Restaurant Website SEO – What You Need To Know

Restaurant Website SEO - What You Need To Know

Organic SEO helps drive the right traffic to your restaurant website.

Just the mention of those three little letters, SEO, can send many restaurant owners and managers into a slight panic.

The term, search engine optimization (SEO), carries with it an aura of mystery that only a few individuals seem privy to.

In this article, we look at restaurant website SEO and what you need to know. We demystify the term and show you that there are things you can do to optimize your restaurant website for search.

Defining SEO

Let’s succinctly define SEO. It’s the focus on and strategy you use to grow the visibility of your restaurant’s website through organic, non-paid ways.

SEO encompasses several different technical and creative elements to:

  • Improve search page rankings
  • Drive traffic to your site
  • Increase search engine awareness

You’ll find several aspects to SEO as well. These can include the text on your page, the user experience and the way your site is structured.

Why Does It Matter?

If you want the major search engine in the world, Google, as well as Bing and Yahoo! and others to help you generate traffic to your restaurant site, then it matters.

While social media, paid ads and email marketing can generate traffic to your site, search engines are the most common way users get to your site.

This is especially true for restaurants. Why?

Well, everybody needs to eat, and whether they’re eating in their hometown or while on the road, your potential customers are looking for a restaurant They’re searching for your address, your menu and your phone number.

This is why SEO is important.

Search engine traffic, or lack of it, can make or break your business. (tweet this)

You’ll also find that search engines are working hard to provide relevant search results. If you haven’t fine-tuned your SEO, you aren’t going to show up at the top of search results or even on the first page.

Studies show that web searchers view less than 2% of searches below the top five results on the first page. So, you can see what happens if you don’t pay attention to your restaurant website’s SEO.

Now, let’s look at some tips for improving your SEO.

Website Basics

First, your website should have some basic information on it.

  • Your address and your phone number. This should be right at the top of your page. It’s important that this is on both the desktop and mobile versions of your website. You also want to put it in your footer and most certainly on your contact page. Consider adding a Google Map to your contact page as well.
  • Professional quality photos
  • Your menu – do not use a pdf menu or a menu that is a graphic. Use text.
  • Customer reviews and testimonials – again, use text, not images. Google loves reviews.
Restaurant Website SEO

Inbound links from other sites like social media can help your SEO.

Best SEO Practices

Once you’ve got the basics of your restaurant website, you want to make sure you pay attention to some best practices for SEO.

  • Your website must be mobile-friendly. This is non-negotiable, especially when it comes to Google.
  • Build a user friendly website. This means anticipating your website visitor’s needs in much the same way you would at your restaurant.
  • Pay attention to your navigation menu. Test it before launch with someone unfamiliar with your site to see if it works well for them.
  • The usability of your website also matters when it comes to SEO. For example, is your navigation intuitive? Can users get where they need to go without getting bogged down and confused?
  • Ensure a quick-loading site. Google is known to reward fast loading sites and penalize slow sites. Why? Because Google knows you’ve created a good user experience if your site loads quickly.
  • Label your pages appropriately. You want a page for about us, contact, reservations, menu, events, etc. Label them just what they are. Your goal is a clean, clearly-labeled site.
  • Pay attention to your meta tags. Each page needs its own unique title. If you’re using an SEO plugin, and you should be, make sure to fill out the keyword info, title and description.
  • Use keywords and long-tail keywords on your pages, but don’t over stuff.
  • Fill out image tags. Give each of your photos an alt and title description.
  • Add fresh content often. A blog is a good way to do this.
  • Incorporate videos.

Facebook Places

While this isn’t SEO on your website, it pays to list your restaurant here. You absolutely want a presence on Facebook because quite possibly that’s where you’ll find the majority of your customers.

In addition, you can link back to your website in your daily posts which drives traffic to your restaurant website and can boost your search engine rankings.

When creating a Facebook business page, be sure to pick the right category (local business is perfect). Then, you’ll want to completely fill out the info with:

  • A description
  • Map to your restaurant
  • Your website, email, phone and address
  • Our menu

Now, you’re all set for check-ins and reviews and linking back to your website.

Claim Your Google+ Page

Lastly, we can’t emphasize this one enough.

Google is the giant of the search engine world. If you don’t have a business listing with Google, they aren’t going to look kindly on your restaurant website.

Google gives a nod to websites with Google+ page listings. This means they’re apt to list your search results higher than restaurants without a Google+ page.

It’s easy to claim your page. Do a search for your restaurant on Google or Google Maps. If you find your restaurant listed on Google, select “Manage this page” and sign in with a Google account. Then you can verify that you are indeed the restaurant owner.

Verification can come in the form of a phone call at your restaurant or a postcard mailed to you.

If you don’t see your restaurant listed, you can create a new page on your own.

You also want to check out Google My Business. It’s another place to provide Google with information that then can be used on Google Search, Maps and Google+.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a basic foundation in restaurant website SEO, you have what you need to get started.

Remember to keep your site clean and user friendly. Update your site frequently with reader-friendly, socially-shareable valuable content for the best search results. (tweet this)

Don’t create a website and forget it. Your restaurant website is something to revisit often to fine-tune your content for the best user experience that also enhances your SEO.

The goal of your website is to meet your customers’ needs. To do that, they have to be able to find you through their search engine of choice.

Dive into your restaurant website’s SEO today and use your Google Analytics to gauge your success.

Do you have a great website? Is it user-friendly and enticing to your website visitors? If not, or you’d like a website tune-up and refresh, contact us for your free website consultation. We’ll make sure your website works for your site visitors and is the centerpiece of your marketing.

Images:  Dan Gold and Patrick Tomasso

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