Attention Restaurant Owners: Use Local SEO for Restaurants to Blast the Competition out of the Water

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

With over a million restaurant locations in the U.S. alone, competition is fierce. Do you know what you need to do to set yourself apart from the rest?

In today’s modern marketing world, digital marketing is key. Once you know the basics of SEO for restaurants, you can draw in the attention of the new customers you’ve been hoping for. 

New to the world of SEO? Don’t feel intimidated. Some basic restaurant SEO knowledge can take you far — and we’re here to help.

In this guide, we’ll give you the realistic SEO knowledge you can put into practice right now. Keep reading to learn how to grow your customer base fast!

What is SEO for Restaurants?

For some companies, search engine optimization means trying to connect with as many people around the world as possible. But for restaurants, there’s only one group of people you need to connect with: those in your area (or those who will be there soon).

Restaurants rely on local business. This means people who live in the neighborhood, as well as those who are visiting from far away. When people look for restaurants, they use search terms like “Restaurants near me.” 

This means that as a restaurant owner, you need to specifically focus your efforts on local SEO. This will position your website in front of the people who are looking for restaurants like yours.

How can you nail your local SEO efforts? In the next section, we’ll delve into some local SEO tips that anyone can use. 

The Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant SEO

Even without any prior knowledge of SEO, these ideas will help get more customers coming through the door.

1. Refine Your Website

Your website needs to be SEO-friendly, so you can get the conversions you want. If your website isn’t set up for success, your first step needs to be making some necessary changes.

This means creating an attractive website with a separate page for each of your locations. For example, a local chain like Boos Philly can use a drop-down “Locations” menu so people can view the one nearest to them.

Make it engaging, but not too busy, and easy for people to navigate. And don’t forget to set up a blog section.

Regular blog posting is one of the most important things you can do for local SEO. If you don’t have a blog section yet, you’ll need to create one and fill it out with quality content.

Make sure your content isn’t just written for the search engines. It should be interesting and engaging for the real audience members who visit your site. You can feature posts about all kinds of things. Try an interview with your head chef, a behind-the-scenes look at how your source ingredients, or some wine pairing tips.

It’s important to use strong keywords, titles, and URLs for your posts, so search engines can rank them. But you’ll also need clear, engaging content that’s fun and easy to read.

2. Post Your Menu

Did you know that you can get your full menu to show up as part of the Google search results?

The menu is one of the first things people want to know about a restaurant. Making it easy to find can help you get customers to choose you over the competition. 

Google usually pulls menu information from third-party sites, such as Yelp. Be sure to post your menu on as many of these sites as possible, so you can get it featured by Google. And keep track of everywhere you post your menu, so you can update it when changes are made. People won’t be interested if they find out the menu they saw online was outdated.

3. Claim Your Google My Business Listing

This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get customers to notice you online. A Google My Business listing shows all of the essential information about your restaurant in a simple sidebar when people search for it.

Check Google’s guidelines to get an idea of how to set up this page. You’ll need to offer accurate, up-to-date information, and verify your location properly. However, the process is fairly quick and simple. 

Make sure to choose the proper category for your restaurant, and add as many details as you can. The more details, the better, according to Google. After you add your hours, phone number, and location, you can add more: try photos, holiday hours, and relevant links.

4. Add Great Photos

On your site, on your Google My Business listing, and on any third-party sites, add lots of great images.

Many people will use pictures of food to decide what they want. If your pictures look better than the competitor’s, you’ll make the choice easy for them.

Hire a professional photographer to get some great food and drink shots. It’s also nice to get some pictures of your staff and customers having a great time. Show people the experience they want to have, and they’ll likely come to try it for themselves.

5. Get Social

Finally, social media is one of the most effective ways to use SEO for restaurants.

Make your social media pages attractive and interesting. Make sure your posts all use the right “voice” for your company. For example, an upscale fine-dining establishment might have a more serious and informative tone, while a casual family restaurant can be funny and approachable.

Make sure to post regularly on the most important social media pages. For restaurants, this will probably be Instagram and Facebook, where photos and videos reign supreme.

Ready to Get Local SEO Results?

When you implement our SEO for restaurants tips, prepare for an influx of new customers. Even just one of these steps can have great results, so don’t wait to get started.

Of course, once you get started, you’ll soon realize there’s a big world of restaurant SEO that you can delve into. Want to take your skills a step further? Check out our tips to help your blog posts get ranked even higher!