SEO For Restaurants
Everything you need to know about how to drive more customers who are ready to explore new places to eat.
As a restaurant in today’s digital world, using SEO is a must.
While some may see it as only purely advertising, it’s more than just that.
Today, restaurant SEO is a great way for restaurants to grow their business by attracting new customers and retaining a more loyal and frequent customer base.
Let’s look further at how search engine optimization can help improve your business.
What is SEO?
SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is a digital marketing method that is used to grow organic traffic and visibility within the search engine results. SEO uses creative techniques to help drive more traffic to a website, increase search engine rankings and increase brand awareness to your target audience. SEO helps you structure your website so that it shows up higher in the search engines. While it focuses on helping to make your site more attractive to search engines, it also helps to ensure it is better for those who visit it also.
Why Are Search Engines So Important?
You may be wondering why there is all this fuss about getting your restaurant’s website to be more attractive to search engines. More than 45% of people worldwide use search engines daily to access the internet. This figure is only estimated to grow even larger in the next few years. With almost half of the world population using search engines daily, this should express to you how relevant and vital search engines are to the success of your restaurant SEO.
Restaurant SEO Recommendations
The market leader, Google recommends the following methods to rank higher in their search engine results:
- Make sure your website offers useful information and create content on the pages that accurately describes what your business is.
- Adding local schema markup to the homepage of the website
- Optimizing a Google My Business profile by adding the correct photos, Hours, NAP(Name, Address, and Phone Number), and Category.
Restaurant Brand Awareness
What is brand awareness? Brand awareness is the awareness of consumers about a specific ‘brand’. Your brand can be your company name, logo, etc. Creating your own brand awareness is a vital step in working on promoting and advertising your restaurant. SEO and brand awareness hand in hand as methods and tools used to create an increase in traffic as well as higher search engine results rankings. Your ‘brand’ is what makes you unique and stand out amongst your competitors. It is something that should speak to the consumer and let them know why you are a better restaurant than some of the others around you. You must promote yourself or your brand in a manner that lets people know why you are special. Maybe it’s your customer service, your food, your attention to detail or all the above. Using SEO to enhance brand awareness can help you to build up revenue success.
Defining Your Restaurant SEO Strategy
Before you dive feet first in without a plan, you want to make sure you have something in place to keep you afloat and moving forward. Defining your restaurant SEO strategy can help you to gain traction as a key player in the restaurant business in no time at all.
Defining your Locale
The first step in creating your SEO strategy is to define the area you are geographically located in. This will be the region most of your customers will come from.
Keyword research is one of the most monotonous tasks around, but it is necessary when it comes to proper Restaurant SEO. Some keywords in the restaurant business will be categorized by a few different groups. These include:
High Level Terms: High level search terms such as ‘restaurants’ or ‘local restaurants’ are just a few examples of some of the more common keywords restaurant SEO should involve. Other variations on what your restaurant is about can be included within these high-level keywords.
Brand Terms: Your brand is who you are, what you are about and how you represent yourself to the world. You don’t just want to take for granted and assume that everyone around you knows who you are. You will not rise to the top search results with that attitude. SEO takes time, dedication and some investment to get it started and working for you.
Niche Related Terms: These are the types of terms that specifically relate to the category your restaurant falls into. Examples of this can be “pizza restaurants, Italian restaurants, etc.”. Define what type of restaurant your business is for these specific types of terms.
When you have discovered and compiled a solid list of keywords, you can narrow down which you will want to focus on most to create a broad spectrum of keywords to apply to your SEO strategy.
King of Local Search
Dominating your local search market can help tremendously not only with the success of your restaurant’s local SEO campaign, but also your revenue. You will want to start first by optimizing all your listings for your restaurant or restaurants across all local search platforms. This doesn’t just include your search engines, but also social media platforms as well as directories specific to the restaurant industry. Yelp, and Google My Business, are just a few examples of local directories.
Ensuring all NAP data is accurate is vital to the success of local search. NAP is referred to as your name, address and phone number. Beyond this, you will want to optimize other information fields such as your business category and description. This can help to align your search terms or keywords with your restaurant SEO more easily.
Start with the local directories that get the most traffic. Start with GMB (Google My Business), Yelp, Foursquare, etc. All this information working together can help to increase and grow your overall online or digital visibility.
Let’s first discuss customer engagement in terms of social media. It has long been debated on how much social media impacts SEO efforts. However, it is noted that an increase in social media engagement will drive additional traffic to your website and increase your brand awareness.
Social media is a great tool to have in your arsenal. It can help to provide you with a more personal look at your customers, their life and why they like or dislike your restaurant. A strong presence on social media often means you have a higher than most organic traffic. Engagement, content and online presence are just a few of the more important steps in restaurant SEO.
To dive into the world of social media, you will want to first develop a social media plan or strategy and work through the process of implementing this plan. You will want to engage your customers and general online audience. How you can communicate when working online will help to provide you with a reputation of sincere concern for your customers. To start this process, you will want to do as follows:
Develop Your Social Media Strategy
You will first want to brainstorm on the best overall SEO strategy and how well you can put it to work for you.
