Restaurant SEO: How To Get Tons of Customers Through Google

Marketing 20 minute read 5th December 2023

Restaurant SEO is something that all marketers swear by. If you want to know why, think about the first thing you do when dining out or ordering in.

You probably pick up a device, go to Google, and search for restaurants near you. Once you get a list, you start looking at reviews. Or you look at menu items or prices before reviews. But the bottom line is that you search for the restaurant on Google.

Now, your customers are doing the same thing. If your restaurant doesn’t appear in their search results, you’re leaving money on the table. But if you’ve invested in proper SEO, you’ll rank higher and attract more customers. So, if you want to learn the right steps for search engine optimization, this is the perfect place to start.

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What Is SEO Marketing for Restaurants?

If you want to rank higher on Google, the first step is to understand how search engines work. After all, how will you apply the concepts if you’re not familiar with the basics?

So, when a person searches for something, the search engine crawls millions of web pages. It uses algorithms to find and rank pages most relevant to the search term and the searcher’s intent.

Now, because we are talking about SEO marketing for restaurants, the first few results will probably be local search results. These will include the restaurants that are the closest to the searcher. This is because the intent of a person searching for restaurants is probably to go eat there.

But how would a search engine know whether or not your website matches what the user is searching for? That’s where SEO comes in.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the act of making it easier for search engines to rank your restaurant in search results.

While some businesses pay search engines to display ads, the main goal here is to increase organic traffic. To do that, you must pay attention to three aspects:

  • on-page SEO
  • off-page SEO
  • technical SEO

When you make the content on your web page easily recognizable by search engines, that’s on-page SEO. It includes keywords, images, alt text, meta descriptions, etc.

Off-page SEO is more about building authority. The most important parts of this type of SEO are building domain authority and backlinks.

Lastly, technical SEO is when you make efforts to improve the performance, such as the speed of your website.

However, when it comes to restaurants, local SEO and displaying on Google Maps play a crucial role. Let’s find out more.

The Crucial Role of Local SEO for Restaurants

Now that you know what SEO is, let’s understand the importance of local SEO for restaurants. There’s a common misconception that it is useless to invest in search engine optimization for restaurants. People think if you offer good food and an enjoyable ambiance, you should be able to attract customers without it.

But this can’t be farther from the truth. Potential customers are searching for you on their phones and devices, so that’s where you should be, too. Local SEO for restaurants is the way to go.

Firstly, it helps you appear in local search results that tell searchers you’re one of the closest and best restaurants.

Plus, these search results appear separately from other organic results. Appearing in that special corner also builds trust for your restaurant, which, in return, gives you new customers.

Secondly, it’s a less expensive method of advertising your restaurant. Of course, you have to pay for a domain and make other small investments. But even making a website isn’t that expensive, thanks to the various website builders available.

Thirdly, posting informative and knowledgeable content about your brand and industry portrays you as the thought leader.

Moreover, it’s the perfect way to spread awareness about your restaurant. Create content about your unique selling points and make yourself recognizable.

Lastly, keeping your information updated is a huge part of local SEO. When you do this, people have no trouble finding what they need. This sparks customer loyalty and improves their experience.

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How To Create an SEO Strategy for Restaurants?

Surveys show that 77% of people go through a restaurant’s website before visiting it. Now, these people don’t necessarily search for the restaurant by name.

If they initiate a search and your restaurant’s website doesn’t appear despite being near, they won’t know you exist. For that, you must invest time, effort, and a little bit of money in optimizing your website for search engines.

Of course, this would seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. But don’t worry; the following sections will help you create an SEO strategy for restaurants.

1. Set Goals and Research Your Competitors

The first step to appearing in search results is to set SEO goals. You can’t take the right steps without knowing what you want to achieve.

Plus, you won’t know whether or not your efforts are reaping any results. So, do you want SEO to bring you more customers, increase your online visibility, or establish thought leadership? Answering this question will help you make decisions that will take you to your desired results.

However, you might be starving to achieve multiple things from your SEO strategy. Sometimes, they’re related, and sometimes they’re not.

For example, if you want to attract more customers, that will indirectly increase your revenue. But it won’t necessarily portray you as the thought leader. For that, you’ll have to change your content strategy.

So, keep that in mind before noting down all your goals. Once you have that, start researching your competitors and see how they’re ranking on Google. But remember, your SEO strategy won’t be the same as theirs. So don’t copy the keywords they’re ranking for and call it a day.

Instead, look at the content they’re posting and analyze the position they hold among their customers. This will help you pinpoint things that you can do differently and set yourself apart.

Some things you should be on the lookout for are backlink strategy, user experience, audience segments, and online reviews. Moreover, create an audit report for each competitor so you have everything at your disposal when creating your strategy.

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2. Set Up Your Restaurant Business Profiles

The next step is setting up your business profiles. That’s because you can’t appear in local search results without a Google My Business profile. After all, if you don’t publicize your address, how will your restaurant show up on Google Maps?

