SEO strategies for restaurants and hotels

In the digital age, a robust online presence is crucial for hospitality businesses. This guide provides actionable SEO strategies for restaurants and hotels to improve their online visibility and attract more guests.



Mar 15, 2024 - 5 min read

SEO strategies for restaurants and hotels

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, restaurants and hotels must stay ahead of the competition to attract guests and boost bookings. From doing the essentials to voice search optimization, here are six strategies to help restaurants and hotels optimize their website for search engines.

1. Optimize Google Business Profile for local SEO

Search is no longer confined to Google alone. But before embarking on an omnichannel strategy, restaurants should achieve this underrated tactic: list the establishment in Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), which functions now as a digital storefront. Claiming and updating Google Business Profile with accurate information, high-quality photos, and engaging descriptions is crucial for ranking high in local searches. With more than 70% of mobile searches leading to offline actions, restaurants can be sure that potential guests can find them easily.

2. Build a strong local SEO presence

For restaurants and hotels wanting to enhance their visibility within their communities, building a strong local SEO presence is essential. Creating a content strategy and solidifying link-building activities can elevate a restaurant's local search rankings. A strong local SEO presence can enhance the restaurant's brand and attract repeat guests.

Keyword research for maximum impact

Restaurant marketing managers should conduct keyword research before creating a solid content strategy and high-quality content. This will help them identify relevant topics and queries to align their content with what their target audience is searching for, leading to higher traffic and campaign performance.

Mobile-friendly websites

Google prioritizes mobile-first indexing and favors mobile-friendly websites in search. That's why restaurants and hotels need to ensure that their sites are responsive and can deliver a seamless smartphone experience for local users.

3. Hotel and restaurant online marketing strategy: Building omnichannel presence beyond the website

Omnichannel strategy for hotels and restaurants

Search is no longer confined to Google alone. Restaurants need to embark on an omnichannel strategy to ensure that they optimize their brand presence on relevant platforms. Enhancing online visibility for hotels and restaurants would also drive more profits to their business.

Here are other online strategies that restaurant owners should consider:

Maximizing reach on YouTube with thoughtful titles and tags

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine. Billions of people use it to find content for just about anything, including lunch cravings and overnight options. Restaurants and hotels should consider producing more content on this platform and ensure that the video content reflects the brand identity well to the intended audience. You Tube descriptions, titles, and tags should all be optimized for search.

Leveraging search and business promotion in TikTok

TikTok is no longer the new kid on the block but has become the short-form video king. In January 2024, Adobe Express reported a surprising consumer trend: over 2 in 5 Americans have used TikTok as a search engine. More than half of business owners (54%) use TikTok to promote their business, posting an average of nine times per month. While most restaurants are still using Instagram as their main social media marketing channel, diners are using Tiktok to search for the best restaurant deals in town. This means restaurant businesses should start Tiktoking their way to profit.

Increasing brand appeal via Google Maps

When hotel properties and restaurants list their businesses on Google Business, it enables them to appear in Google and Google Maps search results. A hotel can enhance its online visibility by regularly posting high-quality photos highlighting its property's amenities and unique travel and culinary experiences.

This visual storytelling strategy can help capture the brand's essence and entice potential guests to experience it firsthand. The hotel can also encourage user-generated content by incorporating guest photos and positive reviews into its listing, further enriching its online presence.

4. Voice search optimization: Conversations matter

Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri are gaining ground as voice search becomes commonplace. At the start of the year, Demand Sage predicted that 8.4 billion people will use voice assistants by the end of 2024, a 100% increase from 2020.

In the restaurant and hotel industry, voice is also a surprising trend: 52% of voice search users in the US came from food delivery and restaurant sectors, 49% consumer packaged food and local services, 47% making a reservation, and 43% travel.

Here are other applications where voice search optimization has impacted the restaurant and hotel industry:

Amazon’s Alexa for hospitality

Amazon’s Alexa for Hospitality has revolutionized the hotel guest experience. By integrating voice search capabilities, guests can use voice commands to request services, find essential information (such as checkout times), and even control room functions. Hotels can customize Alexa to enhance guests’ stay, making it a powerful tool for improving customer satisfaction and engagement.