Together when coupled with all your restaurant SEO efforts, you will start to see a jump in visits to your website from sources such as social media pages.
Encourage Your Customers to Leave Reviews
When someone does an online search of local restaurants, chances are they will also see a few reviews associated with it. When customers are looking for a potential restaurant in their area, they are going to check out the reviews, and those with higher, more attractive reviews will gain more attention and potentially lead to an increase in business.
Reviews are usually a part of every social media plan or strategy. They are also a great engagement tool that some businesses overlook. You can get your star ratings and reviews shown within your search results. This allows potential customers to see them before they even click. Chances are the higher the reviews, or higher star ratings, the better the chance that they will be clicked on. A higher rating gives your site a more attractive appearance when compared to competitors with lower ratings or none.
If you currently don’t have any reviews associated with your restaurant, you will want to determine a review strategy that can help you gain attention from potential customers and encourage those that have already been to your restaurant to leave reviews. A review strategy should be a vital part of anyone’s restaurant SEO success plan.
Content, Content and More Content
If you are really wanting to stand out amongst your competition, you will want to make your content as unique to your restaurant as you can. Having engagement and information content on your website will help provide a service or value to potential customers. This type of information also helps to increase and grow your brand awareness which in turn leads to higher search result rankings and an increase in traffic.
It’s important to be aware that content doesn’t have to mean all written content. Other areas of your website such as the menus, videos, graphics and more can also lead to rich and unique content. Search engines don’t just focus on merely the words on a website, but the overall context of the website. When you generate new content regularly, you keep engaging information up and frequently updated to help stand out among the competition.
What Can Set You Above the Rest?
For restaurants you will want to become more personal with your patrons. This can include sharing background or history information such as who founded it, menu details, recipes, ingredients, where you get your ingredients, and why your food is the best among all the other restaurants in the region or local location.
If you have only one local business, this can be simple. Those with multiple restaurants do not worry because it is not as challenging as you may believe. For each location you will just want to write your story in a way that it tailors to your local history, the community where you are located and what sets you apart from your competitors. While this may seem time consuming, it will truly provide you with an amazing return on your investment.
As we dive deeper into SEO it’s important to note that on-page SEO should not be ignored. Taking the time to look at two specific categories can really help increase your On-Page SEO. Checking your website for any errors or broken links is the first step in any proper restaurant SEO campaign.
It is estimated that roughly 47% of the population are using their mobile devices. It may be surprising you to you discover how often people search for local restaurants on their mobile phones. Because of this you will want to not only optimize your website but to also ensure it is optimized for mobile responsiveness. What does this mean?
Mobile responsiveness means when you visit your website on a mobile phone there are no errors or issues, instead it appears just as you would see it on a computer. This is only the stepping stone when it comes to mobile. You want to also consider how quickly the pages loads, what it’s rendering is and just providing visitors with an amazing mobile search experience.
Use Real Life Images
Everyone can tell when you are using stock images that’s for sure. Gather some nice pictures of your restaurant and use them instead. This is usually one of the areas that many people avoid when it comes to optimizing your restaurant SEO. Try to think just like a customer and try the following with your images:
- Post only higher quality, clear images.
- Include additional pictures for when it is busy or there may be a specific occasion at the restaurant.
We’ve briefly touched on brand awareness. Brand awareness is something you will want to gain traction on and learn more about. Brand awareness is what your customers think about you as a business when they first hear your name. Create a great customer experience and let them know you are available should they have any issues or concerns to discuss about the types of services they offer
Increasing Your Restaurant’s SEO Efforts
Trying to increase your online visibility and brand awareness can be a challenging task if you try to tackle it on your own. Speaking with an SEO Specialist professional can help provide you with a more in-depth picture about the types of services they can offer you. While you’ve gotten a little inside look into what all is involved in restaurant SEO.
An SEO professional can help you develop an SEO strategy or plan on what it will take to take your website to the top. Increasing your traffic by gaining a higher ranking in the search engine results is one thing that will help to not only increase your online visibility but in turn increase your revenue by helping you to attract new customers.
SEO for restaurants can be somewhat cumbersome. Working on methods to increase your overall brand awareness, can all lead to success when it comes to your restaurant. But while we know this is what a solid SEO plan will lead to, the question remains, how do you achieve this? This all starts with the development of a solid SEO strategy/ plan, and implementation of this plan. Through using various methods such as content creation, keyword research, proper keyword placement, social media management, customer engagement, brand awareness and more, you can work towards your SEO goals.
Developing and implementing an SEO strategy is only the first step. Google’s algorithm that websites follow in terms of SEO rules and regulations is constantly changing. This means that to keep up to date with and not in violation of the rules, you must also be constantly changing how what your SEO strategy and plan is. You can ensure your site is within the guidelines by first conducting an SEO audit from time to time and addressing any issues the audit may find. From here monthly or even weekly maintenance may need to occur to ensure you are always up to date with everything. While this might seem a bit overwhelming or demanding, honestly, it’s not. This is also where an SEO professional or specialist will come in handy. They can develop as part of your initial SEO strategy a maintenance schedule and plan to ensure you are always within the proper regulations and following all the rules that the search engine market puts out.