We’ve dined at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, explored BBQ throughout the gravel roads of the American South, crushed grapes in Milan, and still take adventurous gastronomic trips in some of America’s finest cities. We’re food lovers with a lifetime of experience in design, marketing, and photography. That’s why, a few years ago, we started focusing more on restaurants than any other industry.

Search Engine Optimization for Restaurants

Think about how you search for a restaurant. Google? Yelp (ugh)? Facebook? Its all digital. Its all online. The majority of prospective customers will find your restaurant by using a search engine. If you aren’t thinking about search engine optimization (SEO), you’ll be a foregone dining conclusion. Below, we identify the first steps you can take to boost your restaurant’s search engine rankings.

Food Photography

We’re visual creatures. This is the first thing any customer will see. It is your first chance to seating someone at your table. You need quality, high resolution food photography for your website, social media, and other marketing materials. If you haven’t yet, hire a food photographer, now. For the sake of search engine optimization, when inserting an image on your website, you must include text inside the “alt” and “title” attributes – this helps the images get discovered in all search engines, boosting your rankings. For example, at a bare minimum, include your business name in these fields:

<img src=”http://rustcreative.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/taproot-2.jpg” alt=”Taproot Catering” title=”Taproot Catering” />

Local Search

If you’re a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, you don’t necessarily need to be discovered by someone searching for “fine dining” in San Francisco. Google, Yahoo, and other search engines have implemented local search results for businesses. You need to start by claiming, standardizing data, and optimizing listings for your restaurant across all of the major and relevant local search properties. This includes a mix of search engine directories, social media sites, and industry-specific directory sites.

Accurate name, address, hours and phone data that is consistent across all data sources is a critical foundational element of local SEO. Make sure your business description and business categories align with your focus search engine terms.

It is a lot of work. But all of this will work together to grow your online visibility.

Engage on Social Media

Its proven that social media engagement will drive users to your site. Social media is an experiential extension of your restaurant, food, employees and customers. Showcase what customers can expect to experience at your restaurant. A strong social presence often correlates with a strong organic search presence as content, engagement, and popularity align with the important SEO pillars.

Develop a social media strategy that reflects your brand and follow through with consistency, quality, and awareness. Engage with your followers. How you communicate online sets a perception of your overall customer service and approach.

Create Unique Content

We started a Cocktail Blog for client Franklin Hotel Bar that highlights the history of some of the classic cocktails they serve. Along with humor and copy that reflects Franklin Hotel Bar’s brand, the copy is original, highly shareable, and has driven many potential customers to their bar stools. Search engines devour original content. Start writing yours now.

Along with unique content, you need to display your menu on your website…and we’re not talking about adding a pdf, or inserting flash. Flash and pdfs are not searchable by search engines. You’re losing customers by not sharing your menu in html.

Search Engine Optimization for Restaurants

You’re crunching numbers, keeping staff working with consistency, trying to deliver the best food service in your local market. Search engine optimization and social media may be far down on your list of “things to do” but they’re crucial to the overall vitality of your restaurant. Rust Creative has over twenty-years experience with search engine optimization. We have been at the forefront of social media since its inception. We’re here to help you. Contact us for a free assessment of your current digital marketing health.

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