What’s the easiest way you can promote your restaurant in the online environment? Optimizing your website for search engines, also known as doing SEO for restaurants.
This is something that we tackled in my last blog post. Here’s the link if you need to refresh your memory or you haven’t had the chance to read it yet:
However, you can tweak this strategy even more to make sure you hit a homerun with your online customers.
Because doing SEO without taking advantage of a few techniques related to local SEO for restaurants is like using a great formula 1 engine in a not so great chassis.
It’s still better than nothing, but why should you settle for good, when you can go for great?
Especially when it’s really easy to go to the next level.
So restaurant owners out there, let’s see how you can run a very successful online business that can prompt your online customers to visit you offline & can ultimately help you increase your foot traffic. All this, by making the most of a few local SEO for restaurants tactics.
Because at the end of the day, that’s what interests you the most: bringing enough customers in your restaurant to increase your earnings, right?
How local SEO for restaurants helps your customers find you
In this day and age what is the first thing that you do when you get home, after a long day’s work?
Your fridge is completely empty, you’re so hungry that you could eat a horse & you’re so tired that you can’t even be bothered to walk for 5 minutes to buy something to eat.
It’s a less-than-ideal-type-of-situation.
So what do you do? What’s one of the first things that pops to mind?
Going online to see what’s the nearest restaurant, or grocery shop, to you, right?
So you type in something along the lines of:
“Indian restaurants in Whitchurch”
“Indian restaurants near me”
Remember that word: “near”.
Because what you’ve just done is to conduct something called “local search”.
A new survey, conducted by Uberall revealed that more than 84% of “near me” searches are… for food. And this is actually great for your business, because it can propel it online. More than you actually give it credit for.
Josha Benner, CRO and co-founder of Uberall:
“The restaurant and quick-service industry sees a lot of ‘near me’ searches. This makes sense given how proximity-based eating is as a behavior.
[…] Checking hours and finding nearby locations were two of the most popular use cases from respondents.”
He also added the following:
“With huge growth in ‘near me,’ brands and marketers need to adapt to this new front door,” Benner said. “Searches are becoming more proximity and location-based. And what has been true for general organic search holds true for local search — whoever shows up first and in the top set of results will win the day. So, it’s important to optimize local presences online to meet that shift and deliver against demand.”
So while SEO is great to help people all around the world find your website among the top results, local SEO will actually enable all those in your area (city or neighboring cities) to easily “stumble” upon your restaurant online.
It’s a great opportunity that many restaurant owners could use to get more local customers and surge their sales.
So, in layman’s terms, while SEO helps your website rank better for a more general and worldwide audience, local SEO for restaurants will better optimize your website for a local audience (the customers in your area).
That’s why local SEO for restaurants is a powerful tool for small businesses since it helps your customers easily find you OFFLINE.
Because local SEO makes it possible for them to know and find out more about your restaurant’s:
- phone number
- business hours (and if you’re open on bank holidays)
- the address of your restaurant, etc.
That’s vital information that they need to know to find you and get in touch with you. And the easier you make it for them to discover all this info, the faster they can set foot into your restaurant. Or, at least order online.
Local SEO is influenced by a mix of contact info & location factors (that’s where Google My Business comes into play), as well as online reviews (which appear on Google my Business, Facebook, Yelp, Tripadvisor or anywhere else on the web) – that I’ll tell you about in a few seconds.
It’s how Google helps create a better user experience, by showing people the most relevant and satisfying information out there. So customers are shown restaurants in their area, highly reviewed by others.
So optimizing your business ONLINE, will help people know where to find you in real life.
And even if you do not want to increase foot traffic (because let’s say you have a small venue with little room), but you want to increase the number of your online orders, then local SEO can also help you with that.
So what are the best practices for local SEO for restaurants?
Now… most people don’t know that to make Google list their website in the top search results.
This is also known as increasing the rank of your website. So the most important thing to do is to make sure that “everybody knows” the official website, location, opening hours and contact info for your restaurant.
