7 Tasteful SEO Tactics-Drive 1000s of Traffic to Your Restaurant
Recently, Google has been making food-related updates to its products, adding new features that could be beneficial to restaurant owners and their customers. One such updates are rolling out a new ability to Search, Assistant, and Maps that allows users to order food from local restaurants without leaving the search results page. Another is adding a “popular dishes” section to its restaurant listings on Google Maps. Both happened to get to the end of this past month.
This trend indicates that Google is now more charmed on helping its users find delish, ambrosial delicacies, and by extension, interested in displaying more of worthwhile restaurants’ webpages and photos. As a smart entrepreneur, especially if you own a business in the food and beverages industry, it is only brilliant that you take full advantage of this trend by Google and build a web presence that your future spouse will be proud of. And that's why we decided to put this guide together — to help you build a solid web presence, rank high in search, and drive quality traffic to your restaurant site.
Let's first answer the all-important question — why restaurant web presence? Why do you need to invest in online presence for your restaurant business?
Here's a quick run-down on some of the reasons:
Creating awareness of your business
Bringing in customers
It's a low advertising cost. Yes, because alternatives like TV commercials are just too expensive
Establishing a local identity
You can give key information on your location, menu, opening times, exclusive recipes, and special offers
People get to see pictures of your restaurant setting and those of your food even before walking in
They also get to reserve a table
You can include customer testimonials. This is great for building your restaurant’s credibility.
You can build a strong brand image
You differentiate your business from the competition
A place for anyone to see and get to know your business, no matter where they are.
TACTICS FOR RANKING YOUR RESTAURANT AND DRIVING TRAFFIC
One report shows that 60% of consumers are searching for cafes and local restaurants online. With that, you don't need to think twice before optimizing your restaurant’s web presence.
And it's not just about getting indexed by Google. You'd want to make sure that you have a prominent place on the first page. Why? According to Moz, the first page of Google gets 71% of all search traffic clicks and it has even been reported to reach as high as 92% in recent years. Second-page results are miserably far from a close second coming in at below 6% of all website clicks
Below are strategies that work great for ranking on the search engines and driving thousands of traffic to your restaurant:
1. ADD ALL THE RIGHT ELEMENTS ON YOUR WEBSITE
Let's talk about your website elements first of all. First things first, there are certain elements that need to be on your restaurant website to get the most out of your efforts to build an online presence.
For a restaurant website, the following things are going to be necessary:
Your restaurant’s physical address. This is obviously the most important element. People need to know where you are located so they can walk in or at least make a decision as to whether or not you're in their neighborhood. Just do well to place it where visitors can see on the first encounter with your site, and consider adding a route map as well.
Photos of the interior. This contributes a lot towards attracting consumers, bringing that experiential feeling to prospective guests, and generally giving them a sense of what to expect.
Your menu. Not your website menu, but a list of all the food and drinks you serve and their prices.
Customer testimonials. It's about utilizing the power of social proof very efficiently.
Reservation option. People love it when they're able to pick a comfortable seat at the click of a button even before stepping into your chophouse.
Once these elements are added on your website, you can be too sure that you will get a maximized return on investment once your site starts ranking and getting traffic.
2. OPTIMIZE YOUR GOOGLE MAPS
Just above, we mentioned that Google Maps very recently added a “popular dishes” section to its restaurant listings. This new feature means that Maps’ machine learning also will be matching the names of restaurants’ most popular offerings (as given by users) with corresponding reviews and photos, allowing potential customers to see a restaurant’s most talked about food and drinks. Google calls it “dish-cover” in the announcement.
The popular dishes section is located within the overview tab on a Maps listing and is displayed in a carousel. Once a user taps on a dish, associated reviews and images will be displayed.
Why optimize this part of your restaurant’s web presence anyway? Well, the answer is rather simple: In the food and beverage industry, recommendations and reviews are the lifeblood of marketing and can have a big impact on the bottom line. With this new feature on Maps, Google is making it even more inviting for eatery customers to leave recommendations and reviews (the popular dishes photos are to be provided by users).
As a smart 21st-century restaurant owner, you ought to take advantage of this opportunity to optimize your online presence by encouraging your patrons and guests to post photos of your meals and/or leave reviews to build out your popular dishes sections. This can be especially beneficial for restaurants and bars in areas that entertain a lot of tourists as Maps is able to translate reviews and provides accompanying visuals for non-locals.
