SEO for Restaurants: Simple Tips to Get Found on Google

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If you’re a restaurant owner, you know that ranking at the top of Google is crucial for bringing in new customers. But how do you go about doing that?

This blog post will outline 8 simple steps to help your restaurant rank higher on search engine results pages.

SEO for restaurants

Whether your restaurant is a new establishment or has been around for years, it’s essential to make sure you’re doing everything you can to rank at the top of Google.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a great way to ensure that potential customers can easily find your restaurant online. 

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What Does “Restaurant Near Me” Bring Up When You Search on Google?

Do you see your establishment at the top of the first page?

Restaurants near me - search result on Google -screenshot

If you do this search while standing near to your restaurant, I think you’ll be able to find it. If not, we’ll address it right now.

Most people, however, do not stand that near to your business when looking for a restaurant. They may well be in a different city while researching where to make a reservation. You must also ensure that you appear in these situations.

I don’t feel the need to explain why it’s critical to be visible in search results now. We all know how people nowadays discover restaurants. 97 percent of consumers will click on one of the first-page restaurants.

If you’re on page two, you’re essentially non-existent today. Before looking for any further restaurant marketing ideas, making sure your establishment shows in the search results is the essential thing you can do right now.

In this post, I’ll show you how to use the search engine optimization techniques outlined below to make your restaurant stand out from the competition.

The main goal will be to improve your Google visibility, the most popular search engine (even if you’ll get some pointers for alternative search engines, such as Bing).

I’ll also try to keep the instructions as clear and straightforward as possible so that you can take advantage of simple methods to increase your presence in search engines.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a five-star restaurant, a coffee shop, or a food truck; the strategies I’ll show you today work for all types of restaurants.

Now, let’s go over some restaurant SEO techniques that’ll get your restaurant business buzzing.

Best restaurant website design

Why a Restaurant Should Have a Website

You’ll want to get a website if you don’t already have one. Some people say that it’s enough with a Facebook page, but there’s no question that you’ll need a website to improve your search engine visibility.

The good news is that creating a website is both simple and inexpensive. If you have the funds, you may hire an agency to develop a website with a distinctive design optimized for search visibility.

It’s easy to create a modern restaurant website with today’s inexpensive restaurant website builders. You want to make sure it is search engine friendly and allows you to do the things I’ll talk about today.

How Does a Website Rank At The Top of Google?

Google uses more than 200 factors to pick the first website on a search results page. To do so, they employ a cutting-edge algorithm. They don’t want anyone to cheat their system by revealing all of its secrets. But we know with near certainty the factors that make the most difference.

Before we get into how Google chooses what to show at the top, there is one thing I want to make sure you remember. People who use Google are searching for information or an answer, and for Google to serve its customers well, it must give the best response possible to every query from what exists on the web.

Google wants to make sure that everyone has access to the information they need and that it is easy for them to find.

When attempting to improve the ranking of your restaurant’s website on Google, you should keep this idea in mind at all times.

How to Get Your Restaurant Website to No.1 on Google:

1. List Your Restaurant on Google Business Profile and Other Search Engines

2. Discover the Right Restaurant Keywords

3. Add Your Restaurant Keywords to Your Website

4. Get Trusted and Relevant Websites to Link to Your Restaurant’s Website

5. List Your Restaurant on Review Sites and Encourage Reviews

6. Start a Blog or News Section on Your Website

7. Make Your Restaurant Website Fast, Mobile Friendly, and Secure

8. Use Schema Markup for Restaurants

We’ll go over all of this in detail, so you can practically follow along to improve your search engine performance and grow your business.

Another method to get to the top of search engines is to purchase a Google or Bing ad position. However, since this is a short-term fix, I’ll only focus on how to expand your organic presence.

Screenshot from Google Business Profile

1. List Your Restaurant on Google Business Profile

According to estimates, Google Business Profiles can account for 20% of a local company’s Google ranking performance. This is significant.

The Google Business Profile (GBP) allows you to input a wealth of information about your business, such as its location. This implies that when someone performs a search for “restaurant near me,” Google can determine if your establishment is close by and provide accurate information. If you’re not utilizing it, Google will simply show other local restaurants that understand the concept.

As you can see in the figure, when I search for “restaurants near me”, considerably more information is available, including reviews, opening hours, photos, link to menu, reservations, delivery options, contact details, website, and more. Users will also be able to leave reviews and rate your restaurant.

