Search Engine Optimization For A Restaurant Website
We live in the world of fast growing Internet and demanding customers whose googleing skills are too good for your business to afford neglecting them. Whether you own a restaurant or an online ecommerce business, good SEO is an essential for your growth. But this is also the part where we face a challenge: will my usual SEO tactics for an online business work the same way on my local business? The answer is no.
Traditional SEO and local SEO are two different concepts and based on your particular business type, you will have to familiarize yourself with local SEO techniques and utilize them, if you want people to get your restaurant as the first option on Google. So, let’s see what the main difference is in restaurant SEO and what are the things to keep in mind.
The very first thing you should know about local SEO is that every strategy or method that you implement is localized. Hence the name, local SEO. So, a little disclaimer, you will read the word local a lot.
Local restaurant website SEO is still comprised of the same two-way strategy: onsite and offsite SEO.
With restaurant SEO, some of the most important aspects you need to pay attention to is your:
- Website content,
- Contact page,
- Menu with prices available,
- Schema Markup
Now let’s start talking about each of them separately.
Simple and Precise Website Content is a Must
There is the idea that for restaurants the emphasis should always be on visuals. While there is truth to this, ignoring website content is not reasonable. For the sake of covering every small attribute of restaurant SEO, we separated the contact page, meta title and description from the content.
An excellent restaurant website content should trigger all five basic senses with the help of good looking visuals, of course. You’ll later find out how much search engines appreciate information, so show your menu on your website as well. You will kill two birds with one stone - great user experience and higher rankings.
Contact Page on Restaurant Websites is a Do or Die
Your ultimate goal is to have potential customers get in touch with you. And if they have to go through dozens of tabs to find your phone number or address then you’re doing it wrong. The contact information of your restaurant should be displayed on the homepage, especially on footer and header.
Local SEO is not called local for no reason. You have to mention the location of your restaurant quite a few times. And whether you focus on the city or street depends on your target market. The point is that contact page and information allows you to reach people without spamming your website. An ideal contact page includes the following details:
- Phone Number
- Working hours
- Order online button if applicable
Location for Restaurants Stands for Directions
Didn’t we already talk about location? Well, yes but it is such an important element of onsite SEO that it deserves a separate heading. Word-by-word address is no longer enough. You need to minimize the number of steps customers have to take in order to get to your restaurants. And by steps I mean both literal and figurative. Add a route map to your website with clear directions that will show your clients the shortest way to your restaurant.
Write Localized Meta Title and Description
In traditional SEO, meta title is the clickable heading that appears on search engine results and tells the user what your webpage is about. Meta title should be 50–60 characters long and if it exceeds the limit, the search engine might not fully display the title of your webpage. Don’t expect anything earth-shatteringly novel in case of restaurant website SEO. The only difference is that the meta title should indicate the name and location of your restaurant.
Meta descriptions are the short summary of what the user will find on your webpage. If it’s a link to an article, I would suggest you write a catchy and appealing meta description that doesn’t expose everything but still gives a decent idea of what the article is about. In case of restaurant website SEO, your task is slightly changed. *Spoiler alert it has to do with location* You have to include your address in meta description as well.
If a potential customer is looking for an Italian restaurant nearby, the first thing he will look at is your address. And you will definitely earn a click if he sees the location in your meta title and description.
Apply Schema Markup to Your Website
Generally speaking, Schema Markup is another tool that helps search engines better understand and categorize the information on your website. Search engines value Schema Markup implementation because their purpose is to show the users the most relevant and useful results. In other words, the more information you give to Google, the higher the chances are that you’ll rank high and your knowledge graph will be displayed on the result page.
For restaurants, you want Google to show things like reviews, address, and working hours on the results page. If you manage to have a Knowledge Graph that includes all of these, you will catch the attention of the customers a lot faster. The knowledge graph or snippets will appear if users search the name of your restaurant or in case you rank the first among “nearby Italian restaurants,” for example. For websites with WordPress admin, you can add Schema Markup as a plug in and fill in the necessary fields. Otherwise, developers will add a special HTML code that carries the same task.
It is time to jump into the next part of restaurant SEO, which is offsite SEO and here is what it contains:
- Link building with local websites,
- Directories and local citations,
- Google my business.
