Why Do Restaurants Need SEO

Reaching Local Customers: Do Restaurants Need SEO?

Reviews are among the factors that drives the decisions of customers. Because it’s impossible to taste the food each restaurant offers, or go to every restaurant to check what’s on their menu, customers resort to the next best thing: finding out what others think about the restaurants they’ve tried.

Customers look for Google reviews and online recommendations before heading out to eat. In fact, 90% of customers search for food reviews on the go.

Customer Restaurant Search Stats

Percentage of Customers Searching for Restaurants Online

You can just imagine how that particular craving for a certain dish may turn out to be the hunt for the best-served cuisine within a three-mile radius. The best part? You can use this to your advantage if you have a strong strategy in place.

Your Customers Are Nearby

Focus on your community first – your locale. This is where most of your customers come from. By catering to customers in the immediate area of your business, you’ll find your positive reviews soaring. This, in turn, drives your popularity outward and helps your restaurant business draw more people in.

When it comes to restaurants, it’s better to work on SEO outwards rather than the other way around. Target a small niche and work your way to a bigger audience rather than casting a wide net with big holes and waiting to catch some small fish.

  1. Carve out the area outside of your target customer’s reach. Exclude areas that are outside of your business’ radius.
  2. Use geo-targeted keywords. Don’t just focus on generic terms; use keywords that are specific to the target area of your audience.
  3. Create a location-specific page. This not only allows you to target the geo-location of your audience, but also provide them with relevant content.

It’s a “Google It” Culture

Searching Restaurants on SmartphonesLocal SEO is the most important tool in a restaurant’s arsenal. Today, your prospective customers turn to Google to look for a new hangout spot, coffee shop, restaurant for special occasions, and even wedding venues. Gone are the days of flyers and billboards (though those are still effective, and maybe even necessary). A smartphone, tablet, or laptop is a more convenient way to access information. Google results and recommendations are just a few keywords away.

Without SEO boosting the visibility of your business, you’re left as that one establishment that could have been good, but no one knew about. All the raves, the constant stream of visitors, the loyal following – those will remain pipe dreams if customers don’t know what your specialty is or if they haven’t even tasted your food.

Social Promotions Are Part of SEO

Managing a social media account is just one part of online marketing. Facebook posts are good for sharing on Facebook itself and different platforms like Messenger and Twitter. But, what about when your potential customers are searching on Google? Your Facebook popularity won’t take you that far if your business website is buried in the tags.

Don’t just settle on setting up your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

Don’t just settle on setting up your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. While these let you post about your dishes and entice people to visit your restaurant, you should also be accessible even outside those accounts. This is why search engine optimization is a friend to you.

Google caters to people on the go – those who are out and about, but don’t have any idea of where they want to eat. When the time comes for them to eat, they simply pull up a Google search.

Because Google wants to make things more convenient for searchers, it introduced Rich Cards that shows search results with reviews from TripAdvisor and other trusted sites. If your site doesn’t have enough data and reviews to rank in these lists, you can’t maximize the free publicity from Google’s Rich Cards.

There’s also Google’s integration of real-time updates on Maps that tells searchers how to go to your business and how many customers are eating in your restaurant at the moment.

Google Maps Update for Local Businesses

Source: Google Support: Maps Update

Real Life Online

Majority of your customers are tech-savvy. The line between real life and online has blurred — everything people do these days depend on something they saw or read online. A heartwarming campaign about a cake shop or a family-oriented restaurant will mean more sales. That means traffic away from you if you keep relying on offline marketing tactics.

Remember, everyone else is already doing SEO.

Remember, everyone else is already doing SEO. A study reveals that 92% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Refusing to join in the race is like not offering the one dessert everyone wants to have. In short, you’re turning away the business.

Today’s restaurant scene is a battleground for good reviews, aesthetically pleasing photos on Instagram, and engaging posts on Facebook. On top of all that, you need to create an SEO strategy that shows off areas where your establishment excels: good food and availability.

Start local, reach a small audience, and let your good food fuel word of mouth. While doing all these, boost your online presence to ensure that people never forget you exist.

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Itamar Gero
Itamar Gero made the Philippines his home in 2009 when he founded TrueLogic Online Solutions. Since then, he has garnered the brightest minds in digital marketing who have successfully executed digital strategies in the most competitive industries online. Besides being a serial entrepreneur, he travels the world, meditates whenever possible and dreams in code.