Not that long ago, the restaurant’s shop front and menu helped attract customers. Now an online presence is more important than ever. The battle for visibility is no longer in your street presence, but in the search results on the Internet. How do you optimize your online presence and dominate local search results? These five tips are designed to help you implement a solid SEO strategy.
1. Get your Google My Business listing
If you want to improve your local online presence, the first thing you need to do is create a Google My Business listing.
Nothing could be easier: just go to the Google My Business website and create your account. Make sure you have prepared several important pieces of information:
If you use a third-party tool to manage your bookings, you can also add it to your listing so that users can book a table directly from the search results.
Finally, you can also add what options your restaurant currently offers: dine-in; Entrainment; Delivery. This is very helpful to let your customers know in real time what options are available in your company based on the new Covid measures. And of course, you can update this later if the situation changes.
2. Optimize your content strategy and use local keywords
A content strategy is at the heart of most SEO optimizations. In order for your website to be visible in search results, there are two main factors to consider:
That it matches the search intent of your website visitors
That it uses the correct keywords or vocabulary that your visitors search with
The first step is to know your visitors. You need to define the target group you want to address. What is the average age range of your customers? In which city do you live? What are your interests? Once you have a picture of your target audience, it’s easier to use the right tone and deliver content that meets their expectations.
After that, you need to define the keywords that you want to target, always in line with your target audience. You can get an idea of the relevant keywords with the free Google Keyword Planner tool. Don’t forget to use mostly local keywords: this is your customers!
Another good piece of advice is to go for “long tail” keywords. These are very specific searches that are often relatively long and can consist of several words. There may be fewer searches per month, but there are also fewer competitors whose websites are a perfect answer to what the searcher is really looking for. Here is a good example:
Don’t forget to organize yourself and measure the effectiveness of your content.
It is important to create an editorial calendar. Even if you manage only a small amount of content, you can foresee your various projects and have a clear view of them. And Google tends to rate websites better if they regularly offer new content.
To measure the effectiveness of your content strategy, you can use Google Analytics to monitor KPIs such as the number of sessions, the bounce rate or the time spent on a page.
3. Implement basic SEO best practices
It is necessary to implement some SEO best practices in order to create a stable foundation for your website to be easy to find and for your search engine rankings to be optimized.
Title SEO and Meta Description
Every page and blog article on your website should have an SEO title and a meta description. This is the title and brief description that will appear in search results.
Hence, it is important that they be as clear and concise as possible and include the keywords that you want to target. If it doesn’t, Google may rewrite them for you and there is no guarantee of results.
Schema markup is code that you can add to your website to increase the likelihood that search results will contain a “rich snippet”. A large snippet is more visible than other search results.
Not only does this ensure that you are giving search engines the correct information, but it also increases the likelihood that people will read and interact with your entry and allows you to optimize your search results for voice searches by providing information in a way that Machines understand them.
Creating your own schema markup can be tricky, but you can use this generator tool from schema.org to help you out. All you have to do is fill in the main information about your company and the tool will provide you with the code snippet to add to your website. You can get help from a developer to put the snippet in the right place in your site’s code. Some website platforms also have plugins that do this for you.
4. Encourage reviews
Encouraging your customers to leave reviews can only benefit your business. Google never made it clear that sites with the most positive reviews are more likely to land at the top of search results. However, it doesn’t seem illogical to assume that Google wants its users to have the best possible experience. A company with good ratings may therefore have a better chance of getting better rankings.
In addition, users can sort search results for local businesses by the number of stars in Google. Your guests will likely click “4+ stars” instead of “2+ stars”, so getting the highest possible score is crucial for you.
Note that 92 percent of Internet users read reviews for local businesses. It is important to read and respond to every review, especially if it is negative! Reviews can be left on Google, but also on entries that are often highly valued in local search results such as Yelp or TripAdvisor. Remember to have your eyes everywhere and monitor all of your reviews.
5. Spread the word in local listings
The importance of ratings in local listings brings us straight to our final point. Setting up your Google My Business profile and doing the previous points will greatly increase your chances of appearing in search results.
However, when searching for a local restaurant, other sites almost always come up at the top of the search results: entries with content created by people who have visited the restaurants, such as: B. TripAdvisor or Yelp.
Creating your listing on these websites and providing correct information is another way to keep control of your brand online. This is important as your brand image is your online storefront!
There are guides available to help you improve your rankings on these platforms. The most important thing, however, is to make sure your information is up to date and get as many positive reviews as possible.
If there are other local restaurant listings in your area, it’s a good idea to contact them and add your restaurant as well.
You now have all the keys to increasing your restaurant’s visibility online! They know how to build your Google My Business listing, build a content strategy based on relevant keywords, and implement basic SEO best practices. But they also know how to get more visibility through reviews and local listings.
Following these few steps is the best foundation for implementing a solid SEO strategy later. And don’t forget to ask your guests how they found out about you or if they visited your website and monitor new visitors to your website to get an idea of how your online presence is attracting your personal guests.