We’re sure you agree that your restaurant should be visible here to improve local SEO. Learn more about and get started with Google Business Profile here.

Image from Google Business Help Pages

There is also the option to edit and verify your Business Profile information directly on the search page. See picture above.

Don’t Forget The Other Search Engines like Bing?

Google is the most popular search engine, and I recommend beginning there. But, the other search engines work similarly to Google, so the tips I write about throughout this post will also benefit your performance on these platforms.

However, I want to devote some additional effort to other search engines versions of Google Business since they are slightly different.

Register Your Restaurant on Apple Maps

You’re probably reading this article on an iPhone right now. Apple Maps has 33% of all map searches, and many iPhone users are looking for a restaurant using the built-in maps app.

screenshot from Apple Maps

Like Google Business, it’s free and easy to register your restaurant on Apple Maps here.

Register Your Restaurant on Bing

Bing is the second largest search engine after Google and has about 6% of searches today. Similar to Google Business, they offer something called Bing Places. I know it’s only a fraction of the searches coming from Google, but given it’s also free and easy to set up, I’d recommend you add your restaurant to Bing as well.

Bing places for business screenshot

You can access Bing Places here.

Your Restaurant is Now Listed on the Largest Search Engines

You’ve taken a significant step forward to boost your salon’s search rankings. But simply signing up for Google My Business, Apple Maps, or Bing is not enough to guarantee you’ll appear at the top.

Now, let’s dig into the strategies that’ll make your restaurant rank on Google.

Start now - letters on table

2. Discover the Right Restaurant Keywords

Google will always do its best to connect your restaurant with those searching for restaurants in your area. Google’s goal is to assist people in finding what they need.

However, your restaurant will not be discovered by Google until you provide them with enough information. But you’re probably not the only restaurant in your region, so you want yours to rank better than other restaurants.

To do so, you must first understand what terms customers use to find your type of restaurant on Google and which keywords you wish it to rank for. Only then will you be able to optimize the content on your restaurant’s website to match those searches.

Keywords or keyword phrases are the terms that people input into the search bar. It’s essentially a string of words used to construct a search query. For example, “top restaurant in Paris” is an example.

When you’ve figured out what the search queries are, add them to important locations on your website so that Google understands they should match your restaurant with those terms.

Use the Right Restaurant Keywords for Your Business

You should find out which keyword best reflects your restaurant. When you’re done, you’ll have 4-6 fundamental keywords and 8-12 long-tail keywords for your restaurant.

Find Your Restaurant’s Foundational Keywords

These are your primary keywords. The ones that best define your company. This might be “seafood restaurant in New York City” or “Dublin’s finest brewpub.”

Be as specific as possible. You’ll have a lot of competition if you choose broad phrases like “restaurant.”

However, if you choose more particular keywords like “Mexican restaurant in Minneapolis” or “best tacos in Chicago,” you have a much higher probability of ranking when people use those phrases as search terms.

You’ll get more qualified visitors to your restaurant’s website as you narrow down your keywords. You’ll get people who are more likely to convert into customers.

Include Your Restaurant’s Long Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are those that are even more specific. You’ll add up to 12 such “long tail” keywords on top of the 4-6 basic terms. Long-tail words are more precise.

These are typically not found on other websites, so when people search for them, you can almost guarantee that your restaurant’s website will come up at the top of Google.

These keywords can describe specific dishes or cuisines you offer in the restaurant. This could be something like “best Korean ramen soup in Washington.”

What is Your Type of Restaurant Keywords

You should begin by looking for terms that customers might use to identify your restaurant or cuisine type. Try to think of as many variations as you can.

Try to find 5-15 words describing a specific restaurant or its cuisine.

Use Keyword Modifiers

After you’ve identified the phrases that can adequately describe your type of restaurant, consider different words that would be even more descriptive.

Here are some examples of what a description of your service may include (e.g., “best”), a specific cuisine, a specific occasion, or other phrases that would characterize what makes you distinctive.

  • Best
  • Fastest
  • Healthy
  • Organic

What are Your Location-Based Keywords

These are the terms that would best describe your location. 

What words could you use to characterize your geographic area?

Compiling Your Restaurant Keywords Together

You should now have plenty of words to construct your 4-6 fundamental keyword phrases, as well as your long-tail keywords.

Now, search for your keyword phrase on Google. As you may have guessed, Google will now provide alternative keyword phrases as suggestions.

