For anyone running a restaurant or cafe, be it a small family business or a Michelin star worthy establishment, gaining the attention of new customers is incredibly important. The easiest way for anyone to do this is by increasing the traction through your website. Which can easily be done by making sure you are utilising SEO. In this SEO guide for restaurants and cafes, we will be taking a look at what SEO is and how it is so important for your industry.
We hope that you’ll gain a valuable understanding on how you can start improving your search engine ranking today and start getting those tables booked.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation, or as it’s commonly referred to – SEO, is an umbrella term for the process of improving the visibility of your website. This is done through a tactical use of key words scattered throughout your content.
So if a browser was searching for a place to eat, your cafe or restaurant’s website would appear first on the page and snag their attention. As a result of this, SEO is essentially making sure you are the ones getting the bookings!
Why is SEO important for your website?
Depending on the area, searching for “restaurant/cafe in…” will overwhelm a user with hundreds of results.
Which is where SEO comes in so handy. It presents the chance to be one jump ahead of the competition in order to be the eatery that sticks out to eager eyes.
Many search engines, especially Google, use a number of factors to rank results when certain words are searched. The better you find your website ranking on those factors, the more likely you are to be the site clicked.
According to research from Backlinko, the #1 result on Google has an average CTR (click-through-rate) of 31.7%. Which is over 10x more visited than search result which appearing at the bottom of the first page.
If your website doesn’t make it to the first page of search results, it’s reported that 11.9% of users click through to the second page of results. Which isn’t what we aim for. We want to start climbing those rankings.
SEO will help optimize your performance and appearance on these ranking figures. Eventually this will lead to you moving towards the sought after top spot, or at least the first four positions, where research has discovered the most clicks land.
Local SEO for Restaurants and Cafes
A hugely important thing to take into consideration for restaurants and cafes is local SEO. Local SEO is the process of ensuring your site appears in searches related to the area. Which is especially relevant for you.
To maximize local SEO for your site, consider using these keywords.
- Restaurant/Cafe near *location*
- Recommended Cafe/Restaurant near me
- Reviews of Cafe/Restaurant in *location*
- Closest restaurant/cafe
- Walking distance Cafe/Restaurant
These keywords will be beneficial to scatter across your site, so how you plan to do so is important to keep in mind. They’ll ensure you appear in local searches.
Another important aspect to local SEO is marking your company on Google Maps using a Google My Business Profile.
By keeping this page up to date with images or positive reviews is another huge aspect to appearing in local searches. It’ll also ensure that anyone looking for a bite to eat nearby will see that the services you provide are high quality!
Another place you’ll want to be listed is Tripadvisor, which often appears no.1 for searches such as ‘Best restaurants in [location]’
Top Tips for Restaurant and Cafe SEO
We want to help you start making these changes and start climbing search engine rankings today. So we’ve put together a list of our top five SEO tips for restaurants and cafes.
1. Targeting keywords
We cannot express how important it is to have a good understanding of the keywords and phrases that potential customers will be using to find your establishment online. Google will rank your website according to the keywords they find embedded, so it’s time to start applying them.
For a restaurant or cafe, location plays a huge part and it’ll no doubt be an important aspect of the strategy you use to approach keywords.
Putting yourself into your customers’ shoes to see a search from their perspective is a great way to open your mind. It may reveal keywords you might’ve missed the first time around.
Keyword research can be done by using specialist tools, like Google Keyword Planner as well as competitor analysis, but these tools may not be accessible to you if you aren’t using an SEO agency.
Here’s a list of some SEO keyword ideas which may apply to your website, and could result in those all important bookings:
- Licensed Cafe nearby
- Restaurant/Cafe Vegan Options
- High quality restaurant
- Cafe with takeaway
- Restaurant/Cafe dog friendly
- Best coffee
- Restaurant/Cafe with good breakfast
These features very well may be the unique selling point of your business already – so you might find yourself shouting about them without us telling you too. But if you’re not, then try to include them in the body of your text. In addition to this try adding them to meta titles and descriptions (which we will mention in a bit more detail later on!)
2. Add Keywords to your Site Meta Info and Page Content
For restaurants and cafes, SEO can seem very complicated. The keyword research you’ve just completed will have revealed the scale of search terms you need to be aware of.
Our best advice for tackling this challenge head on, is to start small. Start with optimising your website for critical key words, and over time you’ll become more comfortable with other elements to SEO.
One of the best places to start this process is with page titles and meta descriptions on your website.
Making sure these elements are unique and include keywords where they can give potential visitors an idea of what to expect. In turn this also helps to optimize your page for that term.
When it comes to editing meta information and page titles you may need access to your website’s content management system (CMS).
