Top SEO Tips In 2020 For Restaurants – 10 Experts Weigh In

In our brave new digital age, there are now roughly 700,000 Google searches performed every 60 seconds. With literally thousands of restaurants operating in any given major city, it’s important to stand out, and cut through the noise. There are always opportunities to improve your establishment’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In addition, by focusing on local SEO you will increase the visibility of your restaurant by driving it to the top of local search listings. This can be one of the most cost-effective digital marketing approaches because it helps hungry customers find information about your restaurant, or place online take-out orders. Today, it is imperative for restaurants to invest in SEO, as the competition is stiff. In this article, 10 marketing experts weigh in on the top SEO tips in 2020 for restaurants.

Create Evergreen Marketing Content

“Have you ever noticed how some restaurants will experience seasonal ups and downs while others in the same niche are consistently on the upside? 

The key is creating evergreen marketing content. Restaurants who have an evergreen content marketing strategy understand that there are two forms of income. Income that comes from customers during their normal season, and income that comes from the monetization of incentivized foot traffic and deliveries outside of their season. 

Surprisingly to restaurants that don’t, you can incentivize a great deal of out-of-season foot traffic and to-go orders with an evergreen marketing strategy. These include limited-time specials, off-premises catering and delivery for the holidays and cultural events, and 2-for-1 specials on specific days during the slow season. 

The Chili’s Let Chili’s Deliver the Fun for the Holidays! is one 

Your gift card, rewards and customer loyalty program should be in place and marketed year-round with a dedicated, fully-optimized landing page featuring long-form sales copy, optimized images, video, surveys, opt-ins, and call-to action. 

Utilizing both the organic reach of the company website and social media, the goal is to lead customers back to the website and capture their email and/or phone number. Notifications can then be sent during off-peak months to continue to remind customers that even off-season the brand is still ready to serve the customer and even bring the food to their door.”

Rio Rocket, Digital Marketing Strategist and Branding Expert 

Invest Heavily In Optimizing Their Websites For Local And Voice Search

“The most important thing that a restaurant can do to bump up their SEO in 2020 is invest heavily in optimizing their websites for local and voice search.Most restaurants depend on proximity and good recommendations for traffic. 

Outside of very well known eateries that could get people to travel to experience their hospitality from far and wide, most restaurants will want to catch people in the vicinity who are looking for a good place to grab a bite. 

The best indicators of that will be location based information that is successfully communicated to search engines by business and location schema meta data, rich search snippets, as well as reviews aggregated from places like Yelp, Google My Business etc. that are successfully embedded into the website of the restaurant. Also, optimizing the website content to be conducive for voice searches will be vital. 65% of searches now are conducted via voice, and the structure of your content has to be formatted to work successfully for voice search.”

Bryan Osima, software engineer and CEO, Uvietech Software Solutions Inc.

Google’s Featured Snippets And Enable The Ordering And Messaging Feature In Google My Business

“In 2020 Google’s featured snippets are going to be more common on a lot of searches which means that the percentage of clicks on searches is plummeting. I’ve instructed my clients to respond to every review whether they’re good bad or indifferent. This has skyrocketed their leads through Google My Business and Google has even recognized them for that. 

Another great tip would be to enable the ordering and messaging feature in Google My Business. Although the traffic for my client’s website has gone down, their online orders have continued to increase by enabling the ordering feature that the majority of restaurants are unaware of.”

Joe Babi, Founder, Joseph Paul Digital Agency 

Local Maps Play An Important Role In Generating Leads Through SEO

“The lifeblood of restaurant SEO is local search. Searchers are looking to meet friends and family at a particular location, or are looking for somewhere to go out near them – “cuisine + location” are common keyword searches. 

Local Maps play an important role in generating leads through SEO. Being at the top of the Map pack is just like being at the top of any search result- you will receive more clicks are users deem this the most relevant result. 

In order to appear in this position, ensure you have a Google My Business Page set up. Add all of your business information and ensure it is linked to your website. Google can pull information from your website when looking for businesses to rank so linking GMB and your website gives twice as much information to Google about which page to rank. 

In addition to this, when asking customers to leave a review ask if they will be happy to name the dish/cusine and location. Eg: “Joe’s ‘Italian’ does the best Pineapple Pizza in Paris!”. 

Google will pick up on reviews when linking local businesses to keyword searches and businesses can see a huge boost in rankings just based on reviews. Not to mention how good it looks in search results if you have a tonne of positive reviews!”

Kyle Douglas, SEO Manager, Revium

By Leveraging Influencer Marketing To Help SEO Efforts

 “In 2020, restaurants can succeed by leveraging influencer marketing to help SEO efforts. Every major city has micro influencers and food bloggers that focus on local restaurant and food trends. These are the people restaurants should be making relationships with – so meet them in person! Invite the local foodie influencers, food bloggers and larger media publications out to a special night at your restaurant. Treat them to something buzz-worthy. Perhaps a seasonal menu preview, a meet and greet with your head chef, or a sample of happy hour drink and food specials. Request that they share the event with their audience and support their efforts by extending an offer to share their posts on social media as well. Smart restaurants built relationships in their communities. This type of event is one of the best ways to encourage word-of-mouth marketing!”

