Strategies for Local Restaurant SEO

Local Restaurant SEO is about getting your restaurant to the top of Google's search result pages, and helping customers find your local restaurant quickly.

More and more, local restaurant SEO strategies are becoming a standard advertising channel for businesses of all sizes across the nation, and here at home in Niagara. Restaurants can’t rely solely on the old TV spots, or quick radio advertisements anymore. Especially not to reach the 12 million tourists annually visiting Niagara Falls. As consumers continue to change their research habits, more and more people turn to the Internet and restaurants in the region need to understand and make the most of the digital landscape. Online marketing isn’t just Pay Per Click advertising and banner advertising but also the process of creating searchable, user-centric website experiences for local restaurant SEO.

Tips for Local Restaurant SEO

Your restaurant website is the key to your online success

Woman looking at mobile phoneNothing in your modern marketing arsenal is as powerful as your website, especially when you’re in a tourism town. Visitors to Niagara Falls are looking to spend their money, and a modern, savvy tourist doesn’t turn to pamphlets or coupon books, they turn to their mobile devices to find the businesses with the best local restaurant SEO.

Here are some quick tips:

  •  Make use of your homepage with effective, descriptive text;
  • Include your NAP (Name Address Phone Number) in the footer of all website pages;
  • Be sure to have a locations page with all your locations listed separately;
  • Make the most of traditional SEO tactics like title tags, H1, Meta, and ALT text throughout your site;

Update your content regularly with fresh, powerful material

Marketing on an iPadIf there’s one thing that major search engines want to see from local restaurant SEO efforts, it’s fresh content. It’s as important as keeping the lettuce in your coolers fresh, so be sure to develop a website makreting strategy that includes adding new digital marketing content to your website constantly.

Luckily, with a modern Content Management System like WordPress, it’s easier than ever to schedule content well in advance and have it automatically post fresh material to your website. Remember, most of your competition is simply updating their menu items or holiday specials, so if your site’s content is being updated more regularly, it’ll be easy for you to outrank them in local search engine efforts.

When it comes to local restaurants, of course it’s vital to include updates about your lunches and specials, but instead of focussing strictly on what your business is doing for customers, share a little about your staff, add information about the local community, things that you’ve done with your team, and remember that search engines love links so include links and information to attracts around you to really boost your rankings.

Here are just a few things that you could include in your website or blog:

  • calendar of events;
  • new hires, and staff biographies;
  • local charities and community involvements;
  • news about street closures, traffic patterns, etc;
  • interviews with guests;

Your Google My Business page

A Google My Business page is your way to communicate directly with Google. It’s an easy way for small business websites to tell Google about hours of operations, locations, business details, contact, your NAP (Name Address Phone Number), images, etc.

Adding your Google My Business page isn’t simply an option anymore, if you want to be listed on Google when visits to the city search for restaurants in Niagara Falls, it’s a priority.

Here’s are a few things to be careful of when creating a Google My Business entry:

  • be sure your name, address, phone number are consistent;
  • double check your hours, they use this to help visitors plan trips;
  • pick the right category for your business;
  • photos make a big impact, so add photos of yourself and your staff, the outside of the location, and some great interior shots of your business;
  • add a 360-degree view or a “virtual tour” of your restaurant;
  • include types of payments you accept;
  • ask for (and respond to) reviews;

Get others to talk about your restaurant

Google uses mentions, not just links, from other websites to help your local restaurant SEO score. The more local business websites that mention your business, the more likely Google is to know about your business and add value to your website.

You can use online tools to increase your restaurants mentions but a better way is to reach out to some of your local business community, from sports teams that you sponsor, to leagues that drink at your local restaurant and get them to add your business name, address, and phone number to their website. These local mentions create a web of references for Google, that help the search giant understand your business in the community.

Some great sources of mentions include:

  • local business groups;
  • community centres, churches, and meet-ups;
  • sports teams and companies meeting at your restaurant;
  • charities involved in activities with your business;
  • tourism associations;
  • travel bloggers and local photographers;
  • schools, art centres, and theatre programs;

Get others to link to your local restaurant

While getting other websites to talk about your business is key,  links from other, trusted, and successful websites are vital to local restaurant SEO scores. Inbound links are obtained from local businesses and can give your restaurant a massive boost in search engine placement.

Remember that inbound links shouldn’t be strictly to your website homepage, encourage other businesses to link to specific pages (or blog posts) within your website. For example, be sure to be listed on a charity website with a link back to a blog post on your own website describing your involvement in the community.

Here are some great ideas for building website links back to your business:

  • donate a dinner to local fund raisers;
  • reward schools and student associations with great discounts at your restaurant;
  • invite teams to participate in draws and prize giveaways via a page on your site;
  • update your business listings throughout the community with a URL;
  • be active in the community and provide charities with a permalink to your pages;

Make the most of your Analytics

Search Engine Optimization Google Analytics
Search Engine Optimization Google Analytics

If a business is concerned about local restaurant SEO, then they should be willing to focus on the most important, albeit, dull, part of modern search engine optimization


Simply put, Analytics is the data that your website produces to show you things such as:

  • where are visitors coming from;
  • what devices are they using to access your site;
  • which pages are they viewing most often;
  • what is the time of day they’re looking for your restaurant;
  • what keywords and phrases are they using to find your business;

Simply put, Analytics is the data that web marketing professionals use to measure how successful (or unsuccessful) your online marketing is. For example, if you launch a new campaign to attract visitors to your coffee shop for hot chocolate, it’s reasonable to guess that your marketing worked if your sale of hot chocolate goes up but how do you know if your online adverting worked? We use a small piece of code, called a  UTM code in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name. This enables your Analytics to tell you where searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you.

Earn great reviews

According to BrightLocal, roughly 80% of consumers reported reading online reviews and trusting them as much as personal recommendations.

Let that sink in.

Another repost says that 90% of customers say their buying behaviour is influenced by online reviews and just as importantly, search engines love online reviews because consumers love online reviews. Search Engines are in the business of helping busy people get the most information quickly and what better way  to help predict the quality of your restaurant than what others have said in the past?

Before you embark on a quest for new reviews, take a few moments and review the guidelines for Google+ and understand what they’re looking for. Once you’ve had a quick look through the guidelines, you can gets stared with some great tips:

  • link to your review profiles on your website;
  • create cards to hand out with orders, asking customers to leave a review;
  • teach your staff to ask visitors to leave reviews online;
  • post signs for popular review websites for customers leaving your business;

Local restaurant SEO

If you and your team are serious about getting found on major search engines, and increase your organic marketing, these local restaurant SEO strategies can help push your business over the top, even if you can’t afford to hire a search engine optimization firm to help you with your online marketing.