Understanding SEO for Restaurants

October 28


The covid pandemic has forced many in the restaurant industry to make severe changes in how they operate and market their restaurants. Some weren’t so lucky and couldn’t survive the tough times. Those who did, and thrived, made serious changes to their order processes, food and menu offerings, and dining options. 

And on the marketing end, a significant trend was restaurants focusing on increasing their digital presence with SEO. 

Just in case you’re not clear on what SEO is, it stands for search engine optimization. It is the process of creating and distributing content on your website and other websites using specific keywords or key phrases that match what a person is searching for online. This results in your website ranking higher on Google Search. 

Why SEO for Restaurants

Restaurant SEO is a long-term play, and there are significant benefits for your restaurant when you take the time and do it right. Some of these benefits include:

• Increased calls from Local Business Listings – Google My Business

• Increased traffic to your website 

• Increase orders, reservations, and bookings

For instance, if you own a Peruvian restaurant in Jersey City, NJ, what you want to happen with SEO for your restaurant is for people to search on Google, or with Siri or Alexa, and your restaurant to come up as the primary option for various search inquiries. 

Here is an example, if any of these searches are made in your area, ‘Peruvian restaurant Jersey city,’ ‘rotisserie chicken restaurants,’ ‘best restaurants Jersey City,’ ‘Spanish restaurants Jersey City,’ you want to be first in search.

The great thing about this strategy is that your brand visibility increases. Month over month, you will see your search impressions increase in Google. Meaning, the number of times people see a link to your restaurant website or business page when they search online. 

Use SEO for Catering, Party, and Private Dinner Reservations

Depending on where in the USA your restaurant is located, there are new opportunities with SEO. For instance, in the northeast outdoor dining and private dining options have increased due to adjustments made by restaurants looking to still provide a dining experience with limited capacities. Now that they are set up for these options, they’re here to stay.  

Now, because people want to dine out and celebrate small events but do so safely, you should consider having content and pages on your site dedicated to small private events or private dinner celebrations. Be sure you add a form to take in inquiries on those pages. 

This is a great way to generate revenue by highlighting your space. 

Restaurants with private lounges should include in their SEO strategy keywords related to ‘private dinner space,’ ‘birthday party dinners,’ ‘private party lounge,’ or even ‘catering restaurants’ near me. 

Three Tips for great Restaurant SEO

Local Search

This aspect of your SEO is one of the most important. With the growth of voice search and mapping results, you want it to be as convenient as possible when searching for “best greek food near me.” Google Maps is one of the three primary placements that provide results on Google Search. 

But it’s not just Google. Bing, Yelp, and Apple Maps are essential because they all feed data to Voice Search Devices

Make sure your Website is Mobile-Ready

This should not be a reminder, but hundreds of restaurant websites are still not mobile-friendly. You would think everyone would know better, but third-party ordering and delivery services have made it easy for restaurant owners to neglect their website because there’s business coming in. 

Or worse, they’re afraid of investing a few thousand dollars in having a top-notch website. That’s a big mistake considering this website is potentially more valuable than the host who is seating patrons or taking in phone orders. We have a good blog post explaining this in more detail. 

The most important reason why is in 2018, Google made a large switch to their search formula based on mobile search increasing year over year. So now, the mobile view of your site is more important than your desktop view.

Define Your SEO Strategy and Target Keyword List

Having a plan in place is always the first step. And there are free tools available like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush’s Keyword Magic tool that allow you to do your own research and see what Keywords or Keyphrases have the most traction. 

These tools tell you how many monthly searches are done for those exact terms, related keywords, and the competition level for those terms. 

When we conduct an SEO campaign for a restaurant client, these are just a few aspects we tackle. There are dozens of small tasks that, long-term, have a significant impact on the restaurant’s growth.

For more information, contact us for a FREE SEO analysis. 

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