Search engine optimization (SEO) is when you use certain techniques to make sure that your business appears on the first page of search engine results. Ideally, your business needs to be in the first few results. If you own a restaurant, this is vitally important—you'll draw in more dining guests when your restaurant is the first one that they see after their search. To help you optimize your restaurant's search engine rankings, read on for four SEO tips for restaurants.
1. Focus on Your Restaurant's Unique Niche
When it comes to SEO, it's much easier to compete in areas where there's little competition with other businesses. When you place your efforts on ranking high for your restaurant's particular cuisine, you'll see better results in search engine rankings. For example, the keyword "restaurant" will have incredible amounts of competition in any major metro area. "Mexican restaurant" will have less, and "authentic Mexican restaurant" or "Mexican fusion restaurant" will have even less still.
When there's less competition, there's a better chance that you'll rank on the front page for your keyword. Drilling down into what makes your restaurant unique will help you find out exactly what you should be marketing yourself as when it comes to search engine rankings.
2. Claim Your Business and Keep Your Contact Info Current
To boost your search engine rankings, you need to verify that you're the owner of your restaurant with major websites. Google and Yelp are the most important. Once you've done that, you can log on to your account and update your restaurant's address, website, and phone number. Ensure that you keep all of this information current—conflicting information confuses search engines and will lower your ranking, whereas verified business ownership and consistent contact information will massively boost it.
3. Be Active on Social Media
Create accounts for your restaurant on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then have them verified. Make sure that they all link back to your restaurant's website, and then update them regularly. You can choose to post pictures of dishes from your restaurant, pictures of happy dining guests, or information about what your restaurant is doing in the local community. When your social media accounts are active and they link to your restaurant's website, it boosts your search rankings.
4. Make Sure Your Menu Is Understandable by Search Engines
A common SEO mistake is having content on your website that search engines simply can't understand. Restaurants commonly draft their menus as either PDF files or images so that they can be sent to the printing company, and then later upload these to their website so that diners can see the menu. While diners may be able to view them, search engines will struggle to parse their contents.
Your restaurant's menu needs to be on your website in text form rather than in a PDF or an image format. This allows diners to find your restaurant by searching for particular menu items that you offer.