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10 SEO Tips For Boosting Your Restaurant's Online Presence

Restaurant SEO

Improving visibility at the local level is essential for boosting your restaurant's online presence and maximizing profits. There are endless opportunities to drive traffic through paid ads, partnerships, and sponsorships, but rising to the top of Google search results organically by leveraging SEO is one of the most cost-effective strategies.

To get orders flowing out the door, you need to be easily found online. And once found, there’s a short window of opportunity to win customers over with a great website experience that translates into sales.

We’ve put together 10 tips for upping your SEO game to help boost visibility, drive traffic, and convert visitors into paying customers.

Restaurant SEO Tips

1. Define Your SEO Strategy

Defining your SEO strategy will help narrow competition and drive quality traffic to your website.

Start by defining the geographic area you want to own, keeping in mind that a majority of your customers will either live or work nearby.

Next, research keywords and phrases your audience uses through a trusted keyword research tool like SEMrush. The foundation of search engine optimization for creating sustainable visibility, keyword research is at the heart of any effective SEO strategy.

For restaurants, keyword research finds words, queries, and phrases with high search volume that allows customers to find what they're hungry for.

Boosting Restaurant Online Presence

2. Stand Out in Local Searches

To stand out in local searches, start by claiming, standardizing data, and optimizing listings for your restaurant across all of the major and relevant local search properties. This should include a mix of search engine directories, social media sites, and industry-specific directory sites. Put your focus on the directories that matter most like Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and CitySearch.

Accurate NAP (name, address, phone) data that is consistent across all data sources is a critical foundational element of local SEO, after which you can work on optimizing the fields of information like the business description and categories to align with your focus terms identified in your keyword research.

Restaurant Mobile Searches

3. Think Mobile First

Accounting for a major percentage of visits to restaurant websites, Google focuses on the mobile version of a website for understanding its content. For this reason, it’s important to have a responsive website that passes the necessary mobile-friendly tests. It’s also critical to think about page load speed, proper rendering, and providing a great mobile user experience.

Restaurant Social Media

4. Engage on Social Media

Social media can be a powerful touchpoint of the customer journey, showcasing what customers can expect to experience at your restaurant. A strong social presence generally correlates with a strong organic search presence as content, engagement, and popularity align with the important SEO pillars of authority and relevance.

For restaurants, it's important to stay engaged with your followers and reply to inquiries promptly because how you communicate online sets a perception of your overall customer service. By engaging with fans and promoting content on social media that funnels visitors to your website, you will likely see an increase in visits from social networks.

If keeping on top of social media is too overwhelming, consider hiring a social media manager or enlist one of your staff members. Most Gen Zers are already intune with the ins and outs of social media, so you shouldn’t have to search far. In fact, you probably already have a social media expert (or several) on staff.

Restaurant SEO

5. Manage Reviews

Reviews provide invaluable feedback, offering insight into areas of your business that can be improved. Considered part of a social media strategy, reviews have a major impact on traffic to your site through search results.

A higher star rating likely means a higher click-through rate to your site, which translates to more foot traffic. Negative reviews, though frustrating, can help give you a behind-the–scenes reality check. Obtaining valuable feedback is one of the good things that can come out of a bad review, but to stay on top of them, it’s important to understand that you have a brief opportunity in time to respond before the damage can become permanent. This is why regular monitoring and managing of your restaurant’s review sites is crucial.

Restaurant SEO Tips

6. Create Unique Content

To stand out from the competition, having a library of unique, engaging, and helpful content on your website will help you build a strong brand. This translates to better rankings, higher brand recall, and greater brand affinity. It's important to note that not all content has to be copy. You can present your menus, specials, and in-house promotions with video, photography, and graphics.

Search engines are focused on context, not just keywords. By generating new content on a consistent basis, you can keep the pipeline full of engaging material that helps you stand out from your competition. Share information about the chef, how you've developed recipes, or the compelling reason your pizza is the best in town.

Content Localization

7. Consider Content Localization

Based on decisions you’ve made about your geographic location, you should be able to provide enough cues and context to users and the search engines as to where your restaurant is and what area it serves.

Sometimes the search engines and people new to the area won’t fully understand the lingo or the unofficial names of neighborhoods and areas that locals know. Help out-of-towners and newbies by providing content that doesn't assume that everyone knows the area. If you’re located in the center of town and locals know the area as “center city,” for example, let search engines find you by mentioning location cues like “near City Hall” or “at the intersection of Main Street and Route 66.”

8. Apply On-Page SEO Best Practices

It’s important not to overlook or ignore the best practices of on-page SEO. You need indexing to ensure the search engines know you exist and on-page to ensure the proper classification of your content.

To ensure your site is indexed properly, check your robots.txt and XML sitemap and set up Google Search Console to look for errors. When it comes to on-page, ensure that you have unique and keyword-specific page URLs, title tags, meta description tags, headings, page copy, and image alt attributes.

Schema “Restaurants” Markup

9. Implement Schema “Restaurants” Markup

Another area to build context for the search engines and gain exposure to more users in the search results is by using structured data.

In the restaurant industry, implementing the library for restaurants is a must.

This task requires a developer, website platform, or content management system with the right plugins or built-in options.

10. Measure Your Efforts

Before you embark on any aspect of search engine optimization, make sure your efforts are measurable. When investing in a strategy, you'll want to know what aspects are working, which ones aren’t, and where your efforts are producing the best ROI.

Make sure you’re identifying the right progress metrics tied to goals so you know whether or not you’re moving in the right direction.

By Eileen Strauss


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