Link building with Authorized Local Websites
The famous expression goes, one backlink from a high-domain website is worth a thousand mediocre ones. To be honest, I am not sure if such an expression even exists but it should. Restaurant SEO also requires backlinks and the magic word is …., you guess right - local. Your website will look much more credible in the eyes of Google if your backlinks are from local websites.
Local Business Citations
Local business citations are crucial for restaurant SEO. Say I want to go to a Chinese restaurant and I do not a name of such place to Google. What do I do? I search Chinese restaurant in X city. What do you think will pop up? Surely directories. Having links on websites like Yelp or Tripadvisor are in your favor. To make sure that you will be in the top results on those directories, pay close attention to ratings and review because they are the decision makers. And this brings us to our next point.
Actually this section could appear in onsite optimization as well. People love reviews and so do the search engines. Open your restaurant SEO to do list and with big and bold letters write reviews. You can and should add testimonials on your websites (photos of happy customers always do the trick). Reviews come in handy while implementing schema markup as well. Urge your visitors to leave feedback on your social media, website, in the comment section of directories, and so on.
Google My Business
What if there was a directory that Google owned - it would definitely rank first, right? No need to imagine because there is such thing and it is called Google My Business. You might have been familiar with Google Places. Long story short, it changed its name and Google My Business is the new modification of the latter.
Google My Business listings are for local businesses, so that when someone searches for let’s say pizza in Paris, I don’t why anyone would search that … anyway, 3 Google My Business listings will be displayed in map section. If you optimize your page well enough, your restaurant will be one of them. If users click your business’s Google My Business listing, they will see the following:
- Name, address and phone number.
- Location on a map.
- Opening hours.
- A link to the business’s website.
- Photos related to the business.
- Reviews by previous customers.
- A rating out of 5 for the business (based on scores given by previous customers).
First you will need to register your business Google My Business page. There is a possibility that you already have an account on Google My Business, so first search the name of your restaurant. If it does not recognize then you have to add it. Click “No, these are not your businesses” and fill in the details to finalize your profile.
If you do happen to have one then you just need to verify that you are the owner. In both cases Google will send you a postcard that contains a PIN code. Once you enter it, you are all set on Google My Business. Google will take around two days to confirm your request and it will go live.
Other tips for restaurant SEO
We discussed the major components of local SEO that will improve your rankings. But if you want to implement the full package restaurant website SEO then there are a couple more things that you should know.
Do you know that mobile beats desktop in terms of website visitors? It does! More and more people prefer to use their mobile devices to surf the web. Google and other search engines aim to please the mobile users. Which, for restaurant SEO, translates into mobile optimization. If you are working on your rankings than a little work on mobile optimization will definitely favor you.
Have you heard of mobile first indexation? Considering the prevailing amount of mobile users, websites are first made for mobile than desktop.
Here is your ultimate brief guide to mobile optimization. Go ahead and make sure that your restaurant website still looks excellent on phones:
- Responsive web design
- Dynamic content
- Separate URLs (mobile site)
Restaurants with Multiple Locations
Okay, we got it, location is extremely important but what if your restaurant has branches? A little warning beforehand, your task on these terms is a little harder. The rule of thumb for multi-location SEO is to have separate and optimized pages for each business location.
URL for each page, should look something like this:
Make sure you cover these points for each minisite:
- That location’s name, address, and phone number (NAP)
- Location-specific content (staff information, testimonials, news, etc.)
- An embedded Google Map
Every SEO specialist knows that blog is simply amazing. Not only is it a way of talking to your clients but also it is a powerful element of content that comes in handy in optimization. You can use blogs for restaurant SEO in a smart way. One thing that you should have noted up until now is that your efforts are localized. The same applies to your blog.
Write valuable content for the community, for instance if there is a big event happening in your city, suppose a music festival, create a blog post about that. In your article make a slight natural reference to your restaurant. This way if the user searches information about that specific event, he can be redirected to your restaurant website.
Your Restaurant SEO To Do Is Complete
The task for all SEO specialists is generally speaking the same - improve rankings. However, methods and targets may vary greatly. For restaurant SEO, you should focus on local and direct the majority of your resources to ranking high locally.
Pay attention to both offsite and onsite SEO, make sure your website is optimized for desktop and mobile. Add a blog with useful and compelling content and carefully monitor the results. After all SEO is also about trying different techniques to find out which one works the best and develop on that.
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