Expedia’s Voice search application

Expedia, a leading online travel agency, has implemented voice search to enhance user experience. Their voice search application allows travelers to manage bookings, inquire about room availability, and find nearby hotels or restaurants using natural language. By optimizing for voice search, Expedia ensures potential guests can easily access relevant information, leading to increased bookings and customer loyalty.

Voice search

Voice search optimization is no longer a futuristic concept — it’s a practical strategy that hotels and restaurants must embrace. By providing accurate and conversational content, businesses can enhance their online visibility and cater to the growing number of voice search users.

Here are practical steps to enhance content strategy and cater to voice-driven queries:

Conversational and long-tail keywords

Rethink SEO keywords: When thinking of keywords, restaurants should use longer, conversational phrases instead of generic keywords. It should reflect how users naturally ask questions verbally. For instance, instead of “best pizza NYC,” target “Where can I find the best pizza in New York City?”.

FAQs and Q&A content: It's also important to include FAQs and Q&A content that directly answers common questions. Adding an FAQ section, addressing queries related to the restaurant or hotel can help restaurants provide a better voice-assisted service to users.

Long-tail keywords: To optimize for this trend, content must mimic natural speech patterns. Long-tail keywords and conversational phrases can translate into a friendly voice that answers guest queries.

Voice search optimization isn’t just about keywords — it’s about providing valuable, context-aware answers. By aligning their content with how people speak, businesses can enhance their chances of being the go-to source for voice-driven queries in the restaurant and hotel industry.

5. Content marketing for restaurants

Content marketing for restaurants

The rise of AI Text Generation Tools has flooded the web with mass-produced content. Instead of creating another generic listicle or how-to blog entries, restaurant owners should decipher what their customers want by deep diving into data and providing them with in-depth answers and solutions.

Here are some of the ways how marketers can create authentic content for their audiences:

Unpack user needs: Conducting research can help restaurants the audience's intent and questions that potential guests might have. For instance, if a restaurant operator runs a beachfront restaurant, they can explore topics like “Best Sunset Views” or “Secret Seafood Spots" or create content that provides comprehensive answers.

Ditch generic lists: It's time to say goodbye to cookie-cutter “Top 10” lists. Instead, restaurant marketers should focus on curating diversified content that highlights hidden gems. Showcasing lesser-known attractions, local artisans, or unique culinary experiences can help them become the guide who unveils the extraordinary.

Visual storytelling: Sharing fresh videos and captivating photos with unique perspectives is more impactful than churning out generic content. Authenticity resonates with readers and search engines alike, making it an essential component of an effective online SEO strategy.

Invest in long-form content for SEO: While this may require more time and effort, Long-form content provides marketers the opportunity to deep dive into topics and helps them position themselves as thought leaders in the hospitality industry while building trust with their audience.

6. Measuring and analyzing your SEO success

Restaurants that invest in an SEO campaign may see their ranking climb up on search engines, leading to more traffic and conversion. In addition to this, hospitality operators should also measure and analyze their SEO campaigns to see their effectiveness and how they translate to the overall marketing and business objectives. This gives marketers a chance to improve and optimize their SEO and content strategy while enhancing other SEO technical needs.

Here are some platforms to help them measure their SEO performance:

Google Analytics: A free tool from Google, this platform can help restaurant marketers analyze organic traffic and also user engagement. A rise in traffic will usually indicate a successful SEO performance.

Google Search Console: A platform for webmasters, Google Search Console can help hospitality operators measure search performance and identify technical SEO issues. It also shows click-through rates.

MozPro or Ubersuggest: These two paid platforms offer a keyword tool to help marketers with their keyword research and also provide insight into competitors.

Overall, investing in SEO is a sure-fire way for restaurant businesses to increase their online exposure and reach their intended audience. By creating a solid SEO strategy, restaurants can gain organic online traction for relevant searches, leading to brand awareness, credibility, and ultimately more sales profits for the business.

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