Restaurant SEO: Guide To Improve Local SEO For Restaurants

restaurant seo

According to the stats, in 2019 97% searched online to find a local business, and 64% of mobile restaurant searchers convert immediately or within an hour!

So, would you like to increase your restaurant’s local rankings? Are you ready to make thousands of dollars every month by ranking your restaurant on the first page of Google?

Then grab a pen and paper and note down everything in this article on how to optimize your restaurant website for restaurant SEO.

What Is Restaurant SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your website to get it ranked or displayed on search engines like Google, Bing, etc. and ultimately convert the users into customers.

Restaurant SEO is the process of optimizing your local restaurant website, to rank on search engines. The goal here is to rank on the first page.

This is because 75% of clicks go on the first page of Google search results.

Besides ranking on the first page, your website should also have a proper conversion mechanism in place. This is because the end goal here is to make money right?

So are you excited to know how to rank and convert your prospects and attract more customers? Let’s dive into the SEO best practices for restaurants

Local Restaurant SEO

Google gives local businesses priority when a user does a local search. Thus, it is absolutely important for your bistro website to be optimized for local SEO.

Claim And Optimize Google My Business (Local Packs)

Google My Business (GMB) is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

google my business

Why your restaurant needs GMB?

Here are a couple of reasons why:

  1. You get the privilege to get your website displayed on the top of search results – in the form of snippets
  2. GMB results are optimized for voice search
  3. You get business citations, star reviews, and recommendations
  4. Ability to be searched on maps

To learn more about how to set up Google My Business for your business, check out my local SEO tips article.

So you have set up your GMB page, next is to optimize it for local SEO so that it ranks higher in the listing local search.

1. Have your business as a keyword in your business name

This is important because one of the main ranking factors for GMB is the keywords in your business name. For example, your business name is “Papa Louise”, and you sell pizza. So your GMB name would be something like “Papa Louise Pizza”.

2. Fill in all the necessary details

One mistake I see with most business owners is they neglect to fill in some small, but necessary details.

The 4 main things you need to fill in are your business categories, geographical area of service, working hours and business description.

For business categories, select as many as possible, which is very relevant.

For the description, write everything your customers need to know about your business.

3. Add relevant images

Images are another one of the main ranking factors for local packs.

When choosing images, try using real clicked photos of your business, instead of stock images on the internet. Google is smart enough to know which images are real.

Add in photos of the interior, exterior, customers, menus, food item, and everything related to your dining place.

Before adding images, name your images with relevant file names, and don’t forget to put the alt text.

4. Utilize Google posts feature

google post

With the new update of Google My Business, Google released a feature called “post”, which allows you to publish a small update-like post to keep your customers updated with your latest news and offers.

For example, if you’re running a 10% off for your restaurant online booking and order, you might want to publish this update to let your customers know.

Posting food images is a great way to attract customers online.

5. Encourage your customers to leave a review

Over 60% of customers trust reviews as a resource when choosing a dining place.

Encourage customers to leave a review. Be sure to respond to all your online reviews whether negative or positive.

It is important that you showcase good reviews on your website as this will help you rank over competitors on local searches in Google.

You can also hire an online reputation management firm to take care of the reviews and feedbacks.

Add Your Restaurant To Local Directories

Any reference to your bistro on a local listing is called a citation. By adding your restaurant to local and relevant listings, you are increasing your creditability and trust with the search engines.

Besides, you can also get additional traffic from the citations. Some of the credible directories are Yelp, Yellow pages, and Trip Advisor.

Maintain Consistency On NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number)

Search engines like Google need to ensure that your business is trustworthy and credible enough in order to rank your website higher both on the Google maps and organic ranking.

Any inconsistency in your information can have a negative impact and result in loss of trust signals.

Make sure that you use the same business name, contact information and address across the web, including on social media platforms, directories, and other listings you may have.

On-page SEO For Your Restaurant Business

In simple words, on-page SEO is the SEO done on web pages or your own website. It is what you have control over.

