Online advertising is a necessity for most restaurant businesses. Through it, you can reach new potential customers (for example, tourists who are visiting your city?) and build/engage with your immediate community, through social media, giveaways, paid ads, and more.
The trouble, is that there are SO MANY restaurant businesses advertising online, that it can be tricky to cut through the noise and get found. The traditional solution is to pay large amounts of money for boosted ads- to have your restaurant content be served overtop of competitors. This might work okay in the short term, but is detrimental in the long term- online users will just know you as that “business that advertises a lot.”
Instead, there are several ways to boost your organic search engine ranking (SEO) to create natural and meaningful customer discovery- which 9/10 times is more valuable to a business. Below, I’ll be outlining 5 SEO tips for getting more natural discovery of your restaurant businesses promotional content.
1. MEANINGFUL Keywords
Keyword spamming is dead. Has been for many years, but that doesn’t mean that SERPs (search engine result pages) don’t evaluate the written content of your page and use it to rank your website/blog amongst other, similar businesses. To truly take advantage of keywords on search engines, we need to understand that at its core, a search engines goal is to help people find answers to the things they search for. This means that providers like Google and Yahoo are always looking to prioritze content that actually answers peoples questions. Using a complex set of algorithms, these browser giants are able to evaluate if the content on your website matched up with what the user was looking for (how long did they spend on your site?) and, if they calculate that your site was not satisfactory for the end users inquiries, they will lower its ranking on results pages.
TIP: Take some time to evaluate your restaurants website keywords/content and make sure that what you’re saying is actually based on what your website provides. Basically, don’t say you’re a seafood restaurant if you only serve desserts. 🙂
2. Use Google My Business
In terms of managing your online presence, there’s no better tool than Google My Business. With it, you can monitor your website activity, schedule boosted ads (integrated with Google Ads) and even have restaurant location information, right on the front page of Google search. If you’ve ever seen restaurants that have a nice picture about them, info about their hours/contact info, etc, this is done through Google My Business. Here’s a link to their home page, to get started.
TIP: Sign up for Google My Business and make sure all of your restaurant info is entered correctly.
3. Leverage Backlink Placements
Backlinks are links to your website, from other websites. These referral-type connections form an elaborate web on the internet, and they help search engines understand that your website/content is important enough to be mentioned by others, online. Better yet- if people click the backlink and actually go to your website, Google evaluates this as a successful and valuable conversion, and will thus improve your overall ranking. Be careful though- too many, low quality backlinks can trigger spam filters on Google, which can decrease your overall ranking.
For restaurants, your best bet for backlinks is to work with any blog/website that touches on topics relative to your cuisine or location (remember point #1 in this post about keyword relevance). While some sites like TripAdvisor are no brainers, others like Millennial Moderator (mostly geared towards tech) can still be useful- if they publish content that is relevant to your business.
TIP: Find multiple, reputable websites in your niche and investigate options for getting a backlink on their site.
4. Use Social Media
Social media is absolutely indexed by search engines! This means that the more social channels you have (Twitter, Facebook, IG, etc), the most information Google will have about your restaurant business and the more likely it will show up in search. Even just creating social channel placeholders and using the same bio on all of them, can help Google create a knowledge panel about your business.
TIP: Create consistent, social media channels for your restaurant!
5. Watch your Restaurant Reviews!
Reviews are one of the most important data pieces that contribute to a restaurants SEO (or any service that operates with physical customer service) because based on reviews, search engines will always try to suggest the highest rated competitor. One bad review can dock you several points in the eyes of Google, which might mean they prioritize one of your competitors over you- if their reviews are better. Facebook reviews is one of the biggest perpetrators of this, but also classic review platforms like Yelp play a big part.
The solution? Just make sure you deliver high quality service and instill a culture of having your best customers leave positive reviews.
TIP: Monitor and manage your customer reviews online- make sure Google knows that you are the best option.
Overall, SEO for restaurants involves a lot of property (website/social) management, but in an increasingly virtual world, your online presence can make or break your reputation. For help with buying or selling a restaurant, contact us today!