In decades past new restaurants invested their marketing dollars in commercials, signs, the newspaper and for the most part–word of mouth. But the game has changed. To gain exposure to a new, younger generation of customers you need to have a strong online presence.
People are always using Google to find the next best restaurant, and you definitely want to be one of the first restaurants they see.
You can have the best tasting menu on the planet, but they need to find you, otherwise you’ll have to rely on traditional, more costly forms of advertising to get known. In comes the BUZZ term SEO. We’ve been asked countless times about restaurant SEO and how it applies in real life and not just as fluff internet term.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is actually combination of many things and can truly be a restaurant’s ultimate solution if approached practically. SEO is sustainable and gives your brand a much further reach. Effective restaurant SEO takes time and consistency, but here are five actionable SEO tips for restaurants to steer you in the right direction today.
Even if you already have a website for your restaurant, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s at least one problem with your NAP data. NAP represents your business name, address and phone number.
The biggest problem restaurants face with their NAP is inconsistency. In order for your restaurant to reach its full SEO potential and climb Google’s rankings, a restaurant needs to provide consistent NAP data throughout their website, local business pages and on social media pages. In addition to this information, it’s also important to make sure you include your hours of operation.
A good tip: Place all of the information listed above in the footer of your website, so that it’s visible to visitors on all pages. Search engine crawlers rely on a local business’s NAP data, so having consistent NAP data throughout your online strategy is imperative for getting positive search engine results. And as you’ll find out below, NAP is used by other important SEO elements.
Schema markups sounds complex, but in reality Schema is a simple piece of code used that utilizes your restaurant’s information. NAP data, hours of operation, type of payments accepted and similar data are pulled by Schema and given to the search engine crawlers in their own coded language.
Schema can be used on any search engine. It can make your website look cleaner in the search engine results and it’s an imperative SEO element for brands who place an emphasis on local clients.
Use Your Google+ Map
As a local restaurant need to setup a verified Google+ page for the company. You also want to fill out your Google+ information completely.
One reason you want a Google+ page is because you want to take the code from that map and place it on your contact page. Another reason to setup and optimize a Google+ business page is because Google is inherently biased towards Google+, and it’s easy to sync that information onto other platforms and into your own site, all of which helps Google understand your restaurant and in the information therein a little better.
Doing this is straightforward. Go to your Google+ page and find the gear icon at the bottom. Click it and then click on “share and embed map.” Take the code over to your contact page and embed it. Doing this also takes your company name and shows it on the map, as opposed to just showing your basic contact information. This extra information has the ability to improve user experience. And Google loves websites that give their visitors a good user experience.
Your menu is your lifeblood. It’s primarily what keeps happy customer’s coming back again and again. But having a menu is also incredibly important in the digital world. People looking at your website online won’t fully understand your product if they can’t see and read it.
Creating a menu is also relatively straightforward, but it’s also time consuming. You can use only text, only images or a combination of both. The reason most restaurants use text and shy away from images is because search engine crawlers only understand text, and look at all images in a different way they technically cannot understand. Typically you want a healthy combination of text and images, but you can also offer visitors a downloadable .PDF file on your website if your set on one or the other.
Aside from placing a menu of awesome food on your website, you also want to throw it on menu sites. Doing this not only allows strangers from across the world to salivate at your food, but it also builds backlinks to your website. And backlinks are a very important SEO element for any restaurant looking to up their online presence.
Nearly everyone considering making an online purchase will look for reviews. Restaurant reviews help the customer and have the potential to increase search engine ranking (assuming the reviews are mostly good.)
So it’s a good idea to dedicate an area of your restaurant’s website to displaying positive reviews. You can use an entire page, put the reviews in the sidebar or place it somewhere on your home page. Keep in mind that it’s best to use honest, real reviews from sites like Yelp, from menu sites, or from local Google listings. But you can’t just copy and paste the reviews onto your site since Google will see this as duplicate content, which could land you a minor penalty.
Instead it’s best to use images or videos to show off your real reviews. You can take screenshots of the reviews or just convert the reviews into an image format using an image editor. If you prefer video, then ask a friend or a long-time customer to give an honest video review about your restaurant’s food, atmosphere and customer service, and then repay them with a gift card. Everyone wins!
So there it is! We just dished out a five course meal on how to improve your restaurants SEO. We know you’re probably stuffed by now, but if you have questions, need assistance with these tips or just want to learn more about improving your restaurants SEO, feel free to contact us today for more information.