This article will cover:
- What SEO is
- Why SEO is important
- What you can do improve search ranking
- Official search engine guidelines
What is SEO for Restaurant Marketing?
Search engines — Google, Bing, and Yahoo — each use a different secret formula for deciding which websites are favored in searches, and which are not. The idea behind these formulas is to limit spam and irrelevant links from coming up in results. And for the most part, they work pretty well.
Search-engine optimization (SEO) is a methodology you can use to make sure the website for your restaurant doesn’t appear to the search engines to be spam or irrelevant. In fact, you can use SEO to move your website closer to the top of search results, which is an important restaurant marketing strategy.
Keep in mind that the rules of SEO are always changing, as the search engines get better at detecting spam and the loopholes used by scammers are closed.
Why is SEO important for your Restaurant Marketing Strategy?
You’ve gone through all the trouble of creating a website to market your restaurant, and you’d like your customers to find it! Paid links could put you on the front page without optimizing your restaurant website, but most people ignore obvious ads online. Unfortunately, they also tend to ignore search results that are not on the front page.
Your search ranking is based on the quality of your website’s search optimization. The goal of search optimization is to put your restaurant website on the first page of what are called the “organic” search results.
How to Improve Your Restaurant’s Search Ranking
The number one rule of SEO for restaurant marketing is: Don’t try to game the system. The search engines have become very smart about detecting abuse and will penalize your website’s ranking if you try to outsmart them. For example, you can’t just type “Italian Restaurant” 100 times at the bottom of your website and hope that you will get top ranking in that category. You’ll need to work for it a bit, but there is a way.
Focus your restaurant marketing strategy on what’s relevant to your customers. The most important ranking you need to improve for is local restaurant search results. Since these are the people closest to you, they’re the ones you want to target with your search engine optimization.
Make sure your phone number and physical address are on your restaurant’s website. Talk about your food, location, and amenities in detail. Talk about your history and inspiration. When writing for your restaurant’s website keep in mind the keywords people might search for, such as “authentic pho in Austin”, “best happy hour in Tuscan” etc. But be sure to keep these keywords in the context of what you’re writing, so they don’t look artificial or over-thought.
Improve your local SEO results by getting your website linked to as much as possible from the outside. Put your address and website anywhere online that lets you register your restaurant, such as Rezku. If your local newspaper has an online dining guide, register your restaurant there to improve your search rankings. The idea is to have your address, phone number, website address and menu listed on as many different places online as possible. Because this information appears on so many different websites, the search engines determine this is accurate information and will push your website closer to the top of the search page.
SEO Guidelines from Search Engines
The search engines want to keep you guessing, that’s why they change their secret formula all the time, but they do have some guidelines you can follow to improve your SEO for restaurant marketing.
You’ll notice that there are a few consistent pieces of advice — Don’t try to game the system, create high quality content that doesn't have typos and make sure your website is referenced by other pages.
When you visit these official guides, you’ll notice that there are a few consistent pieces of advice:
- Don’t try to game the system
- Create high-quality content that doesn't have any typos
- Make sure your restaurant website is linked to by other pages
Here are the official content guidelines for each of the major search engines: