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SEO marketing for restaurants is becoming more and more widespread and necessary. In part, this is due to the skyrocketing costs of online ads, which are reaching record highs as we speak.

If you want to diversify your marketing strategy, build organic traffic, and get ahead of the competition, there’s no better time than the present. Still, most businesses don’t have an SEO strategy, so get in while you can!

Luckily, it’s not as challenging as you think. Let’s talk about some SEO marketing tips and how to use SEO for restaurants in 2022!

Define Your Goals and Strategies

Establishing clear and realistic goals is the first step in a restaurant SEO strategy. Drafting a marketing plan is more important than ever with uncertain economic times ahead.

It’s important to remember that SEO is not a “quick fix” like PPC ads, but the benefits tend to last for a long time. If done correctly, SEO can decrease your long-term dependence on paid ads and save you money in the long run.

However, it’s important to set realistic expectations. You will not make a few tweaks to your website or buy links and rank at the top next week. Instead, start with a 6-month plan and make adjustments as necessary.

If you’re currently on the second or third page for your desired keywords, then getting on the first page in 4 to 6 months would be a realistic goal. If you aren’t ranking at all, try finding easier keywords to rank for in that time while still working toward your end goal.

There are plenty of different SEO strategies for restaurants, but we’ll talk about the most important tips to follow regardless of your strategy. What’s most important is your desired timeline, content schedule, and keyword strategy.

Build a Strong Website

A strong, user-friendly website is essential for any SEO strategy. Google uses over 200 ranking factors directly related to the quality of your website, and you also need to worry about user experience. Remember, you’re designing your website and content for users, not search engines.

Remember, a website is nothing without a content marketing strategy. Without a blog or similar strategy, you’ll be left with a homepage, menu, and contact page. It’s a lot harder to rank with such few pages, especially when you can have endless opportunities.

For this reason, your website needs to be great site-wide. This includes mobile optimization, fast loading times, and more. If your site is usable and appealing, Google will catch on!

Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation of your entire SEO strategy, and it’s important to use the right ones. For restaurants, you ideally want to rank for terms like “restaurants near me” or “sports bar in Louisville,” but there are other important ones worth trying to rank for. You can think of your bestselling items and use those like “burgers near me” or “pizza shop in Providence, RI”.

Once you have a short list of the obvious ones, add them to your favorite online keyword research tool. Most of these tools are free for a certain number of uses each day, so use multiple if you need to. Try to create a spreadsheet of the keywords you most want to rank for, but diversify them as much as possible.

Throughout your content, it’s important to use these as organically as possible. This can be difficult with keywords that end in “near me” or in a specific area, but it’s important to use them whenever possible. Menus, title tags, and meta descriptions are great places for these.

Competitor Research

You should also take a look at your competition to see which keywords they rank for. Otherwise, you’re likely missing out on some that could be lucrative. On your keyword research tool, simply add your competitors’ URL and they will analyze for specific keywords.

If you find any to be valuable, add them to your strategy. Feel free to scroll through their blogs or content strategies to find new topics and ideas as well!

Follow Local SEO Practices

Generally speaking, restaurants rely on local traffic. Even if you offer widespread catering services or multiple locations, you’ll still need to use location-specific keywords and follow local SEO practices.

Get on Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is the most important directory to get listed on by far, but it isn’t the only one. Get on Yelp and restaurant-specific or location-specific directories as you see fit, but get on GMB as soon as possible.

Once you have a GMB profile, answer every prompt, add images, and respond to feedback from your customers. If Google displays restaurants in a user’s area in a business carousel, yours won’t appear without an optimized listing. Always update business hours as necessary, remain active every week or two, and offer menus when possible.

From there, encourage ratings and reviews from customers, likes on social media, and more. If possible, feel free to upload your menu or allow customers to order through Google! This is a great way to make direct sales on the results pages!

Build Local Links

Directory links are different from backlinks, but they’re both important. Get on social media, share new website content, and reach out to local affiliates for links to your site. This is an easy way to get ahead of the competition, as backlinks are the primary off-page ranking factor for Google!

SEO for Restaurants

Now that you know some tips on SEO for restaurants, put your strategy to good use today. SEO takes time to build, so the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll see long-lasting results!

Stay up to date with our latest marketing tips, and feel free to contact us with any questions or for help with your restaurant SEO strategy!