3 Tools to Establish Your Restaurant’s Online Presence

By Marc Dane

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Today, merely having a great restaurant with lots of local praise isn’t enough. This is especially true if you live in a heavily tourist populated area, as the goal should be to capture the business of tourists, which can prove to be profitable.

In order to penetrate this, and other new markets, you must have a website that includes features unique to restaurants such as the option to book a table, and delivery. The website should also enable customers to add comments to the food they order. E.g., if someone orders Maque Choux and wishes to leave a note to include additional plastic ware — this should be an option.

The site should also be informative and beautiful enough to convince potential restaurant-goers to come to your establishment and become a paying customer. Equally as important, is site optimization — both on-page and off-page SEO.

I want to share three valuable tips that will help you create and optimize your restaurant’s site, especially for localized searches. This can lead to diners enjoying a seamless web surfing experience across all desktop and mobile devices.

Use a Restaurant Website Builder

Creating a website for your restaurant is actually a fairly simple goal to accomplish. Now, there are countless tools that help you build a website from the ground up and add features important to restaurant owners.

This includes making edits to on-site elements like tags, keyword-rich content, images, and site navigation on the SEO side of optimization. I will touch on this a bit later. For now, I want to talk about website builders — which help present your culinary masterpieces to the masses in a professional-looking and well-groomed package.

The restaurant website builder you choose should come with a few essentials, including but not limited to: the ability to view your restaurant’s menu, the ability to place a call to make an order, a system designed to take online orders, reservations, and a way to accept online payments.

You also want to ensure the builder you select has a mobile editor or comes with mobile responsive templates. What you don’t want, is a restaurant website builder that creates a separate mobile experience for mobile users, as Google prioritizes responsive websites over non-responsive sites.

When I say mobile responsive, I am not just talking about the back-end of your site — I am talking about the overall user experience. It should be easy for visitors to see a totally mobile version of your website that doesn’t come with slower loading times than its desktop counterpart.

Improve Off-Site SEO

Off-site SEO is important, and by writing this, I am in no way downplaying the importance of on-site SEO. I am however saying, that SEO has many facets, one of which, is off-site SEO.

In optimizing your restaurant website for off-site SEO purposes, you’re helping establish your restaurant as a more popular site that is relevant, trustworthy and authoritative. So, the question remains, how does one improve their off-site SEO?

For starters, utilize social media to create a presence for your restaurant. This adds another layer of social interaction between customers and gives them a platform to share their experiences at your restaurant.

By using hashtags, this information will be searchable by the social media platform. For instance, let’s say someone comes to eat on their birthday, takes a photo and uses hashtags — mentions your establishment in the post and uploads the photo.

This is not only great publicity for your restaurant, it can prove to come in handy when someone is on the fence about coming to your restaurant for their birthday. A simple search might yield the photo of the satisfied diner enjoying their birthday celebration.

You can also add your restaurant’s menu to sites like Facebook, which lets restaurant owners upload .doc and .pdf files of their menus. Restaurant owners in the United States and Canada can add their menu using Single-Platform for free by sending:

  1. The name of your restaurant
  2. A link to your restaurant’s Facebook page
  3. A link to your menu or an attachment (.doc or .pdf)

Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all serve a unique purpose for restaurant owners, as you can increase your social following while simultaneously being informative.

Customize for Local Search

What is most certainly in your control is ensuring your business is found in local online searches. For this, you’ll need to create a Google My Business account (free of charge). After doing this, your restaurant will appear in local searches.

So, if someone searches ‘Show me the best Creole restaurants located within a mile’ and you are the owner and head chef at ‘Etouffee Cajun Cuisine,’ there’s a high probability your business will appear in a list of results.

Your restaurant will be accompanied by details such as address, phone number, reviews from Google, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor as well as hours of operation. Ensure the information is accurate by personally entering the details yourself.

Final Thoughts, Bon Appetite

Just like a good recipe, there are many winning combinations you can try to discover the best mixtures of flavors.

Treat your restaurant’s website exactly same, and don’t be afraid to utilize advanced settings located within the builder you choose. This will only ensure your website is fully optimized and ready to deliver informative, relevant as well as a user and SEO-friendly experience.

The goal is to build a website that will not only be beautiful, but a major source of income from the traffic it receives.

Marc Dane is the SEO & Content Manager at WebCreate.io – a knowledge hub for small business owners looking to build a presence online. The site offers website builder reviewsand comparisons, guides for building a website and resources on related tools, platforms and more. @WebCreate_ioFacebookLinkedin.

Coffee shop stock photo by GaudiLab/Shutterstock

This post originally appeared on SmallBizDaily.com