When it comes to marketing your restaurant, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important things to get right.
SEO for restaurants may seem pretty complex, but getting it right is very straightforward. By applying a few simple SEO best practices to your website, you should see far better search engine performance. This will help you generate more traffic and boost your online visibility. Getting this right should directly increase your restaurant sales.
To help you improve your search rankings and traffic, this guide covers everything you need to know about SEO for restaurants.
What is SEO for Restaurants?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your restaurant’s website more search engine-friendly. The idea here is to help your website rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) to generate more organic traffic.
77% of diners visit a restaurant’s website before deciding to place an order or visit the restaurant. So, if your restaurant website is more visible, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to generate more customers.
Why is SEO for Restaurants Important?
Where’s the first place customer go to discover a restaurant near them?
Most of the time, it’s Google search.
If your restaurant is prominent on search results pages, you’ll be able to capture the attention of many potential customers. This is why SEO is one of the most powerful and important marketing tactics for local businesses.
By focusing on SEO for restaurants, you’ll be able to:
- Generate more organic traffic
- Improve brand awareness
- Enhance trust around your website
- Increase online orders and reservations
- Increase customer engagement
- Build a stronger online presence
Getting all of these things right will ultimately help you bring more feet through your restaurant's door and generate more sales.
SEO for restaurants is also one of the best marketing tactics for long-term results. It doesn't have to cost you anything to optimize your restaurant website for search results. But, once you start ranking well on search engines, you can hold this position for a long time. Unlike running paid ads, restaurant SEO offers an amazing ROI.
How to Do Restaurant SEO: 8 Tips and Tactics
There’s a lot that can go into SEO for restaurant websites. However, getting the basics down can help any restaurant business improve its rankings on Google search and other search engines.
To help you start generating more traffic, here are eight steps and tactics you can use to improve your restaurant's SEO.
Optimize Your Pages Around Keywords
Finding relevant keywords and optimizing your restaurant website around them is the first essential step in successful SEO.
Keywords are the words or phrases that people type into search engines. By making sure the pages on your website are properly optimized for the right keywords, you’ll be able to boost your search rankings and generate more traffic.
First, you need to find relevant keywords for your restaurant business. Typically, this would include keywords like ‘Italian restaurant Chicago’, ‘best Italian restaurant’, or ‘best pizza restaurant in Chicago’. These are the main seed keywords you’ll want to optimize your website around.
However, you can discover more keyword opportunities using keyword research tools. This includes platforms like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Wordstream, Ubersuggest, and plenty more. Using these tools will help discover relevant keywords. They will also show you the data behind the keywords, like monthly search volume, to help you find the best opportunities.
Once you have identified the right keywords, it's time to include them in your website.
Make sure that each page on your website targets a main keyword. Don’t target the same keywords on different website pages.
Use the keyword in your page title, and incorporate it naturally throughout the text of the page. Add the keyword to your URL, meta description, and meta title.
Focus on Local SEO
As your restaurant is a local business, focusing on local SEO is essential. This means targeting online searches focused on your specific geographic area.
Here are some of the basic elements of boosting your local SEO:
- Focus on keywords with local intent (for example ‘seafood restaurant Brooklyn’ instead of ‘seafood restaurant’)
- Develop a strong presence on Google Business Profile and other online directories
- Ensure your website’s physical address is listed on Google Maps. Include a Google Maps widget on your website
- Publish plenty of local content on your website that mentions your location
- Try to generate as many online reviews as possible - just ask your customers to leave a review on your Google Business Profile
- Create different landing pages for each location your website offers (if relevant), with each landing page focused on a relevant keyword
Doing this will help you win the top spots of local search results by getting your Google business listing and possibly your Google Maps listing featured at the top of the SERPs. When people search for a local business, these are generally the first things they click on.
Backlinks form a key foundational element of any successful SEO strategy. The more links that point toward your website, the more authority your website will develop. This will help you achieve better positions in search results pages.
There’s a lot you can do to improve your chances of building backlinks, such as:
- Publishing plenty of valuable content
- Performing outreach to other websites looking for backlink opportunities
- Writing guest posts for other websites
- Developing a strong online presence across multiple directories
- Implementing an active social media presence
Set Up Internal Links
Internal links are links on your website that point to other pages on your site. You need to include plenty of internal links on your website, as this makes it easier for search engines to discover your web pages and index your pages correctly.
Make sure you have no orphan pages (pages with no links pointing toward them) on your website. Also, ensure that the anchor text you use for internal linking is relevant to the page’s target keyword.
Publish Great Content
An essential element of SEO for restaurants is publishing high-quality content. This typically focuses on blog posts, but could also include videos, informative landing pages, or any other marketing resources you publish on your website.
This type of marketing content isn't all about promoting your restaurant. Instead, it should offer valuable, interesting, helpful insights to your target audience. Doing this will help your restaurant target more keyword opportunities for increased traffic.
Develop a Wider Online Presence
Developing a successful online presence involves reaching further than just your website. Doing SEO for restaurants should focus on building out your online presence across directories, social media channels, and anywhere else that you can share your business information.
The more business listings your website has online, the easier it will be for customers to discover your website. This will also help you communicate your restaurant’s information to search engines, which can boost your online visibility.
So, make sure your restaurant is listed on relevant review sites. Include a good online ordering system. Develop an active social media presence. This all helps with your SEO.
Optimize Your Website’s Technical Elements
Effective SEO requires your website to function seamlessly. If your website is too slow or is plagued by technical issues, then this will affect your search rankings. Not only this, but any website traffic you do generate may have a negative experience on your site.
95% of smartphone users conduct restaurant searches, so make sure you have a mobile-friendly website. Monitor your page loading speeds and optimize any pages with slow speeds. Ensure all visual elements on your website load properly, and that navigating your website is easy.
Monitor Your Results and Continually Optimize
When doing SEO for restaurants, you need to monitor the right metrics and constantly assess your SEO performance. This will help you discover areas for optimization.
Using free platforms like Google Analytics and Google Search Console is essential for keeping an eye on your SEO. These platforms can show you what keywords your pages are ranking for, how much traffic each page gets, what sources your traffic comes from, what the customer journey across your website looks like, and more.
You can also use more advanced SEO software to help you monitor the SEO health of your website and keep an eye on its performance. Be sure to keep this in mind when looking for restaurant marketing software.
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. This means you should be consistently optimizing your site, making small changes, and improving the different SEO elements of your website. By continually monitoring your website and optimizing each page, you should see a steady improvement in your search engine rankings.
Your website is your most important online asset, so focusing on SEO for restaurants is vital if you want to enhance your digital marketing efforts. The tactics above are all easy to apply, and they can help you improve your online visibility significantly.
Rank at the top results for the right search terms, and you’ll see just how much of a difference it makes to the number of customers walking through your doors.
If your venue hosts events, consider using Perfect Venue. This way, you can optimize your venue!