Getting more foot traffic into your restaurant can be a challenging and overwhelming task…The truth is there’s a thousand different ways to market a business and attract customers. We are only going to focus on one of those methods in this post, Search Engine Optimization (SEO for Restaurants). After performing some local SEO for a Restaurant in Mesa AZ, We’ve compiled a list of 10 actionable steps restaurant owners can take to reach more customers in 2017.
1. Have a Great Website – In 2017 the ease of use and mobile friendliness of your website is now more important than ever. Google is starting to look at user engagement as a metric when ranking websites. That means the better your site is the better your SEO. Make sure you provide the information searchers are looking for and displaying it in the best way possible.
2. Mobile Friendly – This is huge for restaurant owners and other local businesses. 90% of the time when someone is searching for a new place to eat they search using their cell phone or tablet. Test your site on different devices making sure it’s easy to use. Otherwise you can expect mobile visitors to land on your site and then leave within 3 seconds. By not having a mobile friendly website your are missing out on the majority of your potential customers. Google has a mobile friendly test tool that will allow you to quickly see if your website is up to par.
3. Local Search Profiles – Having your Google Business & Bing Pages 100% complete and verified will make a huge difference in local search results. For Restaurant owners this is crucial since almost all of your customers are performing local searches. If you haven’t already claimed or created your local business pages you can do so here and here. Once they are created it is very important to have them verified. This process is usually done by submitting the verification request, then Google & Bing will send you a postcard with a PIN Number. Once you receive that postcard, follow the instructions to finish the process. Verified local business pages will show on Local Search, Google Maps, & Google Places, giving you the opportunity to reach many more local searchers. This is one of the easiest things you can do to have the biggest impact on your SEO in 2017.
4. Create profiles on Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Zomato, etc. – Having completed profiles on Yelp, UrbanSpoon or other useful directories will allow you to keep in touch with active customers and see what they’re saying about your business. It will also allow you to provide useful & relevant information to help better attract online visitors. More importantly Google counts these as reputable websites and having complete profiles can give you an extra bump in search results.
5. Optimize website loading times – This goes hand in hand with being ‘mobile friendly’. If you’re site takes longer than 4 seconds to load on a mobile device than you are likely losing a huge majority of traffic before they even land on your site. Optimize your website for speed, Google has a friendly page speed test tool or for more detailed information you can also check out GTMetrix.
6. Menu Pages – When users perform a search on Google or Bing they are usually looking for a specific type of food. The search engine will serve the most relevant website that includes the terms they are looking for. This means if your menu is in PDF format on your website it isn’t doing you any favors…Make sure your menu is typed out on the page and it’s easy for the user to read. This will result in new keyword rankings for terms you didn’t think possible, instead of trying to rank for restaurants you might get a bump from the items in your menu ‘cheeseburgers, dessert, Wing Wednesday, Creme Brule’ etc.
7. Keep your website updated – Keep your website updated with latest news & events, daily specials, promotions, etc. The frequent changes to your site will give users a reason to come back and search engines will give your site favor over others that don’t get updated.
8. You need a few back links – Google ranks websites based on their domain authority. You spend countless hours working on your reputation around town, making sure your customers like you, making sure you get positive reviews, making sure your restaurant is the best it can be. Google does the same sort of thing, they look at how many websites link to yours. If you don’t have any links to your site from reputable sources it will make it more difficult to rank for certain terms. The good news is most restaurants don’t have many back-links. So you can typically get by with one or two quality links.
How can you go about getting quality backlink? Audit your existing relationships, business, personal, community, etc. Do any of those people you know have a website? Does your community have directories for Restaurants or other local businesses? If so reach out to them and see if they would be willing to link to your site. A few quality links can go a long way for your SEO.
9. Track your results – when it comes to any form of digital marketing it always helps to know if your hard work & efforts pay off…At the very least you should have Google Analytics installed on your Restaurant Website. This will allow you to track organic search traffic over time, if you’re performing the steps above you should see a gradual increase in organic search traffic month after month. If you’re not seeing any positive results that’s a good sign what you’re doing isn’t working or your not doing enough. On the flip side, if you’ve been working on your SEO or paid someone to do it for you Google Analytics is a great way to see if it’s working and can encourage you to keep plugging forward.
10. Use Social Media – The more positive reviews and discussion you can generate around your restaurant business the better. Make sure your using Social Media to your advantage, start an Instagram account, be active on Facebook, enable reviews on Facebook, etc. Google & Bing both take account for positive reviews & engagement, the more profiles you have across social and the more positive interaction the better.
Marketing a restaurant can be extremely challenging, not knowing which way to go or thing to try can be stressful enough on it’s own. This list of actionable SEO steps will hopefully get you going in the right direction for 2017.