If your restaurant already has a website, then you are probably aware of the advantages of search engine optimization (SEO) can avail for your business. Given the vast number of Internet users, visibility in search engine results can help generate substantial order traffic for your restaurant business.
Many people will turn to the Internet when looking for a place to eat. Sites that appear among the first results will, therefore, have a distinct advantage. The order in which restaurants will appear in search results is not accidental. Search engines led by Google will weigh each restaurant’s website against hundreds of factors.
While each of these factors is important, some of them are more critical to boosting your site’s SEO score. Choose the best SEO reporting tools to track the factors that matter most. Here’s a look at 8 key ingredients for restaurant SEO success.
Create Quality Content
Create content that your customers will be excited to read. Relevant and engaging content raises your profile and grows customer loyalty and trust. It is your ticket to increasing the amount of time visitors spend on your website. And the longer someone stays on a site, the higher the chances of them converting into a sale.
Importantly, the time a visitor spends on your site does affect your search ranking. Google is keen on ensuring search users see the most relevant results first. One way to determine a site’s relevance is how long visitors stay. Other than your site’s core content, you could consider having a blog section where you can write on topics that your potential customers will find interesting.
Include Relevant Keywords in Your Content
Customers are constantly looking up a wide range of phrases on the Internet. Billions of search queries are run each day. The phrase used in a search query will depend on what specific thing the customer is looking for online. To ensure your restaurant is among the first results, you must incorporate the right keywords and phrases in your website’s content.
Avoid one-word keywords because the competition for these is too intense to realistically rank anywhere near the first page. Instead, stick to long-tail keywords since you are more likely to rank high for the phrase ‘strong spicy margarita’ than you would for just ‘margarita’. A bonus advantage is that long-tail phrases are often used by persons closer to making a purchase decision. They have a good idea of the exact thing they want so conversion rates are higher.
Build a Responsive Design
Make sure your website is designed for easy navigation on all major devices. Your site should be as easy to read on a smartphone as it is on a desktop computer. Optimizing your site for mobile is especially important since the majority of Internet users today access the world wide web through phone and not a computer.
A mobile-friendly website improves the user experience but is also a ranking signal for Google’s search algorithm. Note that making your site ready for mobile is more than just formatting. Page load speed is crucial as well considering that smartphones have, on average, lower RAM and processor specs when compared to a laptop or desktop computer.
Link to Other Websites
The backlinks your website accumulates through guest posting, press releases and social media mentions are crucial for SEO. Outbound links are important too even though many web administrators don’t give them as much attention as inbound links. Good quality content should include links to third party sites containing authoritative statistics, studies and interviews backing up your assertions.
It’s one thing to state something without evidence and entirely another if you can provide proof of a reputable person or institution confirming the same thing. Your point will be more persuasive if you have references. It gives your content a legitimacy that readers and search engines will pay attention to when ranking search results.
You should not link to any site for the sake of increasing the volume or diversity of outbound links. Quality matters a great deal. Only link to sites that are genuinely relevant and insightful. As a bonus, once your site begins drawing sizeable traffic, the sites you link to will start to notice and in turn link back to you. It’s a virtuous cycle that is only good for your SEO over the long-term.
Dominate Local Search
Claim, standardize and optimize your restaurant’s listings on all major local search properties. This includes search engine directories, restaurant-specific directory sites, and social media sites.
Local SEO is most effective when you have an accurate and consistent name, phone and address data across all platforms. Once you get this foundation right, you can then proceed to optimize other information fields such as restaurant description and restaurant category. The goal is to align everything with your focus keywords.
Start with the most important directories such as Google’s before extending your optimization to Zomato, Swiggy, TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Guest posting allows you to leverage the brand, influence, and reach of established Internet properties. Look for websites and blogs that allow guest posts and that are frequented by persons who fall within your target market. Outreachmama has a list of websites where you can seek out guest posting opportunities.
Crucial for SEO, guest posts help you accumulate an arsenal of high-quality backlinks. For Google, brand reputation is somewhat transferrable. So if a major, authoritative website links to yours, Google concludes that your site is reputable too.
Social Media Links on the Website
Social media platforms have grown rapidly to become the world’s most popular web properties. You need only look at a list of the most popular Android apps, most popular iOS apps and most popular websites in the world to see the dominance of social networking. Led by industry behemoth Facebook with 2.5 billion active users, social media is a space that restaurants cannot afford to ignore. What’s more, social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest have proven to be particularly effective at increasing a restaurant website’s visitor traffic and overall SEO performance.
Have links on your website to all your social media accounts. Post high quality audiovisual content on your social media profiles, use relevant hashtags and link back to pages on your site. Social media makes it easier for your content and offers to go viral since customers can readily share what they like within their social circle. This gives your business plenty of free marketing.
Promptly Eliminate 404 Errors
It might seem obvious but you’ll be surprised by the number of times the average Internet user will run into 404 errors. A 404 error code occurs when an Internet user types or clicks on a URL that no longer exists or is incorrect. Few things are more frustrating than a prospective restaurant customer clicking on a link to your week’s specials only to encounter an error page. In the customer’s eyes, this reeks of disorganization. If you cannot get your web pages right, they might conclude your product is unlikely to be worth their while.
Worse still, broken links determine how highly your website is regarded by search engines. Not all 404 error pages will be your fault. If a visitor mistypes a URL, they will get a 404 page. Nevertheless, change the default 404 error page. Customize it by making it friendlier and more helpful in getting the visitor staying on your site and eventually finding what they are looking for.
Make use of automated tools such as the Google Webmaster Tool to identify dead links in your site.
Whereas a restaurant is a brick and mortar business meaning offline marketing is key, the role of online visibility cannot be over-emphasized. SEO makes it easier for your target market to find you on the web, increases your foot traffic and ultimately grows your sales. You could sign up for an SEO course in case you aren’t comfortable running the SEO campaign on your own or you want to have some foundational knowledge that helps you better engage the person you hire to run the campaign for you.