How to promote your restaurant with Google AdWords

Keywords

The keywords are the words/phrases that people enter when searching for something. You insert in AdWords the list of keywords that are relevant for your business and Google displays the ads to those that are searching for your selected terms.

Needless to say, building the list of keywords is an important step towards a successful campaign. Think about your cuisine, your offering and your location. Try putting yourself into your customers’ shoes. What would they type in the search box? Do not be afraid to use common sense for an initial assessment of main keywords. I mean just think about it ...would anyone try to find your restaurant by searching for "independently operated hospitality business established in 2001" ? Probably not so...how about “Italian restaurant on Park Ave” ? More likely? Then add those words to your keywords list and the entire string will probably become one of the longtail keyword you will target.

Free AdWords generator for restaurants

Keywords research

There are quick and easy ways you can get some help and inspiration:

  • Use the Keywords Planner (you can find it under Tools, in your AdWords account). It suggests new keywords based on a phrase, your restaurant website or category.
search for new keywords with the Keywords Planner from AdWords
  • Check in your search page what Google suggests at autocomplete or as related searches.
  • Use tools like Ubersuggest. It derives hundreds of longtail keywords based on a main keyword you insert.
  • Use your Webmaster Tools to find out which are the keywords that your customers use to enter your website.

How to choose the best keywords to use in the ads

Having a preliminary list of keywords, next step is to choose the right ones to use for advertising your restaurant. The Keyword Planner is again of great help. Copy paste your list under “Get search volume data and trends”, without forgetting to select the region you’re targeting. It will show the search volumes plus the competition level and Google’s suggested bid.

Average monthly searches: You need keywords that people use, so the more searches the better. However, too many searches (like for “restaurants near me”), is an indication that your keyword is too broad. And too broad means that the keyword is less performing and usually a lot more expensive (compared to a more specific keyword like “italian restaurant in manhattan”). Too few searches on the other hand (too specific), means that you will not be able to get the desired number of people to your website.

Competition: Is given by the number of advertisers that are bidding on the keyword. Of course, the higher the competition, the more difficult it is to get your ad displayed.

Suggested bid: Gives you an idea of how much a click on your ad would cost. Remember that you need several clicks for one conversion, so do a simple math to learn how much you can afford to spend.

In conclusion, at this point you need to select the keywords that can give you quality traffic, at a price that you can afford. If you have limited budget, a good strategy is to search for those long tail keywords with lower competition and smaller CPC (cost-per-click). You will need some dozens of those to get to a decent number of search volumes, but in the end your ads will perform better (because they are very targeted), without spending a fortune.

Here’s an example of two keywords that an Italian restaurant in New York, Manhattan could potentially use with AdWords. While clearly the first one has a huge number of searches, it is also estimated to be 46 times more expensive.

keywords planner searches

Match types

As we were saying earlier, for your ad to be displayed, the search query needs to match your targeted keyword. But the matching part can be done very precise or rather loose, depending on how you set it up. Long story short, here are the match types, as explained by google:

Match type Matches for searches that Example keyword Example search
broad match include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations women's hats buy ladies hats
broad match modifier contain the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order +women's +hats hats for women
phrase match are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase "women's hats" buy women's hats
exact match are an exact term and close variations of that exact term [women's hats] women's hats
negative match do not include the term -women baseball hats

Note: Close variations include misspellings, singular forms, plural forms, acronyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), abbreviations, and accents.

Which match type should you use?

Well, Google recommends that you start broad for maximum exposure and then use the search terms report to figure out which keywords performed - and progressively narrow the list. This is one way to do it, and not a bad idea if you have money to spend. The alternative would be to start with an exact match, at the risk of being too specific and not being able to reach enough people (from the beginning). Here, you would progressively go broader. But in this case, having targeted keywords will lead to a higher conversion rate and a better ROI than with the first approach.

Ad groups

With the final list of keywords ready, you will need to go ahead and create the text ads. An important ingredient in writing successful ads is matching the searched keyword with the ad’s copy. Imagine that someone is searching for takeaway food and sees an ad from you promoting 30-minutes delivery. Sounds good, but it’s not relevant for this search. That’s why you need to split your keywords into groups, based on similarity. Each ad group will have its own bid value and text ads.

Google recommends that you split the keywords in groups of 10-20. Well, you should actually split them in as many groups as needed, even if that means having 1 keyword per group. The point is that the keyword should be found in the text’s ad, ideally in the headline. With many keywords in the group there are little chances that you can make this happen.

Don’t underestimate the need of ad groups. For extra motivation, know that the cost-per-click is also influenced by the quality score of the ad, so it’s worth the setup effort. More about this in the next section.