Comprehensive guide for Restaurant to Local SEO

Friday, April 15, 2022

How often have you been to a restaurant and not checked the reviews?

Because the food industry has become so saturated, it is impossible to expect enough people to visit your restaurant if you aren’t visible online.

You can increase your restaurant’s visibility by having a responsive website, reviews, and other social proof. The best way to start is with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Restaurant SEO

SEO for restaurants helps you optimize your website and social media profiles for the search engine.

This is done by creating targeted content that matches your audience’s search intention.

This type of SEO can include technical, on-page, and off-page SEO elements.

These elements collectively will help your restaurant rank higher within the search results.

This article will help you make your restaurant more SEO-friendly.

First, let’s understand why restaurant SEO is essential and how it can make your restaurant more visible on search engines.

SEO is important for restaurants

Fact: 68% of Most online experiences start with a search engine.

Imagine if someone searches for a restaurant in your area, and your business isn’t listed.

Your business can suffer if you lose out on these opportunities repeatedly.

SEO marketing for restaurants.

SEO can help your website raise the search engine results page (SERPs), bringing in a flood of new customers.

Search engines use specific parameters to rank web pages for relevant keywords.

When you optimize your online restaurant presence with unique recipes, blogs, and photographs, your restaurant will appear more often when someone searches for the relevant keywords.

Are you still wondering how this can help? You can incorporate SEO into your marketing strategy to:

  • Optimizing your website to answer specific questions and keywords will increase traffic.
  • To increase your ranking in the SERPs, reach a qualified audience and generate more leads.
  • Create brand awareness
  • Get an edge on your competitors

SEO can be a powerful tool to improve your online presence.

However, it is better to get the basics right before scaling up your strategy.

How to strategize restaurant SEO

Do your research before you start shooting arrows into the dark.

We’ve done all the research for you to help you build your local SEO strategy.

Define Your Target Audience

Are you able to identify your ideal customer?

Now is the right time to start thinking about who your ideal customer might be.

Consider the customers you have served and create a survey to obtain more precise results.

Take the Olive Garden as an example. Study your customers to create a buyer persona.

This is the target audience for the restaurant:

  • Italian food lovers
  • Large groups and families
  • People who want to grab a quick bite at the drive-through
  • What age groups are you catering to?
  • What cuisines do your customers like?
  • Which are their top choices for each course or beverage?

Answering these questions will help you get to know your target audience and their pain points and needs.

Use the right keywords

After you have identified your audience, the next step in your research is to create a list with keywords that are relevant to your business.

A keyword such as “eateries near me” is ubiquitous and can benefit a restaurant’s ranking.

This keyword can change the game.

You can also target your cuisine, such as ‘Mexican restaurants near me, to increase your ranking.

Spy on Your Competition

It is easy to see that the popularity of a nearby restaurant has increased in recent years.

It ranks first in search engine results for various keywords, and naturally, it is attracting customers.

SEO is a powerful tool. It can be beneficial to check out the strategies of your competitors.

For example, the Local Pack results for the search term “best pizza place in New York.”

They all have one thing in common: they’ve optimized their Google Local Profile listings to include hours, address, and cost per head.

How can you get your restaurant at the top of search results?

It is a dream come true to rank on Google’s first pages.

Your website should be at its core. However, it is not an easy task to reach the top. To be successful in restaurant SEO, you will need to develop a specific plan.

These are the four essential steps to take to create a successful website.

1. Do your Homework

You won’t see great results if you scratch the surface of SEO.

You must first assess your goals and marketing strategies if you want your website to rank high.

These are the goals that can be achieved.

  • Increase website traffic
  • More leads
  • Lower bounce rate
  • Increase your mailing list

Once you have established your goals, assess your website to determine the areas that can be improved to make it SEO-friendly.

For inspiration, let’s take a look at Venue Restaurant and Lounge’s success in SEO.

The restaurant wanted to raise brand awareness through the high quality of its food.

The brand used content and technical elements to improve SEO performance to rank for high-conversion keywords related to its food.

This led to excellent results.

Note This example is older than the Google My Business rebrand into Google Business Profile.

A complete SEO marketing strategy for restaurants combines building backlinks and mobile optimization.

It also uses targeted keywords and Latent Semantic Indexing keywords to create quality content.

This will help you rank higher and drive more quality leads for your website.

It will also increase footfall at your restaurant.

2. Create a great user experience

SEO marketing for restaurants is all about the user experience. It is therefore vital to create tremendous navigational expertise.

It also includes:

  • Visual aesthetics
  • Clarity in navigation
  • The latest news in snippets

Brescia has the perfect design to create a user-friendly website.

The DC-based restaurant boasts a beautiful atmosphere and provides critical information about bookings on its homepage.

The navigation bar at the top allows users to learn more about this restaurant quickly.

To enhance the impact of your website, you should not only improve its user experience (UX) but also focus on these three aspects of Google’s Web Vitals.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).

This is the time it takes for the most significant element of your URL or website to load.

People expect that web content loads immediately after a visitor visits a page.

