What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” To put simply, it is improving your website to ensure it has better visibility for relevant searches on Google, Bing, etc. This means that your website will rank higher in search results, attract more hungry customers and hence drive them into your restaurant or to place online orders.
For example, if you own a pizza restaurant in Mumbai, you would want your restaurant’s website to show up at the top of the results page everytime someone searches for relevant keywords such as “best pizza in Mumbai”.
Why is SEO important?
A strong online presence for your restaurant isn’t optional anymore. Customers need to find you quickly and easily, across multiple platforms. Owing to the pandemic, online ordering has emerged as a major and in some cases the only revenue source, thus investing time and resources in SEO is imperative!
What are the advantages of SEO?
Although it is a long term activity, SEO helps you:
- Increase relevant traffic coming to your website
- Generate more online orders and reservations
- Establish better brand presence
- Directly engage with you customers
- Increase your revenue
SEO acts as a ladder to success for your restaurant, it helps customers discover your restaurant and order or visit. It is an important and free marketing channel to acquire new customers and grow your business.
Now SEO might seem like a complicated and daunting task, but it isn’t so. You can substantially improve your website’s search engine performance by making simple changes to it. Here are the best tips for your restaurant SEO:
1. Establish the keywords you want your restaurant website to rank for
First and foremost, build a list of keywords or search terms that your customers use to discover restaurants, you can use the Google Keyword Planner for this.
While researching, you will notice three types of keywords groups; high intent terms, niche terms and branded terms.
High intent keywords are broad searches used by customers, for example “pizza places around me”.
Niche keywords are specific to what your restaurant offers, for example “pepperoni pizza”
Branded keywords are essentially terms around the name of the restaurant itself, for example “domino's pizza delivery”
2. Capitalize on local discovery!
Google shows customers results specific to their location, and even for generic searches the results are complemented with locations on the map. Therefore it is essential to optimize your website for location based search.
This can be done by adding your restaurant website to all directories, discovery platforms, restaurant review sites, and social media platforms with the same, standardized information.
All these together add to the credibility of your restaurant, and help your website rank higher than competitors during relevant searches.
3. Ensure customers leave reviews for your restaurant
It is a known fact that results with higher reviews and ratings are more likely to be clicked on, hence it drives more traffic to your website which means more potential customers.
Encourage customers to leave comments and give a rating to your restaurant on platforms such as Google My Business, Zomato, Swiggy and TripAdvisor.
Google highly regards ratings and reviews across platforms when ranking your website in the search results page. It is more likely to show well rated and highly reviewed restaurants above the rest.
4. Work towards creating backlinks to your website
The method of creating backlinks to your website from other high ranking and high traffic is highly effective in improving your website’s authority, which in turn improves your position in organic results. The more links you have from other reputable sites, the more you’ll appear in searches for your target keywords.
5. Ensure your website is mobile friendly
It is extremely important to think mobile first; the majority of your customers browse the internet via handheld devices as opposed to desktops. Thus, it is critical that you optimize your website for their mobile screens. If your website is not fit for their devices, it is less likely to appear at the top for relevant searches on Google.
Long story short, ensure your website is responsive and adjusts to the screen sizes of the visitors’ devices.
6. Ascertain that your website load time is short
It is important to note that people on the internet are impatient. Thus, if your website takes a long time to load, visitors will not wait and will leave before they see any of your website content. This leads to a high bounce rate, which then leads Google to drop your position in search results. Ensure your website is light and not weighed down by heavy images or videos.
7. Add your online ordering system to the website
You’ve successfully attracted the attention of customers and now they’re on your website, hence the next step is to enable them to order. And, this can be done by adding an online ordering system. Ensure your system is up and running properly, as Google recognizes when customers leave your website without completing their order, and rewards you by improving your search result position when they successfully order from your website.
8. Ensure basic on-page SEO for your website pages
You need to ensure you’ve uploaded a XML sitemap and robots.txt for your website on Google Search console. This helps Google to know which pages to index and which to avoid, basically it helps Google learn of your website’s existence and highlights the relevant pages you want to rank for.
As far as on-page goes, ensure that you have unique and keyword-specific page URLs, title tags, meta description tags, headings, page copy, and image alt attributes. Lastly, ensure each page has standardized contact information and an address for your restaurant.
9. Launch a blog and create relevant keyword specific content
To ensure your restaurant stands out from the competition you need to have enough unique content on your website, each of which is aimed to capture traffic from specific keywords.
A good way to achieve this is launching a blog and hosting it on your website. Having enough content on your website results in higher customer engagement, increases the time spent by them on your website and the likelihood of them ordering from you. This translates into better rankings, higher brand recall, and greater brand affinity. All you have to do is keep pushing out relevant and engaging content regularly.