Have you invested time into optimising your restaurant’s Google My Business listing? If you haven’t, then it might be something you’d like to consider. In this increasingly digital world, people search Google for places to dine rather than any other medium. Further, if they hear of a restaurant (like yours) there’s a fairly good chance that they’re going to do some research on it through Google.
When people search your restaurant’s name, one of the first things they’ll come across is your official listing on the top right-hand side of the page – or if they’re searching via mobile device, it will appear above the fold. Being that first impression, you want it to have a positive impact. Which means that you need to make it not only appealing, but also accurate and practical in its function.
There are a lot of things you can do to optimize your restaurant listing on Google. For instance, linking it to your Google+ account, or even incorporating reviews so that viewers of the listing are able to see the positive things customers have said. But there are three key things you can and should be doing ahead of everything else.
1. Bolster Signals Between Your Restaurant’s Website and Google My Business
While we’re predominantly looking at what you can do to optimise your Google My Business listing, one of the best things you can do is on the home front – increasing the local connection between your website and Google. There are a few things you can do to achieve this:
- Build Localized Links – You may have already employed some kind of link-building strategy to your overall SEO plan. But targeting links on local websites (for example, Chambers of Commerce) shows a connection that’s a little bit closer to home and improves your restaurant’s relevance for local searches. This means that when someone searches something in your area that’s related to your restaurant, but doesn’t specifically mention the restaurant’s name, there is a higher chance that your Google My Business listing will appear.
- Improve Local Website Information – It’s imperative that your website has an accurate display of your information, such as name, address, and contact details. If you only have one location, then displaying it in the footer is the best option. However, if you are a restaurant business with multiple locations, then include each of their addresses on separate location pages.
- Build Locally Focused Pages – This is probably more relevant to businesses with multiple locations, but can still be utilised by single location restaurants. You should create pages that are focused on the specific geographic regions in which you operate. For instance, if you were a restaurant business with operations in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, you should create separate landing pages for each location.
- Organisational Schema Mark-up – Incorporating additional mark-up information in your homepage will provide Google with more information to include in your listing, including logo, contact information, social profiles and more.
2. Show the World Your Restaurant
If you want potential customers to have the most positive impression of your restaurant before even dining there, what better way than to let them take a look inside with photography. A lot of businesses currently use their street view image, but did you know that you can actually upload your own imagery and even a virtual tour? Using 360-degree photography, potential customers can actually ‘walk through’ your restaurant via your Google My Business listing.
While this isn’t going to directly impact your rankings in an SEO sense, what it will do is improve the experience when someone searches for your restaurant, as well as improve your overall brand awareness. In fact, according to research conducted by Google Street View, business listings with photos and virtual tours are twice as likely to generate interest than those without. There are certain guidelines which Google requires you follow, but depending on your restaurant’s individual brand and personality, you can get a little creative with your virtual tour. Here’s an example of a virtual tour that incorporated some creative elements to improve their brand. While it isn’t a restaurant, you can still use it as inspiration for your own virtual tour.
It’s also important to note that you can’t do this yourself – you need to find a photographer who is Google 360 certified. If you’re not sure where to find a certified photographer, have a look at Google’s Street View help center here.
3. Get the Basics Done
Even though I’ve left it until last, this is probably the simplest and most important thing you can do to boost your restaurant’s listing in Google. Make sure you have filled out all the required sections that Google My Business asks for. This includes:
- Business/Restaurant Name – It’s important that the name you provide Google is exactly the same as it is in the real world. You also shouldn’t include any unnecessary information as it’s against Google’s guidelines.
- Phone Number – The number you put here should be the number that you want customers to call. If you have a few different phone numbers for different sections of your business (e.g. table bookings and take away orders), then put in your switchboard number.
- Address – Be as specific as possible about where your restaurant is located, i.e. level, street number, suites etc. Make sure that it’s exactly as it would be seen in the real world.
- Logo – Ensure that the photo you upload is a high quality one and is the same as where it’s seen elsewhere.
- Hours of Operation – This is particularly important in the hospitality industry and visitors need to know your open hours. You should also include any special times that you are open such as holiday hours or particular events.
- Category – Select a category that closest describes what you specialise in, whether it be cuisine, atmosphere, cultural spin etc. For instance, if you are an Italian restaurant, don’t just select ‘Restaurant’ – refine it further and select, ‘Italian restaurant’.
- Website – Ensure that the website you include here is your main website’s URL.
- Attributes – This one hasn’t always been around, but it’s a good way of showing what special features your restaurant may have. For instance, if you are running special offers, provide wheelchair access, have Wi-Fi or even cater to children.
- Photos – Similar to what we’ve said previously, this is your opportunity to upload as many high-quality photos as possible. Don’t use poor photography or blurry images, it’s only going to lower potential customers’ perception of your restaurant.
If you do just one or two of these things, you’re guaranteed to have a much better optimised Google My Business listing, improving the familiarity between your customers and your restaurant before they’ve even met you.