How are our composite restaurant rankings compiled?

Ranking Georgia’s restaurant ranking system basically is a composite of Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google’s rankings. 

For anyone familiar with the Associated Press Top 25 college football poll, it’s basically like that. However, instead of 60 college football experts ranking their Top 25 teams, we have three restaurant experts (Trip Advisor, Google and Yelp) ranking their Top 25 restaurants.

For starters, restaurants in each respective category (“restaurants in Macon,” “pizza in Atlanta,” etc.) are compiled into three separate Top 25 lists – a Top 25 list from Trip Advisor, a Top 25 list from Yelp and a Top 25 list from Google. Once all of that information is neatly compiled into the same text document, points are awarded. If a certain restaurant is ranked No. 1 in one of the lists, that’s worth 25 points, while a 25th-place ranking on one list is worth 1 point. Suppose a certain restaurant ranks No. 1 on all three lists (Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google), that’s worth 75 preliminary points. As one additional random scenario, suppose a restaurant was ranked No. 2 on Trip Advisor (23 points), No. 14 on Yelp (12 points) and No. 5 on Google (21 points), that would add up to 56 preliminary points.

There’s one caveat, though. The Top 25 lists for Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google usually have a decent amount of variance, and its relatively rare for one restaurant to appear on all three Top 25 lists. So, in the rare instance that one restaurant appears somewhere on all three Top 25 lists, 25 bonus points are added to that restaurant’s score, bringing the highest possible score to 100. 

Basically, a perfect score of 100 would only happen if a certain restaurant was ranked No. 1 on all three lists (25 (Trip Advisor) +25 (Yelp) +25 (Google) +25 (bonus points) =100). The second aforementioned imaginary restaurant ranked No. 2 on Trip Advisor (24 points), No. 14 on Yelp (12 points) and No. 5 on Google (21 points), which adds up to 56 points, plus the 25 bonus points for being included on all three lists, bringing its total points total to 81.

However, the “points total” isn’t really a Ranking Georgia restaurant “review” score for any restaurant, because we havent eaten at 99 percent of these restaurants. Instead, the score is more reflective of how dominant a restaurant is in a certain category or how strong of a foothold that restaurant has in its market (“best restaurants in Macon,” “best pizza in Atlanta,” etc.).

It’s also important to note that Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google all use closely-guarded algorithms to compile their rankings. No matter how thorough the algorithm is, however, restaurant rankings will always be subjective and imperfect. Nevertheless, all three companies swear that their ranking system isn’t influenced by advertisers, and they all insist that restaurants who advertise with them do not receive a higher ranking or a better score.

Central to Trip Advisor’s “Most Recommended” restaurant algorithm is the quality of reviews. Detailed and thoughtful reviews have a greater impact than brief and vague ones. After that is “quantity” (more reviews generally equate to higher rankings). “Recency” and when the review was posted is another critical metric on Trip Advisor, and its how Trip Advisor attempts to stay current.

Meanwhile, the big three metrics for Yelp’s “Recommended” lists are “total number of reviews,” “star rating” and “recency of reviews.” 

Google has a very similar system with its “Best” lists, with one exception. Google incorporates “prominence” into its algorithm, with prominence basically beging determined by a restaurant’s total internet presence, which includes Google reviews, star ratings, and mentions on other websites.

The big three review sites’ algorithms are all biased against newer restaurants, which then makes Ranking Georgia’s restaurant scoring system biased against newer restaurants, and newer restaurants are less likely to appear in our articles. So, our suggestion would be for you to get out there and eat at all of them and decide for yourself!