It’s common for people to want to go out to eat, but be completely unsure what they want. They might toss around a few ideas around, but eventually, the smartphones will come out. They’ll start to hunt for where to go, so the sooner they find your website, the better off you’ll be.
A good portion of the results will be a local search. That’s when a map pops up in the search and shows people restaurants based on location. It’s harder to have control over these results because they post locations that are physically closer to the searcher first.
Below the local search box starts the normal results, a place you want to show up on. To do so, here are some tips to help you being on that first page of Google.
Building Links To Your Site
Links are a major way Google can tell if your website is trustworthy and important. Every link is a recommendation telling Google your site is worthwhile. It’s a balance between the quality and quantity of links. Having a link from a very relevant and important site can be a big boost to how high up you rank in search results.
The problem comes from how to gain links. If you produce amazing content, then the hope is that people will link to your site naturally. Sadly, this rarely happens unless you’re a huge website. In other words, you’ll need to do some work to manually build them.
Having Linkable Resources
There is a difference between content that converts customers and linkable resources. A good resource is something people can utilize in their lives and want to share with others. High quality and linkable content should be shareable, useful, unique, and new. For many businesses, that would be things like new research and data that is relevant for their field.
For a restaurant though, that’s a bit harder to do.
Instead, look to the strong points of your business. Share what makes you unique and special. Do you make a delicious salsa or a specialty dish that people rave about? Provide a recipe on your site and share it with the public. Maybe even make a video like Buzzfeed Tasty. While most people will only share it out on social media (which isn’t bad but doesn’t really count for link building), it will be useful and attractive to many food websites. They are constantly looking for new recipes, and by letting them share it, you can easily build links back to your site.
Like mentioned above, simply making the content isn’t enough to gain links. You have to do your work promoting it to other sites. That means reaching out to relevant sites and telling them why your content is valuable and worth putting on their site.
Who you outreach to will depend on what your content and strategy is. If you’re using the above suggestion of sharing recipes to gain links, you’ll want to reach out to food and recipe sites. If your content is more about running a restaurant effectively, you would outreach business sites. The outreach needs to match the content and strategy.
Down below, we’ll talk more about the benefits of reviews, but one potential benefit is gaining links. The normal consumer will leave a review on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, but somebody who views themselves as a food critic won’t. They might write for a locally-based site, run their own blog, or even write for a larger publication.
Offering these type of people to your restaurant and asking for a review in exchange for a free meal can lead to a powerful review and potentially a link to your site. Asking if they can include a link to your website in the review, so people can see your menu, isn’t much of a stretch and is a normal practice for bloggers.
Easy SEO Fixes
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long term solution to making your site friendly to Google and other search engines, so you appear near the top in search results. It’s an investment worth making to help your site rank higher on search results. Many tactics take a long time to fully implement and require patience, but there are a few things you can do to quickly improve your SEO.
Checking Your Robots.txt
Your robots.txt is a line of code on your web pages that tell Google and other search engines how to treat it.
Most pages tell Google to index the page and let it be searchable and found through Google. But, say somebody is changing or working on a page, they wouldn’t want Google to index it, so they would change the coding.
The easiest way to check if your entire site’s robots.txt is to put in your URL and put /robots.txt after it. Like this: www.examplewebsite.com/robots.txt.
If you want to delve further into it, you can use free tools from a variety of places. Google has even produced their own tool to check your pages for any problems.
Updating your robots.txt to match what you want searchable on your site is an easy and quick fix you can make. It’s also good to check it from time to time to make sure a simple mistake doesn’t ruin your site.
Good title tags are concise, convey what the page is about, includes a relevant keyword and 70 characters or less. The title tag is what people see when they search on Google. It needs to attract visitors to go to your site instead of others in the same search results.
Strong title tags can make a huge difference when people are looking at your site. It’s how they can find your site among a list of bookmarks, in the midst of a bunch of tabs, and the first thing they see when they search. Updating and improving existing title tags is something you can do easily that can increase how many people find your site.
A good and useful website uses links to help their visitors find information they want and help direct them to it. In a good blog article, if the writer uses a term readers might not know, they link to a definition. A healthy website should have a good amount of links, both to other sites and to other pages on their own site.
The key to internal linking is not to overdo it. If a link would actually be useful to your visitor, then include it. For a restaurant, that could include a link to your health policy in a post about healthy cooking. Good internal linking will help connect all of your pages together for both visitors and search engines.
The Power of Reviews
People in the restaurant business know how important reviews are. When choosing a restaurant, people look at reviews, both just in the terms of pure numbers and what the reviews actually say. If somebody has to choose between a three-star place and a five-star place, they’ll choose the latter.
What’s interesting is that reviews can play a big role in how you rank with Google, especially in local search results. Restaurants with more reviews and better ratings will show up higher in results than their counterparts. This is especially true when it comes to Google reviews. If you have enough reviews, your rating will even show up right next to your name in the search results.
That social proof of how good your restaurant is can heavily sway customers. It also proves to Google that you are worth presenting to more people. More reviews means better visibility on search results, which in turn leads to more reviews.
Capitalizing on Trends
How and what people search for is always changing. Being able to predict and capitalize on the newest trend can result in a huge increase, both in website traffic and foot traffic for your restaurant. These types of trends for restaurants include things like the latest diet craze, how people want to dine, or even how the pay.
Remember back in 2013 when Bitcoin gained a ton of interest from the general public? Places that capitalized on that trend and accepted digital currency showed a pretty big increase of business during that time. The world learned a lot about digital currency, and many businesses cashed in big with it.
Other trends can be longer lasting, and being the first to identify those can be even more important. Things like the gluten-free diet. Sites that talked and promoted gluten-free lifestyles are likely to rank better with a relevant search than a site who just barely started posting about it.
By identifying trends and creating content on your site about it, you run the opportunity of capitalizing on it later. Not every trend will work out huge, but being prepared never hurts.
Getting and staying at the top of Google search results isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time, effort, and thought. Search results fluctuate and require a diligent mind to stay steady on the front page of Google. These tips are only the foundation to being at the top of Google, so take some time to better educate yourself by research SEO and content marketing.