SEO for Restaurants: Rank Higher for More Customers

A website is a great way to promote your restaurant to your target market. You can use it to provide key information about your business such as its location, menu, and opening hours. You can use it to share news about your restaurant and post content about what it offers. It can also serve as a channel for your customers to order for delivery or arrange a reservation.
However, the features above will not benefit your business if your customers are not visiting your website. This is where search engine optimization, or SEO, for your restaurant’s website can help you.

What SEO Can Do for Your Restaurant

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a set of processes that aim to increase the search ranking and user experience of your website. These processes include on-page, technical, local search, and off-page optimization. Here are the benefits that these set of processes can provide to your website:

SEO can bring the most website traffic

Search engines are the primary source of website traffic. The amount of traffic it can bring to a website is more than what social media, paid advertising, email, and direct traffic can bring combined. This is not surprising since almost 70 percent of online browsing starts through search engines.

SEO brings relevant traffic to your restaurant’s website

People use search engines when they need to look for information. They do the same thing when they are looking for a place to eat for lunch or a new restaurant to go to. Optimizing your website for search engine traffic will bring visitors who are looking for the cuisine, menu, services, or ambiance your restaurant offers.

Local SEO gives your restaurant great local visibility and sales

Most people look for a place to eat by searching for restaurants near them or in a particular location. Search engines provide local business listings for these kinds of queries and your customers are more likely to click the link of these results than a link to a web page. Moreover, people are more likely to visit your restaurant or call for deliveries when they see your business in their local search results.

SEO is key for a good website user experience

Not everyone will immediately call or visit your restaurant when they see your restaurant in their search results. Some of them will require more information to decide, which your website must provide. However, your website visitors are unlikely to make the effort of browsing your website if they find it difficult to use. They will end up deciding against your restaurant even if your website has all the information that they needed. Implementing SEO for your restaurant’s website will prevent this from happening since it ensures that website visitors will have no problem using it and finding the information they require.

SEO improves the efficiency of your paid marketing

Search engine optimization can improve the performance of your paid marketing in social media and search engines. Websites that are search engine optimized have higher click-through rates and lower cost per click for their paid advertisements. This effect is attributed to the better organic reach brought about by SEO.

SEO provides a high return-on-investment

Unlike paid advertising, you will not pay for every visitor that search engines bring to your website. There is also no cost involved for search engines to index and rank your page in their results. This makes SEO one of the channels with the highest ROI for marketing your restaurant. Unlike paid advertising, you will not pay for every visitor that search engines bring to your website. There is also no cost involved for search engines to index and rank your page in their results. This makes SEO one of the channels with the highest ROI for marketing your restaurant.

SEO can help you understand your customers

Optimizing your website requires the use of various website and search analytics tools. These tools can give you information on changes in the customers' demand for your restaurant throughout the year. You can use this information to create promotions or time the launch of a new menu item or service to take advantage of these events.

Best SEO Practices for Restaurant Businesses

It is clear why SEO is important for restaurants. So, how do you implement this for your website? Here are some best practices to implement in the SEO strategy for your restaurant:

Target keywords that are relevant to the services you offer

As a restaurant, you will be targeting search users in your area and those looking for what you serve to your customers. For example, if you are serving Mexican cuisine in Nashville, some of your SEO terms for your restaurant are “Mexican cuisine Nashville TN”, “Mexican restaurant near me”, “burritos near me”, and “salsa delivery”. Aside from these, you must also target keywords that best describe your restaurant and other services relevant to it. Some keyword examples for these include “casual restaurant”, “fast casual restaurant”, “café”, “buffet”, and “delivery”.

Optimize your website for your restaurant’s brand name

Your restaurant’s brand name is also a search keyword. Targeting it for your website’s copy and content will ensure that anyone searching for your restaurant online will find it on top of their search results. Optimizing your website for your brand’s keywords is a critical marketing endeavor since people will only search for it if they are already aware of your restaurant and want to dine in or order from your restaurant. Without branded search optimization, you are missing out on website traffic that are looking to make an order or reservation at your restaurant.

List your restaurant in online business directories

Listing your restaurant in search engine and business directories will help with your search engine optimization, especially local SEO. For restaurants, this is essential since search engines will place recommended businesses above the links to pages in the search results page and a significant amount of local search is done by people looking for a place to eat.

Provide consistent information to online directories and review sites

One search ranking factor considered is if the information found in your Google My Business profile is consistent with the information in other directories, social media pages, and review sites. Therefore, your profile should have the exact name, address, hours, menu link, and contact details for your restaurant.

Make full use of social media for marketing your restaurant

Social media marketing can benefit the SEO for your restaurant’s website. It can help with brand awareness and increase people’s search for your restaurant online. You can also place links in your social media posts and lead traffic to your website, which helps increase your search ranking.

Encourage your customers to review your restaurant online

Having your business show up in the local search results of your target market is only half the battle. They still have to click through your link before you can lead them to your website or landing page.Having reviews increases the click-through rate of search users to your website.

Post original content on your website

Posting original and fresh content on your website is one of the best ways to increase your search ranking. Some relevant topics for your restaurant include:
  • Local events that your restaurant is involved in
  • A new dish added to your menu
  • Content about a signature dish
  • Customer reviews for your restaurant
  • Tasting sessions conducted for influencers
  • Photos and videos of your dish, venue, kitchen, and team
You can choose from any of these topics to post on your website regularly on a weekly or bi-monthly basis.

Post photos on your Google My Business account regularly

Photos generate more attention than pure text content. This is the same for the reviews in your Google My Business account. However, you cannot depend on your customers to include photos in their reviews and to leave reviews regularly. What you can do is post content in your profile regularly and daily with an attractive and relevant photo in it. This will help attract more to your listing when people are searching for keywords in search engines and Google Maps that are relevant to your restaurant. This practice alone can improve your results from your efforts in local SEO for your restaurant.

Build links by having websites and influencers review your restaurant

External links, also known as backlinks, are links found on third-party websites and social media pages. These links contribute to your search ranking since search engines see this as a point toward your website's authority and relevance in the niche. You can build these links for your restaurant’s website by getting review websites and influencers to link to it in their content.

Have a mobile-friendly design for your website

If your website is not mobile-friendly, your website is less likely to appear in the results of a search done on a mobile device. Since 80 percent of searches are done on mobile, you will lose a majority of potential visitors to your website. Moreover, even if it appeared on their search results and your website managed to gain their clicks, they are less likely to browse through a website that is not mobile- friendly and would rather choose another result from their search.

Provide users with an online ordering feature

Online ordering is a standard feature that users will look for on your restaurant's website. This gives them better control in the ordering process and causes less friction with you and your customer service representative. Moreover, online ordering systems have fewer chances for an error caused by miscommunication compared to orders done over the phone or chat.

Create a static page for the menu

Some restaurant websites will have their menu in PDF format. This is an added complexity for your website users and makes it difficult for them to find the information they need with just a scroll of the page. Instead, it is best to use a static page for your restaurant’s menu that does not require them to download a file or switch programs for viewing it.

Monitor your website with web analytics

Regularly checking your website’s analytics will help you identify and fix immediately any issues regarding search engine optimization. This also ensures that you are detecting any changes in demand for search keywords so you can anticipate future changes and capitalize on them for your business.

Get Started with SEO for Your Restaurant

General and local SEO is a critical marketing strategy for generating brand awareness and attracting customers for your restaurant. With the best practices and tips provided above, you can implement an SEO strategy for your restaurant that can generate more sales and orders.
If you want to know more about how you can implement SEO for your restaurant, contact us here at Big Market Solutions!
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