The importance of Restaurant SEO
Whether you run a pizza delivery restaurant or a counter-service bakery, it’s no secret that more and more hospitality businesses are going digital. With the rise of third-party delivery apps, curbside pickup, and online ordering systems, customers have more options than ever. But as good as your food may be, you’ll have trouble capturing digitally-driven revenue if customers can’t find your website. Restaurant SEO (search engine optimization) is essential for driving traffic to your website and getting the visibility your business deserves. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Restaurant SEO?
Benefits of Restaurant SEO
SEO is beneficial for any business as it helps them gain more visibility, and there’s no exception for restaurants. However, there are some industry-specific benefits of Restaurant SEO that you might not have considered:
Increasing traffic to your website
Building a loyal audience that may later become customers
Increasing online ordering and reservations
Building brand awareness
Increasing customer engagement
Becoming a resource in your community
How To Do Restaurant SEO
SEO is a complicated process, so many businesses decide to hire marketing agencies or SEO specialists to do it for them. However, if you’re willing to put in the time to learn how to do it yourself, you could save thousands of dollars. Here’s a quick starting guide on how to do Restaurant SEO for your website.
1. Keyword research
The first step in optimizing your restaurant website for search engines is determining which keywords to use. These are the words that you want users to search in order to find your website. For example, if you have a restaurant in Salt Lake City and you mainly sell Southern BBQ food, you might want to focus on a keyword such as “Southern BBQ Salt Lake City.” But that’s just the start. The more specific you can be, the better. If you sell great ribs, you might want to add a term like “best southern-style BBQ ribs Salt Lake City” to your list of target keywords.
You can come up with these terms on your own based on your existing customers preferences and what you think new customers might be looking for, but that would involve a lot of guessing. In order to improve your chances at ranking, there are multiple tools that can help you research the best keywords to use based on existing search data. Tools like UberSuggest, AHRefs, and SEMRush are a few of the most popular options.
2. On-page SEO
Now that you’ve determined which keywords you want to rank for, it’s time to put them into action. On-page SEO involves incorporating keywords into content that appears on your website and the descriptions of your website. This includes the writing on your home page, menu, blog posts, page titles and meta descriptions, and anywhere else there is text. In order to do on-page SEO, you’ll want to add keywords to the text on various pages on your website depending on the subject. You can also use free SEO plugins like Yoast or Rank Math for a faster way to incorporate keywords into your content.
For example, on the homepage of the website for your southern BBQ restaurant in Salt Lake City named “Smokey’s,” you might want to include something like, “Smokey’s -- The Best Southern BBQ in Salt Lake City”. This will help you increase your chances of getting found by potential customers who are looking for the best southern BBQ in Salt Lake City. You could also describe your menu items in detail. For example, a rack of ribs could be listed as “Full rack -- Smoked for 4 hours and covered in whiskey BBQ sauce, these might be the best BBQ ribs in Salt Lake City.”
To go a step further, you could create a blog and post relevant content that incorporates the keywords you found in step 1. You could write blog posts about how you came up with the recipe for the “best bbq ribs in Salt Lake City” or a list of the “best restaurants in Salt Lake City” (with your restaurant at the top, of course). The bottom line is that the options are endless, so feel free to get creative and try to think of content that local customers might be interested in.
3. Off-page SEO
The last major pillar of SEO for restaurants is called off-page SEO. It involves driving traffic to your restaurant website from other websites, hence the name “off-page.” It is done by having external websites link to your restaurant website. Local directories can be a great starting point for off-page SEO, as they’re usually free to get listed on and see plenty of traffic. After you’re all set up on local directories, get your business listed on popular review websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. Finally, you’ll want to create a Google My Business listing to let Google know what your business does and where you’re located.
The most important thing about off-page SEO is consistency. Search engines need to ensure that your business is trustworthy and credible enough in order to rank your website, so you’ll want to ensure that you maintain consistency on your business’ NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) anywhere that information is listed.
Restaurant SEO is a great way to drive traffic to your website and build an online presence. And the best part is it can be done for free, provided you’re willing to put in the time. Now that you understand the basics of SEO for restaurants, you can start working on optimizing your own. Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire some outside help, you might also want to think about optimizing more than just your website. Restaurant point of sale software can help you streamline your operation and get the most out of your newly-optimized website.