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How SEO Helps to Build a Restaurant's Local Presence

Search engine optimization, also referred to as SEO, is the process of increasing online visibility through search engines such as Google. In order to accomplish this, strategic tactics and techniques need to be applied both on and off the website. For restaurants in particular, there is a heavy need for proper local SEO, especially ones that aren’t linked to large chains.

Onsite Optimization

With today’s tech-savvy consumers, it’s not enough to have a few social media accounts with the restaurant's menu posted. A well-designed website is a representation of the brand and will allow for a larger online presence, which is where the locals are looking to find the best resturants in their area. To ensure there’s a chance of the restaurant appearing in local search, the website and its content must be optimized. Start with keyword research. Choose an online keyword tool, such as Google Adwords, and find the most relevant ones for the location. The easiest way to go about this is by using the term “restaurants” or the restaurant’s category and your city in one keyword -- Restaurants in Hartford or Hartford Chinese Restaurants, for example.

The keyword tool will provide the search volume and the competition. Higher competition keywords are more difficult to rank for, so it’s important to take that into consideration. Once the keywords are decided, they should be used in the website’s title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags, and content. While optimizing, just make sure not to overdo it. Place the keywords where they make sense. Google wants to provide content that reads well for its users, therefore keyword stuffing will not achieve high rankings. You will achieve high rankings by staying consistent and following honest SEO practices.

Offsite Optimization

Offsite optimization grows when outside websites of high authority build links to the restaurant’s website. Whether it’s offering quality content for guest blogs, becoming a sponsor for a local team or creating partnerships with other businesses in the area, networking and community involvement are sure ways to get recognized.

Local business directories and reviews are other major factors of offsite optimization. Start with the popular business directories, such as Google My Business, Citysearch, Yellow Pages, and Foursquare. There are also directories geared towards restaurants. These are OpenTable, Zomato and Allmenus. Because they’re targeted at this niche, they offer different functions, such as the option for users to make reservations, see the menu and even earn dining rewards. Reviews, such as Yelp reviews, are also of high importance. Many consumers rely on reviews before heading to a restaurant they’ve never been to. Encourage customers to review the restaurant on review websites and social media.

When submitting to various directories, ensure the name, address and phone are consistent on every website. This is called NAP consistency. Duplicate, incomplete, mismatched, incorrect, and misspelled listings will suffer in search engines, and cause potential customers to have trouble when trying to contact or find the location.

Schema

Schema markup is a code that includes information for various properties that further inform the search engine. This includes menus, reservations, ratings, type of cuisine, types of payment accepted, hours, price range, physical location, and more. For a specific example of schema markup, visit schema.org.

The schema code provides a rich snippet, which is a short summary of the page in a search engine’s results. This allows the user to have an informative preview of what the restaurant has to offer, and helps the restaurant stand out from competition.

With a focused and consistent SEO strategy, any restaurant can build a strong local presence. In order to thrive, restaurants need to connect with those living in the area, and that’s exactly what optimizing will do.

Author: Lyndi Catania of Found, an SEO company balancing the demands of the algorithm and the needs of users.



2016-10-18 00:00:00
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