4 Steps to Optimize Your Website for SEO
Are you making it easy for your customers to find you online? Any local restaurant must consider this question in today’s online world. Google processes 40,000 searches every second. In all of those searches, consumers tend to stick with results on the first page. According to Moz, 70 to 90 percent of searchers click on the first page. Couple this with the changing realities of how searches appear in Google, and it can be hard for a restaurant trying to stick out. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play. For a restaurant, SEO can be the difference between a customer finding your restaurant or not.
Think of every time someone types a question on a search site. They are relying on a search engine like Google or Yahoo. These search engines use web crawlers to search for relevant information. SEO is the process of making your information as easy for web crawlers to find as possible. As a restaurant operator, your focus should be on local SEO. Local SEO is all about the specific information searchers are looking for such as address, contact information, and hours.
Here are four ways your restaurant can get started with SEO.
1. Become friends with Google
A majority of searches take place on Google. If you are not on Google, you are missing out. You can use the tool known as Google My Business (GMB) to help increase your local SEO rankings. This is the first step in your SEO journey. Using GMB, you can register your business to manage and update your information, access insights about how users are finding your business, get listed on Google maps, and respond to customer reviews.
2. Remember three important letters
There are three key letters to keep in mind for your restaurant SEO: NAP (Name, Address, Phone number). It might seem obvious, but if you want to show up in searches, a search engine must be able to find your Name, Address, and Phone number. Google will access this information from your website and other sites around the web. The key is consistency and quantity of mentions with your NAP. So the more your information is out there and consistent, the higher your visibility will be in local searches. Ensure your information is consistent in local directories (i.e. YellowPages, Foursquare, Bing Places) and on your social media profiles.
3. Look at your reviews
The quantity and quality of your online reviews are major factors in your search visibility. The more positive reviews your restaurant has, the more online exposure it will get. Not to mention, reviews are a big part of how today’s consumers make buying decisions. According to Podium, more than 90 percent of consumers claim online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. Needless to say, you need to pursue quality reviews of your restaurant. Getting reviews starts by asking for them. Here are some simple ways to encourage a customer to leave a review:
- Offer incentives for those that leave a review
- Train employees to ask after each transaction
- Put out a call for reviews on your social media
- Create a review page on your website
As you start to receive reviews, both positive and negative, it is best to always respond to them. This not only shows customers you value their feedback, but it also shows search engines that you engage with customers, which is a key component of SEO.
4. Pursue Backlinks
Optimizing your site and ensuring your information is accurate is certainly beneficial, but to really get ahead in SEO you need backlinks. A backlink is an external link pointing back to your site. These are a way to provide an element of authority to your restaurant’s site. The idea is if other businesses are linking to you, that is proof you are doing what you say you are and doing it well. There are a few ways to pursue backlinks. You can start by reaching out to local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce or a tourist organization. Find different directories that list local places to eat out. Sometimes all you need to do is reach out to be included on a list.
SEO can take time to implement, but once you get going you want to focus on converting those searchers into customers. According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly half of consumers say online ordering makes them more likely to choose a restaurant over another. Offering mobile and online ordering is becoming a must for restaurants that want to compete. Be sure your site is mobile-friendly and ready for online orders. Today’s consumer wants convenience, so when they come across your site in a search, be sure you give them the best experience possible.
About the Author
Saleem S. Khatri is the CEO of Lavu, a restaurant management platform including mobile point of sale, payment processing, and back of the house software. Prior to Lavu, Saleem successfully built software and hardware companies at start-ups via Y Combinator and other investment firms.