Jenna Passaro, Restaurant Marketer and Creator, Sip Bite Go

NAP Listings And Creating Tangential Content

“When people think of SEO, they think of only Google. But for local results, you need to think of Google AND the other platforms that all have search bars on their websites. 

For example, Yelp, Yellowpages, and many other review-based websites. Google reviews are also a must. Part of Google’s algorithm for local looks at reviews and comments related to your brand name. It’s important to show Google you have a brand. 

I’d like to bring up two powerful strategies for restaurant SEO – NAP listings and creating tangential content for readers. 

NAP listing stands for Name Address Phone. Google looks at directories and matches the info on those pages with yours. If the info all matches, you’ll show up in the top 3 local results. There are actually agencies that can submit your info to directories for you. It’s very simple. 

Next, Tangential Content. Let’s say you’re an Italian Restaurant. If someone types in best fetuccini alfredo in miami and you happen to have an article about fettuccini alfredo and what makes your family’s recipe unique, you’ll show up in those top 3. You can offer a coupon to come visit your store.”

Daniel Quindemil, Certified Building Contractor and Consultant, I AM Builders

Backlinks From Partner Hotel Pages

“Build backlinks from partner hotel pages. Most of the hotel websites have dedicated pages for products they sell, including wines. Marketers and SEOs of restaurant websites can take advantage of this by discovering pages using these two sample queries: ‘how to purchase [PRODUCT] ‘ then HOTEL, or ‘finding our ‘PRODUCT HOTEL’.

Reach out to them and request for links to your product, category or restaurant homepage. You are likely to get links from them given that they are your offline business distributors.”

Venchito Tampon, CEO, SharpRocket

Always Begin With Keywords And Location Matters

“When you’re looking toward SEO to help your restaurant in 2020, there are quite a few tips that you can implement to propel your company. However, it almost always begins with keywords. You’ll want to take special care in making your selections and which keywords you’ll actually be able to rank for realistically. Of course, you’ll want to reach for some of the keywords that apply to any restaurant, but also try to think specifically about your particular niche. Are you a cozy cafe? Do you serve high-end meals? Are you dishes based on specific ethnic recipes? These are all questions that you’ll want to answer before you begin your search. 

Additionally, location matters. You’ll want to be sure to use keywords that will apply to your business on a local scale. Think along the lines of cafe in Miami or upscale dining in Cincinnati. Again, the more specific you can get the better. So, ‘ best chicken and waffles in Phoenix as a long-tail keyword is an excellent option.”

Angela Ash, Content Manager, Flow SEO

Write Positive Reviews For Their Current Suppliers

“One of the most underrated SEO strategies for restaurants is to write positive reviews for their current suppliers. Not only can the restaurant earn a nice relevant backlink to their website. But they also get the added bonus of a stronger relationship with the supplier. And because businesses of all sizes are looking to build their own social proof, its often an easy way to gather powerful mentions and links. 

Here’s the repeatable process: 

Start by creating a list of your current suppliers. Then visit their websites to see if they are already displaying reviews on their pages. Highlight the websites that include the name of the business and/or link at 
the bottom of each review. These suppliers represent the lowest hanging fruit as they won’t need any further convincing. 

For now, avoid the suppliers who aren’t displaying any reviews or those using automated feedback systems. These will require extra convincing or a restructuring of their site. Later, when you have already had some success, they could be worth coming back to. Though for the quickest results, focus on the websites highlighted above. And for each supplier, consider the core reasons behind why you chose them. Or the main benefits your customers are getting. 

For example, the freshest fish in San Diego. Now read through the reviews they already have and find an angle that hasn’t been mentioned on their site. This should provide all the necessary background to write a short, punchy review that is worthy of being posted. 

Be sure to include additional content such as your name, title, a headshot 
and a website link in your approach. It’s also worth mentioning how long you have been a customer with them. Online reviews have continued to grow in significance throughout 2019 and that trend is set to continue in years to come. Why not leverage them to improve the SEO of your restaurant.”

Josh Vinecombe, Founder, Changing Your Business

Include Unique Customer Testimonials On Each Page

“For restaurants, the most important SEO strategy is to include unique customer testimonials on each page of your restaurant website, and add FAQs. Many restaurants focus on Yelp, Google, and Facebook for reviews, and are mostly concerned about avoiding bad reviews. But adding unique reviews on your website leads to improved Search Engine rankings for a few reasons. First, it adds more relevant content to the website. Second, the are often keyword rich since they are referencing specific dishes or experiences of the restaurants. And third, schema can be added so the content can be featured in Google Snippets. With the FAQ content, answers potential customers are looking for are found directly in Google, increasing a restaurants perceived authority. And adding images of dishes to the testimonial or FAQ section increase the opportunity of the food appearing as an image on Google search, which leads to a higher conversion rate.”

Bobby Reed, CEO, Capitol Tech Solutions 

Taking into account the sheer number of restaurants in any given American city, it is crucial for restaurant owners to increase their SEO. These 10 marketing experts have outlined numerous strategies that can be employed to propel your restaurant to the top of search rankings. Be it keyword research, optimizing the website for voice and local search, to setting up a Google My Business page. These are all important tips for the restaurant industry to consider when implementing long-term and sustainable SEO strategies.

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