In this digital era, almost two in every three people looking for a restaurant begin and end their search online. Clearly, having an effective digital presence is vital, but also think on this: Three quarters of search clicks go to sites on the first page of the search results. So while a great website is important, it also needs to be SEO-optimised to get traffic onto your site and customers into your restaurant.
What does restaurant website SEO involve?
The broad aspects of SEO, such as having a technically optimised site with the right keywords, adding content on a regular basis and ensuring everything is mobile-friendly are common factors for every website, regardless of your business sector. However, when it comes to SEO for restaurants there are some specific areas on which it is essential to focus.
Local SEO for a local business
Some businesses have a broad client base with customers located all over the country, or indeed the world. With a restaurant, however, the focus has to be hyperlocal. A golden rule for successful SEO is to get into the mind of the customer, and in this industry, location will be near the top of the agenda. Someone looking for a particular type of restaurant might be prepared to travel a few miles, but no further.
There are some specific tools we can use to boost local SEO for restaurants, and these ensure that everyone’s efforts are focused in areas that will yield the best results in terms of boosting search ranking, traffic and sales. A perfect example is Google My Business. Listing your restaurant here means that when someone searches for restaurants in a given location, a Google Maps window will pop up showing options in the area.
There are numerous other local listings too, and it makes sense to register your restaurant with all of them.
Focus on your USPs
Telling potential diners that your restaurant exists in the area they are looking for is a good start, but is not going to guarantee bookings. This is the age of choice, and a key part of your SEO effort needs to focus on aspects that will make your restaurant a better choice than the rest. In other words, what are your restaurant’s unique selling points (USP)?
This might relate to unique dishes on the menu, the use of local ingredients or perhaps a special aspect to the dining experience that only your business can offer. This is all especially important with the rising use of voice search – people are now searching Google with phrases such as “where can I get a great lasagne near here”, or “find me the best baked John Dory in Chelmsford”. Make sure your regular menu items are mentioned on your website, because people are more likely to search for something specific than “a nice restaurant in town”. Also, create pages for services you offer – birthday parties, office parties, Christmas parties, children’s parties etc. If you have 10 USPs, then create 10 new pages to cater for these.
Remembering the essentials
Restaurant SEO is a specialist area with unique considerations, but the strategies adopted all need to be tied up in a package that encompasses the fundamentals of onsite SEO.
A carefully crafted SEO strategy will help ensure two things. First, that your restaurant gets noticed by the right people in the right places and second, that when they click on the link they will be eager to book a table. From that point, it’s over to you to make sure they have a memorable meal, and want to come back time and again!