Plus, having listings on restaurant review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor helps people voice their opinions about your business. When people see positive reviews on these websites, it encourages them to become your customers.

You don’t even have to get a subscription to create a Google Business Profile. All you have to do is:

  1. Sign in or create a Google Account with your business email.
  2. Create a profile and enter your business name.
  3. If someone has already verified it, you can request its ownership.
  4. Specify your business category, then indicate if you have a physical location for customers.
  5. Provide the address or service area.
  6. Add your phone number and website URL, then click “Finish.”
  7. Choose if you want to verify now or later.
  8. If you don’t hold the authority, remember to involve an authorized person in your organization.

To rank high on Google Maps, it is essential that you get positive reviews. Also, make sure to add complete and updated information. Another important aspect is to manage your reputation on all review sites. While this might be time-consuming, it is essential. However, some WiFi marketing solutions help you manage everything from one dashboard, making it easy.

3. Conduct Keyword Research and Start Creating Content

Once you have your profiles in place, it’s time to start looking for keywords that can help you rank higher.

Remember, Google considers the users’ search intent when ranking web pages. So, your keyword list should include various types of keywords. Sometimes, users know what they want and directly search for menus offering those items.

But this isn’t always the case. Some people search for restaurants near them without knowing what they want. This category decides when browsing.

For the first category, you must include niche keywords in your content. These are more specific and can give the user exactly what they’re craving, for example, “pizza near me.”

You can also include branded keywords here. These are words related to your particular restaurant for people who are already your customers.

For the second category, you need broad keywords. These are queries like “places to eat in California” or “restaurants in Denver.” See how they don’t include the type of restaurant? These will help bring the customer closer to the specifics.

Once you have your keyword list, start creating content that utilizes them. But remember, SEO isn’t just about cramming keywords.

You must research what topics your target audience is looking for and then create content around them. Some good examples would be recipes, menu guides, health guides, etc.

Moreover, if you have a unique selling point like farm-to-table food, spread awareness through your blog section. Let people know what efforts you’re making and accompany your content with good images.

Images are a great way to keep your readers engaged, and the alt text helps Google determine your page’s relevancy.

Lastly, link other authoritative websites to your articles when relevant. When they return this favor, you’ll build backlinks that will increase your domain authority.

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4. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Now that we’ve talked about research and content let’s jump onto off-page restaurant SEO tips. As mentioned earlier, it’s not just cramming relevant keywords. There are various other factors that come into play when Google decides where to rank your website.

One of those factors is user experience. Let’s understand it with an example. You’ve built the perfect website with all the necessary pages. You’ve also populated it with informative and enjoyable content with appetizing pictures of your menu.

But when users view it on their mobile devices, the screen cuts the content off. They have to keep navigating their screen from left to right, zooming in and out. Not only will this frustrate them and make them leave your website, but it will also waste all your efforts.

This is because your bounce rate will be high. It is the percentage of visitors that leave your website after viewing it for a little while. Google ranks websites that users enjoy and spend some time on.

Therefore, you must optimize your website for mobile devices. Plus, fix broken backlinks, make your website load faster, and delete duplicate content for technical SEO.

5. Manage Your Restaurant’s Online Reputation

The last step is to take your online presence to the next level with reputation management. This is important because the better you manage your reputation, the better reviews you have. In return, these reviews will help you rank higher since Google reviews and SEO work together to provide useful results.

While reputation management plays a vital role, some people don’t take it seriously. They’re of the view that businesses can’t control people’s opinions about them, so why bother?

Of course, you can’t force people to leave only positive reviews. But you can take steps to portray your reputation as positive. Here’s how.

First and foremost, you must reply to all reviews; it doesn’t matter if they’re positive or negative. This shows that you care about people’s opinions and want to engage with your customers.

According to a survey, seven out of ten people said their opinion about businesses changed after reading review responses. For positive reviews, you must show gratitude and thank them for their encouraging words.

On the other hand, apologize and offer feasible solutions when people leave negative reviews. This will not only make the reviewer loyal, but it will also be good for the onlookers.

Secondly, you must focus on getting more positive reviews by providing excellent service. Make it easy for your customers to leave their opinions, and when they do, listen to them. Treat negative feedback as learning opportunities and make your service better.

Lastly, detect and report fake reviews so they don’t misguide your customers. You must also stay away from activities like buying positive reviews or paying review sites to remove negative ones.

Use Restaurant SEO To Reach Your Goals

Restaurant SEO is one of the best ways to appear higher in search results without spending a lot of money. Besides, it’s not that hard if you know what steps to follow.

For the most part, you’ll have to create interesting content and provide accurate information about your business. It is also crucial for you to get a lot of reviews on your Google MyBusiness profile.

If you want to automate getting reviews, try out Beambox WiFi marketing. It’s a platform that allows you to get reviews on autopilot and grow your rating online. Over 12,000 small and medium businesses are using Beambox to scale their online visibility. Do you want to try it for free? Start your trial today!

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