It can cause visitors to leave your site if it takes too long to load.

Cumulative Layout Shifts (CLS).

This is a measure of sudden changes in the text structure or visuals on a webpage without prior notice.

It can be irritating and cause users to move to another section of the page without warning.

CLS can help you provide an excellent experience for your visitors.

First Input Delay

This is the time it takes for an action to be completed.

For example, you are clicking on a link or button on your site.

These three metrics can be scored using the following formula:

Source Google

Focus on creating seamless customer journeys and optimizing responsiveness and loading time elements.

Visuals can give customers a glimpse into the atmosphere, kitchen, and happy customers of your restaurant.

However, ensure that these visual elements follow Core Web Vitals’ best practices.

You should include essential details on your website, such as:

  • Hours and days of operation
  • Map showing complete location
  • Parking facilities

These details can be added to your website while optimizing for Core Web Vitals.

This will significantly improve the UX of your site.

A word to the wise: Keep track of your Core Web Vitals with this Chrome extension.

3. Encourage users to take action

The best way to get people to act is to use a call-to-action button.

You can take any action, including browsing the menu, calling the restaurant, and booking a table.

Ensure your CTAs are clear, visible, and optimized to the correct keywords.

Noir’s homepage demonstrates how it is done.

This New York-based restaurant ranks highly for the search term “Best restaurant in New York.”

Noir’s website features a minimalistic design with well-placed details about Covid guidelines.

It also describes Noir’s upscale dress code and hours.

The ‘Dining Reservations CTA’ button is what grabs attention.

This opens up a booking calendar that allows users to make reservations.

Noir encourages customers by strategically placing this button.

4. Create a mobile-friendly website

Mobile searches account for 54.8% of global organic website traffic, which might surprise you.

Mobile optimization is essential because it allows customers to access your site anytime.

A responsive website not only improves the user experience but also provides for:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Increase trust and credibility
  • Improve navigation

It is essential to optimize your website for mobile.

Web hosting is a great way to build a responsive website. This can increase visitors’ time on a page and encourage them to convert to customers.

You can also modify different areas of your website by using the website builder. So make sure you choose carefully.

Once your website has been live, you can create intent-based pages that target long-tail keywords to increase your restaurant’s ranking in search engines.

Here are eight top tips to optimize your restaurant website

SEO is a long-term strategy.

SEO is not something you can do by trial and error.

1. Do Keyword Research on Restaurants

Keywords are the best way to find your restaurant.

Your website’s visibility can be increased by strategically placing your primary, second, and other long-tail keywords.

Optimize your website with keywords that are relevant to customers’ search intent. Here are eight proven ways to improve your SEO skills:

Answer pertinent questions such as:

  • What kind of cuisine do you prefer?
  • Is your restaurant located in the city?
  • What are your unique selling propositions (USPs).

Google Trends is the best place to begin your keyword research.

This tool is free and can help you identify keywords that you rank for and which websites rank highest for those keywords.

You can search for keywords and get the search volume from multiple locations worldwide.

Here is a Google Trends report on keywords that are based upon the search term “Italian Restaurant”:

Source: Google

This search can be further divided based on:

  • High-level keywords These keywords are more broad and have a high search volume. These keywords are hard to rank for as millions of websites are trying to rank them. High-level keywords include ‘Philadelphia restaurants” and ‘Restaurants New York’.
  • Niche-specific keywords Each restaurant caters to a different audience. For example, one restaurant might specialize in Mediterranean cuisine and another restaurant specializes only in comfort food. These keywords are specific to a niche and represent a unique specialty or cuisine. So, ‘deep-dish pizza in New York’ or ‘best dairy-free ice cream’ are niche keywords.
  • Keywords for brands: These keywords have a narrower scope. These keywords are only used when someone searches for your restaurant or queries that are specifically related to it. If your restaurant’s name was “Yummy Ice Cream”, your brand keywords would include “Opening hours of Yummy Ice Cream” or “Menu of Yummy Ice Cream”.

2. Do On-page Restaurant SEO

On-page SEO allows search engine crawlers to determine if your content is relevant to your website and evaluate its relevance for visitors.

An on-page audit is required to examine all elements of your website.

You can improve on-page SEO by taking direct actions on your website to push your content higher up the search results.

These are the most important elements of optimizing your web page:

Meta Titles

These inform the user about the main content on any page within the SERPs. The meta title is the heading of a webpage.

Meta Description

The meta description is located just below the headline in SERPs.

It provides an overview of the content. A meta description should be between 155 and 160 characters.

The meta description should include the focus keyword and a summary of your page.

Heading Tags

Both crawlers and users can use heading tags to find out about the website’s content. They provide a complete layout for a page.

Note: Meta titles, descriptions, and heading tags don’t directly impact SERP rankings.

This information can be helpful to the user and encourages them to visit the site.

This can lead to a higher clickthrough rate, which can boost search rankings.

3. Schema Markup

Machines have their language, just like humans.

Schema markup, structured data, is used to educate search engines about your content.

It helps them determine whether your site’s information is helpful for users.

