Even though you’ve got the best tasting food in town, the most Instagrammable interior, friendliest staff, and the best dining experience, if people don’t know about you or they have no way of finding you, then it’s all wasted effort.
Today, people search online to discover new places to eat. According to Search Engine Land, 84% of near-me searches are food-related. And 70% of consumers end up visiting a physical store after finding information online.
So, as a local restaurant owner, you want to make sure that these people find you fast by using local SEO to increase your visibility online! Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a lot of customers this 2021!
Local keywords play a crucial role in optimizing your local SEO strategy. They help increase your visibility, allowing searchers to find you quickly for relevant queries.
That’s why it’s important to use the right local keywords in your content, website, and ads to make sure you appear on the top local search results pages.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
Local SEO stands for local search engine optimization.
It focuses on optimizing websites so they can be found in local search results. It involves publishing localized content, local citations, use of local keywords, on-page optimizations, and more.
Local SEO is important, especially for small businesses with physical locations, because it’s the only way for them to get discovered and found online.
Having a good local SEO strategy can strengthen your online presence, putting your restaurant in the top local search results. This will allow customers to find information about your business quickly, helping you increase brand awareness and drive more customers to your restaurant!
Local keywords are keywords or phrases that contain location-specific terms that generate results related to the same geographic area.
For example, if you type in the keywords “Italian restaurant NYC”, Google will show you Italian restaurants in New York City.
Local keywords are important because they are what people use when they want to find something near them or within a specific area.
By using the same keywords your customers use during a search and integrating them into your content, ads, websites, etc., you increase your chances of ranking for those keywords and appearing in local search results for related queries.
People rely on two services when doing a local search: Google Search and Google Maps.
Although there are other search engines people use when searching, Google has by far the greatest number of users worldwide with nearly four billion users, so it’s what you should prioritize.
It’s important to optimize your local restaurant for both Google Search and Google Maps so you appear in top local search results and Google maps results, especially for “near me” searches.
If you’ve observed, whenever you type in “restaurant + location”, Google will show you a Google Maps result first before local search results. So, you need to make sure you claim your business profile on Google and fill out all the necessary information a customer might need to be able to locate or contact you.
When deciding what keywords to use in your content, it’s important to keep in mind a searcher’s local intent. To help you develop the right keywords to boost your local restaurant’s visibility, here are the terms you should use:
Many people think that ranking for high-volume keywords is the key to driving more traffic to their site and increasing their local restaurant’s sales. But high-volume keywords tend to be very competitive, so ranking for them can be difficult.
Aside from this, the people who use generic terms like “restaurant” or “cafe” are usually those who are still deciding what kind of food they want to eat or the type of restaurant they want to go to. So, chances are, they’re only skimming through the results without having the intention to buy or dine right away.
As much as possible you want to target searchers who are ready to convert.
Here are some examples of restaurant-related keywords with high search volumes:
As much as possible, you want to avoid these types of keywords because they don’t generate much traffic or leads. But you can use these keywords and add your location to target more quality leads.
What you should do to target people who are actively looking for a restaurant to dine in is to rank for location-specific terms.
Location-specific terms tend to generate lower search volumes, but they do get you traffic and leads that are ready to convert. According to Google, 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphones end up visiting a nearby business within the day, of which 28% result in a purchase.
It’s more reasonable to use location-specific terms because the people who use them are those that are closer to a point of purchase.
For example, you can make the keyword “American Restaurant” more location-specific by adding your location or a famous tourist spot in your area. So, you can use “ American Restaurant West Palm Beach” or “American Restaurant near Norton Museum” instead.
Adding location-specific terms to your keywords allows you to attract potential customers within that area, including vacationers.
The best way to come up with the right keywords that can effectively reach your target audience is by knowing your audience. So, aside from location-specific terms, you also want to rank for terms that best describe your local restaurant that your target audience will most likely use during a search.
It could be anything, like “vegan” to “family-owned”, “Japanese”, “local” or even “Instagrammable”.
