Improve your restaurant SEO strategy in 2022

Drive more bookings to your business by optimizing your restaurant website for SEO



Apr 28, 2022 - 3 min read

Improve your restaurant SEO strategy in 2022

There was a time when a restaurant could make a fortune by serving good food and delivering impeccable customer service. During these simpler times, word-of-mouth would do its magic, and the restaurant would soon be the toast of the town. 

Today, the projected growth for the global food service industry is 4.1 Trillion by 2026. The development of the food service industry spells good news for food establishments as the consumer base is growing. Still, it also translates to increasing competition as restaurant culture burgeons rapidly. Add social media and Google's Search algorithm to the mix, and the competition intensifies.

A restaurant becomes an overnight sensation when customers leave glossy reviews or tag the establishment on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. However, the same restaurant may also lose business quickly to negative reviews and ratings on third-party websites. Google Search and social media can make or break a restaurant's reputation and business. 

That's why restaurants need to develop a robust SEO strategy to build their narrative and come atop the social media clutter and noise. A Restaurant SEO strategy comprises putting standardized and correct data on online directory listings, optimizing the restaurant website, and managing social media channels and other digital platforms. Let us look at the several ways a restaurant can optimize SEO to its advantage:

1. Optimize for Local SEO

If restaurants want to build their local customer base, it's important for them to have a strong online presence and a solid local SEO. They can add their business information to local directory listings and pages like Google My Business and many others where they can include details like address, GPS location, phone number, work hours/opening hours, photos, and even their menu. To maximize their online visibility, the business information published across these platforms must be consistent, accurate, and updated frequently so that new customers can discover them.

Tip: A restaurant's Google Business Profile might be the first touchpoint for a potential customer. However, missing information like phone numbers may lead the diners into believing that the restaurant has shut down and is no longer in business.

READ MORE: Set your restaurant up for success with Google Business Profile

Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that hospitality owners can use to promote their business online

2. Plan keyword strategy

Keywords play an essential role in SEO. Researching keywords will help restaurants determine the words that potential customers would use to find and search for dining choices. These keywords could be single words or long-tail keywords. Tools like Semrush, Google Keyword Planner, KWfinder, Answerthepublic, and Ahrefs come highly recommended to help businesses build their own keyword map.

There can be three kinds of target keywords:

  • Niche keywords: Those keywords that surmise key offerings. For example: 'rooftop view,' 'Live match screening,' 'Chinese Food'–these keywords will have less competition if it's unique to a business. 

  • Branded keywords: These are keywords that are related to the restaurant's brand.

  • Head terms: These are broad terms that are highly searched but valuable. Example: 'Best Manhattan restaurants,' or Deli'

notebook with writing
Find keywords that are unique to your restaurant business

3. Get listed on review sites

Diners are more than likely to believe reviews of fellow diners on third-party platforms. A survey by TripAdvisor suggests that 94% of diners in the US are influenced by positive reviews of restaurants, while this figure was 85% for UK-based diners. 

These review sites also have a significant impact on the restaurant's SEO. Yelp, Foursquare, and Trip Advisor help businesses rank high in search results through their pages.

4. Optimize the website for mobile

This report suggests that mobile devices account for 63% of organic search results. Restaurants whose mobile websites are unresponsive, take time to load, and have unfriendly navigation will lose potential customers causing the restaurant to receive a high bounce rate which spells bad news for business.

Note: Bounce rate, in simple terms, refers to a user ending a session on your website without a second interaction. A high bounce rate is alarming for businesses if the success of your business depends on users exploring more than just the homepage.

Before launching any homepage for mobile use, restaurants should seek the services of a web developer and a designer to make it more mobile responsive. However, if hiring experts is not part of their budget, platforms like Wiz and WordPress provide tools that allow small restaurant owners to optimize their pages for mobile responsiveness.

mobile and notebook
Mobile responsiveness also affects a site's SEO

5. Develop good content

The content on your website could be more than just the menu and address. Blogs may fall in the realm of content marketing, but they help you build credibility as a business. Moreover, your content strategy can help you improve search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website through backlinks  

Here are some examples of what restaurants can feature on their website:

  • Recipes: People are always looking for recipes online, so publishing recipes on the website will drive views.  

  • Employee features: These are articles that give diners an insight into the staff at the restaurant.

  • Thought leadership: This is long-form content that shows the restaurant as a stalwart in the hospitality industry.

  • Publishing promotional content: These are articles that highlight special offers, discounts, and events

There's a range of topics that restaurants can use to create good-quality content. However, restaurants should also use social media handles to drive traffic to their websites, especially websites with delivery and reservation features. There are many other ways that restaurants can promote their site. They can use their existing database to do email marketing and inform their loyal clientele about any new updates about their business or do collaboration features with external sites and online magazines to obtain more authoritative backlinks back to their site, which has the potential to push their ranking on Google much higher and drive more bookings to their restaurant.

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