Basic steps for the restaurant SEO include:

  1. Keywords research and analysis
  2. Creating optimized content
  3. Optimize title tag and meta description
  4. Internal and external linkings
  5. Image optimization
  6. Optimize the restaurant website for mobile devices
  7. Improve the page speed of your restaurant website
  8. Ensure your website is secure
  9. Use schema markup

Keywords Research And Analysis

Keywords research and analysis is the process of selecting and qualifying keywords for your content.

Here are the steps on how to find keywords for restaurants:

1. Make a list of broad and specific keywords idea to search for

Broad keywords include keywords like “Restaurants near me” or “Restaurants in [your city name]”.

Specific words include things like “Thai restaurants near me”.

Once you have come up with a list, type in Google the keywords. What you see is Google is suggesting a list of phrases related to the broad and specific ones.

keyword research - 1
keyword research-2

Note down all the variations for the suggested searched terms into your list

You will also find the search related to your queries down at the bottom. Note them down as well.

google related search

2. Get more keywords idea from your competitors

List down your competitors’ website URLs, along with other websites ranking for similar queries.

Then use a tool name Ubersuggest, which is a free keyword research and analysis tool by Neil Patel.

Throw in your competitor URLs and click “search”.

ubersuggest keyword research

What you get is an overview of how the site is doing. What you do next is scroll down to the section where it says “View all the keywords this domain rank for”.

This will show you the list of keywords that your competitors are ranking for, the position and search volume or the amount of volume the keywords are being searched per month.

keywords volume

Just export all of them, and add them to your keyword list. This way, you get an idea of what target keywords you should be going for.

Repeat this process as per your desire, for different competitors. Once you have enough, it’s time to proceed to the next important steps.

3. Qualify the keywords

Not every keyword you have is going to work. Some are repeated, don’t have enough search volumes or not related to your business.

So keywords need to be qualified before they are actually used. There are basically 4 criteria to take into considerations in the restaurant SEO.

  1. Monthly search volume
  2. Cost per click
  3. Search intent
  4. Keywords difficulty

Monthly search volume – is defined as the average search volume a keyword gets per month. If your site is new, an average of 20-300 searches per month would be just fine.

Cost per click – is defined as an average amount of money advertisers are willing to pay for a keyword. The higher the better.

Search intent – is the intention users have when using a particular keyword. For example, keywords that start with “best”, are likely to buy, whereas if they start with questions, users are probably just looking for information.

Keywords difficulty – is defined as how difficult it is for a keyword to rank.

For the first 2 criteria, you can use the Ubersuggest tool I mentioned. By just simply type in the keywords, you will get the metrics.

For search intent, you can observe what type of content is ranking on Google, so you can know whether people are looking to buy or just finding information.

Regarding the fourth criteria, Ubersuggest does have a keyword difficulty metric but this seems not to be accurate from my experience. I will discuss this again later in the article.

The key to taking away here is to choose the keywords with optimal search volume per month (not more, not less), high CPC, matches search intent and low keyword difficulty.

Creating Unique Optimized Content

Once you have qualified your keywords, it’s time to create unique, high-quality optimized content for restaurant SEO.

Write at least 500 words of unique content. Use images, visuals, videos, etc. Make the site looks trustworthy.

Put your main targeted keywords in the topmost position, preferably in the first paragraph or if you have an image banner with text in it, put it there.

Here’s an example

optimized restaurant website content

Sprinkle the main as well as various related words across your page. Repeat it for every page of your site.

Have a blog section on your site. Blogs give your site a trustworthy look and opportunity to rank for various different search terms.

When writing a blog post, make sure to focus on giving values and write useful educating articles. Check your keywords list. Sure you still have lots of them there 🙂

Also, make sure your content and information is up-to-date

Optimize Title Tags And Meta Description

A title tag is an HTML tag, which tells search engines what your site is about.

A meta tag is a small description about your page or link, displayed underneath the title tag.

When writing a title tag and meta description, include your main keyword in it, and make it compelling for people to click.

