SEO for Restaurants in 2021 is easier than you think. While sometimes it does involve writing great and unique content a lot of it boils down to not shooting yourself in the foot. Restaurants looking to capitalize on showing up in first place in Google can use some of these tools to ensure they stay relevant and ahead of the competition. Here are some things restaurants can do to increase their online presence and get more orders online for free. If your own website is not showing up first for your own brand term ( lots of restaurants out there) then your online presence is being crushed by your competitors and often your own third-party partners.
Google My Business
Google My Business is the ultimate must-have for any restaurant. Although most restaurants have Google My Business, many restaurant owners are not maximizing their full potential. With Google My Business you can manage reviews, link your phone number/website / online ordering menu to get more in-house sales. Review management is one of the most important metrics Google looks for. The better and more reviews you have, the more often ( and higher up ) you get shown on places like Google maps. I see many third-party apps like Skip The Dishes and Uber Eats utilizing Google My Business links often at the cost and profit of restaurants. If this is the only thing you read in this post, then read the following tips:
- Ensure your own (not Skip The Dishes owned) website is linked to the Google My Business website button, ordering links and menu button. (This step alone will get you 50% more sales on your website if you don’t do this already)
- Manage and collect reviews. While Google does not allow for you to incentivize customers to leave a 5-star review in exchange for a free coffee or other incentives, you can ask your customers to leave their honest feedback.
- Make sure to respond to reviews ( Good or Bad ) as that helps you build trust and a brand presence online.
- Write a short Google Post regularly about your offers, promotions or any updates on your restaurant (ie, Open For Dine-In, new menu items, closed for the holiday, etc)
- Ensure to update your Google My Business Hours
- Upload your logo, photos, menu items to your Google My Business page.
Setup A Fast and Easy to Use Website With Online Ordering and Table Reservations
You don’t need to have anything fancy, but having a fast, SEO-optimized website will ensure customers can find the information they are looking for online easily. Having online ordering increases your SEO and online presence because
- More people will be going to your website to order
- People will spend more time on your website if it is relevant and up to date with your menu items
- Customers will go to your website to phone in or book a table online ( if you are taking table reservations)
Your website should serve as an authority website for your brand (ie, your restaurant). A third-party app like Skip The Dishes should is not a replacement for that, and if you find all or most of your sales are going to them then you have an online presence problem.
Spent Some Time With Technical SEO
Technical SEO can refer to having things like meta tags and on your website. However, it can also mean ensuring that your page is not too slow. Other aspects of technical SEO include making sure you have no broken links (404’s). Finally, have proper SEO images and alt tags for social sharing to boost your CTR (click-through rate). If you are using WordPress, I recommend using Rank Math so you can visualize the SEO of each page on your website. In addition, image optimization whether done with a plugin or other online tool will greatly speed up your site and increase user experience. Other technical SEO strategies include optimizing your site’s meta title and description tags for what users want to see when they are searching. The five most important technical SEO for restaurant tips are
- Having your restaurant name in the H1 Tag and clearly visible as soon as the user goes to your website
- The location of your restaurant ( ie. the address) is in the H2 tag and preferably near the top of the page
- You mention your restaurant name exactly how it is on Google My Business several times on the home page in a natural way. This to ensure your keyword density is at an optimal level for the search term that is most important to you.
- You mention your restaurant name naturally on the home page of your website in at least one h2 tag
- You ensure that on Google Search your meta title and meta descriptions show your restaurant name with a catchy and site tag that entices users to click on your link ( but not in a spammy sort of way of course :))
Google Analytics For Restaurants
Google Analytics is free and easy to install. This indispensable SEO tool will tell you all the analytics you need to know about your restaurant’s website. This includes page views, user site behaviour, where your users are coming from and a whole lot more. This is important if you are doing any sort of online marketing for your website. With Google Analytics you will be able to segment the data as you see fit. View which marketing channels and campaigns bring the most visits or lead to the highest conversions on your site. If you are scared of data or want help analyzing the data into more understandable insight packets, there are alternatives like Oribi. I don’t think most local restaurants need to measure too much analytics other than site visits over time. Consider installing a Google Analytics plugin on your WordPress site like Google Site Kit to help you measure your traffic results.
