In today's digital age, when potential customers are seeking places to eat, they often turn to the internet for guidance. Understanding and implementing restaurant SEO can make a substantial difference in attracting more customers to your restaurant.
What is Restaurant Search Engine Optimization?
Restaurant search engine optimization, or SEO, is the strategic process of enhancing your restaurant's online presence to achieve higher rankings on Google's search engine results. Restaurant SEO involves various techniques and practices aimed at making your restaurant more discoverable to online users searching for eateries in your locality. By optimizing your online presence, you increase your chances of appearing at the top of search results. A shocking 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines, so you need to ensure you’re ranking higher for people to discover your restaurant.
Why Restaurant SEO is a Crucial Strategy
In the competitive restaurant industry, having a delicious menu and a cozy ambiance is no longer enough to thrive. The success of your restaurant is linked to its online visibility, and this is where restaurant SEO plays a pivotal role.
Imagine this scenario: a hungry couple is wandering the streets of your city, searching for a place to enjoy a dinner. They pull out their smartphones and type "best restaurants near me" into Google. Will your restaurant be among the top results that capture their attention? If you've invested in restaurant SEO, the answer is more likely to be a "yes."
5 Steps for Your Restaurant to Rank Higher on Google
Follow the steps below to start ranking your restaurant higher on Google.
Register Your Google Business Profile
Without a doubt the most important step to start ranking higher on Google is to identify to Google that your restaurant exists. You can do this by registering your Google Business Profile. This is the listing that will show in local Google search results as seen here.
It should be simple to set up the bare minimum on Google Business Profile but to maximize your results we recommend adding as much as you can. For example links, contact information, photos and hours. When adding photos and graphics ensure they are high quality, this is the first thing a lot of customers will see when researching your business.
Add Your Restaurant to Third Party Websites
The most important directory of course is Google but it’s also important to consider adding your restaurant to other third party websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. There may be other third party websites within your restaurant’s area or niche. A great start would be to see where your competitors and surrounding restaurants are listed and odds are, you should be listed there too. The advantage of doing this is simply that more people will have a higher chance of finding your restaurant. When your restaurant is searched on Google these directory listings may show and in addition the added links to your website will improve your search engine rankings by making your restaurant look more legitimate to Google.
These third party websites (as well as Google Business Profile) are also places customers can leave reviews. Positive reviews, without a doubt, will drive more traffic to your website. Just remember to respond to your reviews, both positive and negative!
Ensure Your Restaurant’s Website is Optimized
Optimizing and growing your restaurant website is fundamental to search engine optimization. With 77% of diners checking restaurant websites before visiting it is more important than ever to ensure you’re making the right first impression.
On your website, the following elements are essential to include:
- Contact information
- A menu that is easily to navigate and view
- Links to your social media
- Details on how to order online and/or reserve a table in person
In addition to these essential elements, you may also want to include:
- Reviews from customers who had a positive experience
- A form where customers can sign up for email newsletters
- Current promotions and offers going on at your restaurant
- An “About” page where you tell the story of your restaurant
Another important note to consider when optimizing or setting up your website is that a lot of local restaurant searches will be conducted on mobile. Ensure you set up your website so that it is just as user friendly on mobile as it is on your computer.
Conduct a Keyword Analysis
‘Keyword analysis’ sounds like an intimidating term but it can be as simple or in depth as you have the capacity for. Some customers who know of or have heard of your restaurant's name will just be able to type your restaurant's name in the search bar but to be discoverable to people who maybe haven’t heard of your restaurant you need to optimize your website for keywords.
Simply put, keywords are words or phrases that your customers search to discover you! For example if your restaurant specializes in burgers and is located in Victoria and someone searches “best burgers in Victoria” you’ll want to be showing up in those results.
The best (and simplest) way to discover keywords is to put yourself in your customers shoes. What would you search to find your restaurant? For example, “vegan restaurant”, “cozy lunch spot” and “fancy dinner restaurant” are descriptive keywords that describe an experience customers are looking for.
Optimize Your Website for SEO
Once you have the essential website elements in place and have conducted some keyword research, it's time to optimize your site for SEO to rank higher on Google.
So what do you do with those keywords you just researched? Including these keywords on your website will help your website show when those terms are searched. You can insert these keywords into page title tags, page headers, meta descriptions, website copy and blogs.
A deeper understanding of including keywords on your website requires much more learning but a key point to mention is you need to strike a balance with adding keywords to your website. You don’t want to make it feel unnatural with keyword stuffing (adding too many keywords).
When optimizing your website it is also important to ensure you have high quality graphics, for example your images and videos as well as include image alt tags on all images.
The last thing we’ll touch on when optimizing your website for SEO is acquiring backlinks. If you’ve already added your restaurant to those third party websites mentioned earlier you’ve already taken the first step. You can think of it as the more links you have the more validated and legitimate your website is. Third party websites provide links as mentioned but you can also use social media to your advantage when it comes to link building.
Mastering the art of restaurant SEO is not just a digital marketing strategy, it's the key to thriving in the competitive restaurant landscape. By following the 5 steps outlined in this blog, you can attract more customers, earn their trust and ultimately grow your business.