Do not underestimate the importance of SEO for restaurants. Investing in SEO is a major “must-do” for businesses today. Especially restaurants. You want your listing to be among the first when hungry customers seek to find a restaurant when they google “restaurants near me.”
Define Your Content and SEO Strategy
As the saying goes, “Content is king.” And search engine optimization is the queen that, when used to its fullest potential, dominates the competition.
The first thing you need to do is to define your geographic area. The majority of your customers will likely come from this area because most customers search for local restaurants. You want to make sure you use a few distinct keyword phrases that will help you group and classify properly.
Use high-level restaurant words and phrases like the generic “restaurants” and location like “Chicago”. Then use Google Keyword Planner or third-party keyword tool that will allow you to set a geographic focus to generate variations of those generic words.
Because customers search for restaurants “near me” or “nearby”, use words specific to your niche or category your restaurant falls into. Think about long tail keywords like “romantic restaurants”, “best Thai fusion restaurant” and so forth.
Using branded terms can also aid you in ranking higher in searches. However, it’s important to pay attention to the numbers and know how many people are searching for your restaurant by name. Compare how many people are searching for your restaurant by name to those who search for and find your restaurant via niche terms. This will help you to narrow down which keywords work best for your restaurant’s SEO strategy.
Take Command of Local Search
Visit relevant search properties and directories and claim your restaurant. Make sure your restaurant’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) are entered properly so that customers will be able to find you when they search these directories.
The directories and restaurant rating sites you need to focus your restaurant SEO on include the following:
- Google My Business
- Yellow Pages
Use On-Page SEO Best Practices
Regardless of the size of your restaurant, you cannot afford to neglect on-page SEO best practices. Proper indexing ensures that the search engines know you exist, and on-page SEO helps search engines classify your content.
Search Engine Journal suggests starting with the following best practices:
Indexing – Check your robts.txt and XML sitemap and set up Google Search Console to crawl for errors.
On-page SEO – make sure you web content includes keyword specific page URL, title tags, meta description tags, headings, on-page copy, and image-alt attributes. It may look like a lot to do, but it’s actually quite simple.
Most searches come from mobile browsers and most restaurant visits can be attributed to a high percentage of people viewing restaurant websites on their mobile phones. Also, Google and other search engines now use mobile-first indexing. That means mobile-friendly websites will usually show up in google searches first. Your restaurant’s website needs to be responsive. Otherwise, you can miss out on so much business!
Engage with Customers on Social Media
Having a solid social media strategy is part of creating a great customer experience. Having a strong social presence gives your business a strong organic search presence, making you more relevant and your content an authority in your industry.
Encourage Customer Testimonials and Reviews
One way to engage with your customers via social media is strongly encouraging reviews and testimonials. Consumers click on higher star ratings, so you want to create a strategy to get as many reviews as possible. Most restaurants are on Google Reviews, so you want to make sure that your business isn’t just a Google Review Restaurant, but make sure you’re encouraging your customers to review your restaurant.
Develop Unique Web Content
Again, content is king. If you want to set yourself apart from your competition in the best way, you’ll need to have unique content on your website. Types of content that can help your website and subsequently, your restaurant, stand out is having regular content that customers will value:
- Blog articles that are informative and engaging
Localize Your Content
Oftentimes, visitors from out of town as well as search engines don’t know unofficial names or nicknames of neighborhoods and various areas throughout the city. Creating content that ties into the community provides added value to your customers.
Use Structured Data
For restaurants to reach more users, they need to implement structured data through Schema.org markup. What is schema markup? Schema is microdata or tags that you can add to your HTML to improve how search engines read and represent your page in SERPs.
If you don’t have the time to implement best SEO practices to boost your restaurant’s SEO, you need to consider hiring an SEO company. Hiring an SEO agency who specializes in local SEO for restaurants can be the catalyst to propel your restaurant ahead of the competition.