Restaurant SEO: Complete local SEO guide 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 local restaurant’s online presence? Are you ready to make thousands of dollars every month by ranking your business on the first page of Google?

Then grab a pen and paper and note down everything I’m going to tell you in this complete local SEO guide for restaurant owners.

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 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? Let’s dive into the necessary steps for restaurant SEO.

5 Steps-By-Steps Restaurant SEO Guide

1. Determine Your Strategies

First and foremost for any business is to have clear strategies and plans to proceed.

The most important thing here is to first identify your target audiences. You should have a clear understanding of your prospects – demographics, interests, gender, age, etc.

This is known as a buyer persona.

Then comes the online strategies. There are 3 things which you need to consider for local businesses like restaurants

  1. Website
  2. Local business listings
  3. Customers engagement and feedback

Website

Define the proper layout and design of the website. Include things like proper addresses, easy-to-navigate navigation menus, maps, menus, etc.

Make your site trustworthy – both content and design.

Integrate conversion mechanisms like an opt-in form, pop-ups, email subscription forms, etc. – will discuss in details later in the article

Local business listings

Besides your website, local business listings are another channel where your prospects can discover you online.

They also make your business looks trustworthy in Google eye (authority). I will talk about this later in the article.

Customers engagement and feedback

According to the stats, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses.

So you should have a proper review system in place on your site and be prepared to ask for reviews.

Set up a proper engagement system to ensure that you can engage with your prospects and customers. People love great services and care.

2. Competitors Analysis

restaurant seo

Once you have your strategies set up, its time to check out how your competitors are doing.

Competitors analysis is one of the most important things in restaurant SEO. By analyzing your competitors, you get to know what works and what doesn’t for them.

To spy on your competitors, the best and easiest technique is to use Google.

Simply type in your competitor names or use querries like “Restaurants near me”, or “Restaurants in [your city]”.

Then you get a bunch of your competitor websites. Check out the top 5 positions on Google and observe everything.

Don’t just jump into anything related to SEO yet. Just observe on the surface – their content, copy, website architectures, etc.

3. Begin SEO Process For Your Restaurant Business

To this point, you must have planned strategies for your business and analyzed your competitors.

Now comes the main part, is to optimize your website and business for search engines.

Ranking factors for SEO

There are over 200 ranking factors for SEO. But mainly, they can be broadly divided into 2 factors, i.e.

  1. User experience – Include things like quality of your content, website speed, site architecture, design and UX, etc.
  2. Authority of your brand and website – Backlinks profile, social media presence, how well people know you, etc.

So, taking the above factors into consideration (or any SEO), there are 2 types of SEO techniques – On-page and Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO for

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 on-page SEO

  1. Keywords research and analysis
  2. Creating optimized content
  3. Optimize title tag and meta description
  4. Internal and external linkings

Keywords research and analysis

The most important for SEO. Keywords are defined as the search queries which people type into search engines.

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

Steps do keywords research and analysis for local 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 keywords 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 keywords related to the broad and specific ones.

keyword research - 1
keyword research-2

Note down all the variations for the suggested keywords 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

Remember I asked you to observe your competitors? List down their website URLs, along with other websites that pop up while you follow the first step.

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 when qualifying keywords.

  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 means the keyword is more valuable in terms of buying intention.

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 optimized content

Once you have qualified your keywords, it’s time to create quality optimized content.

Starting from your restaurant’s website. Write at least 500 words of 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 keywords 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 keywords.

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

Optimize title 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 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 linkings

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?

Remember I mentioned user experience and authority as the 2 most important ranking factors?

One of the metrics in great user experience is ‘dwell time’ or amount of time users spend on a web page.

So 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.

That’s all for the on-page local restaurant SEO. If you want to dive more into on-page SEO, you can check out my complete on-page SEO for beginners article.

Off-page SEO

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

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

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

There are 2 types of backlinks, i.e. “do-follow” and “no-follow”.

Do-follow links are the links that search engines count and take into consideration, whereas no-follow links have no value for SEO.

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.

Nowadays, quality or relevancy matters more than quantity. A site with just 10 quality and relevant backlinks can outrank a site with hundreds of irrelevant links.

Also, over the years, backlinks are not as important as they used to be. You can check it out why here.

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.

How to build backlinks for restaurant SEO?

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.

For white hat vs black hat SEO comparison, click here.

The 3 most famous white hat SEO for local businesses are local business listings, guest posting and steal competitors’ analysis.