Otherwise the information can be edited manually in HTML. Google Webmasters support has some incredible useful tips for editing page titles, meta descriptions and more to ensure optimal site visibility.
3. Make sure Technical SEO is on Point
But improving your target keywords is just one part of the grand scheme of SEO. In order to deliver an unforgettable website experience and ensure customers are constantly revisiting, you need to make sure your technical SEO is on point as well.
What we mean by technical SEO is the optimisation of the infrastructure of your website. It needs to be fast, easy to navigate and user-friendly for anyone who is looking for it.
Technical SEO manages the underlying structure of your website, including:
- URL Structure
- Page loading speeds
- Broken links (404s)
- Site localisation
- Image alt tags
- And many more vital elements!
By implementing technical SEO, you’re boosting your chances of attracting all-important organic traffic generated by search engines. Alongside SEO benefits, you’re creating a highly functional and usable website. Which may tip casual browsing into regular visiting.
There are a lot of free SEO audit tools but the results may be hard to understand if you’re not an SEO specialist. Consider a paid SEO audit as a great starting point to uncover and solve any technical issues you’re facing on your site.
4. Create Relevant, Useful Content
Featuring original content is another great way to boost visibility when you’re trying to excel at SEO.
Content can cover a huge spectrum of things, including blogs, FAQ’s, social media posting, a help page, menus, and more. All of which will help enrich the user experience.
Even though this content may seem to be less focussed on sales, improving the traffic on your website through original content may help boost custom.
It’s important to think about your broader audience when creating content for your website. Adding some well-written content about things to do around the area where you’re based may add value to your site. This content could even feature some commonly asked questions from your guests.
Here are some blog ideas for restaurants and cafes:
- Recipes for easy to make meals at home
- Why your village/town/city is a foodie hotspot!
- Walks/hikes to complete in the area (to get customers hungry!)
- Fun kitchen activities for children
- Tips for those who want to improve their cooking skills
This content also provides the opportunity to include another set of keywords (known as long-tail keywords) and boosts your SEO.
Adding a “call to action” to book now, and a link to your restaurant or cafes booking page could tip the balance for people considering dining with you. It’s definitely a worthy feature to include!
5. Scale your SEO with link building
If you have applied our first four tips, then you may be ready for some more advanced SEO.
Our last tip may really benefit any business which finds themselves in an incredibly saturated market, where it can be hard to stand out against the competition.
One of the biggest factors in Google rankings is the quantity and quality of links from other sites that point back to yours.
It’s not enough to go exclusively for link quantity. Google and other search engines will look for the quality of these links, so it’s important to gain the trust of authoritative websites when you’re building these links. You’ll also start to increase the trust of your customers as well as the traffic.
The best way to build long term links is through a targeted content marketing strategy. Reaching out to websites and offering to publish a recipe, or an appropriate blog post corresponding to your industry, in exchange for a link to your own website.
For restaurants and cafes, you may not have a huge amount of content on a blog of your own – but there are still a number of approaches you can use to gain these links.
- Approach similar sites in your industry. For example, getting a food critic to write an honest review of their dining experience with you may be incredibly beneficial. It will present the same opportunities as guest posting on an authoritative site without having to give away your cooking secrets!
- Look for highly attractions in your area and approach them to see if you can get a feature on their website.
- Never underestimate the power of positive reviews. Your customers are your best friends when it comes to free advertisement. Word of mouth goes a long way when it comes to getting new customers.
- A final tried and trusted method is the use of digital PR. Do something important to the community, like hosting an event or competition, something fun and memorable. It’ll increase not only your traffic but your reputation with the community.
How About PPC For Restaurants and Cafes?
SEO isn’t an overnight process. You may not see a huge increase in traffic for a few months. But PPC (pay-per-click) or Google Adwords can give you some instant traffic from certain keywords.
The first 3-4 results on Google are paid advertisements. They’re often quite prominent in ranking in traffic due to how early they appear on the page, so can attract plenty of attention for your site.
But, you’ll need to pay Google for the click. As well as paying a PPC specialist for the cost of setting up the advert.
Google have made it easier for ads to be set up by individuals, however you can end up spending money on irrelevant keywords if you’re not sure how to use this feature.
It may well end up costing you more than getting the help of a professional!
Confused by SEO for your Catering Business? Search Hog Can Help
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed and confused by setting up SEO for your website, don’t be disheartened. We hope this guide has been of some help, but if you’re more confused then when you started an SEO consultant could be your best option.
If you would like any help with the SEO strategy for your restaurant or cafe then please get in touch with Search Hog today. We can help improve your website visibility and attract more customers to book your tables!