Hungry for Local Search Success? Here Are Some Local SEO Tips for Restaurants

May 7th, 2024, 09:00 AM

Having a strong presence in local search is important for any type of brick-and-mortar or service-based business, but it's especially vital for restaurants, as they tend to generate a huge share of their business through people finding them online.

As such, the restaurant industry is also highly competitive in local search — hungry customers have a lot of potential options to choose from — so restaurants must do everything they can to outrank competitors and differentiate themselves in local search in order to succeed.

Benefits of Doing Local SEO for Restaurants:

  1. Increased Visibility
  2. Competitive Advantage
  3. Targeted Marketing
  4. Higher Trust and Credibility
  5. More Traffic (Online and in Person)
  6. Valuable Insights

Increased Visibility

Having a strong local search presence makes it easier for potential customers in your area to find your restaurant when they search for places to eat. Since people searching for nearby restaurants online are often ready to eat right now, this increased visibility is key to generating more foot traffic and higher sales.

Competitive Advantage

One could argue that the restaurant industry has never been more competitive than right now, and having a strong local search presence can help you stand out from the competition. When your restaurant appears at the top of local search results, you're more likely to attract customers who have the option of choosing from many different nearby restaurants, but trust the top results most.

Targeted Marketing

Local search allows you to target your marketing efforts to people in your area who are actively looking for places to eat. This targeted approach can lead to higher conversion rates and a better return on investment for your marketing efforts.

Higher Trust and Credibility

A strong local search presence, including positive reviews and high ratings, can help build trust and credibility with potential customers. When people see that your restaurant is highly rated and recommended by others in their area, they're more likely to choose your restaurant over others.

More Traffic (Online and in Person)

A strong local search presence can drive traffic to both your restaurant's website and physical location. This can lead to increased reservations, online orders, and in-person visits, all of which can boost your restaurant's revenue.

Valuable Insights

Local search analytics can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends in your area. This information can help you make informed decisions about your marketing strategies and menu offerings to better meet the needs of your target audience.

Follow These Tips for Restaurant Local SEO:

  1. Optimize Your Restaurant's Google Business Profile
  2. Target Local Keywords
  3. Publish High-Quality, Localized Content
  4. List Your Restaurant on Additional Directories and Review Sites
  5. Ask Satisfied Customers for Reviews
  6. Monitor and Analyze Your Restaurant's Local SEO Performance

Optimize Your Restaurant's Google Business Profile

Optimizing Google Business Profile is the most important part of doing local SEO for restaurants. This is because the vast majority of people use either Google Search or Google Maps to search for restaurants and get directions, place orders, or make reservations.

Optimizing Google Business Profile for restaurants involves general best practices for optimizing GBP listings, like keeping business information up to date and uploading high-quality photos.

For restaurants, make sure to add photos that showcase the inside and outside of the establishment, as well as specific menu items. Not only does this help optimize your profile, it also entices diners and influences them to choose your restaurant over its competitors.

Restaurants can also take advantage of Google Business Profile features built specifically for restaurants, such as displaying a menu or enabling online orders and reservations.

Target Local Keywords

Building a list of local keywords to target is another essential part of doing local SEO for restaurants.

These keywords should be based around the type of food and dining experience the restaurant provides and have geo modifiers attached to help people find your restaurant in local searches.

For example, a pizzeria in Brooklyn that offers delivery would target keywords like "pizza delivery Brooklyn." 

Keyword planning tools or a local rank tracker, such as Local Falcon, can help you get ideas of keywords to target and track for local SEO.

Once you have a list of local keywords you want to rank for, you'll target them by incorporating them in your business listing and website content.

Publish High-Quality, Localized Content

While optimizing Google Business Profile can help a restaurant's GBP listing show up highly in local search, you shouldn't overlook optimizing your restaurant's website. 

One of the best ways to help a restaurant website show up at the top of organic search results is to regularly publish fresh content, such as blog posts or articles. 

When it comes to local SEO, publishing this type of content provides opportunities to include more local keywords on your website, which help it rank higher in local search results.

For example, you could publish articles about the top local tourist attractions or things to do near your restaurant, or blog posts about the origins of menu items or special events.

High-quality content is also more likely to get shared and linked to, providing valuable backlinks that can boost your local SEO efforts and drive more traffic through different channels.

List Your Restaurant on Additional Directories and Review Sites

Although Google Business Profile is the king of online restaurant listing platforms, it's also important to add your business to other directories and review sites for maximum visibility.

Not only does this ensure you're getting exposure among people who search for restaurants via different sites, it also helps build local citations, or online mentions of your business information, which help improve your restaurant's local SEO.

When adding your restaurant to alternative directories and review sites, it's very important to make sure that the business information, including name, address, phone number (NAP), and hours, are exactly the same across all platforms. 

This is because search engines look at the consistency of local citations when determining where to rank restaurants in local search results, rewarding those businesses with the most consistent and accurate information by ranking them more highly.

Ask Satisfied Customers for Reviews

The importance of online reviews in local SEO, especially for restaurants, cannot be overstated. Google Reviews in particular are important because they are a direct ranking factor for Google Business Profile — the more positive reviews you have, the better your restaurant will rank in local search results.

So, make sure to encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews after dining or ordering for takeout or delivery.

Online reviews also allow you to do sentiment analysis, garnering valuable feedback that can help you improve your restaurant's offerings and service, which ultimately helps you get even better reviews to boost your restaurant's local SEO further.

Monitor and Analyze Your Restaurant's Local SEO Performance

No restaurant's local search engine optimization strategy is complete without some way of monitoring and analyzing its performance in local search.

Local Falcon can help you track your Google Business Profile's ranking for specific keywords, perform competitor analysis, analyze customer sentiment, and more.

Local Falcon's rank tracking reports even include built-in AI analysis and optimization recommendations, providing actionable insights into how restaurants can outrank competitors in local search.

It's important to remember that doing local SEO for a restaurant business is an ongoing process, so you should constantly track local search performance and adjust your restaurant's local SEO strategy accordingly to keep improving results!

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