When the Internet did not exist, restaurateurs heavily relied on word of mouth, print-media ads and walk-in traffic to make their restaurant or café run. But then came social media, smartphones and of course Google. Yes, Google is important. It accounts for more than 65% of search engine market share for restaurants. Given the high competition in this business, you need a SEO strategy for restaurants that ranks you on the top.
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1. Use descriptive titles
Titles are important. Perhaps the most important part of your SEO strategy. Google uses the descriptive titles, which should be short and crisp, to display in the search results. It’s a good practice to include your location (this becomes even more important if you’re a franchise) and details of your restaurant (like cuisine, type). The title should be relevant to the content on the page.
You must create unique content for your website to draw customers. Think of new ways to present your menu and use graphics that help customers recall the uniqueness of your brand. It doesn’t matter if you have a single location, multi-location or a nation-wise presence. If you create a wealth of unique content, search engines will favor you.
2. Create SEO-friendly meta description
Meta descriptions are critical for getting top search engine results. These are small sentences or text that is provided beneath the title. The meta description should resonate well with the content of the page. Imagine if a user comes to your website reading the meta description and the content on the page reads something entirely different. It’s a good practice to include popular search terms in your meta description. For example, if you’re a Mexican restaurant in Sacramento, you might like to consider similar key phrases. Google rates pages that read well higher than the ones overstuffed with keywords. The content should not only read well but also try to convert the readers into potential leads. You will make a grave mistake if you publish content just to rank high on search engines.
Since restaurants deal with something that has a mass appeal, there’s a huge scope for writing appealing and engaging content. Share information about your dishes, cuisine and story behind your restaurant / décor. These are the sort of things that make customers feel connected to the brand.
3. Readers love to see images and videos
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There’s a lot of scope for restaurateurs to use tantalizing images of their food and videos of their restaurant/ kitchen. Ensure that the images are high resolution and aesthetically and professionally shot. It will also be a good idea to change your images regularly as Google loves fresh content.
4. Post blogs regularly
Weekly blogs work just fine. You can share something about your cuisine, décor or new events, staff or stories about your customers or brand. You must ensure that the content you write is original, engaging, relevant and useful. Blogs are an excellent way to drive traffic to your website (provided you promote them on your social media platforms). You can post inbound links in your blogs directly and make people visit to specific pages on your website.
5. Build your brand
Google wants to show the best content to users. It searches for websites that have something substantial for customers and stands out as a strong brand. Most of all your website should come across as a trustworthy brand and not a business and rankings hungry website. Branding of the restaurant will matter more than anything in Google algorithm.
6. Local SEO is critical for your restaurant
The most important SEO for restaurants is Local SEO. You must ensure, under all circumstances, that your website is optimized for local SEO. Search engines should be able to direct a person to your address. People searching for an eatery nearby should be easily able to locate your physical location.
7. Register with relevant Restaurant Directories
You need to sign up with relevant and popular restaurant directories like Yellow Pages, Urbanspoon, Yelp and Foursquare with correct address and description of your restaurant. It helps people locate your eatery easily must increases your chances of Google listing your address correctly.
8. Google+ for Restaurants and Google Places
Google Places was specifically meant to benefit local businesses. It is based on the premise that most of the people search for a place from their smartphones and smart devices when somewhere near the place. You need to register your restaurant with Google Places (the registration process is as easy as creating an email id).
Reviews and ratings are also extremely important for your business growth. There are several people who will read your online review and then take a call if it’s worth visiting you or not. These reviews show up in the search results. Google + is important for your reviews. With the use of structured data markup, you can have your ratings appear in the search results. It might be a good idea to come up with a review strategy to increase your ratings and get positive reviews for your restaurant before they start showing up in the search results.
9. Don’t ignore Mobile
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Mobile and tablets are responsible for a majority of your online traffic. Search engines, as well, favor website that can provide their users a mobile-first experience. The mobile-first index ranks mobile-friendly websites higher than the others. Your website should be responsive, there is no choice there. Of course, you need to consider aspects like page load speed, awesome mobile experience and appropriate rendering.
10. Interact with customers on social media
For restaurants, engaging with customers on social media channels can drive traffic. It is a powerful touch-point to communicate with your existing customers and potential customers. You must ensure that you interact with your followers and give a response to their queries promptly. You also should manage negative reviews smartly. It’s one of the most important ways to create a perception of your overall customer service, food and your overall brand.
It will be useful if you can find relevant influencers (popular food bloggers and critics) and follow them and have review or write about your restaurant.
There is no doubt that people need to find you online. Even if they find you, give them a great website experience and convert them or try to drive them to your location. If done the right way, the above tips can help your brand to drive traffic to your website and walk-ins to your restaurant in hordes. The rest of the customer experience and popularity rests on you, your staff and your food then.
In case you need help to promote your restaurant on search engine and need a complete Digital Marketing strategy for your restaurant, speak to one of our experts and grow your business multi-fold.