Till now how your restaurant website has performed in Google willy-nilly, there is always enough room for improvisation of your search engine optimization (SEO) for your Google ranking proliferation.
Updating and improving your search visibility will drive more customers into your restaurant or could even place online orders.
In today’s modern E-Commerce world, investing in SEO has become a priority if not a necessity! You can use locality, structured data and customer sentiment in order to boost the rankings for your single or multi-location restaurant chain, all to your advantage.
Here are some nine quick tips to focus on boosting your website in the search results through SEO.
1. SEO & content strategies redefined
Even before you plan to choose from numerous available tools, platforms and engagement channels, define your SEO strategy first. This is very important as it will help to significantly lower your competition and would also facilitate a smoother road to drive quality traffic to your website.
You can start by defining the geographic area that you want to own. The area could be where most of your customers would come from as they would either be living or working close by or are visiting the area regularly/occasionally. This method will help develop your SEO and content strategies quite effectively.
Your next task would be to research the right keyword terms and phrases your audience uses through Google Keyword Planner or a third-party keyword research tool. You can also refer to SEJ’s keyword research guide on how to do keyword research.
There are a few distinct groupings of terms that you may wish to group and classify properly as all have different levels of competition.
High-level restaurant terms: The usual terms like “restaurants” and “New Jersey restaurants” are some of the most generic variations a searcher might use. However, in the Google Keyword Planner or other third-party keyword research tools, you can set your geographic focus to the area you identified and use both the generic term by itself (“restaurants”) and with the geographic modifier (“New Jersey restaurants”) as well as other general variations related to about your restaurant in terms of specialization etc.
Niche terms: The next level of terms relates to the specific categories with regard to your restaurant’s forte, which would be searched. Examples include “Chinese restaurants”, “hot dogs”, “candlelit restaurants” and other unique features characterizing especially in it.
Brand terms: Rising to the top on brand search is never possible. Therefore, never ever assume that you will automatically rise to the top. Find out how many people are searching for your restaurant by name occasionally, if not regularly, in comparison to the high-level and niche-specific search volume. You would like to ensure your site does enough to outrank the directory and social sites in your space for your restaurant as the value of people coming to your site is higher and traceable in terms of popularity.
Now that you are ready with search terms and volume data, you could narrow your focus only to the specific terms that fit your restaurant at high, category-specific and brand levels. In fact, by covering this field gets you to focus on correct parameters and also to define your content.
2. Take over the local search
You can begin by regulating and claiming the data in order to optimize the listings for your restaurant across all of the major local search properties. This could include a blend of search engine directories, social media sites, besides industry-specific directory sites. All are quite relevant.
Accurate NAP (short for a name, address, and phone) data that is consistent across all data sources is considered to be a critical basic element of local SEO. The information is very significant.
Thereafter, you could go ahead and work on optimizing the fields of information like the business description and business categories to sync with your focus terms identified in your keyword research. This piece of information is also very pertinent for SEO. The combination of all the above elements, work well in order to grow your online visibility.
3. Engaging customers on social media
It has remained a moot point on the direct impact of social media on SEO. But, it has been established that social media engagement could drive users to your site, with ease.
It has been proved that social media can be a powerful touch-point of the customer’s visit showcasing what they could experience at your restaurant. A strong endearing relationship and social presence often correlate with an equal amount of organic search presence. This is because content, engagement, and popularity arrange in line with the important SEO pillars of relevance.
You could even develop a social media strategy and implement it carefully. Confirm engaging with followers regularly and reply to inquiries without delay. Your overall customer service and approach of communicating online sets a perception that lasts as a long-term relationship.
Identify your audience; engage them in order to influence others on your behalf; in other words, they will get you referrals and leads.
Eventually, only through engagement with customers and promoting content on social media those results in visitors to your main website. It is amazing to see an increase in visits from social networks. This can be compared with the benefits of the rest of your SEO initiatives.
4. Cheer reviews & testimonials
Review and rating scores in the search results are always available to see as people general click on higher star ratings.
