Many restaurant owners want to be more visible online but aren’t sure where to start. They know that they need a good website and good reviews, but knowing what to implement can be tricky. In this week’s live video, we covered 4 “must-haves” for good local SEO for restaurants. They are listed below after the video.
- Implement SCHEMA. JSON-LD is the latest convention. To build a schema code for free, visit this builder from Hall Analysis that was mentioned in the video.
- A responsive website has mobile contact info above the fold, as well as important info like hours of operation
- Mobile info CTA buttons
- View Menu
- Have profiles on these review/local sites:
- Apple Maps
Hey everyone. So today we’re going to be talking about local SEO for restaurants and I am live on Instagram and Facebook. And then, later on, this video will also be available on our new YouTube channel, our new Six Stories YouTube channel.
A few things that you want to make sure to keep in mind is, first you want to make sure you have schema installed on your site. The latest convention for that as JSON-LD which is basically a piece of code that is put into the header of your website.
So this schema is basically code and conventions that are telling the search engines basic information about your business. So name, hours of operation, where your menu is, your address, your phone number, things like that. So yeah, I mean that’s the base, very, very simplistic basics about schema. I will include some links in the blog post about this video whenever that goes online so you can find out more about it. And there’s also a ton of free schema builders online. I really like Joe Hall’s at Hall Analysis. He is one of my favorite tools, his tool to use to create schema for. And it’s really easy to use. You just basically enter the fields in with the information and then it just spits out a code that you put into your website. So really, really simple stuff.
Mobile Website CTAs and Design
The next thing that for restaurants specifically and all this information you can probably use for local SEO as well. But when I was writing it all down in my outline, I was thinking specifically of restaurants. So another thing that I think is really important for restaurants is since the Google index is mobile first, everybody’s searching on their mobile, especially for restaurants because they’re usually on the go or they need something right away. They’re looking for something specific at that time or maybe for lunch if it’s 10:00 AM in the morning and they’re already thinking about lunch and what they’re going to do.
So because of that, your website’s design needs to reflect the type of things that your customers are looking for from their mobile device. So a responsive website design, you can change that to have specific information for mobile above the fold so they don’t have to scroll for it. So things like that that I would recommend are call to action buttons, like call the restaurant, view menu, make a reservation, and then also including the hours of operations as early in the website as possible because that’s what users want to know. So having that information right up front on your mobile website especially, but also your main website is really important.
Review and Local Listing Sites
The next thing that I wanted to make sure to talk about is reviews and local sites because now I think it’s something like 87% of all consumers are checking online reviews of a business before they decided to go to it and it’s even more prevalent in local businesses like restaurants because users want to know if they’re spending the time to actually go in and buy from this restaurant or business, they want to make sure that it’s worth their time and money. So a few places that I think are good for every local business are to have a verified profile on Facebook, Google and Bing, because that’s what people use the most to look at reviews and information. Apple maps is also good. Apple maps doesn’t have reviews but you can verify your profile in there and so make sure that the address and everything is correct because obviously a lot of people have iPhones and they just use the default Apple maps app to find a business on their phone.
Other things specifically for restaurants that I would really recommend you have a profile on is TripAdvisor. I think a lot of local businesses that aren’t in a touristy area don’t really think of TripAdvisor, but a lot of travelers, even business travelers or people that are here for the most random reasons, like a cheerleading competition or something like that, they’re going to be using TripAdvisor and TripAdvisor does really well in search results as well. So a lot of times their listings for restaurants are going to be at the top of search results. So you want to make sure you have a profile there even though to you, you’re not really a touristy place, you know what I mean? So that’s important as well. Sorry, I’m trying to go back to my little headline or my little outline. So even if you’re an Applebee’s, it’s really important to have a listing on TripAdvisor.
I would also recommend Open Table. If you aren’t going to use Open Table for reservations, they still have profiles of restaurants on Open Table. So if you are going to use them for reservations, make sure that you have a complete profile there because Open Table users can leave reviews just on Open Table and in a lot of metropolitan areas that’s really popular. A lot of people will only go to restaurants that are on Open Table because they want to make sure that they have a reservation if it’s going to be really busy.
And then the last one is of course Yelp. So Yelp is still really, really popular, does really well in search results. It’s really easy to use and I would highly recommend that you have a verified profile on Yelp as well. It’s one thing to have a verified profile. I mean that’s already more than a lot of business owners do, but you also want to make sure that you’re checking and responding to reviews so even if it’s a negative review, you want to make sure that you’re responding positively. Even though this doesn’t directly affect your SEO and your appearance in organic search, it does affect your overall marketing and whether or not someone’s going to decide to go to your establishment because if somebody leaves a negative review and then someone from that restaurant responds negatively back or in a way that’s not really professional, that does affect people’s opinions of your company. So even if it’s maybe not correct or inflammatory, just responding and saying with some facts that aren’t disrespectful or saying, Hey, we’d love to talk about this more, here’s our email address, or here’s our phone number and please ask for Jennifer.
Giving specifics like that are showing other users that hey they’re trying to solve this problem of the customer being upset. I think a lot of users, especially for restaurants, note that the experience isn’t going to be for everyone. So if you just have a few negative reviews, that’s not a bad thing. And I actually had read studies showing that a lot of online users actually prefer a mixture of negative and positive reviews because if it’s all negative, of course you don’t want to go there. But if it’s all positive, then some people think, hey, this seems too good to be true. Are they paying people for reviews or employees or managers leaving reviews, things like that. So it’s important that actually to have a mixture. So I’m not saying you should have, 50 five-star reviews and 50 one-star reviews, but a mixture. You know, you might have some one-stars, you might have some three-stars.