If you see your keyword phrase in the recommendations, you know that this is a frequently searched-for term. Otherwise, Google would never suggest it. You may then be confident that others will look for it.

If you can’t find your keyword, it’s likely that you’re being overly precise and that few (if any) people will be looking for it.

Restaurant Keyword Research

Enter your new keywords into the Google search bar and play around with them, noting down your 4-6 fundamental terms as well as your 5-15 long-tail keywords. You’ll return to those strategic keywords as you begin to optimize your website for search engines.

Analyze the Competition

As you choose your keyword and enter it into Google, you can also look through the search results to see who is ranking on the same topic. This will tell you how hard the competition is and how much effort it will take to rank your website at the top.

You can do it - letters on table

3. Add Your Restaurant Keywords to Your Website

Now, we’ll look at how you may use your newly acquired keywords to boost your restaurant’s SEO and attract a whole lot more new consumers!

To show up when people search for your keywords, you need to have the appropriate material on your website, including your keywords.

It’s beneficial to have your fundamental keywords in several locations. However, you should avoid putting unnatural amounts of keywords in your writing. Use them where appropriate, and make sure they’re present in essential places.

Now I’ll go through the places I recommend checking to ensure you’ve got your keywords in there.

Your Restaurant Home Page

In a headline, you should use your most essential keyword. I know you’re tempted to come up with something more creative and exciting here, but at least throw in your primary term.

Page Titles

The title of each page is what appears in the top web browser window bar. It’s also what users will see if your site is included in Google’s search results.

As a result, you must ensure that the title is exciting and tempting to click on. When you include your most essential keyword for that page in the title, it will help to boost traffic.

You should also strive for a title no longer than 60 characters. If your name is too long, Google will truncate it and only show part of it in the search result. And recently, Google has started rewriting titles that are too long.

A compelling title for your page is critical not just because it contains your keywords. Google also keeps track of how many people see your link click on it.

If many people click the link to your web page, Google will recognize that your site is an excellent response to their search and boost your page in the search results over time.

Page Meta Description

As the main title tag, your page’s meta description is visible in Google search results. This is the brief text summary that appears just below the header. Also, include your page’s keyword here.

As with the name, make the content of this paragraph as attractive as possible to entice readers to click on your link.

Headers

What you put in your headers will appear more important to Google. So, make sure your keywords are included throughout the page headers and subheaders.

As your website grows, you’ll undoubtedly have numerous links directing to various sections of it, in the menu or on individual pages. When creating your links, use your keywords relevant to the page you’re linking to in the link text.

Image Alt Description

The images on your website also aid in Google ranking. You can use image descriptions to help Google recognize what’s depicted in the picture by including your keywords in the alternative description of the image. The “alt text” for an image is the text that appears when you hover your cursor over it.

An excellent way to boost your SEO is by encouraging other websites to link to your restaurant’s website. Backlinking is the process of obtaining other websites to link to your business’s website, and it’s one of Google’s most significant criteria when ranking sites.

If other websites link to you, Google interprets this as a signal of trust from the other website, which will push your restaurant higher in search results.

Restaurant and Business Directories

Backlinks and citations are vital areas of local SEO and can sometimes be very impactful in organic search. It provides Google with credible sources of information about your business with a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number). They can see your business exists, is legitimate, and that what you say about your business is true and accurate.

Begin by reaching out to local businesses and asking them to include a link to your site. You should also submit your website to online directories and review sites. The algorithms of Google and other search engines are likely influenced by a company’s reputation on sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor.

Some examples of business directories could be:

  • General business directories
  • Industry/sector-specific directories
  • Local news websites
restaurant review and discovery app

5. List Your Restaurant on Review Sites and Encourage Reviews

It’s crucial to list your restaurant on local review sites. Not only will this help you rank higher in search results, but it will also help you generate more leads. Just be sure to respond to all good and bad reviews so that customers know that you value their feedback.

Bonus tip: Search your own restaurant’s reviews on Google, Yelp, and other review sites. What keywords do diners use to describe you in reviews? How do people talk about the experience, the food, the service? Use those same keywords across your site.

Encourage Reviews and Testimonials

It’s hard to find a restaurant these days without seeing reviews and rating ranks in the search results. That’s because consumers click on higher-star ratings more frequently.

Reviews are a form of social media engagement and an engagement technique, but they also have a wider influence on getting traffic to your site through search results pages.