Your schema markup should address the specific questions of your target audience with relevant information about your restaurant.

Schema markup may include:

  • Menü
  • Location and cuisine
  • Reviews and ratings
  • Hours of operation
  • Reservierungs- und Buchungsinformationen

4. Create Citations

Citations business listings are available on internet directories.

Your domain authority can be significantly improved by building citations for your restaurant on popular review sites, where most people find restaurants.

Citations usually include basic information about your restaurant’s name, address, and phone number (NAP).

These citations are an essential part of SEO marketing for restaurants; more than 70% of people will view your website as trustworthy if it appears in business directories.

Although creating citations can be time-consuming, hiring a virtual assistant will help you save time and get your goals accomplished faster.

  • Google Business Profile This app boosts your local SEO ranking by informing people where your restaurant is located and if they are able to visit you. This is a free tool that will help you build more trust in your restaurant.
  • Bing Maps By adding your restaurant to Bing Maps, people can easily find you by following the directions on the map. This makes it easier for customers and employees to visit your restaurant.
  • Facebook: Listing your business on Facebook will allow you to reach some of the 2.89 billion monthly active users. Location targeting can be used to target customers from certain locations.

93% of consumers look at reviews about local restaurants to determine the best location based on what they like and don’t like.

This is enough evidence to show the importance of reviews for building your online reputation and authority.

You can create citations in the following places:

5. Review the article

Reviewing your USPs can help you attract new customers and increase sales.

Reviews can also influence purchasing decisions based on real customer experiences.

Reviews are an excellent way for customers to interact with you.

You can also use this feedback to improve your restaurant’s local SEO.

Being featured on review sites is a great way to tie in with the previous point.

These also provide valuable citations.

These trusted sites offer restaurant reviews:

Foursquare

This website has 45 million users and is mobile-optimized.

Customers can leave simple, one-line reviews.

Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages connects local businesses with customers.

A review on Yellow Pages is suitable for your local ranking.

Yelp

Yelp makes it easy for locals to find your business.

The site boasts more than 224,000,000 app reviews.

You can also retain customers by gaining positive reviews on the site.

6. Social Media Engagement: Engage in Genuine Conversation

Social media allows you to reach large audiences and grow your business.

Social media is used by more than 3.78 million people worldwide.

This number is expected to rise to 4.41 billion in 2025.

Although social media won’t directly impact your restaurant’s SEO ranking, it can boost your brand and drive traffic to your website.

Collaboration with influencers can be a great way to spread the word about your restaurant and boost your social media accounts.

Curating an aesthetic feed is another critical step in increasing your social media presence.

Nobu, for example, is one of the most popular restaurants on Instagram.

It’s also a celebrity hotspot.

Nobu’s Insta account is a perfect mix of real-time stories and colors that encourage people to visit the restaurant.

Source Instagram

Social media can be used to post regularly by efficiently scheduling posts using a dedicated tool.

Post pictures of memorable moments, celebrities visits, and special events to get more engagement.

YouTube Marketing can also be an excellent way for your restaurant to reach new customers by sharing inspiring videos of your food, chef, and special events.

7. Encourage customer reviews, interactions, and social mentions

Having genuine reviews from customers and mentions on social media and other websites can improve your search engine ranking.

Encourage customers to leave reviews.

This shows that you care about what they think and how you can improve your services.

Google will auto-suggest answers to FAQs about your restaurant if you respond to comments or reviews on social media or websites.

Local restaurant SEO efforts can also be aided by customers leaving feedback and reviews.

Chop Shop interacts with customers via Yelp by responding to every negative and positive review.

This is an excellent way to show that it is engaged with its audience.

8. Make and promote ground-breaking content

Educating, persuading, and reminding customers about your restaurant is quality content.

A blog will help you get organic traffic to your website.

You can organize your blog topics into categories, such as cuisines or beverages, and target various keywords in the food industry.

Please take a look at how Taco Bell shares all of its latest updates in our news section.

These are some ideas for your restaurant blog.

  • Recipes Discuss your favorite dish or share a collection of dessert recipes you made at home with your chefs.
  • Customer Stories: These stories could be about positive experiences your customers had at your restaurant.
  • Articles about food: These articles can be about the origins of your dishes, or why a particular ingredient is used in a dish.
  • Best Practices: Discuss your policies and initiatives. For example, why you don’t use plastic in your restaurant, or what charities you support.
  • Highlights of an event: Discuss details about an event with a celebrity or describe what was unique about the food and decor that day.

Next, distribute your content. You can use your email newsletter to create a distribution channel for your blog posts.

For Local SEO Success in Restaurants, Be Consistent

Restaurant SEO can help you get your brand in front of your target audience.

It would help if you had a well-planned SEO strategy that is consistent and thorough to reach the top search results.

To maintain your position once you have achieved top rankings for your targeted keywords, follow the tips in this article.

You can create a seamless user experience by updating your website regularly to reflect the latest Google updates.

To supplement your efforts, you might consider contacting a digital marketing agency to get help.

You can make your restaurant more popular by establishing a solid online presence.