The food industry was among the most hit sectors during the Covid-19 lockdown. Many restaurants for the first time understood the benefits of having an online presence where consumers can easily make orders and have them delivered at their doorsteps.
However, with this understanding comes new challenges. The challenge of "how to create an online presence for my restaurant business". "How to benefit, increase reach and boost sales."
Thankfully, our God has created solutions for every problem mankind would face. And we are part of that solution at Semola Digital.
No one is better ready to assist you…
And in this guide, we'll walk you through how you can strategically optimize your restaurant website to increase online presence, establish credibility and trust, boost sales and stay ahead of your competitors.
This guide will include how to create a bulletproof SEO strategy for your restaurant business.
A food with an aroma doesn't need too much noise, virtually everyone that inhales one will want to have a taste of it.
That aroma is your online presence. But how do you make it strong in the nose of the passersby? Recipes!
You can't get the delicacy wrong with the right recipes, especially when you are a kitchen DJ.
This is where an SEO specialist comes into the picture. An SEO specialist can help you position your restaurant top of Google such that when users search for what you offer, you show up and become visible to them. They end up clicking to your website or Google my business profile because they could sense something…like exactly what they are looking for.
Let's have a look at what SEO is…
What is Restaurant SEO?
SEO, of course, refers to all those practices that are aimed at optimizing your business’s presence online.
Restaurants SEO is a practical approach to optimizing your restaurant and online food delivery business for greater visibility in search engines.
The process involves announcing to Google that you have got a beautiful restaurant where users searching around for nearby restaurants can come in to eat or order food at a click of a button on your website.
Google cherishes its users and is always looking out for a way to make their lives simple. If you carved a niche for yourself, helping Google to achieve its purpose, Google will love you and recommend its users to your store.
Understanding Your Audience and Targeting Local Consumers in the Markets
The first thing restaurant business owners must know is that no single food-service operation has universal appeal. It's nearly impossible to capture 100% of the market.
What this means for SEO is that you should focus on particular keywords that are worth targeting, because you are going to see a lot of keywords with large search volumes. You should only aim at profitable keywords within your niche and not try to target everyone. When you try to target everyone, you end up bringing irrelevant traffic to your store.
Here's a look at the main market categories of food-service business customers:
1. Generation Y: Also known as the "millennial generation," or the "boomlet" generation, Gen. Y are people born between 1980 and 2000. In any nation in the world, this generation is the most ethnically diverse generation - three times the size of generation X.
Restaurant business owners need to position their brand for this category of consumers to appeal to them and open their restaurant doors for them. If you are wondering where you can get customers, Gen. Y is your prime target for a food-service business.
Members of Generation Y are mostly always busy and sometimes don't have that time to prepare meals for themselves. And even when they do, they prefer trying out assorted and tasty meals and so, they go for fast-food. Studies show that about 25% of their restaurant visits are to burger franchises and pizza restaurants representing 12%.
2. Generation X: Those who were born between 1965 and 1980 are referred to as generation X. They have strong family values and are more likely to focus on relationships with their children. A quick-service restaurant and midscale operations that offer all-you-can-eat salad bars and buffets, with an ambience and comfortable atmosphere that offer values are most likely to appeal to this group of generation.
Understanding Local SEO for Restaurant Business
The SEO for a restaurant business is a bit different from general SEO.
Restaurants fall under the hospitality sector and so it is all about localization.
Google looks out to rank restaurants when a searcher is looking for information on…
- “good vegan restaurants in their new neighbourhood”,
- “best pizza place while on vacation”,
- “Where can I order food online”,
- “Food near me”
- “Food delivery near me”, or
- “Restaurants near me”.
Google recognizes the search intent and the need to present geo-localized results to the users.
Note: Google's primary users are people searching using its engine. And Google’s main purpose is to help them achieve their goals, provide solutions to their problems, help them with - original, unique, timely and relevant information.
There are two types of searches you need to know when doing keyword research for your local business:
Implicit search queries: These are search queries that do not include a geo-localized keyword.