Using structured data markup, you can have your star ratings appear in search results and provide another compelling reason for a user to click on your site versus your competitor’s.

A higher star rating likely means a higher click-through rate to your site – and more foot traffic.

How to Feature Online Reviews on Your Website

Place the reviews in a prominent location, such as on the homepage or in a sidebar, and emphasize them.

Take your best reviews from review sites like Yelp, Tripadvisor and OpenTable. Take a screenshot and add them to your website, or use review management tools to embed the external reviews directly on your website.

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6. Start a Blog or News Section on Your Website

A blog will help you attract more visitors to your website, and it will also help you rank higher in search results. In addition, blog posts are a great way to engage customers and build relationships with them.

So, be sure to write blog posts relevant to your restaurant’s potential customers and include the keywords you are trying to rank for.

7. Is Your Restaurant Website Fast, Mobile Friendly, and Secure?

There are a few technical measures you can take to improve the visibility of your restaurant’s website in Google search results.

Ensure the Website Loads Fast

People will leave if your website takes more than two seconds to load. According to a Google page load time study, 53 percent of visitors will abandon the site after a three-second wait. Slow websites are not good user experiences; therefore Google will promote sites with fast loading times over those that take a long time to load.

A free tool called GTmetrix may be used to evaluate your site’s speed. GTmetrix also offers you some information about what is causing your website to be sluggish so that you may fix it.

Make the Site Mobile Friendly

Today, most people use their cell phones while surfing the internet. As a result, if Google detects that your site is mobile-friendly and adapts to smaller mobile displays to provide an excellent user experience, your restaurant’s website will appear higher in the search results.

If you use a good website builder, responsive changes to the webpage will be handled for you.

Is Your Restaurant Website Secure?

The importance of SSL certificates for non-payment websites used to be limited. However, these days, Google gives preference to all secure websites.

At most good website hosting companies, securing your website is entirely free; simply submit a request for an SSL certificate to be implemented.

If the website address begins with “https://” rather than simply “http://,” you can tell whether it is secure. The web browser also displays a padlock next to the URL.

Screenshot of Schema.org

8. Use Schema Markup for Restaurants

Schema markup is a form of structured data that goes on your website to assist Google in understanding what your content is on a webpage.

This can be beneficial for restaurants because it can help Google display your information in the search engine results pages (SERP) more favorable.

Schema markup for restaurants

There is even a set of schema markup specifically made for restaurants.

Adding schema markup to your website can make you eligible for rich snippet results. A rich snippet is displayed at the top of the search results and can show your business address, hours of operation, menu items, and review ratings directly on the search page.

What are Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets will be displayed more eye-catching on the search results, with additional useful content provided alongside the title, description, and URL. The additional information comes from structured data on the page.

A rich snippet helps your restaurant stand out in search, generating higher click-through rates, higher organic traffic, and more new customers.

To use schema markup, you need a piece of code that you add to the HTML of your site. But, you can utilize a third-party review plugin that includes schema markup if you don’t want to create the schema by hand.

If your website is built with WordPress, you can use plugins like All-In-One Schema Rich Snippets to quickly set up schema. Otherwise, you might opt to outsource the project to a freelancer on sites like Upwork.

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Summary

As we’ve seen, there are a number of things you can do to boost the performance of your website when it comes to ranking on Google.

Let’s recap the steps for improving your website’s Google results one more time:

1. List Your Restaurant on Google Business Profile and Other Search Engines

2. Discover the Right Restaurant Keywords

3. Add Your Restaurant Keywords to Your Website

4. Get Trusted and Relevant Websites to Link to Your Restaurant’s Website

5. List Your Restaurant on Review Sites and Encourage Reviews

6. Start a Blog or News Section on Your Website

7. Make Your Restaurant Website Fast, Mobile Friendly, and Secure

8. Use Schema Markup for Restaurants

I wish you the best of luck with your new restaurant website! You now know the most critical steps to take in order to have your website rank at the top of Google’s search result pages.

🚀 See Our Recommended Tools for Starting and Growing a Restaurant Business >>>

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At Fiverr you can find creative professionals who can design a logo, website, business cards, or menu that perfectly fits your brand and budget.

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Jan Erling

Jan is a restaurant and business marketing expert at KitchenBusiness.com. Marketing and branding has always been his passion, which led him to the dynamic world of hospitality where the world changes every day.