Part Four - SEO
Ever found yourself asking, what is off-page SEO? Google is a complex beast with a range of paid-for adverts and keyword search bids to raise your position higher than the results you get from SEO alone. Off-page SEO refers to activities you can do off your website to improve your ranking on Google and other search engines. Get this right and you are well on your way to the #1 spot.
Location, location, location
It’s a phrase we often associate with Kirsty and Phil, but understanding the importance of location is crucial to your SEO success. Did you know that 72% of all consumer searches are related to local content like “What’s on in Surrey”, “best places to eat Glasgow” etc. Therefore, your SEO goal is to make sure your restaurant appears to potential customers searching in your local area.
Use business listings & reviews
These are a great (free) way to get your restaurant’s brand name and links out there. Sites such as Yell, Zomato and many others allow you to submit your information for free. They also host reviews, which can benefit your ranking. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on these reviews and reporting/ removing anything that could create a negative perception of your business online.
Operators who use ResDiary can also take reviews through the ResDiary system. This feeds directly into our online portal and then on to Google. All reviews from www.resdiary.com are from verified diners and so are much more trustworthy to customers than Trip Advisor or Yelp etc.
See Harborne Kitchen in Birmingham’s ResDiary reviews:
Set up a “Google my Business” page
If you want to conquer Google, the first and most important step you need to take is to set up a “Google My Business” listing . This is a free listing service that Google uses to draw information about your business for use across all of their platforms like Google searches, Maps etc.
This graph appears when a customer runs a Google search on your restaurant’s brand name. It displays pictures, a description, restaurant address, and other essential information in one handy place. A populated Knowledge Graph means that your restaurant’s information can take up half of the page on Google. If you Google your restaurant’s name and this graph doesn’t appear, you can fix it by updating or filling in your Google My Business page.
Follow these easy steps to ensure Google My Business allows customers to find you.
- Begin by creating and verifying your account
- Fill out your profile and include your Name, Address and Phone number
- Include website address
- Opening Hours
- Good quality imagery
- Fill in your business category
- Upload menus
You can see below a simple “Pizza in Glasgow” search throws these restaurants using local SEO effectively.
If your restaurant has multiple locations, Google has a simple way to manage them all in one place with this easy-to-follow user guide to help you. Remember to take care ensuring the information is accurate and up-to-date. There’s certainly no room for typos in this section.
Google posts bookings
While we are on the subject of your Google my Business page, Google has recently announced a new feature, Google Posts, and it’s a game-changer for restaurant reservations. You can now add a reservations link to your Google Business listing, allowing customers to take commission-free bookings via ResDiary, directly from the Google homepage. Find out more on how to set this up here.
Google Image Search
One SEO strategy that is often neglected by restaurants is imagery. By updating your Google My Business page you have more control over the images that appear in Google searches and elsewhere online. Update your photos to show the best of your restaurant and have a look at what other imagery is linking to it to make sure you are showing your best side.
Move your pages up the rankings!
One of the most influential elements of Search Engine Optimisation is off-page SEO factors. Put simply, this is how many good quality links you have to your website from other pages. For instance, if The Guardian Food has a link to one of your pages, that would count as a quality link. But how do you get these quality links?
Tips to get “Quality Links ”
There are a number of quick and effective ways to increase the online links to your site and improve your search ranking:.
- Ask local food bloggers to review your food in return for a free meal: You could even hold a bloggers evening for an event like a new menu tasting or private dining room launch. The positive review will help your reputation.
- Partnerships with local newspaper sites: This could take the form of an exclusive reader offer, sponsoring the local food reviews section, or simply a big banner across the newspaper’s homepage that links back to your website.
- Live in an area that is popular with tourists? Contact travel bloggers who can include you in articles recommending your place to visitors to the area, encouraging them to book.
- Press releases are a great way to build quality links: You need to ensure you don’t spam journalists with irrelevant content but if you’re featured on good quality news outlets, it can add a lot of credibility to your venue.
- Get listed on local awards sites: Even in today’s digital world, word of mouth can do wonders for your business. What could be better than being featured on a local awards site as having the best cocktails in your area? Add in big button to make customers visit your website and make a reservation and you’ve increased your S.E.O with little effort.
- Sponsorships are always a good idea to build links: Consider sponsoring a group that ties to your venue like a local sports or theatre group. Get them to link through to your website from their own as part of the deal so your visibility increases.
Try to avoid:
- Focusing on link quantity rather than quality: One link from The Telegraph is usually better than 1000 links from low ranking websites. Quality links make all the difference.
- Spamming on forums and comment sections: don’t do this in an attempt to get links to your website.
- Submitting your site to directory websites: It’s okay to have your website listed in directories that are relevant to restaurants and food, but don’t include your website in completely unrelated directories.
What tools could I use to help me?
Once you have all the basics in place, track whether you’re succeeding. Google Search Console is a free service that helps you maintain and monitor your presence in Google’s search results. It’s a great way to help you understand and optimise your restaurant’s performance.
SEO is serious business and if you are looking to build on your SEO knowledge, Moz.com is a great source of information. It gives you the necessary website checks to make sure you are following good practice.
What ResDiary can do you for you
Resdiary’s in-house marketing team includes technical SEO and content experts who work hard ensuring our own site is at the top of the listings. We can offer advice or help out with campaigns for you too:
- Google Display Adverts for your Restaurant
- SEO audit optimization of your restaurant’s website
- SEO Keyword rich copy for your website.
- Optimization of your restaurants microsite on ResDiary.com
- A quality link to your microsite from our blog
There are plenty of off-page SEO activites you can do to ensure you reach that top spot on Google. Remember to check our blog next week where we will be sharing some case studies on SEO done right.