Search engine optimization (SEO) and online web presence are vital as restaurant establishments small and large face increasing competition in their local markets, according to leading point-of-sale (POS) solution provider Harbortouch.
Going out to eat at a new place or checking hours at a favorite restaurant no longer starts and ends in the yellow pages. The vast majority of people search the web, social media, and review-driven services like Yelp to find their favorite cuisines. To find new customers in this highly competitive atmosphere, you need to maximize your online presence and utilize effective SEO efforts, per Harbortouch, who provides leading POS solutions to over 1000,000 restaurants and retailers across the U.S.
Harbortouch has provided five areas to focus on as you start to refine your online presence.
1. Social Media
Social media profiles present an excellent opportunity to increase your online visibility. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms rank high in search engine results, so adding your location data helps you surface more prominently with your city, state, and address keywords. This is also a great way to stay in front of your existing customers, increasing repeat business and brand loyalty.
2. Search Engine Directories
Harbortouch also recommends amplifying your Google presence by completely filling out your Google My Business details. This provides more accurate results when customers search for your business by name. It can also amplify the reach of your business in Google Maps when people are searching by certain categories nearby, like “burger joints” or “Italian restaurants.” Complete these same details on Bing Places and Yahoo Local to hit all the major search sites.
3. Business Directories
Restaurant directories and review sites also rank high in search results. Maximize your Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Trip Advisor profiles to include your address, hours of operation, city and state, and menu basics.
4. Dedicated Website
Choose a website template with the ability to display perfectly on both desktop and mobile interfaces. If you design your site from the ground up, Harbortouch recommends beta testing your site for easy mobile display.
Cross-pollinate your social media profiles onto your website by embedding your Facebook feed, Yelp, and Instagram to keep users informed and increase backlinks to those pages.
Harbortouch also recommends including plenty of location data on your website to grab customers looking for a combination of food types and cities, such as “pizza in downtown Charlotte.” Seemingly small details like adding your city on key page headers, putting your full address in a website footer, and including your location in the body copy on the website will go a long way to hone in on your potential customers.
Many restaurants post their entire menu as a PDF on their website, but you also want to include snippets of key products — at a minimum — in plain text for easy search engine crawling. Much like location targeting, this helps grab specific searchers.
5. Blog if You Can
Starting a blog doesn’t need to be a massive undertaking. When you take pictures for social media, capture a full alternate shot for sharing on a blog. Harbortouch recommends highlighting regular or seasonal menu items with keyword-based copy and always emphasizing your location without keyword stuffing.
According to Harbortouch, these five areas will get you started in helping your business stand out among the endless pages of search results. Your goal is for the customer to realize you are the answer to their search query, so the earlier you can appear in front of them and the more details you can provide, the sooner they will walk through your door.