Mastering SEO for Restauranteurs

Contributed by: Amanda Barnes, Marketing Campaign Manager at Compeat

Did you know that 81% of consumers have searched for a restaurant on a mobile device? And 75% say they often choose a restaurant to dine at based on those search results. That means if your restaurant is not coming up in consumers’ searches, you are losing out on new business.

Do not leave it to chance that search engines will automatically list your website when a search is conducted.

Do not leave it to chance that search engines will automatically list your website when a search is conducted. 92% of consumers will pick a business on the first page of local search results and 60% of users click on one of the top three search results; which means it is extremely important that your restaurant’s website comes up on top when consumers conduct a search.

How? By increasing your Search Engine Optimization or SEO.  And great news – it’s free to do!  All major search engines rank listings based on its relevance to users. These search engine companies want to keep their users by providing the best search results possible. In order to do that, they scan websites for certain key words and topics, rewarding the sites with the clearest messaging with the highest rankings.

The whole idea of SEO and how to compete in this website competition can feel pretty intimidating. But don’t worry, as a devout SEO enthusiast, I have conducted a vast amount of research on this topic and have spent years helping businesses successfully increase their SEO.  Below are the Top 8 tips that I have learned to get an immediate boost in your SEO ranking.

  1. Use localized keywords in the content on your website pages. For example, by specifying “Asian restaurant in Austin,” “Chinese food Austin,” or “Chinese food delivery Austin,” you will face less competition compared to only using the key words “restaurants in Austin.” You can check out what keyword opportunities are common by looking at what google autocompletes in the search bar for your area. You can also get idea’s and volume estimates through Google’s free tool Keyword Planner.
  2. Claim and boost local listings. This will be the bread and butter of your business. You MUST have local listings. Moz listings tool can show you what is available to claim and optimize.
  3. Make sure all your listings are consistent. Do not assume that you can update the data on your website and be done. Your contact information gets added to many online directories without your assistance so going in, learning about, claiming, enhancing, and perfecting them will be vital to ensuring consistency. You need to check that all your listings have correct information as far as name, address, phone, email, food type, and hours of operation are concerned for all your locations. Remember, the search engines are trying to build loyalty to their brand. If they keep providing bad contact information to consumers, those consumers will stop using them; and the engine may stop listing you to avoid this.
  4. Solicit Reviews. Good reviews will help your business thrive. Search engines like Google love crowdsourced information because it shows an unbiased opinion. Be sure to check your reviews often and respond to any bad reviews by trying to positively resolve the situation.
  5. Create a share-worthy experience to drive social engagement.  Social engagement creates inbound links, brand mentions, and repeat readers, which are important SEO signals. The more people interact with your site, content, and business, the better you will rank.
  6. Make sure your restaurant is fast and mobile friendly. If it isn’t your site has no chance of landing in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Make sure your restaurant contains page title tags, meta’s, images etc. You can review your site with the tool “screaming frog” that will help show you what you still need to do. There are also a variety of plugins for common CMS platforms like Yoast that can tell you what you need to do to optimize your site.
  7. Optimize your URL structure. You want to make sure your important keywords are in your URL. Be mindful that you can’t choose every word, so pick the best and keep it simple. Our customer, Culinary Dropout, does a great job of this! Look at these examples:

Optimizing your site’s subfolders and URL structure will go a long way at helping improve your business placement in search results.

  1. Have a subscribe for deals box to increase your email base. Offer to email receipts to get more email addresses for marketing purposes. Regular emails will help your website traffic and keep you top of mind.

Remember that there are tons of factors related to how SEO rankings are calculated.  I recommend starting with these easy tips to get a quick boost in your rankings. Once you are ready for a deep dive into SEO best practices, I highly recommend you take advantage of the tons of resources that available to help you. The Complete SEO Guide for Restaurants as a free resource with great tips and tricks.  Also, The Art of SEO, which can be purchased on Amazon, is the most comprehensive guide that I have ever read on this subject if you are ready to really hone in on your SEO skills.

Read Also:

Designing the “PERFECT” Online Menu

The Top 5 Inventory Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Calculating Food Costs: How to Nail Down this Ops Cost Enigma