Behind every web page is a wide array of coding knowledge that goes into creating it. Even if you have created a website without a drop of knowledge about coding, it’s still there. Want to see the magic behind your site that makes it what it is? Go to your website and click Ctrl+U to see it.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about making it easier for search engines to find out about your restaurant and classify it properly — so when somebody searches a relevant term or word, your site will show up in the search results.
Research shows that 81% of consumers have searched for a restaurant on a mobile app and 92% through a web browser in the last six months; 84% of those are likely to look at more than one restaurant before choosing where to dine. People search for restaurants more than they do for hotels, retail outlets, or entertainment and they’re using that search experience to inform their dining decisions. Investing the time and energy into improving how your restaurant’s website appears in popular restaurant searches is an effective way to increase restaurant’s sales.
Let’s uncover some of the basics of SEO for restaurants and some new developments that could help you rank better with Google.
The Bare Basics: Title Tags, Metas, and Keywords
To make it simple, a search engine is like a massive library containing the entire internet. To be able to find anything, there needs to be some form of organisation; SEO ensures you get placed in the right part of the library.
To start, on every page of your site should be a title tag. Check the source code on a page – the title tag should look like this:
The title tag is the first place search engines look to determine what your page or post is all about. If it’s a blog article, it makes sense for the title tag to match the article’s title. But for other pages, your title tag needs to explain easily what the page is about.
For example, the page that hosts your menu should be titled your restaurant’s menu. That way, the search engine can easily catalog that page so when a person searches “*Your Restaurant’s Name* Menu,” that page will show up.
Meta-descriptions are the next basic part of SEO. Google doesn’t actually analyse them, instead, when your page shows up in a search result, the meta-description is what shows up to convince people to come to your site. It’s basically a 160-character pitch to why they should click on your link and not those around it.
A good meta-description should explain what is on the page, why it is what visitors are looking for, and be an indication of the quality of your site. If you don’t set a meta-description, Google will try to fill it in for you, possibly just taking whatever text comes first on your page.
Keywords are the last bit of beginner insights to SEO. Keywords are popular search terms that relate to your business. For example, if you run an Asian restaurant, keywords like “Authentic Asian restaurant,” or “local Asian cuisine” are keywords you want to rank for.
To do this, you need to include these keywords in your title tags and throughout your website’s content, such as your headline and body text. That way, search engines can pick up on focuses your restaurant has, ranging from broad themes like what kind of food you provide, to specific services you offer like gluten free foods or delivery.
Don’t manipulate or over use the system, though. Only use keywords on pages that are relevant and avoid awkward keyword stuffing. Google will know and penalize your site if you do. Keep the writing and keyword adding natural.
One technical play you can make to improve how your site performs in restaurant searches is by adding schema markup to your restaurant’s website.
Schema is a coding vocabulary that can be added to your site’s HTML to help Google’s crawlers better read your site and, in turn, improve how you rank for popular or local restaurant searches.
Schema markup can be used to make your restaurant’s SERP appearances stand out. Say, for instance, you host weekly events like an open mic night, a local band, or trivia. You can use schema markup to show the dates of upcoming events, like this:
If you’ve added tools like third-party review widgets, you may already have schema markup working on your site. Otherwise, to reap the benefits of online listings, reviews, and a menu page, you’ll need to support them with schema markup.
Otherwise, you can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, a free tool that helps you create the appropriate markup code by selecting specific options, highlighting text, and inputting the site URL. Better yet, as noted before, you can also use third-party review widgets on your site.
Further Optimising Your Site
SEO work is always ongoing, and you can always improve your site. There are a ton of factors that are considered when search engines look at a site. This can include: how secure your site is, what links on the web point to your site, how often you update it, and what content strategies you use.
Now, SEO work is not an exact science. What works for one business might not work the same for you. As you implement changes on your site, always track their performance. Utilise both your site analytics and monitor how the pages are ranking. Make tweaks as needed.
When it comes to SEO, the best place to start is to learn the basics, and set up schemas for your site. From there, you can learn and do more work on your site, so you can rank better and get more traffic.