Restaurant SEO has become crucial with the mass adoption of smartphones. Local SEO has been the most effective and affordable way to promote Quoted Search Results (QSR) and fast- casual restaurants for years and the space has become increasingly competitive. In today’s business climate, a planned and optimized SEO strategy is a must-have for restaurant’s success.
If you’re optimizing your restaurant for local search, showing up at the top of Google’s Local Pack
is the goal. The rise of “near me” searches in the past years has made local SEO a competitive
space for restaurants, and it’s important to know how to optimize for the Local Pack.
According to Rand Fishkin of SparkToro, Google gives preferential ranking treatment to
businesses that use their products. As Google owns roughly 92% of the search market,
establishing and maintaining a Google My Business (GMB) listing is a prerequisite to local SEO.
The information on your GMB listing should be complete, accurate, and consistent. This includes the physical address, phone number, business category (as of 2021, GMB offers over 300 restaurant categories to choose from,
so choose carefully), descriptions and
Verifying the GMB listings for each of your restaurant locations is important for several reasons. When you claim a verified GMB listing, you can control the information it displays, respond to questions or reviews,
and manage photography and
One of the biggest reasons users visit a GMB listing is to find out the hours of business operations. If the hours are inaccurate, or a customer arrives at a restaurant that’s closed when the listing says it’s open, it may result in negative reviews and ranking
Google gives ranking preference to highly engaged GMB listings. After years of speculation from digital marketers, Google confirmed businesses that respond to reviews get higher visibility, and that high-quality, positive reviews from customers increases the likelihood of a user turning into a customer.
Physical distance is what separates local SEO from other forms of SEO. The physical distance between the user and the restaurant is one of the biggest ranking factors for a GMB listing, but an optimized listing that is further away often outranks an unoptimized listing at a closer proximity.
Fortunately, these baseline best practices
for GMB listings can be implemented and maintained for free. There is a strong correlation
between user engagement and search rankings, so use Google Analytics to monitor
engagement metrics such as average time spent, exit rate, conversion rate, and bounce rate.
MOZ conducted an in-depth study into major local SEO trends in their
Local Search Ranking Factors report. Their report found the following factors
had the greatest impact on local SEO, in order of importance.
Physical distance, GMB categories,
keywords in business title.
Linking domain authority, anchor
text, linking domain authority.
Number of reviews, the rate at
which a business gets new reviews.
Name, address, and phone number
(NAP) onsite, relevant keywords in
Aggregator NAP consistency,
Conversion rate, mobile clicks to
Listing business events, reservation
bookings, customer reviews.
Google engagement, Facebook
engagement, Twitter engagement.