Local SEO can significantly help you beat the competition in your neighborhood’s restaurant industry by reaching your potential customers effectively. Getting customers in any industry is tough whether it is an automobile or restaurant business. With the advent of the digital era, the race to get featured on the first page of search engines is becoming crucial for many local businesses, something which is not surprising.
Wouldn’t it be great to have more customers ordering online from your restaurants or giving you a five-star rating on your social media page? Restaurants are usually in a dire need for local SEO than any other business since they are prone to stiff competition from rivals in their niche.
It is a painful sight when you see your next door restaurant regularly receive more customers than yours. But have you ever wondered what techniques are they using behind the scenes to survive the competition?
Maybe they are spending part of their marketing budget in SEO and optimizing their website to reach more local customers than you? If you are confused in such a situation, then applying the below hacks would likely help increase your chances of getting more customers and getting highlighted on the first pages of popular search engines, like Google.
1- Claim your Google Business Listing
A unique way to rank higher in local SEO is by submitting your business to Google Listing. This will help Google know that your business is located in a specific region or city and your restaurant will show up in the relevant search queries, which is great.
Listing can be an important part for your restaurant business since it helps your potential customer find your business on the first pages of search engines. As a local restaurant, you can also tell people about your opening and closing timings, contact number and your website. If you have been running the restaurant for some time, then you would already have your business in the listing page. If not, then create a new listing and provide all the relevant information to improve your ranking.
You can also add your restaurant’s pictures, and street address to help customers reach your physical location. Once you are done with the basic information, add a short description of your business and the food you serve. Also, you can upload your menu in image format in your Google Business Listing so people can decide the cuisine to buy before giving you a visit.
To increase engagement and get more sales you can also put more elements to your listing, such as pictures about the theme of your restaurant, people inside it and your staff and kitchen! But there are more benefits to this local SEO strategy.
Keep in mind that Google Business Listing provides a review section for your restaurant that can be crucial to make a positive impact on your potential customers. When people give a visit to your restaurant or order online, they can easily give a review based on their experience, which can be advantageous for your overall reputation in the industry.
Additionally, many of your first customers will go through these reviews to make the decision before giving you a visit. Hence, Google Listing provides you an opportunity to connect better with your customers and improve your services based on independent users’ feedback.
Moreover, Google Business Listing also lets you reply to the feedback, so you can address people who had a negative experience at your restaurant and counter the circumstances in the future.
In other words, optimizing your business listing is the foremost Local SEO strategy you should begin with to help people easily find your business. By putting a little effort and submitting your data to Google, you will easily be able to ace the competition.
2- Add Keywords to your Webpage
An important part of your local SEO strategy is to integrate the popular keywords in your webpage. Although you might see it as a global technique, it is no different with SEO except the keyword choice.
If you want your restaurant to appear on search engine pages, then populating it with all keywords that people use in your locale would be the best way forward. But before you decide to integrate keywords on your webpage, it is ideal to go through multiple keyword planner tools to have a better insight into the words you are planning to rank for.
It is also essential to check your food range before adding keywords on your website pages. What type of cuisine are you offering: Italian, Chinese, or Mexican? This is because you need each of these dishes to rank independently from one another in the search engine. You cannot optimize your entire pages with Chinese dishes and let search engines ignore the rest.
A better way is to use a long tail keyword for your Local SEO strategy. Long tail keywords are a combination of more than three words and are great to target niche traffic. A typical long tail keyword would include terms such as “Chinese restaurant near me” or “Restaurants selling Beef Mexican Burritos.”
These keywords are far better than short tail keyword, such as “Chinese restaurant”, since they are highly targeted and assist your restaurant in climbing to the first page of Google’s Rankings. Once you are done selecting your keyword from popular keyword planners, it is time to integrate them into your site.
This is an easy step and does not require any technicalities if you have basic knowledge of the way a website functions. Once you are done optimizing your website with keywords, let Google’s Bot crawl through your webpages which will take some days and understand the new structure of your site.
Further, you can also use a combination of long and short tail keywords in your Title, Headings and Meta description of your pages to beat the competition. Just make sure to avoid keyword stuffing since it can harm your rankings instead of improving it in the long run.