3. IMPLEMENT “RESTAURANTS” SCHEMA MARKUP
While there's the universal schema markup, there's also a sub-schema for food establishments. In order to rank well and display just the right information on the search engine results pages (SERPs), implementing the Schema.org library for restaurants is a must.
Restaurant schema or structured data markup lets you markup your restaurant’s information for search engines to understand the data being presented to them on your site. The most basic markups include the name and address of the restaurant, menu, and reservation options. By implementing schema markup, you allow the search engine to easily fetch the right information about your restaurant for presentation to searchers.
4. PHOTOS ARE USUALLY ‘APPETIZING’
So add them to your restaurant website, social media pages like Instagram and Facebook, and other marketing collaterals. Okay?What photos exactly?One, photos of your dishes.
Image-based search engines like Google Images will pick them up, giving you extra traffic. Who knows, other projects like Google Maps and Google My Business might pick them up too. Two, from a user experience and conversion perspective, showing your interior is an intelligent business move. By showing visitors in what awesome environment they will be dining if they come to your eatery, people can decide in advance if your restaurant best matches the occasion. If a user just wants to grab a quick bite, a pub-like cafe with wooden chairs and beer will do. If the whole evening has been planned out for exquisite food, a client might want to see candles, chandeliers, and glasses of wine.
This is all about managing expectations on your restaurant website. This is about getting your website’s images to match the mood you want to set in your restaurant so that first-time visitors can click to your reservations form and reserve themselves a table.
5. TESTIMONIALS AND REVIEWS DO GO A LONG WAY
Testimonials and reviews are a type of social proof. They serve the purpose of guiding potential customers and helping them overcome objections. The great thing about testimonials is that you can be sought and select. Which gives you the chance to put up exactly what you want prospects to see.
Because reviews are often left on third-party sites like industry fora and business directories, they are a little bit on the flip side when it comes to controlling as customers can post whatever they feel. But you can still exercise some level of control by ensuring that people only write positive but genuine reviews about your restaurant.
Your testimonials and reviews will most likely end up on Google as searchers look for information. In fact, reviews on your Google My Business page may help your rankings at Google Maps.
6. DOMINATE IN LOCAL SEARCH WITH LISTING
This includes a mix of search engine directories, social media sites, yellow pages, review sites, and industry-specific directory sites. But likely, the best place to start from is Google My Business. Google My Business gives your business a public identity and presence on Google and allows locals to easily find information on Google about your business. Additionally, the information you enter on Google My Business about your business can also appear on other Google projects like Search and Maps.
Ask your visitor to leave reviews on your Google My Business page.
Another awesome thing about Google My Business is that it is able to help your webpages get properly listed in the Google search result pages’ sidebar (that is, the Knowledge Graph area). Beyond Google My Business, you'd want to claim and optimize listings for your restaurant across all of the major local search properties like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, relevant yellow pages, and other emerging niche review websites.
But remember that accurate NAP (name, address, phone) data that is consistent across all data sources (including your website) is a critical foundational element of local SEO.
All of this will work together to grow your online visibility as you're likely to get more pages that talks about your business from all these sites indexed by Google.
7. LOCALIZE YOUR CONTENT
Every restaurant has a physical location from where they operate. One tactical approach to ranking well on the search engines and particularly for the most bankable searches is to localize your content. Why? Because localized content is better at showing up for localized searches, and the majority of restaurant searches are localized. Based on decisions you’ve made about your restaurant’s market area, provide enough cues and context to users and the search engines in your content (and website generally) as to where your restaurant is and what area it serves. For example, within your blog posts, you can mention the traditional names of food in the case that you offer those, local names of the neighborhood, local history, community engagement, and other relevant local niceties.
Sometimes the search engines and non-resident clients don’t fully understand the unofficial names of neighborhoods and food. Providing content that is tied into the community and doesn’t simply assume that everyone knows where you’re located can go a long way to fix a lot of things that could otherwise sabotage your rankings and online presence.
So there you have them — seven practical tactics for building a solid web presence and ranking your restaurant. We hope you find some nuggets in this to build a successful online marketing strategy for your beanery. Just remember, the results will only come if you *act* on the information you've received. So go ahead and implement them you need help with well-built, extremely useful SEO and digital tools to take your restaurant’s online presence to a completely new height, then check out our premium tools. It's 100% free!