For the title tag, it is recommended that you keep it about 30 characters and 150-160 characters for the meta description.

Here is an example of how they look

restaurant meta title and meta description

The red arrow is the title tag and the blue one is the meta description.

Internal And External Linking

Internal linkings are links that go from one page on a domain to another page of the same domain.

Whereas external links are links that go from your pages to other domains or sites.

Why should you internal and external linking?

If you do internal linking, you are allowing your users to explore more about your content on the site, thus increasing the time spent.

And by external linking to other high authority sites, you are telling Google that your site is legit and that it’s sourcing information from trustworthy sites, thereby increasing your authority.

Also, by external linking, you are building a relationship with other website owners, which ultimately could help you earn backlinks, which is one of the most important rankings factors (will discuss later in the article)

Note: Whenever you are internal linking, make sure you link to only relevant pages or content, so it doesn’t look spammy.

Image Optimization

Images are very important for your eatery website. They are used to showcase menus, restaurant interior, and exterior designs, location views, etc.

Besides making your image eye-catching, you should consider optimizing them for SEO as well.

3 Steps To Optimize Images

  1. Have a meaningful file name, with your keyword or related keywords
  2. Don’t forget alt text, with keywords in it
  3. Geotag your images – Add location to your images

Make Sure You Have A Mobile-Friendly Website

As mentioned in an introduction that more than half of the internet searches happen on mobile devices.

So if your restaurant website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be missing the majority of customers.

Mobile-optimized sites are ranked higher on Google. Make sure your website theme is responsive and supports different screen sizes.

If you’re using WordPress, the chance is that your site is already mobile-friendly.

Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to determine if your website is mobile-friendly. All you need to do is to type in your website URL and click on “ANALYZE”.

restaurant website mobile friendly test

The tool will show the problem associated with your website.

Improve The Page Speed Of Your Restaurant Website

Page speed is one of the important factors in restaurant SEO.

Google now punishes websites who have slow-loading pages as that not only makes for bad user experience but it also makes for an increased bounce rate.

Make sure your page loads within 2.5-3 seconds. Use tools like Google page speed or GtMetrix to determine your page speed.

The tools will show the loading time, optimization score and potential solutions to fixes.

Most restaurant websites have slow loading speed due to their images. Make sure your images are JPEG file extensions and use tools like CompressJPG to compress your image size.

Ensure Your Website Is Secure

If your website captures users’ data like email or transaction details, make sure your site has an SSL certificate installed.

By making your website secure, you are ensuring that information stored on your website such as personal information is protected from outside threats such as hackers who try to steal information. 

Also, Google has announced back in 2018 that SSL certificate would become one of their ranking factors. So a secured site has an edge over non-secure sites.

Below is how your site would look like with the SSL certificate installed.

restaurant website SSL certificate

Most of the hosting package nowadays comes with a free SSL certificate pre-installed, so you shouldn’t worry about that.

But if your site isn’t secure yet, make sure you contact your web developer to install it for you.

Use Schema Markup

One of the less-talked-about features in optimizing your restaurant website for SEO is schema mark up (structured data markup) implementation.

Schema markup is a form of micro-data that goes on your website that assists Google in understanding what your content is on a webpage.

For example, if you have schema implemented on your menu page, your menu page may show up on Google search results.

The more optimized your structured data markup is, the more Google will reward you in driving traffic to your website.

Schema gives users more relevant info in an organized manner. To implement the schema markup onto your restaurant’s website, use the Google Structured Data Markup Helper.

schema markup for restaurant seo
This is how structured data looks like in search results

Showcase your star ratings in search results using your schema markup. This will give your users a compelling reason to click on your website versus your competitors’ site.

How to implement structured markup on your website?

If your website is made with WordPress, you can simply install plugins like All-In-One Schema Rich Snippet or Schema & Structured Data For WP & AMP which will let you set up schema without coding in under 5 minutes.

Otherwise, you may consider hiring a freelancer to do it for you on a platform like Fiverr or Upwork.