3- Get your Menu in Search Results
Many restaurant owners are not aware of this rich feature from Google. Back in 2014, Google added menu data right into their search result page to help customers easily choose their favorite food. This area of Local SEO can be highly valuable to achieve more sales and growth for your restaurant.
Everything that your customer would want to know about your servings would be readily available via just one Google query. Although this would undermine people visiting your website to check the prices, still this technique can be a lot better for local optimization. Besides, adding menu on the search page can quickly assist you in reaching more customers without any extra cost.
One thing you should focus on before submitting your menu to Google is to make sure that your menus are all consistent. If you have images on your site depicting menus or your menu is available on third-party websites, like Yelp, then it is important to update and align all of them with the menu on your site.
You wouldn’t want your customer to get frustrated after finding the difference between the Google prices against those on your traditional menu upon visiting the restaurant.
4- Using Schema
If you have in any way worked on SEO, you would likely know about the Schema markup. These are the small bits of data that transform your website content into a friendlier and focused content for search engine robots to easily digest and acknowledge.
Search engines are always ready to understand the type of your business, contact information and the foods you offer. But this can be frustrating for robots if you haven’t come up with a simple solution to help improve their understanding. Schema markups are snippets of code that resides in your webpage for the sole purpose of sending data to Google crawler.
This data can include anything from your menu selection, location, and even food images. By taking time to learn and code schema for local SEO, you can make the job easier for Google to better rank your website in its search result pages.
Let’s take the example of a schema address. Before optimization, your code would look something like this
XTZ Downtown Street, BQX Town
Phone: (431) 561-7867
Well, this looks great, but honestly, this won’t do the job if when it comes to local SEO for your restaurant. With schema you can help search engines better understand the code. Using the address with Schema code would look something like this:
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>XTZ Downtown Street</span>
<span itemprop=”addressLocality”>BQX Town</span>
phone: <span itemprop=”telephone”>(431) 561-7867</span>
That’s the schema code for optimizing your restaurant address. But there are more details search engines would need to know before including your website on their first pages. For this, you can also add schema for Menu, Menu selection, operational hours and even prices and images of your cuisine.
5- Regularly Publish and Upload Content
The search engine will place a website on top of its pages with daily updates in comparison to the one that is not frequently updated. If you are a new or small restaurant or wish to get more customers, then writing local SEO optimized content for your website can have beneficial effects on your overall business.
Content creation is the process of posting and sharing information on your website that people find valuable. As a restaurant, there are several topics you can choose to optimize your website. How about writing for “Delicious Chinese Dishes at XYZ restaurant” while optimizing the “Delicious Chinese Dishes” keyword.
In other words, content creation is a great way to market your business and increase the sales in your niche. This is an opportunity that can attract many people with only a fine piece of content. Besides, you can also share several other content types on your website which can include food videos, interviews from your customers, or a how-to section regarding your popular food.
If you are going for content creation, then it is also beneficial to add inbound links to your menu items or create a call to action line for generating sales. Moreover, as you post content on your site, make sure that you are using keywords that local customer would search for on the search engine.
These keywords would be highly specific such as “Mexican restaurants in California” and would have a low amount of search volume. But in the long run, the same content can generate more leads than traditional marketing by directing locals to your blog and website, which is great.
Local SEO: Where To Go Next
Local SEO is a lot different from general optimization. If you are not specifically targeting your audience and assisting Google crawler for a better understanding of your website structure, then your business runs the risk of losing customers to your rivals.
To counter this effect, local restaurants shall use proper SEO tactics to rank better on search engines and drive higher sales. Although this can be quite time-consuming, it still can lead to better sales turnover than you originally expected.
New restaurants are also more vulnerable to stiff competition and if you are not getting featured on Google Business Listing, then the odds would be highly against you. Make sure to regularly add content to your site and target a mix of a long and short tail keyword to promote your business.
Another great option to rank better is to convince customers to provide a check-in on their Social Media profile or dropping a review on Google. Make their stay is memorable and let them find your restaurant in a few clicks. Although rankings won’t improve overnight, they will still highly impact your business in the long run. As an end note, make sure to monitor and analyze the results of your efforts by using Google and Moz Analytics tools and make the changes accordingly.