How do most people find restaurants? In the old days, word of mouth was enough to steer hungry eaters in the right direction. But these days, getting unbiased info on a restaurant is tough. Once upon a time, we would grab a local newspaper, local magazine, or coupon mailers, and thumb through the ads looking for restaurants.
Paper media listings like this:
“Italian Restaurant: Bella Napoli Ristorante on Oak Street has an excellent selection of pasta dishes and pizza topped with mozzarella cheese. Give them a call at 555-555-5555.”
Today, website reviews are the go-to sources. As you may know, Yelp has millions of reviews written by actual customers of various restaurants. A major factor in the success of these online review sites is that they are mostly unbiased and objective: people write them without bias or agenda, commenting on how readers actually feel about a restaurant’s food, service, and ambiance. The reviews’ popularity is driven by many factors: word-of-mouth (the restaurant can’t pay for advertising), popularity (to get a high number of ratings quickly), transparency (a good review can be found out rather quickly), and the reliability of the reviewer (they have to tell it like it is).
Another way people find restaurants is from a search engine. Here’s how it works: a person enters in search terms like “restaurants near me” and “top restaurants near me” (or keywords related to the restaurant). The search engine then sorts out the results based on relevance. That is, if you have searched for information on Pizza Hut, you may find pizza places that are associated with Pizza Hut but are not actually owned by them.
That is why it is super important to have a restaurant website and rank on SEO (search engine optimization) in order to increase the likelihood of a good result. The second reason to have a website is so you can direct customers to your restaurant’s website, via preferred word-of-mouth on Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks. It is even possible to use Yelp site popularity info as a ranking factor for Google, but that hasn’t been proven yet.
There Are Different Ways to Rank Your Restaurant Website on Search Engine Results
- You need to build some backlinks to your website. Backlinks are links on other websites that point to your website. These links either appear naturally on other sites, or they are paid links (sometimes known as sponsored ads). The more backlinks you have, the more likely it is that someone searching a search engine with your keyword phrase will see your listing in the results.
- You have to do link analysis using a tool like Link Explorer, to find out how many inbound links are pointing at your restaurant. Also, Google has become much smarter about ranking local businesses based on their distance from the user’s location. You can’t compete with a local business if you’re not local.
- Definitely optimize your website for mobile devices. This is actually a very important concept because more and more searches on the internet are from mobile devices. Test your site on your own phone and tablet or use services like this mobile testing site I Love Adaptive.
- Lastly, if your business includes other things besides food and beverage, then online reviews are very important. Having SEO and link analysis will help you rank on local search engines like Google or Bing. Ranking for keywords related to your business is very important because it gets your site noticed by local consumers who live and work nearby.
Do You Want to Boost Your Restaurant’s Presence Online?
We can help you find better ways to promote your restaurant so that more people will see your website and want to eat there. We can help you develop a successful website that will rank well in local search engines, and that will drive more customers to your restaurant. Sign up for restaurant web services today!