Search engine optimization is one of the most promising yet underutilized tools in internet marketing. Because of the somewhat murky waters that surround SEO, most marketers including top business owners have fallen prey to scammers and black hat SEO technicians who masquerade as genuine and legit SEO professionals.
Most of these guys promise you instant search engine results at unbelievably lower prices. Take it from me, such people are scammers and don’t swallow their bait. Instead I will give you 5 tips that will put you on the right track to starting and optimizing your local SEO.
Why Local SEO for Your Restaurant?
Restaurants largely depend on the local pool of customers in the cities and localities they operate in. Inasmuch as global oriented SEO practices can help establish you as an international brand; you need local SEO so that you can be visible to the customers who matter. Search engines give more wait to local search results irrespective of the device used. You can also leverage on local SEO to boost your rate of walk-ins. Here are 5 tips to make this happen.
Claiming Your Google+ Page
Whenever you do a search for restaurants within your locality, chances are you will see Google Plus listings right at the top of the search engine results page. In order to claim your Google Plus page, do a search of your restaurant direct from Google maps to establish whether the search engine already has your restaurant in its catalogue.
In the event you find it, go to the bottom and click on Manage This Page and you will be prompted to sign in to your Google account. If you don’t have any, you can easily create one.
Once signed in, Google will also prompt you to verify that you are the true owner of the restaurant either by calling the number they have on their file or sending a postcard to the address on their file. If your restaurant is not catalogued, you need to setup a Google+ page. You can click here on how to get started.
Ensure Your Google Plus Page Bears the Correct Information
Once you have your Google Plus page ready, you must ensure that it bears accurate information on your restaurant. Duplicate listings and incomplete information can be a letdown and cast you in bad light. Make sure the page has your restaurant name, phone number, address, and your website where applicable. Adding hours of operation and ensuring the restaurant falls in the right category will help your customers find you easily.
Claiming Your Local Business Directory Listings
Removing duplicate business directory listings sends a strong message to search engines that you are in control of your page and the information present reflects what is on the ground. Increasing the degree of certainty earns you a badge of trust online. Some of the citations you can claim as a restaurant owner or manager include:
- Yahoo local
- Shop city
- Yellow pages
- Bing places
- Super pages
- Urban spoon
- Angie’s list
- Trip advisor
- Yellow boat
- Insider pages
- Express update USA
In case you have money, but do not have the time to do the submission, you can make use Yext to submit multiple citations. You can always track your citations through an excel spreadsheet in the event you cannot afford Yext packages.
Understanding how your customers are searching for your restaurant is very important. Having a keyword that reflects your customers search behavior will make it much easier for you to optimize and get found. There are lots of tools you can use to get this done, however, Google Adwords key tool is one of the easiest to use and is free. This tool will show you the number of times a keyword is searched on a monthly basis as well as the competition around the keyword.
For both a paid and an organic campaign, higher competition keywords are difficult and much more expensive to rank for. If you want to target multiple keywords, this keyword tool will also give you suggestions and ideas.
Optimizing Your Homepage for Specific Search Phrases
Whenever search engines crawl your site, they pick variable information and store it in their database. This is what is called indexing. Unfortunately, search engine bots do not see your website the same way you see it. Instead of the stunning slide shows and pretty images, search engines see your raw HTML.
Using the HTML, the search engines breakdown your site into its basic structure in an attempt to determine what it is all about. This is where content optimization comes in to inform the search engines what your site is about. There are tools that can help you to analyze the HTML page of your site for a specific keyword so as to have an idea of how friendly or unfriendly it is to search engines. Depending on your content management system, you may find tools such as Yoast SEO plugin or Juxseo useful.
There you go! If you are a restaurant owner and you want to optimize your business for local SEO, this should give you a footing. If you have an area that you feel has been omitted, or are experiencing a unique optimization challenge, share with us below.