As a restaurant owner, you know how important it is to attract customers through online efforts, including an attractive website, testimonials and reviews, online menus and specials, and a blog. You work hard to build a strong online portfolio in order to drive patrons to your tables and chairs.
Now, it’s time to turn your attention to important Google products that will increase your search rankings. In return, these products provide some helpful information to both current and potential customers.
Google Changes the Search Game Again
You’ve probably typed your restaurant’s or bar’s name into Google to see where you rank, but try a slightly modified search: enter in the words “restaurant” or “bar” and then your city. This search produces a results page that looks a bit different. Now, you’re going to see a list of establishments, plus pictures or maps, that runs across the top of the page. You can scroll through this list to see what businesses show up. When you click on one, you’ll see their business hours, contact information, the address, a price list, and even a menu and reviews. Because restaurant goers may be searching in this manner for a Google recommendation, you need to know where your restaurant falls.
Below the main search results page is a map that shows the general location that you entered with locations of restaurants in the area, and a list of search results. These results are pushed down the page because of the information at the top, forcing searchers to scroll down. In other words, you should make sure that your business information shows at the top of the page to make it easy to find—right away.
If you’re not showing up where you’d like to, there are a few things you can do to improve your search engine optimization, or SEO.
A Google Plus Account Is Your Friend
So make sure that this visual search works in your favor:
- Create a Google Plus account for yourself and one for your business. Google loves ranking its own products, so a social media and networking product like Google Plus (sign up here for free) is a must have. It allows you to connect to others and categorize them in different groups, called ‘Circles’, that you create using terms like “customers,” “employees,” “suppliers,” “marketing” and more. Just like any form of social media, it’s most effective when it’s updated frequently and shared with others.
- Make sure you have updated content and images. Your Google Plus account should have great content. That includes interior and exterior pictures of your business, pictures of your food, new and daily menus, information about your chef or staff, coupons, and specials. If you’ve read a great article or blog, share it with others in your circles. Better yet, write a great article or blog that you know others would find interesting, then link your content to your Google Plus profile or Google Plus business page. As your Circles grow, your byline will define you as an expert in your field.
A Blog Means Business
Make sure that your website has a blog! Why? A blog can be updated frequently—some restaurants update theirs three times a week—and it creates fresh content that can be searched and shared. Google likes to see new content on your domain, and a blog can be an excellent PR tool to sharing interesting information to your social media channels, customers, and community members. To take it another step further, link your blog to your Google Plus account through what Google calls authorship. Quality blogging may help your restaurant get found more quickly in online searches.
Keeping your content fresh and your site updated is time consuming—but it’s a very important factor in your search results.