SEO is Crucial for Restaurants Today
In today’s digital age, gaining and maximizing online visibility is crucial to maintaining long-term sustainability as a restaurant. Every restaurant needs a steady stream of new customers walking through the door. Far too many restaurants, particularly small restaurants, believe that an online presence isn’t required to create a burgeoning business. This misconception is chiefly due to an obsolete world view of how modern consumers choose their next meal. Restaurant SEO is the most vital piece of every restaurant marketing plan.
In 1995, a hungry patron would likely find a new restaurant via a phone book, simply driving by or maybe a recommendation from a friend. Now, the internet and Google search results are the most valuable tools for consumers. The time it takes to search for a place to eat has been widdled down to almost nothing, thanks to the speed of search engines. The prominence of mobile search as the most popular form of research has made the focus on local restaurant SEO more important than ever for establishments, big and small. With almost 80% of all searches starting on a mobile device, it is important to recognize the value of the top listings and fight to be found there. In many cases, it is the key to restaurant survival.
Restaurants, regardless of the size, need SEO to survive in their competition. In this article, let’s explore 20 reasons why small restaurants need SEO.
1. SEO is More Cost Effective
There is a specific negative connotation that comes with the term, “marketing”. In the eyes of most restaurant owners and marketing teams, marketing is simply an alternative for people that can afford it. Granted, some forms of marketing are expensive, giving larger restaurants the competitive advantage over smaller restaurants. However, restaurant SEO is a more cost-effective solution compared to many other forms of online marketing. With even a modest SEO budget, a small restaurant can leverage their Google My Business listing and location as part of a sound SEO strategy. As a result, even smaller restaurants can increase their online visibility without sacrificing their entire marketing budget.
2. Increased Customer Engagement
Nowadays, customers rarely converse with their favorite restaurants face-to-face. Social media has dominated the restaurant scene, where millions of satisfied patrons rave about their culinary experiences. Online reviews are the norm for individuals to interact with restaurants. Enforcing great SEO habits will give you the opportunity to interact with your customers, whom will gladly return the favor. Solid restaurant SEO campaigns will keep your website at the top of the search rankings and increase the likelihood of a consumer clicking on your site instead of an anonymous feedback site such as Yelp.
3. Increased Website Traffic = Increased Reservations
The formula is quite simple, the higher a website ranks online, the more traffic it receives. As a matter of fact, the first search ranking on Google boasts an average click through rate of 27.5%. Consumers are more likely to click on the first results they see pertaining to their query. Ensuring your website’s spot amongst the top rankings in your niche is the most powerful way to insure more traffic to your website, which always translates to more diners in your restaurant. This formula also works when attempting to increase other restaurant offerings such as catering and private dining.
4. More Visibility = More Customers
Take a moment and think of the internet as a road system. Every keyword being a different highway. The more keywords your website ranks for, the more billboards or signage you have posted along that highway. The increased online visibility you will receive for your business is another chance you have to earn a new customer. In addition, ranking higher for more keywords can make your business more visible to even more prospective customers. According to advanced statistics, it takes 5-7 impressions for customers to remember your business. Restaurant SEO is the impetus of driving business interactions, but the only way your business can receive these interactions is if customers know who you are. Customers will know who you are when your restaurant is present in their Google search results.
5. Builds Credibility
It is 2019. Consumerism is fundamentally built on trust. Before any customer is willing to spend money in your restaurant, they have to trust that you are providing exceptional food and service. Possessing a high Google ranking builds credibility among prospective customers who are searching for the best restaurants in their area. Statistics show us consumers now trust Google reviews and online recommendations more than they do their friends. A key factor to restaurant SEO is the obtaining of reviews, and responding to those reviews accordingly.
Unless you are the big-shot restaurant in your area, your potential customers will likely type in your restaurant name, or brand, when considering dining with you. They do this to browse your menu and services. If your customers are consistently finding your restaurant at the top, or near the top, of the search rankings, you can dramatically build your brand’s equity throughout the internet. This is also a factor when potential diners receive a recommendation from a friend or associate offline. If they can easily find your restaurant it lends instant credibility. At the same time, if they cannot find your website or your restaurant, you will more than likely lose that customer.
7. Higher Conversions
Hungry customers are always searching for the top restaurants to visit in their area. However, did you know that the keywords they use to find these restaurants can be maximized not only to boost your web ranking, but also to increase your conversion rates? Using popular keywords in your web content will help Google direct traffic to your website. This is a small part of on-site optimization.
This is a win-win situation for all parties involved. A patron gets to learn about a delicious restaurant they can try, and you can gain a quality lead all thanks to your restaurant SEO.
8. Its an Investment
In business and marketing, there are various quality investments you should make to better position your restaurant in the future. You’ve likely heard that there is no such thing as overnight SEO results. Rightfully so. True, high quality restaurant SEO is an investment into your long-term future. If you begin expanding upon your SEO now, you can achieve far greater online rankings than your competitors that are ignoring this important marketing avenue.
SEO is also a quality investment. When compared, SEO has generated a higher return on investment than any other marketing initiative. According to Search Engine Journal, SEO cultivates new customers at a 14.6% rate, which is far more efficient than other forms of outbound customer generation (print advertising and direct mail) that have a 1.7% success rate.
9. Your Competitors Are Doing It
Let’s face it. There are dozens, or maybe hundreds, of restaurants in your area. Many offering similar menu choices. Even more from the same genre. If these restaurants are ranking higher than you on Google, it’s safe to assume that they’re winning your customers on a daily basis. Lost customers means lost revenue. If there isn’t a greater reason for you to kickoff your restaurant SEO campaign, what is? You need to consider that your competitors are likely using leveraging SEO principals to stay in front of you in the search engines and between you and potential diners.
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All restaurants should prioritize their web design, SEO and digital marketing efforts.
Regardless of the difficulties that may lie ahead, investing in managing your restaurant SEO is a great decision that can net substantial gain both now and in the long-term.