Ronak Kothari is the founder of RONKOT, a full-service digital marketing agency.
Statistics reveal that 32.8 % of users visit a local business after looking them up online. That’s about 1.5 billion visits every month. If people don’t find your business on the web, it is a missed opportunity to make a serious profit.
However, the digital space is extremely crowded and competitive. It is not enough to be on the internet. To be successful requires strategic planning and foolproof techniques. Of these, SEO is the most important. In this article, we discuss its benefits for restaurant owners.
This will help you map out a solid marketing strategy to dominate the online market and accelerate business growth.
1. Establishes Online Visibility
A DataReportal report points out that 81% of people search online for a product or service. For a local business, it means their website is the first touchpoint. You may have put in a lot of hard work setting it up. But without SEO, it will not show up on users’ search feeds.
SEO puts your business in front of the people who matter, thus making them aware of the entire range of services you offer on-site.
Restaurants like Le Bernardin and Perch in Los Angeles are already heavily investing in SEO. Their website is saturated with content that helps users find the information they need instantly.
Check out the image below from Perch’s website. It carries details about reservation options, take-out, and delivery menu right at the top of the homepage for customers.
Image Source: Perch
The easily accessible info at the top of their screen helps people save time on navigating the site. It gives them a superior user experience (UX) and a reason to return in the near future. The end result is increased customer engagement, which does wonders for a site’s rank in the SERPs.
Other on-page factors like title tags and meta descriptions are also crucial for solid online visibility. They help readers quickly preview the content, thus improving their UX with a business website. The below graph ranks them in terms of their importance for SEO. Take a look.
Image Source: Databox
Follow these on-page SEO best practices:
- Include keywords in meta descriptions that answer the customers’ intent. It could either be a solution to their problem or an incentive to try out your services. However, strive to keep it under 160 characters. Anything above that will cause Google to truncate it.
Image Source: HubSpot
- Make title tags engaging to boost your pages’ CTR. Remember to include relevant keywords but do not exceed the ideal 70-characters limit.
- Implement schema markups to boost business credibility. They provide industry-specific details to aid users to pick a service that meets their needs. For a restaurant business, it may be ratings and pricing options.
Image Source: Google
- Keep URLs short, yet descriptive. Use relevant keywords but ensure you separate them using hyphens or underscores to improve readability. Check out the below image for a better understanding.
Image Source: Google
2. Increases Customer Engagement on Social Media
A well-rounded SEO plan allows businesses to expand their reach across the digital landscape. It gives them access to multiple channels to engage with their target audience. While the website is definitely one, social media is another.
In fact, nearly 44.8% of people use social media to look for brand information. Social media not only helps users find local service providers on the web but also keeps them updated about the latest developments at their favorite food parlor downtown.
Hence, remember to integrate your social profiles with the business website (and vice versa!). This will help users seamlessly navigate between your digital avatars and explore the brand at length. The inflowing traffic from social media will cause Google to take notice.
Deploy these social media tactics to drive traffic in both reel and real life:
- Capture the ambiance of the restaurant in high-quality clicks and post them on Facebook and Instagram. Bonus points if you manage to tingle some taste buds in the process. Check out Le Bernardin’s Insta page for inspiration.
Image Source: Le Bernardin
- Encourage conversations on trending topics in the industry. But ensure to take them forward by replying to comments and messages that you receive.
- Keep DMs open for any business-related query. Not everyone prefers to leave comments on the posts. Cater to this customer subset by being inclusive and respecting their preferences.
3. Builds Brand Reputation
Word of mouth is indispensable to brand reputation. In the digital domain, customer reviews are its closest equivalents. SEO makes it possible for restaurant owners to both collect and publish these invaluable customer testimonials through the GMB profile.
Image Source: Google
The GMB page allows business enterprises to increase their presence over the web. Done right, it can help them earn a spot on the coveted Local-3 pack to feature on #0 in the SERPs.
Additionally, the GMB page is the go-to reference point for users heading out for a scrumptious meal. A BrightLocal survey reveals 87% of people read reviews before exploring a local service. But factors like owner responses and photos also influence which service they pick.
While reviews help people judge your expertise based on other visitors’ experiences, owner responses and photos instill trust in your brand. Together, these GMB features give a boost to your E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) score and let customers make an informed choice.
Hence, update NAPW on the business listing, post quality photos, and regularly respond to customer reviews. Two other areas to strengthen your GMB are:
- Google Maps: Perform a search for your business on Google Maps and click on Claim This Business > Manage Now. On successful completion of the verification process, it will go live on Google Maps.
- Google Posts: They come up alongside GMB and Google Maps listings. For a restaurant business, all posts like “What’s New,” “Offer,” “Product,” and “Event” offer great value to win customers.
Do not forget to embed CTA buttons to redirect people to your site.
4. Offers Competitive Advantage
Businesses that rank on the first page of the SERPs outperform their competitors by a huge margin. Studies show they get the maximum clicks, with only 0.78% of people clicking on a result from the second page.
The below graph makes the connection between CTR and position clear. Notice how the number of clicks for a search result goes down with its position in the SERPs.
Image Source: Backlinko
The key to secure a rank on the first page of the SERPs is Local SEO. Research shows that the “restaurants near me” is the most popular “near me” search query which gets 6.2 million organic searches every month.
Thus, optimize GMB as well as the website for the local audiences. One way to go about it is by researching long-tail keywords. Follow these best practices:
- Research location-specific keywords: User queries like “restaurants in New York,” and “Italian restaurants in New York” signify different audience intent. Cater to your target audience through a location-specific approach that matches their intent.
- Use niche-related terms: These are keywords that help users find you based on services you offer on-site. Phrases like ‘private lounge’ and ‘rooftop bar’ make it ultra-specific and let people know the category your restaurant falls into. Include them in relevant website copies.
SEO is a surefire way for restaurant owners to earn handsome revenue. It allows them to leverage their online presence and persuade diners to try their services. With concrete benefits like enhanced visibility and customer engagement, restaurant SEO allows restaurant owners to outdo their competitors. Make sure to include it in your marketing strategy to stay on top of business!