That’s all for the on-page SEO for restaurants

Off-page SEO For Restaurant Owners

Just opposite to on-page SEO, Off-page SEO refers to action (SEO) taken outside of your website to improve your rankings.

The purpose of on-page SEO is to improve user experience whereas, in off-page, you improve your site’s authority.

When it comes to this technique, there are 2 main things to take into considerations, i.e.

  1. Backlinks
  2. Social signals

So without much saying, le’s dive into each one of them.

Backlinks are well known in SEO industries for a decade that they are the single most important and valuable ranking factors.

To put it simply, backlinks are links coming to your page from external sources.

You can compare it as a vote. The more backlinks or votes you get on your site, the more “authoritative” your site will be in Google’s eyes.

Backlinks can be acquired naturally (you get by people willing to link to you), or artificially (by putting in some work to acquire)

Natural backlinks are very rare these days. That’s why you need to build links to your restaurant website – link building process.

There are various ways to build links to your site. There is PBN (private blog network), which is considered as black hat SEO and is not safe or white hat SEO.

Check out the difference between white hat and black hat SEO for more details.

The 2 most famous white hat backlinking SEO strategies are guest posting and steal competitors’ links.

Guest posting

Guest posting or guest blogging is the act of contributing a post or articles on other sites.

It is one of the best ways to build links for restaurant SEO because you get a chance to earn links from high authority websites, by contributing to them.

Nowadays, it is pretty difficult to get your article featured because due to high demand, website owners are putting up stricter guidelines for accepting a post – Especially if they offer a free guest post.

These are some of the search terms you can use to find guest post opportunity for restaurant business on Google:

  • “Restaurant submit a guest post”
  • Restaurant guest post”
  • “Restaurant guest post by”
  • “Restaurant accepting guest posts”
  • Restaurant guest post guidelines”
  • Restaurant write for us”
local restaurant seo guest posting

Steal competitors’ links

This is one of the easiest ways to find links, but one of the hardest to acquire.

The idea behind this method is to analyze sites that link to your competitors, and request them to replace those links with yours.

Steps to take

competitors' backlinks analysis
  1. Grab your competitors’ URLs and insert them into Ubersuggest
  2. Click on the “Backlinks” section on the left-hand side and you will see a bunch of links your competitors get.
  3. Export only the ones with “follow” labeled. We only want do-follow links here
  4. Visit each of the sites and do manual outreach to the site owners, asking them to replace the links.

The difficult part lies in the actual outreach email. Make sure you just don’t blindly ask for links but offer something valuable in return.

Otherwise, they will likely ignore your mail. Click here to learn more about the awesome backlinks outreach email template.

How to determine restaurant keywords difficulty

As I said, I would be explaining to you how to determine if a keyword is the right one for you.

So by now, you must have understood that the more quality backlinks a site has, the more authoritative it will be.

So to determine keyword difficulty, you simply have to observe the sites which are ranking on the first page of Google.

If they are high authority sites, then the difficulty would be more and vice versa.

If your site is new, try to target less competitive terms and as you acquire more backlinks, you can go for more keywords with higher difficulty.

Social signals

That’s all about links you need to know for restaurant SEO. Next comes a rather unusual factor, i.e. social signals.

Social signals include things like comments, shares, engagement, etc. – social media activities related to your site.

There’s no clear evidence that suggests social activities are a factor for SEO. However, there is a strong correlation between social signals and ranking in organic results.

Many suggest that this is because Google always looks for authority on websites and businesses.

By having some social signals and presence really suggests that people are interested in your business and that it’s legit.

So, I guess being active on social media does really help you after all 😉

Further Reading:

  1. Roofing SEO – A complete roofing SEO guide for roofing companies
  2. 4 Quick SEO Tips For Restaurants
  3. 25 Best SEO Tips For Hotels – Best SEO tips for hotels

That’s all for the SEO process for your restaurant business. Phew! That’s a long one. But let’s move on to the next step.

Conversion Optimization For Restaurant SEO

Here comes everybody’s favorite part, to convert and make money from your visitors.

