SEO Basics for Restaurants

As a restaurant or bar, your business will want to get ranked in Local Search, Google Maps and Organic Search results for your type of restaurant and the city or metro area it is in. The most important search word you want to get ranked for is the type of restaurant in your category.

Optimizing Your Local Listing on Google My Business

Google my Business allows restaurants to add descriptions, pictures, social media links, and categories. In order to get ranked better, your restaurant will need to be optimized for each category. You will also want to have the best description for your restaurant and this description should also match your social media profiles. Social signals (from social media sites) can affect your SEO by potentially generating more traffic to your website. Therefore, it is essential to post many pictures and updates to new or popular menu items, discounts, promotions and special events.

Reputation Monitoring: Google Reviews

Google reviews have an indirect correlation to SEO. Having positive reviews may actually encourage a new customer to give your restaurant a try. Therefore, one of the best forms of SEO is actually having great customer service and great tasting food. But what happens if you have negative reviews?

What do you do when you get a Negative Review?

Negative reviews can be a good learning experience. Consider it constructive criticism. It is good to know what your restaurant is doing wrong so you can fix it. Therefore, even if your restaurant has negative reviews, it is not the end of the world. Google My Business allows all business owners to respond to every review. Although there is no guarantee, but by responding to a negative review, you may be able to encourage the customer who wrote the negative review to retract the review or to give you a second chance. At the very least, acknowledge the negative review in a positive way. Let the customer know that you are sorry and willing to correct the mistake. Even if the customer does not respond back, your response as a business owner shows other customers that you actually care about them, and your restaurant is willing to do anything it can to make things right.

SEO: Identifying your restaurant’s main niche for keywords

The first step in an SEO plan for restaurants is to identify who you are. So for example, an owner of an Asian restaurant in Columbus Ohio that serves Chinese food, will naturally want to get ranked on Google page 1 for both “Asian Restaurant in Columbus Ohio” and “Chinese Restaurant in Columbus Ohio.” But why stop there? These are only two key phrases that potential customers might be searching for. Therefore as a restaurant owner, you want to get ranked for everything your restaurant has to offer.

If your restaurant happens to have a lunch buffet, then you may also want to get ranked for “Asian Buffet in Columbus Ohio” or “Lunch Buffet in Columbus OH.” Here is an example of results for a search for “Lunch Buffet in Columbus OH.” Ideally, you would want your restaurant to rank in both local and organic search.

Diversify your content and identify other potential keywords for SEO

Does your restaurant have supplementary services or beverages? Let us say, for example, your restaurant also serves a variety of tea, then you may also want to get ranked for “Tea Shops in Columbus OH” (even if your restaurant is not technically a tea shop, it will not hurt to get your business ranked for that term if you have an extensive tea menu for customers).

Another way to get leads is to get ranked for a specific type of food. Let us say you serve a special type of entrée that is really popular, then you will also want to get ranked for that dish too. For example, if you specialize in a popular dish such as Sushi or Pho, then you will also want to get ranked for “Sushi Restaurant in Columbus OH” or “Pho Restaurant in Columbus OH.”

Let us say you also have a bar within your restaurant and your bar serves a signature drink (we will use a Martini for example), then you will also want to be ranked for “Martini Bar in Columbus OH.”

Does your restaurant also offer entertainment? Do you have catering services? If you have karaoke at night for example, then you definitely want to make “Karaoke Bar in Columbus OH” rank well too. If you can handle catering, then you will want to rank for “Catering in Columbus OH.” See where this is going? These are just a few examples.

We are an SEO and Digital Marketing Agency that works with your business!

Our SEO Experts at Archmore Business Web can work with your restaurant, bar or coffee shop and get your business ranked for all the keywords that define your business and industry. We will work with you to determine popular keywords within your industry and we will help you implement the content in order to get your restaurant ranked better in search results.

Getting ranked in Local Search

Local search is the use of specialized internet search engines that allow users to submit geographically constrained searches against a structured database of local business listings. The first step in getting your business ranked in Local Search is to fill out all applicable information on your Google My Business listing. Google tends to rank restaurants with complete listings higher than those who do not. It also helps if you verify your location (Google will send a postcard with a confirmation code to your physical address; follow the steps they provide on the postcard and on their website and your restaurant will be properly verified). Each local search listing also includes a link to your website. Restaurants with a website that is SEO optimized also tend to do better than restaurants that are not. This means your website needs to have precise information about its location within the content. This also means more references to the city or metro area within your web pages, which is why you need to leverage your website and optimize your pages with keywords related to your business.

Google itself provides excellent tips on how a restaurant can rank better in Local Search: Improve Your Ranking on Google Local.

Keep in mind that “There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We (Google) do our best to keep the details of the search algorithm confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone.” – Google My Business Help

Getting Ranked in Google Maps

Search results on Google Maps are designed to help businesses be more visible at moments when consumers are searching online (especially on a mobile device) for somewhere to eat or shop. Most people doing searches on Google Maps are probably in their cars or just leaving work. They are also probably using their mobile device and Google Maps as a navigation system. The Google Maps experience is designed to allow users to actually see your ads but without going so far as to become obtrusive and become a distraction to users who may be driving. This is why it is important to have a Google My Business profile filled out completely and claimed, so an individual searching for your restaurant will be able to better identify and locate it.

Getting ranking in Organic Search

Getting a high rank in organic search results depends entirely upon the content of your website. The best and most efficient way to get a high ranking is to produce relevant content that people find useful. Besides content, a great way to optimize your website is by creating great content and having structured markup data (Schema Markup Code).

Schema Markup Code

Also known as structured data or microdata, Schema markup code helps Google determine what type of business your website is, which may affect your organic search rankings.

Pay Per Click advertising for restaurants

Advertising on Google Maps is a powerful way to attract nearby customers. A restaurant owner can benefit from ads on Google Maps to make it easier for customers to get to your location.

How does Google Maps choose which ads to display?

Let us assume you are placing an ad on Google. There could be hundreds of restaurants near a user’s location but only a few precious ad spots. Google chooses to show your ads based on several factors or signals.

Google says it is using a “variety” of signals, including:

  • Query context
  • Location
  • Search/browsing history
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Time of day
  • Demographics

What Google Maps is doing is similar to the ad serving used on the Google Display Network. Therefore, if Google knows that a customer does not often go to Starbucks, then Google Maps will not show them a Starbucks ad. This is clever and may prevent unwanted clicks on your ad. You can find out more about how Advertising on Google Maps works on Google’s support site.

an example of local search results for restaurants

An example of local search results

an example of organic search results

an example of a PPC pay per click function

Social signals for restaurant SEO