Restaurant SEO 101: A Guide to Search Engine Optimization for Restaurants

Google PlacesRestaurant SEO is something you are probably already looking into for your restaurant website.

Search Engine Optimization or simply SEO is a great way to get traffic to your website. Not only do you get more traffic to your website, but you get more customers into your restaurant. From a business standpoint restaurant SEO is important in today’s world. SEO can be a way to grow the business and earn loyal customers that may have never otherwise found out about your restaurant.

Let’s take a closer look at restaurant SEO including things you can do right now to improve your search engine optimization.

Restaurant SEO: The Basics

Restaurant SEO 101: Focus on the overall customer experience. Tweet This

There are some basics things in SEO that can lead you down the right path for the long-term. One of the issues with SEO in the past has been the short-term tactics used by some to game to the search engines. Eventually the tricks are squashed by the engines and those with long-term strategies filter to the top of the results.

Here are the long-term strategies to focus on when doing restaurant SEO for your business.

Focus on the Customer - Nothing in business is more important than focusing on the customer. Whenever Google addresses SEO they say it’s a great strategy for giving web users a better experience as they use the web and that includes websites. When you create a website you’re creating an experience for your target customers.

What Google and other search engines are trying to do is provide the best content and experience on the web for certain search terms. If you go into your SEO strategy with the idea that it’s about the web user or the customer first then you’re starting out in the right frame of mind.

For example, when you design a page or write a description think about what is best for the customer and not what will game the search engines.

Branding Is Important - Google wants to provide the best content for their users. When someone searches for something on Google it is Google’s job to make sure the information is good and that the website is trustworthy. Google is using branding more in its algorithm. The reason is because a strong brand known outside of the web is a good indication of a trustworthy business.

What does this mean? SEO is not just about your online strategy. SEO is part of your overall marketing strategy. The more people that know about your business the better chance you’ll have to rank well. It’s easier said than done, but it plays an important role in today’s SEO.

Title Tags - Title tags are the titles of every page on your website. If you look at the top of your browser in the tab you should see part of the title tag. You also see the title tag displayed in Google results.

Restaurant SEO

Here is the search results for Restaurant Engine. The title tag is the blue link. The meta description is the black text under the title tag. The green text is the URL for the page.

Title tags should all be different and they should all have a single focus. A good basic rule for title tags is to keep them short and to keep them descriptive. It can be tricky because there is often a lot you want to say about each page, but keep it to the main focus and you’ll be good.

The general rules are that the title tag should be between 20 and 60 characters. Around 40 to 50 would be a good guideline.

Meta Descriptions - You can see in the image above that the meta description is important as well. The black text under the title tag (in blue) is the meta description. You want this description to be fitting for each page. Use one or two sentences no longer than about 150 characters for the description.

Note - With Restaurant Engine you can easily create your title tags and meta descriptions and adjust them at any time.

Local Restaurant SEO

Local Restaurant SEO

Here is what the result looks like for Sam Miller’s restaurant. This is successful local restaurant SEO.

Perhaps the most important aspect of restaurant SEO is local SEO. Basically, local SEO allows people to find your physical location and it’s becoming more important.

How do you make sure your website is optimized for local Restaurant SEO?

Physical Address - It’s important to display your physical address on your website. First, your customers are looking for your location. After all, how can they visit and eat if they don’t know how to find you? Second, search engines like Google use your address in their results. The search engines want to direct people to the best result for each search query so by providing your address you’re helping Google help your customers. It’s always about what is best for the customer.

Continue reading about Google Places to see how you can register your address with Google.

Register on Restaurant Directories - We’re talking about Urbanspoon, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Foursquare and any other regional directories. Sign up with these sites and provide a correct address and description. This will help people find you and search engines appreciate that. The more you address is listed the more likely Google is to list the correct address and allow people to find you.

The last piece of restaurant SEO and local restaurant SEO involves listening with Google Places and Google+.

Google Places and Google+ for Restaurants

Google Places is specifically designed to benefit local businesses such as restaurants. Google and other search engines understand that people are using their computers, smartphones and other devices to find places.

Google Places for Business

Potential customers can find you with Google Places.

Think about it. A customer is looking for a new place to eat. They’re out at the mall and they run into a friend. The friend suggests your restaurant. The customer pulls out their iPhone and types in your restaurant name. The result includes all the information they need to find your location.

With Google this information can all be provided with Google Places.

First, go to Google Places and register. It is entirely free to list your business. Once you register Google will send you a postcard in the mail to the address you provide. This should be your restaurant address. They will give you a PIN number to type into your Google Places registration. This will confirm your address and from there you’re listed on Google. The information you provide is what will show up when people search for your restaurant name and potentially for other search keywords.

Google+ Local is another Google property you can use to benefit your restaurant SEO. We’ve talked about how to setup Google+ for your restaurant before. Follow those instructions and create your account. This will make it easy for your customers to review your restaurant. Those reviews will show up in the search results and make it more likely that people will choose your restaurant when they’re searching for a place to eat.

Google+ Local Restaurant SEO

Google+ Local is another way to give Google the information it needs to list your restaurant.

Conclusion

Restaurant SEO is a way for potential customers to find your restaurant. If you want to grow your business then optimizing your website to earn traffic from search engines can be a great way to supplement your growth.

Follow the basic rules mentioned in the article including the steps you can take with Google Places and Google+ Local and you’ll be in a great position to rank well.

Remember that restaurant SEO is about the user first. You’re optimizing the entire web experience for the user. This is what the search engines want and it’s the best long-term strategy.

Do you have questions about restaurant SEO? Leave a comment below or tweet to us at Restaurant Engine.

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  • Jeff Thomas

    Great article Dayne. I’ve also developed several restaurant websites and SEO has been instrumental in driving traffic and awareness to these establishments. What’s also important is for the restaurant to claim their listing on TripAdvisor.com, and add a link to their website. TripAdvisor is consistently one of the top referring sites to restaurants.

    • Dayne Shuda

      Great point, Jeff. Good advice.