If you’re like most restaurateurs, you know that having a website is a must-have in today’s digital age. Not only does it provide customers with information about your restaurant, but it also serves as a virtual business card that can help drum up new business. But what many restaurateurs don’t realize is that there are ways to boost their website’s visibility and ranking on search engines, which can help drive more traffic to their site – and ultimately, their restaurant.
The best part is that many of these strategies are easy to implement and can be done at little or no cost. So, what are the top 10 ways you can optimize your restaurant’s website for local SEO? Read on to find out.
1) Include Your Restaurant’s Address & Phone Number (Accurately)
One of the first things you should do is ensure that your restaurant’s physical address and phone number are listed on your website. Not only will this increase the trustworthiness of your site, but it will also help search engines determine where on a map to place your listing, which can improve local rankings. And don’t worry about people calling for directions or reservations – you can add in a disclaimer that encourages customers to simply enter their zip code in your reservation widget in order to find your location.
2) Add a Local Map
If people are going to visit you, they’re going to need directions. That’s where local map listings come into play. Not only can you list yourself on Google Maps (which will provide you with a local listing on Google search results), but there are myriad sites that allow you to list your restaurants for free, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.
3) Get Your Website Listed on City-Specific Sites
As I mentioned earlier, there are numerous websites that will list your business on their site for free. These include sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, both of which are extremely popular among consumers. But you can also opt for niche industry sites that are city-specific, such as Urban Spoon or Zagat. By getting listed on these types of sites, you’ll be able to reach more customers who are searching for restaurants in your neighbourhood – meaning no matter where your customers are, you’ll be able to capture their attention.
4) Optimize Your Website URLs
When it comes to search engine optimization, many restaurateurs simply focus on the words that go into their site’s meta description and content. But this is just one part of a very large equation. The other is your site’s URLs, which tell search engines exactly what your website is about. In other words, they’re a key component of both organic SEO and local SEO. So, avoid generic URLs such as “http://www.restaurant.com” and instead opt for URLs that help classify each page on your site by its content or function (i.e., http://www.restaurant.com/dinner-menu).
5) Optimize Your Site’s Title Tags
Another item that many restaurateurs neglect is the “title” tags on their sites, which are typically located in the <head> section of your HTML code. However, these tags provide search engines with valuable information about what your site is about, and how it should be listed in search results. So, ensure that your site’s title tag accurately describes your restaurant and the services you provide.
6) Post Restaurant-Related Keywords
Another way to improve your website’s local rankings on search engines is to include keywords related to your business throughout your content (in moderation, of course). This might sound challenging, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. For example, if you offer catering services in addition to providing meals. Be sure to include the words “catering” and “catering services” on your site when describing your business. And don’t forget to leverage your menu – describe your most popular dishes using keywords that potential customers might search for when looking for restaurants in your area.
7) Optimize Your Site
Last but not least, you should ensure that you optimize all of the pages on your restaurant’s website. This means ensuring each page contains an accurate description of the content it includes, inserting keywords where appropriate, and adding both internal and external links to relevant pages throughout your site.
8) Optimize Your Images
Another way to optimize your website is to format your images correctly. This might sound complicated, but it’s actually fairly simple. To upload an optimized image on most sites. Simply ensure that the file contains a keyword in its title (i.e., “banner_image_optimized.jpg”).
9) Optimize Your Meta Descriptions
When it comes time to optimize your meta descriptions, the following rules apply:
- Keep them between 150-160 characters in length.
- Ensure that keywords are included in your description, but don’t overdo it!
- Try including a quote or call to action in your description.
10) Promote Your Restaurant Locally
The best way to increase your local SEO is to ensure that you promote your business in the offline world as well. This might sound challenging, but it’s actually pretty easy. Simply hold social events at your restaurant (e.g., wine tastings). Promote your business to local bloggers, and participate in community events to gain exposure.
11) Add Local Information To Your Site
Another way to improve your restaurant’s local SEO is to add information about your business location to the bottom of each page on your site. This can include anything from an address to a phone number. But be sure that it’s easily visible and readable (i.e., use a large font size).
12) Optimize Your Site For Mobile Devices
Today, more than half of all searches on search engines are conducted using mobile devices such as smartphones. This means that if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices. You are likely to lose out on business from mobile users. To ensure that your website is optimized for all devices, use responsive web design on your site, and test it using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
13) Get Rid Of Duplicate Content
The common problem restaurant websites face is duplicate content issues. This occurs when a page from your website is indexed by search engines more than once. To avoid this problem, ensure that your site is set to “no-index” pages that shouldn’t be indexed (e.g., restaurant menu items). Redirect any duplicate URLs to the correct location, and utilize canonical tags when appropriate.
14) Verify Your Site
Before search engines will start crawling or indexing your website, it must first be verified. This ensures that your website is a legitimate business and not a scam or spam site. While this process shouldn’t take long, it can be complicated if you’re using a custom-built site. Instead of having to deal with redirects and other potential problems, consider using a WordPress theme for your restaurant’s website.
15) Bring Visitors To Your Site
After you’ve optimized your website, the next step is to bring visitors to it. There are plenty of ways to do this, but here are a few ideas:
- Update your restaurant’s social media profiles with good descriptions and regular posts about your menu or specials.
- Promote your website through digital advertising (e.g., Google AdWords’).
- Send your website address to your email list and encourage subscribers to check it out.
- Hold a special event at your restaurant and include information about the event in a blog. On social media profiles, or via email blasts to your subscriber list.
16) Optimize Your Images
When you post images on your restaurant’s social media profiles. Be sure to include keywords in their file names (i.e., “banner_image_optimized.jpg”). This ensures that your pictures will rank for those search terms if someone shares them elsewhere on the web.
17) Add Schema
If you want to take your local SEO efforts to the next level, be sure to add schema mark up to your website. This helps search engines understand your website’s content more clearly. And gives you a competitive edge over competitors who haven’t yet implemented schema mark up.
18) Submit Your Site To Google
Once your site is live, it should be submitted to Google so that it appears in search results for relevant keywords. To do this, you’ll need to first create a Google My Business account and follow the instructions outlined here.
19) Get The Most Out Of PPC
If your restaurant’s social media profiles are active, no doubt you’ve seen an increase in website traffic as a result of leads sharing posts with their friends and family. But if you want to take your PPC marketing efforts to the next level, consider creating ads that are specific to each social media network (e.g., promote a “daily special” for Facebook).
20) Add Your Menu
If you haven’t already added your menu(s) to your website, do it today. This will ensure that your restaurant’s menu appears in search results. Even if a potential customer doesn’t know your restaurant name. If you have a lot of options. Consider offering filters to help visitors find what they’re looking for faster (e.g., gluten-free dishes).
Local SEO might seem like a pain, but it’s definitely worth the effort if you want to attract new customers through search engines. With that in mind, use this guide as your reference point while optimizing your site for search results. If you still have questions about what it takes to achieve local SEO greatness, feel free to contact our digital marketing agency today.