Google Search Console
Google search console shows you the exact keywords that you rank. This includes the number of clicks and impressions for each keyword query. In addition, it can point out any technical SEO issues on your site that could diminish your ranking in Google Search. You can get started with the Google Search console right here. I would recommend Google Search Console to help you analyze any technical issues or errors on your website.
Keyword research involves finding niches people are searching for that are related to your restaurant and where the competition is relatively low. For example, something like “Best Tacos in Edmonton” might be a very competitive keyword so you might want to focus on a specific niche like “taqueria fish tacos Edmonton”. If you are just starting out, focusing on a lower competition niche is a better strategy as Google is more likely to give your new site a chance to rank on Google search so you can start to gain some authority and trust.
Content Writing (what should you write)
If you are a local specialty restaurant you already have a pretty good niche. Capitalize on that by writing articles relating to the ingredients on your menu. Good SEO content for restaurants includes recipes for popular dishes and a specific page for each of these items. As a restaurant, create unique and interesting content related to your brand. Your brand should be central to each piece of content on your restaurant site. Share information on your roots. For example, why you started a restaurant, where you source your ingredients and where you draw your inspiration from for your recipes.
Content Writing (Make it easy to read and engaging)
If your content is neither easy to read nor engaging then people will leave your site and your website bounce rate will be high. Further, having a website that is easy for the user to navigate and find what they are looking for is also crucial. An important component for any restaurant website is the ability to order online. Ensure that your online ordering menu is clearly visible on your site. Nudging users to complete a specific action on your site is important. Your order or phone now button is your main call to action. Negative space, colour and design can help all help increase button clicks especially if naturally embedded in your content.
Name Your Menu Items
Naming your menu items goes back to overall branding and marketing. For example, take A&W. They have come up with creative names for their burgers like the “Uncle Burger” and “Teen Burger”. These names make it more memorable for their customers. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to name all your menu items but names and descriptions are a critically important aspect of your overall brand.
Keyword Optimize Your Content
This is actually a lot easier than it sounds. When Google indexes content on your site its algorithm places more emphasis on the first 100 words of your page. Make sure important keywords are placed higher up on the page. In addition, bold these keywords by placing them in strong HTML tags so they can stand out both visually for the user and in Google’s search algorithm. Further, these keywords should be placed at the beginning of your page’s meta title and description tags. Last, of all, slugify your keywords by creating unique pages for them and ensure these keywords are in the URL. Google favours URLs that are shorter because they are more human-readable.
Ensure Your Site Is Mobile-friendly
Most users are searching on their mobile devices. Google’s index is now also mobile-first which means it will rank your page poorly if it is not mobile-friendly. You can see if your site is mobile friendly for your restaurant by going to https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
Get Backlinks and Business Citations
Backlinks in a nutshell or links that point back to your website. These are important because they serve as a vote of confidence that your website is trustworthy and worth going to. Backlinks to a website are like followers on social media. The more you have, the more authority and brand recognition for you. Not all backlinks are created equal of course. For example, you might you would consider Gordon Ramsey a more valualbe Instagram follower than some random person with no profile. Similarly, a backlink from the New York times would be extremely valuable vs a link from some random website. Business citations are links back to your website which most often can be created by yourself manually. These are listings that mention your name, address and phone number. Examples of business citations are Google My Business, Zomato, Trip Advisor, LinkedIn and OpenTable.
The Order Guys help many restaurants with SEO, advertising and online ordering to ensure that the customers order online through their website rather than getting intercepted by a third-party high commission fee aggregator. If you have any questions about this article or want to get in touch with me, I would happy to help.