In this article:
- Claim your Google My Business listing
- Get customer reviews and respond to them
- Add your restaurant to other online directories
- Steps to improve local SEO
- Use Google Ads
Think about the last time you needed a new service or wanted to try a new restaurant. Where did you go to find it? If you said Google, then you’re right there with about 90% of your customer base.
Consumers often ask Google first when they are searching for a cool new place to dine out. That’s why it’s so important that you know what you can do to promote your restaurant on Google and improve your search rankings.
We have some great tips to help you do just that.
Claim your restaurant’s Google My Business Listing
The first thing you need to do to help your restaurant show up in what we call the local search results (also known as Google’s map pack) is to create and claim your Google My Business listing.
Google My Business is a free platform that allows your business to show up better on Google, get customer reviews, and help guide customers to your restaurant. Most people’s phones are connected to Google Maps to get from place to place, so in order to help them get directions to your restaurant, you need to be on Google My Business.
Here’s a quick guide to help: How to claim your Google Business listing
Once you’ve created your restaurant’s Google My Business listing, be sure to include all of the following information on it to best support your customers:
- Business name
- Business address
- Business phone number
- Category (what type of restaurant?)
- Open hours (including any special holiday hours)
- Restaurant description
- Price range
- Photos of your restaurant, branding, and food
Get more Google reviews and respond to them
Once your Google My Business listing is out there, it’s time to get some customer reviews for your restaurant.
The problem with online reviews is that happy customers don’t always think to leave you a review and unhappy customers are all too willing to go online and share their distaste. We have a few solutions to help with this.
- Simply let customers know you appreciate their feedback. Find the opportune moments to ask your customers to leave you a review on Google.
- Post “Rate us on Google” signage strategically throughout your restaurant. This can be in menus, in the lobby, or on the door on the way out. Just give a little reminder that you’d love your customers’ feedback on Google.
- Consider reputation management software. Solutions like this will help you streamline the process of getting your customers directly to your Google listing to leave you a review.
Once you have reviews coming in, it’s important to respond to them promptly. It’s also crucial to respond to all reviews–good or bad. Give those good reviews a personalized thank you message. Respond to the negative reviews with a sincere apology and ask the customer to reach out so you can resolve the issue.
Check out our guide on responding to Google reviews for some deeper insights.
Add your restaurant to other online business directories
Google My Business is not the only online directory that you should add your business to. One way to help improve your online visibility and increase your restaurant’s local rankings on Google is, ironically, to add your restaurant to other online directories.
Google uses other references to your restaurant across multiple sites to help verify that your information on their platform is correct. The more reputable online directories that list your restaurant’s information accurately, the better chance you have to rank higher on Google.
Here are a few directories and guides you can use to get started:
Get even more listings for your restaurant with this article: 24 free listing sites every restaurant should be on
Boost your restaurant’s Google rankings with SEO
Beyond adding your restaurant to other online directories, there are several things that you can do to boost your Google rankings through search engine optimization. Here are a couple suggestions to get you started.
Provide well-written and relevant content on your website
Content is king. In order to rank well organically on Google, your website needs to have good content that is valuable for your users and optimized well for the phrases that you want customers to find you with.
- Make sure your contact information is listed on your website
- Provide valuable information about your menu and prices with lots of photos
- Start a blog that offers free tips for people whether or not they choose to visit your restaurant
Get other websites to link to yours
A huge factor in ranking higher on Google is getting other websites to link to your website. When another website links to yours, it sends trust signals to Google that help them to know your website can be trusted by their users.
Try out some of these ways to get links to your website:
- Get involved in your community. Host local events, sponsor community sports teams, get involved with non-profit organizations. This kind of involvement will likely result in mentions on the websites of these organizations.
- Get into the local news. When local news organizations do a story on your restaurant, be sure to ask them to link to your restaurant in their online article.
- Guest post on other blogs in the food industry. Within the bio for your guest article, link back to your website.
Go deeper: 15 free tips for better search rankings
Try advertising your restaurant on Google
Google has some powerful advertising capabilities that you should definitely take advantage of for your restaurant.
While traditional SEO takes a lot of time and effort to show up at the top of the search results, Google Ads can place your listing near the top—if you pay for it.
Google Ads have great targeting capabilities, so you can select the target audience for your restaurant—location, age, interests, other demographics—to show your ads to the customers who will most likely visit your restaurant.
Google Ads are pay-per-click, which means that you pay a specific cost each time a user clicks on your ad. So it’s important to make sure that the cost you are paying will result in profits.
Let’s say it costs $1.50 for each click your ad gets and you only get a new customer for every 20 clicks that your ad receives. That’s $30 to convert one customer with your ad campaign. If you have a higher-end restaurant where customers pay this much or more for a meal, it may well be worth it, especially if they turn into a repeat customer.
Just do the math as you determine the costs and decide if the investment is worth the return.
Ultimately, you’ll get a better return on your investment with organic SEO because the efforts you take with this strategy compound over time and stick with you even if you stop doing SEO. With Google Ads, you might see immediate results, but as soon as you stop paying for those ads, your restaurant will no longer be showing up well in Google search results.
This is why Google Ads are a great supplemental strategy to help you show up on Google while you’re starting up your SEO efforts.
Read more: Google Maps advertising for local business
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