An example is…
“Top Chinese restaurants”
Explicit search queries: Here, the geo-localized keywords that the searcher used is explicitly stated in the query.
An example is…
“Chinese restaurant in Lagos”
“Restaurant near me”
In the case of implicit search queries, Google uses its set of algorithms to understand the intent behind the search queries and return geolocalized results to the searcher.
Google tries to understand the location of the user, including search history and return relevant information to the user even though the user did not specify the location in the search query.
Benefits of Restaurant SEO
Running a restaurant business and depending only on social media presence is not enough. Today, people use search engines to search for anything. In fact, studies have shown that users through search engines convert much more than any other channel. This applies to all businesses and not just restaurants alone.
SEO can offer 1000%+ higher traffic than any organic social media activity.
Below are some of the benefits SEO can bring to your business:
- Increased visibility and awareness for your restaurant
- Improved engagement from customers
- More traffic from various digital channels
- Increase sales
10 Tips to Spice Up Your Restaurant Online Presence and Boost Sales
Your restaurant business deserves a top position on Google. It is one of the lucrative, high revenue-generating channels you can use to boost sales and expand.
1. Define Your Keyword Strategy
Keyword research is a practice search engine optimization professionals use to find and research search terms that users enter into search engines when looking for products, services or general information. You need to holistic keyword approach if you want to rank top of Google search results.
Keyword Research Tips for Restaurants SEO
There are many SEO tools (both paid and free) that will let you conduct in-depth keyword research for your restaurant business along with competitors' keyword analysis. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner (free) Semrush, Ahrefs, and KWFinder are some of the popular tools that you can use for keyword research.
An understanding of search intent is needed when doing keyword research for local businesses.
You’ll need a proper keywords strategy in order to target your users with varied intents. Therefore, how you structure your keyword research can help you in the process.
The keyword research process for local SEO is basically a “one and done” process.
Unlike a blog, where you have to keep on finding new keywords.
No doubt keywords are important for local searches. But in Local SEO, a list of a few keywords that people use to find your local business can be all you need to get started.
If you’re new to this, you might want to get an expert to handle it while you focus on the business side.
Here is one way to go about it:
Research and Sprinkle High-level keywords
Users are more likely to include high-level generic keywords such as “restaurants” while searching on Google. You need to find those types of keywords (seed keywords) and sprinkle them in your copy.
So, for your local business SEO, try to include keywords such as ‘Lagos restaurant in London’. Or use keywords such as ‘Italian restaurant in Abuja’ to pinpoint specific cuisines.
Research Niche-specific keywords
Identifying the category your business falls into will help narrow down and target a high converting audience and increase sales. For instance, if your restaurant business focuses only on Pizza, featuring a rooftop bar or ‘private lounge, including such keywords will help you gain a competitive edge on search engines.
Research Location-specific keywords
Keywords such as “restaurants near me” “Pizza in Ikeja” “restaurants around Lekki” or ”where can I get pizza in Wuse” are some of the keywords you should look out for while conducting your keyword research.
Research Brand Term
This will allow you to know how many people are searching for your restaurant business by name. You can then compare the results to the high-level and niche-specific search volume.
2. Come up with a Localized Content Plan
Google has made it so easy for small local businesses such as food and delivery businesses to rank on the search engine result page and compete with the “big boys”.
Google knows that people living in Abuja do not want to know about pizza restaurants in Lagos. They understand that what will delight their customers is returning search results of queries like the pizza restaurants closest to them and not across the cities. An exception is when a user who lives in Los Angeles or Japan types "Best Chinese restaurant in Lagos".
This means that there is much opportunity to get ranked high for local searches.
So, as a restaurant owner in Nigeria, you could write a series of articles generally on restaurants and specifically on Pizza.
When creating content, make sure you are using your local city name in your website pages and blog posts. It’ll help signal to Google that you’re local.
Here are some example content ideas:
The screenshot above is showing people also asking questions that you can convert to video content on your website.
