibility.
This is the second most common justification you will see in the local search results.
Sold Here, In Stock and Services Local Justifications
As with many other things Google, I’m seeing Google testing the display of the icon vs not displaying the icon, and then the words “sold here”.
“In stock” and “Services” seems to be more consistent with displaying the icon.
Services comes from your GMB listing. You can help increase the opportunities for Google to display this kind of justification by filling out the services
In Stock looks to tie in with Google local inventory ads. These ads can be a pay per click or free, depending on where they are displayed.
More info here: Local inventory ads overview
Sold here appears to use a variety of sources including from your website, customer reviews, or Google products.
Menu Highlights and On the Menu Justifications
Google appears to be using information harvested from other sources, including reviews from other sites. This is rather tricky, as if you have a dish on the menu that customers rave about, then change your menu, Google will still serve up your restaurant based on that information.
On the menu
Google appears to be using information from the website itself, even if that information is outdated. Instances where I’ve seen a mismatch between what is currently on the menu, and what Google says is on the menu with these justifications, comes down to the venue not removing old menu files from their website.
Menu Justification Recommendations
- Update your menu items in your Google My Business dashboard. Start with the easy and obvious.
- Google really has trouble serving up accurate information with restaurant menus. If you want the best results, there are a few things you can do to make it easier for any search engine.
- Remove old menu files (often PDF’s) from your website when you change your menu. Simply replacing the file link or the image file isn’t enough – you need to remove the file from your images folder. As well, when you remove that file, be sure to set up a redirect from the old file to the new file. This gets a little technical, but well worth the effort.
- If possible, create a web page version of your menu instead of a menu file. Doing so enables you to add menu schema to the page, again making things so much easier for search engines.
- Keep track of where you upload your menu as a file (eg PDF) or image, so you can remove it later when you upload the new ones.