Local SEO For Restaurants – How To Dominate the Search Results in Google & Facebook
Local SEO is the act of building brand authority and relevance for your restaurant on the web. Local SEO for restaurants is about getting your business found in the top local search results in Google and Facebook. And this is quickly becoming a key reason in determining whether your restaurant succeeds. One look at the growth rate of searches in Google and Facebook, especially via mobile phones, you would be remiss to think you can avoid these fundamental strategies to successful local SEO for restaurants.
There are two things that can no longer be ignored regarding local SEO for restaurants:
- Over 90% of your patrons are using their mobile phone.
- Over 50% of your new patrons are searching for restaurants in Google and checking you (and other restaurants) out on Facebook.
The Relevance of Local SEO for Restaurants
Take a quick look around your restaurant and notice what behavior represents the least common denominator – besides eating, of course. I would argue that people staring at their mobile phone is next most common behavior behind eating.
And if this is true when people are in your restaurants, it would be foolish to assume this is not the case when your patrons are on their way to your restaurant or searching for the best restaurant in your city. Drill this down further, and perhaps it’s people searching for your particular type of restaurant in your city (i.e. pizza, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, etc…).
Go beyond search (i.e. Google) for a minute, and notice one of the most common apps that your patrons are using while in your restaurant. Based on the fact that Facebook has nearly 1 billion active mobile users per month, I would argue that Facebook is the most common app being used in your restaurant. And again, if this is the case of people in your restaurant, then it’s likewise the case outside of your restaurant.
Tip #1: Local SEO For Restaurants in Google Search
Let’s first talk about local SEO for restaurants in Google.
Pull out your mobile phone and do a quick search using only the word restaurants. Don’t even put your city name in the search box, just type in restaurants, and see what you get.
Here’s what I see (screenshot from my Google search app in Athens, Georgia):
As I was typing the word restaurants into my Google search app, there automatically appeared the “near me” recommendation. So once I got about five letters in to the ‘restaurants’, Google suggested I tap the “restaurants near me” search phrase.
And the screenshot above shows you what I came up after I tapped the “near me” phrase.
Local SEO Tip For Restaurants: You Need A Google Business Page
The search results you see here are the coming straight from verified Google business pages. In order to get your restaurant found in the local search results in Google, you must start with a verified Google business page.
The way you do this is as follows:
- Start by creating your Google business page .
- Proceed through the setup process and fill out as much information as you can about your business to include menus, hours of operations, street address, phone number, and your restaurants website URL.
- Select the most appropriate and relevant category for your restaurant. Don’t just select ‘restaurant’ if you are specifically a Mexican restaurant – you want to make sure you select “mexican restaurant” as the primary category (as an example).
- Continue through the setup process until you get to where you need to request a verification post card, and then go ahead and request it.
- In about a week or so, a postcard from Google will show up with a five digit code. You’ll need to then come back to your Google business page and enter that verification code to get verified. This is a critical step in the local SEO process for your restaurant as Google will always give precedence to the verified business pages in the local search results.
- Finally, you need to make sure your website URL is verified and associated with your Google business. This creates the symbiotic relationship between your Google business page and your website. Likewise, the SEO techniques you carry out on your restaurants website will also influence the keyword phrases your Google business page ranks for.
Once you’ve verified your restaurant’s Google business page, you want to make sure you are continually updating your page with new posts that are relevant to your business. The more active your Google business page, the more relevance will be attributed to your restaurant in the search results.
Finally, and this is a more advanced local SEO tip for restaurants, but I recommend you integrate the NAP (business name, address, phone number, and even the menu items) into your website using Schema language. You can learn more about the technical side of Schema for restaurants here, but in summary it’s a way to leverage a recognized local code structural that all major search engines use to find local business information and categories.
From my experience, less than 10% of local businesses, including restaurants, leveraging the more advanced technique of Schema language integration. So by doing this effectively can quickly set your restaurant apart as Google determines the most relevant restaurants to show in the search results.
Tip #2: Local SEO for Restaurants in Facebook
The other key strategy to leveraging local SEO for your restaurant is Facebook. And more specifically, a Facebook fan page for your restaurant.
The steps to creating your restaurant’s Facebook fan page are pretty straight forward.
How to create a Facebook business page for your restaurant:
- Go to facebook.com/pages/create
- Click to choose a Page category
- Select a more specific category from the dropdown menu and fill out the required information
- Click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions
But of course I don’t want to just give you the surface level local SEO tips for restaurants… I want to give you the more advanced local SEO insights that will help your restaurant dominate and rise to the top.
We already know that nearly every (or all) major restaurants in your city have a Facebook business page.
But what they more than likely DO NOT have is a verified Facebook page.
Verifying your Restaurant’s Facebook Business Page
Verifying your Facebook business page is one way to quickly set your restaurant apart from the crowd in your market, and here’s the simply, step by step process to doing it:
- Simply go to your Facebook page >> https://www.facebook.com/