And listing your business on various food portals is a crucial part of this. Because as long as you don’t do this, they might create some dummy websites of your restaurant and then redirect the customer on their website for online ordering.
And since the order was processed through them… then they get to keep a share of the total value of the order. See how you might be losing money?
So let’s see exactly how you can increase the ranking of your website, step-by-step.
4 Local SEO tips for restaurants
Local SEO tip for restaurants #1: Google My Business
If you have a GloriaFood account, then you already have a Google My Business listing. If you haven’t done it yourself, then our Restaurant Success Team has already taken care of that and did it for you.
But how is this helping? Well, as you know, Google doesn’t only show images in Search, but also in Maps.
Ok now, and this is relevant how exactly?
I’ll explain briefly:
The best way to have your restaurant listed at the very top of the search engine result page (SERP), is by doing SEO – which takes some time – or by investing in Ad words (Google’s ads platform).
So you can choose what you’re willing to invest more in your business: time or money.
But… what if you don’t have to lose any of that? What if you…
- get to keep your money to yourself
- spend your time doing something else
- & still have your restaurant website popping up at the very top of the Google search results?
Is this even possible?
Only if you claim your Google My Business listing and fill in your restaurant’s profile with useful info, like:
- your restaurant’s name,
- phone number,
- precise location on the map.
If your business is listed on Google My Business, then every time your customer will be searching for an Indian restaurant in his area, then Google will just show him the restaurants in his proximity.
And you will be up there.
And your customer won’t even have to scroll down past the Local-3-Pack to see your restaurant listed on there.
It’s quite possible one of the best (if not THE best) way to gain a high position and a valuable real estate on Google.
Local SEO tip for restaurants #2: Get listed in the local directories
This is also called as citation building. Because listing your business on directories like Tripadvisor is an actual reference to your restaurant that help the users checking out your business.
Remember the previous image that I showed it to you earlier? What you need to remember is that Google shows you three local businesses.
That particular area is called “Local 3 Pack” and the businesses that appear there are businesses which are highly ranked anywhere on the web, including on:
- Apple Maps and Bing Places
- Or Hotfrog
But the part that you should be aware of is that the restaurants with the highest number of positive reviews will also influence your restaurant’s position in Google’s Local 3-Pack.
Take a look at the following image:
Now take a look at some of the best Indian restaurants in Whitchurch suggested by Tripadvisor:
See the connection?
Getting a citation from any of these directories provides your business with a note of authenticity, since it helps Google validate your restaurant online.
It tells it that you exist and that you are legit.
So, it’s also indicated to create a business page on as many of these local directories as you can.
Local SEO tip for restaurants #3: Have an active social media presence
Social media is a key element in establishing the relevance and authority of your restaurant’s local SEO potential.
The more active you are and the more often you post various updates, Gifs, photos, videos, or create contests that spark your patrons’ engagement, the more authority, credibility and trust you’ll get online.
Local SEO tip for restaurants #4: Get as many positive reviews
People want to know what others think about your brand.
That’s a fact nobody can deny.
Check out the following statistics:
- 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
- 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
The stats don’t lie. And apart from helping you boost your business, these reviews also help you improve it. Because you find out all about the flaws straight from the most important source: your customers.
So whenever you get feedback from your clients, implement it to the best of your ability and then let everyone know about it. Your clients will be happy and they’ll feel good because you respect and value their opinion.
So the easiest way to get reviews?
Ask your clients for them. Whenever they are happy, they have little to no problem writing their feedback online.
But if you still encounter a bit of resistance from them, then try offering them a drink or a desert for free, in exchange for their review.
So get started with these super helpful tips for local SEO for restaurants to ignite and boost your online presence.
Now, more than ever, we’re living in a virtual world that “mirrors” the real world.
So to exist and succeed in real life, you first need to build brand authority for your restaurant online. And using a few tactics designed to boost local SEO for restaurants is the way to go.