Reports about Google testing menus in the direct-answer “card” results for queries like “[restaurant] brunch menu” have sparked debate about where Google is pulling that sort of data from – is it Schema markup on the restaurant’s website or third-party website?
Over on Google+, Aaron Bradley of Airshock started a discussion on the matter, saying “it appears that the data source Google is using is allmenus.com (and/or menupages.com, which seems to employ similar taxonomic schemes).”
Here, he pulls together an image that illustrates the similarities in the AllMenus.com menu listing and the Knowledge Graph card result:
Bradley said he was unable to find any Schema.org markup on the restaurant's desktop site, its mobile site, or MenuPages.com or AllMenus.com.
So if the menus are coming from a third-party, Bradley made a good point that it wouldn’t be the first time “Google has gone out of its way to parse a specific data source because that source classifies the data in useful ways.”
And that the lesson is to think about “how data organization can create value for data consumers like Google,” he said. “It makes one think about how Google will often ignore natively-provided data in preference to third-party data that is organized in a way that makes its consumption irresistible.”
There is, in fact, markup at Schema.org for menu items, and on the discussion thread at Google+, Jarno van Driel commented he marked up a menu for a restaurant about two years ago, and subsequently, the site owners saw an increase in traffic.
“Now it didn't have any effect in regards to Rich snippets but boy did their visitor count (website and establishments) go up. We guestimated back then that because Google could understand their menu, recipes and localities, their site had become more relevant for certain search queries,” he said.
If you’re in the business of marketing a restaurant, consider:
- Submitting your menu to sites like AllMenus.com and MenuPages.com
- Using proper Schema.org markup for your site’s menu options here and here
- Exploring additional schema to tag more data on your restaurant site using markup helper