You can only get far enough with SEO and traffic but if your site is not optimized for conversion, then there is no use of it.

There are just 2 areas you need to consider for converting your prospects into customers:

  1. Analyze the traffic and prospects’ behavior
  2. Follow certain website layout and elements

Analyze your traffic

google analytics for restaurant website

This is crucial because you get to know which page on your site your customers are interested in more, how are their behaviors, etc.

To keep track of this, you need a tool called Google analytics.

This is a free tool offered by Google, to keep track of your traffic and users’ behaviors for restaurant SEO effort.

Click here to learn how to set up Google analytics.

Follow certain website layout

Most businesses only focus on having the great fancy design of website layout. However, they tend to forget the fundamentals.

So here are 5 main website layout or blueprint to follow:

  1. Call-To-Action in a certain area
  2. Use of colors and pattern interruption
  3. Easy-to-navigate menus
  4. Images and videos
  5. Something creative

I will be going through each one specifically for the restaurant website.


Have a call-to-action button sprinkle all across your website. Starting from the banner, the middle of the page and at the bottom.

For example, the call-to-action would be something like “Book Online Now” or “See our menu”.

call-to-action for restaurant website

Use of colors or pattern interruption

People’s attention on the internet is short, so they tend to get bored quickly.

Just imagine scrolling through the same boring type of content. That’s why we need to interrupt this by displaying something different from time to time on the web page.

Here’s an example. By scrolling mid-way through the homepage, a new image banner section pops up, then the menu, in different color and textual.

pattern interruption-1
pattern interruption-2

Easy-To-Navigate menu

As you can see above, having easy-to-navigate concise for the users to navigate on the top as well on the bottom (footer) improve users’ experience.

If people find it easy to navigate between your content, Google will do too. The great site’s structure is crucial for restaurant SEO.

Images and videos

Use original real-life images of your food, and menus. Incorporate videos to increase engagement rates.

Add eye-catching photos of the interior of your restaurant. Most potential customers will decide whether they want to spend their time in your restaurant by looking at the interior and its ambiance.

Something creative

People love something new and you should be thinking outside the box.

For example. I have seen many restaurant websites nowadays have their menu downloadable as well, instead of just displaying it on the site.

Online booking and reservation with an interactive display of tables left in the restaurant just like the cinema also not a bad idea aren’t it?

Social Media For Eatery Business

I talked about how social signals help In restaurant SEO strategy. Besides that, having a good strategy on social media marketing helps increase your restaurant presence.

Facebook for restaurants

Facebook is home to 2.19 billion users and is a tool for a restaurant you should maximize.

Having your restaurant Facebook page set up is a great way to connect with your customers. Just like GMB, Facebook business reviews are crucial for the business’s credibility.

With Facebook posts, you can keep your customers update with your business’s news, promotions, menu item, etc. Facebook messenger is a brilliant way to communicate directly with customers.

When posting, make sure you keep your audiences engaged. Facebook’s algorithm relies on comments and shares to increase post reaches. Post as often as possible and leverage videos.

Use Facebook ads and boosted posts to spread out about your restaurant business and create a sales funnel that leads customers to your website.

Instagram for restaurants

instagram SEO for restaurants

Instagram is another great social media platform to promote your restaurant business and website.

It’s one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world, and like Facebook, having your Instagram presence is crucial to your business.

With Instagram, you can leverage the image and story features to share beautiful images of your restaurant, location, customers, menu items, etc.

Geo-tagging not only allows your followers to see it but if they look up your restaurant in the “tags” section of Instagram you could see all of the photos your restaurant is tagged in.

Make sure you have your restaurant profile set to business and complete your bio. Don’t forget to include your website.

Restaurant SEO Services

That’s all for everything you need to know about restaurant SEO. I know it’s quite long but if you just follow each point step-by-step, I’m sure you will be able to rank your site high on local search.

Should you need any further assistance, feel free to check out our SEO agency page and contact us now for a free consultation.

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