- The benefit of eating in a Restaurant
- Restaurant Etiquette: 5 Things Wait Staff Can Do to Keep Customers Happy
- What every restaurant must have to keep customers engaged
- 6 Places to eat Italian Pizza in Lagos
- Visiting Lagos? Don’t leave without visiting "Domino Pizza"
- What’s so special about Italian Pizza?
Customers are likely to land on any page of your website from search engines, so it makes sense to include important details such as the address and make it visible in a sidebar or in the header and footer of your web pages.
3. Follow and Implement On-Page SEO Best Practices
Writing and publishing content is not enough to rank on Google if you do not optimize it for search engines. You need to inform Google that you have got great content that it can recommend for its users whenever they are searching for such information.
So, as soon as the content writing is done, you need to start placing the keywords you want the page to rank for, improving readability and submitting it for indexing on Google.
On-page SEO involves putting the keyword you want to rank for - including synonyms and semantically related keywords in the title of your post, URLs and meta description tags, headings and subheadings, the body of the content (paragraphs), and image alt attributes.
4. Use Appropriate Schema Markup
Along with on-page SEO, use appropriate restaurant schema markup to tell search engines what the actual page is all about. Schema mark up adds a layer of understanding on top of the HTML of your page. This gives search engines more context and increases the exposure of your business to more users.
To implement structured data for your website, follow this documentation: Schema.org library for restaurants.
Note: It is important for you to implement Schema if you want to rank with enhanced search features that can boost the click-through rate (CTR) of your website.
5. Optimize for Mobile First
Mobile-first indexing approaching is now applicable to all websites as of March 2021. Meaning the overall performance of your website on mobile devices has a great effect on your website SEO. Creating a responsive website or one that passes the necessary mobile-friendly tests is not enough.
You need to consider optimizing for page load speed, proper rendering, and providing a great mobile user experience altogether.
6. Get Reviews & Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are social proof for your restaurant business. From a local SEO perspective, a review is part of the social signals Google uses to rank businesses on the local search results page (i.e., the local pack). The star rating and the reviews signal interaction and are a sign that people are having a good time at your restaurant.
Positive reviews help other potential customers make buying decisions and visit your restaurant.
On search engines, if you implement structured data mark up (as discussed earlier), you’ll benefit from rich results featuring those star ratings that you manage to accumulate. This can convince users to click on your website, order or visit your business location.
7. Drive Engagement and Improve Interactions
As a restaurant owner, you need to build meaningful connections with current and future (potential) customers, which will serve to boost your brand (and ROI) both online and offline.
Your social media account should be set up in such a way that it represents your online castle - where people engage with your brand. The importance of this to SEO is that whatever social signals you build from engaging and interacting will be picked up by search engines as proof of credibility, reputation, trust and relevance,
8. Track Performance of Your Local SEO Efforts
Before you start on this journey that we have been discussing so far, you need to plan on your goals and how to measure your performance. You can’t measure what you have not defined just as you can’t improve what you have not measured.
So to succeed and gain a competitive edge and improve ROI, you need to define your objectives and goals and create KPIs for each.
9. Bonus Tips: Be Consistent
When it comes to establishing a local business and optimizing it for better visibility, you have to stay consistent. Consistency in terms of the information you provide in your account such as business name, address, the contact information must be consistent on the website, social media profiles, Google My Business listings and on local directories while building citations.
While working hard - trying to rank your business listings on Google in order to bring nearby customers to your restaurant you should not shift your focus from conversion. Because that’s what brings money to your business.
The ultimate goal is to drive potential customers to visit your restaurant and make orders for food and drinks. So, optimize for user experience, keep your content exciting and relevant so you can inspire people visiting your restaurant website to convert in line with your business goals.
Try this SEO for restaurants tips for your food business and watch your ranking growing in no time.
We understand this whole thing can be time-consuming and most restaurant owners don’t have that time to start implementing them on their websites. So, that’s why we are here. Helping you skyrocket your business ranking, bring more customers to your food business, increase online food ordering and ultimately boost your business's bottom line.
When it comes to implementing restaurant SEO, no one is better equipped with the skills to get you in the race. Call us today!