Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the strategy of following best practices to ensure that search engines display your website in the search results for a certain term. For example, if someone in the same city as your Mexican restaurant searches for “Mexican restaurant near me,” you would want your restaurant's information to show up.
Following SEO best practices doesn’t guarantee that a restaurant will show up in search results, but it will give you a head start and show your credibility to search engines (and to search engine users). There are a few areas of “restaurant SEO” that owners need to be aware of if they want to remain competitive for placement consideration in customers’ search results.
Local SEO, according to Yoast, is the act of using SEO best practices targeted toward growing a geographically local audience.
Some of the best practices within local SEO are:
Including your city name in your page titles and within page content
Adding other geographically specific information to your home and About pages, such as saying, “We deliver within the Kansas City metro area,” or, “We are located in the Legends Shopping Center, south of 435-N”
Don’t go overboard with these phrases, as it can sound unnatural. Instead, fit them into the text once on the page, where it makes the most sense.
Voice search is extremely useful to restaurants when it comes to finding business. Bing Places, mentioned above, is important for regular Bing.com search engine users, but it is important to note that Bing search results are also used by Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant technology. This means that if someone is using their Alexa-enabled device to search for a restaurant near them, Alexa will use Bing search results to provide the information.
Voice search is still a relatively new and developing way that people are searching for businesses, so make sure you stay on top of best practices in order to stay relevant.
Apple Maps is another important place to add your business information. According to Local Marketing Institute, 75 percent of iPhone users use Apple’s default maps app (i.e., Apple Maps) to find businesses instead of Google Maps. This is why it’s important to add your restaurant’s information to Maps Connect, which is similar to adding it to Google My Business.
Helping Customers Learn More About You
Local SEO focuses on geographic phrases about your restaurant in order to help search visibility, but other SEO-driven content and best practices on your website are important, too. Here are some areas to review on your site:
Make sure all pages have optimized meta titles and descriptions
Confirm that website content is clear, concise, and contains crucial information, such as sales specials, dietary offerings, menu listings, and delivery ordering process (if applicable)
Add a sitemap that lists all of the pages on your site (if you use WordPress or a similar platform for your website, there are plugins that can do this automatically)
Keep site information current
Making sure people know how to contact you is important as well. Make sure your website’s footer, contact page, and other pages always have the correct phone number, hours of operation, email address, and location.
Your Google My Business and other search listings should be updated as often as needed. This ensures that customers are able to contact you and find your restaurant online. Having the correct contact information on all sites where your business is mentioned is crucial: if a customer is having trouble finding you, they may give up and go to another establishment instead. Do you need help claiming a business listing on the web? Schedule an appointment with a Menufy marketing specialist, email us at email@example.com, or call us at (913) 738-9399
Reviews are also important to your overall online presence. While they don’t necessarily affect your website’s placement in search results, customer reviews are trusted by a majority of the population when it comes to making a decision about where to eat. As a result, it’s crucial for restaurants to always monitor reviews and remind patrons to leave reviews.
Some of the most common review websites to monitor and create an official review profile are:
Facebook (as part of the Facebook page)
Google (as part of Google My Business)
OpenTable (if this is where you accept online reservations)
All of these sites offer free business listings except for OpenTable.
Don’t offer bribes for positive reviews; simply mention that you’d appreciate it at the end of a meal or on the patron’s ticket. A mixture of reviews is more realistic and gives people a more accurate view of a restaurant. Need more tips? Learn how to increase online reviews for restaurants.
Having a basic grasp of restaurant SEO basics can give you an advantage over other area restaurants. Follow best practices and make sure the website and other online platforms (like local listings, review sites, and social media) have the most up-to-date information. This ensures potential customers in your area can find your restaurant online whenever they decide to dine in or order delivery.