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Rising in the Ranks: Optimizing Your Restaurant’s Google Listing

For restaurants to thrive in today’s highly competitive digital space, a strong online presence is essential. Among various marketing avenues, maximizing your Google listing is one strategy that can substantially boost your restaurant's visibility,  attract more customers, and help you rise in the rankings. To help your business to flourish in 2024, we’ve put together this guide for improving your Google listing.

Significance of a Well-Optimized Google Listing 

A well-optimized Google listing can have a significant impact on boosting customer engagement, enhancing discoverability, and increasing organic traffic.

To get started, a keen understanding of the importance of Google listings for restaurants is crucial. A Google listing presents critical information about your restaurant, including operating hours,  location, contact information,  and customer reviews, serving as a quick reference for prospective customers to find your restaurant in an online search. In today's fast-paced digital landscape, ease of access is a key component for attracting customers and boosting business.

12 Tips for Optimizing Your Google Listing

1. Claim, Review And Verify  

The first step in optimizing your Google listing is to claim, review,  and verify your Google My Business (GMB) listing. This authenticates your business and allows you to control the information displayed in your listing. Twice as likely to be deemed reputable by users, verifying your listing starts by requesting a postcard from Google. Once received, you will be able to officially claim your listing.

2. Provide Comprehensive and Precise Information

Once verified, it's important to ascertain whether all of the  information on your GMB listing, including your restaurant’s name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and category is both comprehensive and precise. The precision of this information is a crucial factor in being ranked in local search rankings, as it allows customers to easily and effortlessly find your restaurant, make reservations, and order from your website. 

3. Provide an Accurate, Appropriate Restaurant Description

Including a 750-character restaurant description is another way of revealing your key assets and core offerings to diners. Be aware that Google’s bots will penalize offensive, gimmicky, or misleading data, so keep your GMB description accurate, appropriate, and straightforward. Be sure to include  relevant keywords in the description to supercharge your metrics.

4. Earn, Encourage, and Tend to All Reviews

One of the best ways to  impress Google bots and earn a top spot on local listings is to earn positive recommendations from diners on your GMB profile. Not only will these reviews  sway Google, but they will also attract undecided diners seeking new  dining experiences.   

Online customer reviews are an integral component in building a restaurant’s trust and credibility. Encouraging your customers to leave reviews on your Google listing and responding promptly to both positive and negative reviews shows customers that you value their feedback, are responsive to their concerns,  and are dedicated to improving the customer experience. 

5. Keep Listing Up-to-Date

Ensuring your Google listing is always up-to-date with the latest information about your business,  including operating hours, menu updates, and information about upcoming events not only keep your customers informed, but it lets Google know that your business is engaged, active, and relevant. Keeping your listing updated regularly is an important step toward improving your search rankings on Google. 

6. Utilize Google Posts

Google Posts is a feature that allows businesses to publish updates, promote offers and discounts, announce special events, and deliver news directly on their  GMB profile. Businesses are permitted to publish ten posts on their profile, from which Google will extract data and provide analytics to help optimize views and engagement rates.   

Utilize this feature to  promote new menu specials, announce expanded operating hours, or update location or contact information. Google Posts is a useful tool for providing highly converting content to diners and increasing organic traffic. 

7. Leverage Local SEO Search Strategies

With as many as 80% of local searches resulting in conversions, local SEO strategies are crucial for improving your restaurant's visibility. This includes optimizing your website and content with relevant keywords, building backlinks, and ensuring your restaurant’s listing in local directories.

8. Monitor and Analyze Insights

GMB offers valuable insights into the way customers are interacting with your listing. This data includes information on how customers found your listing, the actions they took to find you, and the origin of their initial search. Monitoring and analyzing this data can help explain customer behavior and help you to refine your marketing strategies.

Because many customers find businesses on Google Search and Maps, Insights focuses on how customers use those features to find your profile, and what they do once they find it.

Insights data includes views, searches, and actions from both organic search results and Google Ads.

9. Link Your Listing to Your Online Menu  

Current data shows that 70% of all diners would prefer to order directly from a restaurant’s website.  Optimize your GMB by linking it directly to your online menu.  Take advantage of Google’s Reserve with Google feature to provide diners with a simple and direct link to your restaurant’s reservation system. Remember if have a direct ordering channel you will want to keep your Google listing as clean as possible of competing channels. Customers that arrive at your Google listings are your customers, they are looking to order directly from you. If you are having problems removing unwanted links from your Reserve with Google, contact Google about removing them.

10. Create an Enticing Online Menu 

Over 90% of diners research a restaurant’s online menu when making any dining decision. Set expectations high from the outset by creating enticing menu descriptions and including high-quality photos on your Google business account.  

Restaurants with high-quality, enticing photos of their signature dishes, restaurant’s interior, and scenic views on their GMB listings are more likely to catch attention and generate interest. 

11. Promptly Engage Through Q&A Feature

The Q&A feature on GMB allows customers to ask questions directly on your listing. Promptly engaging through this feature can not only provide  potential customers with valuable information about your business, but it further demonstrates your commitment to superior customer service.

12. Highlight Your Restaurant’s Best Features 

Use your GMB listing to highlight your restaurant’s best features like heated outdoor patios, an expansive vegan menu, free Wi-Fi, or pet-friendly seating. This information can be highly impactful when customers are making dining decisions online. 

Take Away

Optimizing your Google listing is an ongoing process that can have a positive impact on your restaurant's online presence. Implementing these tactics in your marketing strategy can help boost your Google ranking, create a hearty digital profile, attract  more customers, and enhance your restaurant’s reputation.

By Eileen Strauss



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