It’s easy—and common—for restaurant owners to neglect the importance of local SEO. What they forget is that when tourists come to town and need to find a place to grab a meal, Google’s local search listings are typically the first line of research; and that even locals depend on Google to help them discover new places to eat, or even to remember some of their old favorites.
The bottom line: If your restaurant isn’t appearing in the upper echelon of Google’s local search results, you’re likely losing customers and forfeiting business—plain and simple. The thing is, local search success doesn’t happen by accident. It happens only when you’re intentional about it.
So what can restaurant owners do to improve their local search standing? Here are a few quick tips and proven strategies.
Local SEO Tips Every Restaurant Owner Should Follow
- Set up a Google My Business page. This is job #1 if you want to stay on the map. Go to Google and create a page for your business, ensuring that you provide full and up-to-date information.
- Set up a Bing Local page. It’s easy to overlook Bing, but actually, it’s the search engine of choice for a growing number of users—and definitely not something you want to take for granted.
- Provide your full, correct contact information on your website. Ensure that you list your name, phone number with local area code, and your physical address. Ideally, you’ll have this information on every page of your website.
- Don’t forget about on-page optimization. Restaurant scheme setup is especially important.
- Include localized content on your website. Do so both in the body content as well as the meta data; even a few localized keywords can go a long way.
- Send out localized press releases. Promote your grand opening and any other events you have via a press release. Make sure your business name, address, and phone number, as well as a website link, are included in press release.
- Get listed in local directories. Sign up in local directories such as Yellow Book and Yellow Pages. There are paid platforms such as Yext that will help speed up the process and enhance the management. Sefati Consulting is a Yext partner; find out more about how we can help.
- Establish a social media page for each restaurant location. Make sure you set up social media profiles for your restaurant and include the address in the profile. If you have more than one location, then create a separate Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest for each location. Keep those profiles updated on a regular basis with some promotions, announcements, etc., about each location.
- Keep an eye on social media reviews. The reviews customers leave about your business on Yelp, Facebook, and Google is crucial for your business reputation and SEO rankings. We recommend you monitor them closely, thank the customers for leaving you positive reviews, and offer customer service to anyone whose experience was less than great.
- Create a blog for your restaurant. Blogging is still the best way to provide the search engine algorithms with regular, fresh, relevant, and keyword-optimized content. Plus, it can help you build loyalty among your customers.
Bonus SEO Tips for Restaurants
Those 10 basic tips are crucial for landing your restaurant in improved local search rankings—but if you’d like to continue developing a competitive edge, here are a few additional strategies you might consider.
- Get involved in the community. Attend street fairs, local concerts, and community events. Those events are usually covered by the press and your business will get a chance to get mentioned in the local media, which will help your local SEO dramatically.
- Host events and meetups. If your restaurant is big enough to host any local event, then we highly recommend that you do so. A mention and/or link from websites such as meetup.com and Eventbrite can be very helpful for local SEO. Of course, this can also significantly improve word of mouth within your community—which is no small thing!
- Join the Chamber of Commerce. Become a member of your Chamber of Commerce. They often promote your business (depending on the membership package) and you may get a local listing from their authoritative website.
- Sponsor non-profit organizations in your community. Identify local nonprofits and become their sponsor. Sponsorship with such organizations usually earns you a mention and a link from their website or blog, which can help your online presence and local SEO.
More than anything else, we recommend staying creative. In digital marketing, the difference between an average business and a successful business is that the average business does the basics where the successful business goes and beyond, gets creative, and takes advantage of almost every opportunity, knowing that most opportunities will results in positive ROI both in the long-term and short-term.
What About Local Paid Search?
SEO is of obvious and considerable importance—but there’s also room to augment it with paid search. Indeed, this integrative approach is the best way to dominate the SERP. Here are just a couple of paid search strategies for restaurant owners to keep in mind:
- Run AdWords and Bing Ads. Running a limited, branded campaign can help you capture some of the paid audience that would not have found you other ways. Just be careful—when done incorrectly or without the proper strategy, AdWords and Bing Ads can become pricey.
- Run Map Ads. In both Google and Bing, you have the option to paid targeted ads just to target maps. In case of local businesses and restaurants, that may be a good strategy as long as you monitor and optimize those ads closely.
- Run social ads. Social media platforms have great targeting features. If you run local Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp campaigns, you can target local customers effectively.
Get Help with Local SEO for Your Restaurant
We understand that you may not have the resources to implement some of the tips we mentioned above, especially the more technical ones and the paid strategies that can often get expensive. This is why we offer our enterprise-level consulting services to all restaurants, regardless of size or revenue.
We have worked with many restaurants—directly or indirectly – including Umami Burger (chain), Lazy Dog (chain), Bottlefish in Los Angeles, Alibaba Cave Restaurant in San Diego, and Morey’s Place in Santa Ana. Contact Sefati Consulting today to see how we can help your restaurant business grow online.