Local business listings

As mentioned above, local business listings help you create authority for your website.

This is because if you have your website listed, Google will think that your business is real and legit.

Also, most of the business listings platform out there will ask for your site’s link, which ultimately is a backlink – Although links from business listings are not as useful as before.

To find local listing sites, you can use these queries:

  • Business listing website + your city name
  • Listing website + your country name
  • Restaurant + listing site
  • Business directories + your country name

However, one of the most famous listing sites is Yellowpages.com, which is available worldwide.

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 get links 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 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 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 (More backlinks), then the difficulty would be more and vice versa.

If your site is new, try to target less competitive keywords 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 for SEO, 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 😉

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.

4. Set up Google My Business

This local restaurant SEO article wouldn’t be complete if I don’t mention Google My Business or (GMB).

What is Google My Business?

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

Why your restaurant needs GMB?

google my business
  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, 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 full guide on local SEO here.

5. 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 3 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
  3. Master the art of copywriting
  4. Capture email

Analyze your restaurant website traffic

google analytics for restaurant website

This is crucial because you get to know which page on your site your prospects are interested 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.

How to set up Google analytics?

  1. Sign in to Google analytics account
  2. In the account column, use the menu to select the account to which you want to add the property.
  3. In the property column, select +Create Property from the menu.
  4. Select Website
  5. Enter the Web Site URL. You cannot create a property if your URL isn’t formatted correctly. See how to correctly format your domain name.
  6. Select Industry Category. When you select an industry category, you can use goal templates designed for your industry.
  7. Select the Reporting Time Zone. This will be used as the day boundary for your reports, regardless of where the data originates.
  8. Click Get Tracking ID. Your property is created after you click this button.

You can now place this tracking ID onto your website, in the head section.

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.

Call-To-Action

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, for a restaurant website, the call-to-action would be something like “Book Online Now” or “See our menu”.

call-to-action

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. 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.

People want it real as so Google. I have seen tons of restaurant websites use the same stock images which can be found easily on the internet. Well that’s a bad experience, isn’t it?

But remember, make sure to compress your images first before uploading to the site, otherwise the site may become heavy and takes longer time to load.

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 with an interactive display of tables left in the restaurant just like the cinema also not a bad idea isn’t it?

Master the art of copywriting

In the world of internet marketing, you cannot succeed without having some basics about copywriting.

It is through copywriting that you will be able to capture attention, persuade and ultimately make sales.

So for your restaurant business to thrive, you should master the art of copywriting.

Some of the tips are:

  • Have a clear message of what your restaurant is about right from the beginning
  • Quickly display menu and pricing in the homepage
  • Tell your prospects why they should choose you
  • Incorporate video testimonials and social proofs – such as reviews from famous websites
  • Use discount coupons as a lead magnet – create a sense of urgency

To learn the basics of copywriting, check out the full course article here.

Capture email

Email capturing or email marketing still alive. Yes, it’s 2019 and I know that you might be thinking, “Who is using email these days?”.

But hold one, the stats have something to say:

  • 59% of people say that email marketing influences their purchases
  • The email has higher conversion rates than social media and search engine marketing combined
  • Email marketing Campaigns ROI ranges between $38-$44.25 per $1 spent
  • 33.8% of adults check their email throughout the day

Thank you source from seoexpertbrad.com.

So are you ready to capture your prospects’ emails? I bet you do.

3 Components required to capture email

Lead magnet

A lead magnet is an incentive that marketers offer to potential buyers in exchange for their email address or other contact information.

This is usually free stuff. For example, a promo code or discount offer for your restaurant

email sign up

Email capturing form

A signup form used to capture emails. This could be a pop-up, notifications, embedded form, etc.

Usually, the information asked in the form is just an email. Some do consider asking for the first name or other information like phone number etc.

Headline/message

These are the persuasive written words or the reason why your prospects should signup to your email list.

This is where you will tell your users about your lead magnet and use your copywriting skills to convey readers to opt-in.

To learn more about email marketing in 2019, check out my article here.

Restaurant SEO Service

That’s all for the full guide on 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 restaurant website high on Google.

However, there are some points which I haven’t covered in detail. That’s because I have already written articles on them. Make sure to check them out too (The links are given between the article’s content)

But if you still have doubts, feel free to contact us for a free consultation or if you wish to, you can avail our local restaurant SEO service as well. Click here to contact us now.

If you like the content, help me share it out with the world!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.