For example, the keyword “Instagrammable Restaurant in West Palm Beach” is a great way to target millennials or Gen Z, especially because when looking for a place to dine they also consider the overall aesthetics of the place.
So, if your restaurant offers that, then you may want to use this keyword to attract your ideal customers.
Here are the results for the keyword “Instagrammable Restaurant in West Palm Beach”:
By adding specific terms to more generic keywords, you allow search engines to rank them based on relevance and usage frequency. Just keep in mind that you don’t want your targeting to be too definitive because you might miss out on potential customers. Your keywords should be neither too generic nor too specific.
Pro tip: As you can see in the picture above, Pistache French Bistro optimized their listing by putting a description that somehow related to the term “Instagrammable”. It’s a great way to attract potential customers and convince them to dine with you. So, make sure to optimize your online listings by placing a compelling description.
An actual business name is the most underutilized search term today, yet it’s the best keyword to use to get found online. So, you want to use your local restaurant’s name as a keyword in your blogs, social media posts, etc.
Pro tip: Local citations can boost your online visibility. So, if you can, get local bloggers or online writers to cite your local restaurant in their articles or blog posts. The more you appear online, the better your ranking and the more you can generate traffic and leads.
A great example of this is Tropical Smokehouse:
As you can see, there are several search results for Tropical Smokehouse, mostly features from online local newspapers, bloggers, and citations from online business directories. This is a great strategy because it can help boost your ranking in local SERPs and at the same time establish your credibility.
Aside from using local keywords, here are some tips you can use to further increase your local restaurant’s visibility online:
When people search for a place to dine online, they don’t just choose the first restaurant they see on the search engine results pages. They look for signs that a restaurant is trustworthy, offers good service, and above all has delicious meals before deciding to dine.
So, when they see a local restaurant listing without a logo, contact number, opening hours, or photos, it gives the impression that they’re not legit.
Claiming your local restaurant on Google My Business is a crucial step you need to take to further boost your visibility online. It tells people you’re legit, it puts you on the local search results, and it convinces prospects to choose you!
Online business directories can help drive traffic to your site and increase your visibility online. So, aside from claiming your business on Google My Business, it’s also important to enlist your local restaurant in other popular online business directories.
An online business directory is a directory online where you can find a list of businesses with their name, address, contact number, and other essential information.
Enlisting your business in popular online directories will make it easier for potential customers to find you. Examples of widely used online directories are Yelp, Bing Places, Foursquare, and more. Aside from this, it’s also a way to improve your local citations.
A local citation is any mention of your business name, address, website, contact number, or a combination of this information on the Internet. Local citations can impact your local SEO and is a key factor in influencing your ranking in local business search results.
A lot of people conduct local searches on their mobile devices, so it’s important to optimize your website for it. Here are some statistics to prove it:
Here’s how you can optimize your website for mobile search:
Aside from using the right local keywords in your content and optimizing your website for mobile searches, here are more ways to optimize your site for local search:
Page titles and meta descriptions are technical web page elements that aren’t visible on your actual site but search engine crawlers use them to identify what your site is all about.
Make sure to incorporate your primary local keyword so search engine crawlers can index and rank you for relevant local queries.
Structured data make it easier for search engine crawlers to understand the content of your site. By using local business structured data, you can tell Google about your location, business, hours, and other important information about your business.
This allows Google to match the information on your website and the information in your listings, which allows search engine crawlers to index and rank those results for related queries accordingly.
If your restaurant has multiple locations, it’s best to have a dedicated page on your website for each area. This will make it easier for search engine crawlers to identify which page to generate for local search queries that match the specific location.
The only way to get more people to discover your local restaurant is to have a strong online presence. And the only way to achieve this is by having a good local SEO strategy!
If you want to have a local SEO strategy that can put your restaurant at the top of local SERPs, then the best place to start is having the right keywords and embedding them in your website, content, and ads.
With the tips we’ve shared above, you’re sure to develop the right keywords for your local restaurant that can drive your ideal customers straight to your door this 2021!
At Digital Resource, we can help you develop the right keywords for your local restaurant and create a local SEO strategy that is tailored for your business goals. Contact us for inquiries!