As part of a social media strategy and to keep engaged as part of marketing approach, reviews are often considered to be very helpful as you get a broader impact on traffic to your site through search results pages.
By using the structured data markup, you can have your star ratings appear in search results which in turn provides a convincing reason for a user to click to ‘your’ site and not your competitor’s site.
It is not always necessary that even If you have online ratings still do not reflect the quality of your restaurant. To overcome such a situation, you need to come up with a review strategy in order to get multiple reviews to help bring up your score prior to implementing the code that will pull the ratings into the SERPs.
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A higher star rating means a higher click and more foot traffic.
5. Compose unique content
A multi-location local or national chain is a hard one compared to having a single location where your job is a lot easier. However, you have to stand out from the competition by ensuring you have enough unique content on your website. You have to create unique content that is different from your competitors.
If the content on your site is a wealth of valuable information and relevant to your prospects as well as your customers besides engaging them, it will serve you well. Building a strong brand will convert to better rankings, higher brand recall, and greater brand loyalty.
We have to acknowledge the fact that content does not have to be copied and you have an opportunity to feature unique content through the ways you present your menus at the restaurant. The presentation could be through video, photography, and graphics. The search engines are focused on context and not just text wording on your site. By ascertaining and also by generating new content periodically, you can also keep your hands full of engaging materials and ways to stand out from the stiff competition.
For instance; if you have a niche restaurant clinch that and set yourself spaced out from the generic chain available in every street corner.
Share information about the founders, the culture, the staff and most importantly – the product. Give some unique details about your menu including sourcing of ingredients, even how you developed recipes and some convincing reasons why your chicken is considered the best in town!
6. Consider content localization
Here a single location restaurant has an easier approach. Based on the decisions you have made about your market area. But make sure that you provide enough landmarks and context to users as well as the search engines about the location of your restaurant; what area it serves, etc.
Many a time, the search engines and out of town visitors do not understand the unofficial names of neighborhoods or areas in a particular town. By providing appropriate content that is tied into the community and does not simply assume that everyone knows where you are located, you can help out everyone easily. You can even write a line or two mentioning about each location, something about the store, local history, popularity of neighborhood and involving the community and engaging them.
7. Apply basic On-page SEO best practices
Even without delving into the details of all on-page and indexing optimization techniques, we want you to encourage not skipping or ignoring the best practices of on-page SEO. You would need indexing to ensure the search engines know you exist on-page to ensure proper classification of your content. Moreover, you can even spend some time on a full SEO strategy. We would nevertheless, advocate putting the rest aside and starting with these two areas initially.
Set up Google Search Console to look for errors and ensure your site is indexed properly presently and into the future, check your robots.txt and XML sitemap.
While at it, ensure that you have unique and keyword-specific on-page URLs, title tags, Meta description tags, headings, page copy and image alt attributes.
8. Think mobile
A high percentage of visits to restaurant websites are accounted for by mobile devices, mobile phone users who provide feedback in real-time instantly. Furthermore, the search engines have been moving towards a mobile-first experience for users including rankings bonus for having a mobile-friendly website and the eventual rollout of the mobile-first index. All new concepts taking shape for the better.
We hope you have already created a responsive website. However, this is just the beginning when it comes to mobile. It is also significant to consider page load speed, proper rendering and providing great mobile user experience.
9. Implement schema “Restaurants” markup
The next critical area where context can be built for the search engines is by using structured data. It also gains exposure to more users in the search results.
In the restaurant industry, implementing the Schema.org library for restaurants is inevitable in modern times.
This task, however, requires a developer or a website platform or content management system with the right plug-ins or built-in options in order to give a great start.
Make sure that people find you online without any hitch. If this is done your restaurant will be filled throughout the day. Once they find you, you need to quickly win them over with a great website experience and drive them to your location easily. The above tips will surely help you accomplish your aspirations.
Once those customers get to the restaurant, it is all up to the friendly staff. Remember, no amount of SEO can save a restaurant that consistently leaves a bad taste in the mouths of its customers both in terms of customer relationship and bland food served.