Most restaurant websites need to spice up to enjoy SEO success and be found by Google; after reviewing over 20 restaurant websites it is clear that many websites have fundamental issues affecting SEO, so we have decided to document most of these issues in this article. It is interesting to note that most of the “fast food” websites don’t have these SEO issues and they are winning the battle on the search engines. My family owned restaurants, so it is my passionate mission to improve the online presence for fine dining restaurants. So here is Netology’s article on restaurant website SEO.
1. Mobile Friendly Restaurant Website
9 out of 20 of the websites reviewed are NOT mobile-friendly – that is 45% have failed the Google mobile-friendly test. Imagine a group of friends deciding where to go to dinner, they gather around and they whip out their mobiles and surf restaurant websites. They find your restaurant website doesn’t work on their mobiles, so your website is instantly discarded (and so is your restaurant), so they move onto the next restaurant website. This sort of collaboration and decision-making happens all the time, in meeting rooms, at sporting events, even at home. Turning away visitors because your website is non mobile-friendly is bad for business, you are probably turning away 40% of your visitors. So let’s do the maths, 200 website visits per week equals approximately 80 mobile visits which equals 80 potential customers turned away all because your website is not mobile-friendly. And there is even more bad news, Google has started lowering search engine ranks for websites that are not mobile-friendly. Visit our 5 Step plan to mobile friendly websites article or contact us directly for advice.
2. Let Google Maps locate your Restaurant
“Location” is the new buzz strategy for Google, they are rapidly expanding their services to include location as a core search and business feature. See this map, it highlights all the restaurants in a particular area. All the visitor has to do is type in “restaurant Sydney” in the Google search box and it highlights restaurants in this area. And here is the best bit you don’t even need any special features on your website to make this happen. All you require is to complete a 15-30 minutes registration process with Google and the service is Free. Imagine automatically attracting customers because of a location based search using Google, this location not only show results in Search but when your are browsing Google Maps and Google Now as well. We can help you setup your Google My Business with professionally prepared images and content, links and photos, etc. We can make your Google+ page look awesome.
3. But I thought you were open until….
Most restaurant websites don’t describe their opening hours in a format that Google understands. Magic happens once right format is used, Google can display the information on search and map results and any other result that Google serves up. And it benefits everyone; customer and restaurant owners alike. Avoid having unhappy customers who “assume” your trading hours, have your trading hours display correctly in Google. This link has all the details on the correct format Schema.org, if this is too technical then contact Netology.
4. Make it easy for the customer by leading them to your restaurant
A piece of trivia for you – Did you know Google Map was developed by Google Sydney? So be Australian and use this invention. Google makes it easy to display an interactive map on your website, the visitor just clicks on the map and their smartphone becomes an instant GPS, leading them directly to the front door of your restaurant. How easy is that? you are serving customers before they are even walking through the front door of your restaurant. They will walk in with a smile on their face instead of the look frustration because they got lost. They are a variety of Google mapping widgets that makes installing this feature really inexpensive for this fantastic customer-centric benefit.
5. DON’T give your customer the PDF Menu Challenge
So many restaurants create the “download the menu obstacle challenge” and have their website visitors open the menu in PDF viewer and they zoom, scroll and get frustrated! I bet you up to 50% of visitors on mobiles get frustrated and decide not to play, just lost the chance to convert a visitor into a customer! Delivering menus in PDF is a leftover practice from the “old days” before the days of smartphones (18 years ago). Unfortunately, PDF menus do not work on mobiles because:
- You increase the chances of customers becoming distracted because that need to deal with the website and a separate popup for the PDF. The level of engagement drops significantly when this happens.
- The user normally needs to perform actions like zoom or scroll across, distracting them from the important decisions such as “what should I order?”, “which desert goes well with main?”, “which wine should I order?”. The poor user interface creates a poor experience and potentially less revenue.
- Downloading takes at least 5 times longer than browsing, very inconvenient for the visitor, not a great first impression.
The solution is so simple – just make your restaurant menu a web page on your website. There are plenty of great fonts to choose from, plenty of smart things you can include, like an explanation of a particular course, suggestions for wine pairing or deserts. These extra touches make the experience so much better for the visitor and they will thank you for it.
6. Take a “selfie.”
If your website visitor has never visited your restaurant in real life, they are probably interested in a photo (not video) tour which can be achieved through a gallery set of photos. These are some recommendations of photos to include on your website:
- The outside of the restaurant – so they can recognize your restaurant as they walk towards it
- The entrance – so they can get a sense of walking into the restaurant
- Staff photos – people photos bring a sense of warmth and familiarity
- A dining room photo – people are curious about what the inside of restaurant looks like
- What are the table arrangements like – it lets the visitor imagine sitting at the table
- What the food looks like – what looks good to order? You don’t need a photo of every dish, maybe selection of the “signature dishes”.
Make you gallery a story rather than just take a bunch of photographs. The expression “you eat with your eyes”, it is so important to have high-quality photos taken by a professional “food photographer” who can make you salivate with mouth-watering photos. A great photo can mean a difference between a visitor stepping into your restaurant or going to the next restaurant website don’t cheapen the experience with a DIY on a mobile phone photo.
7. It’s Seasonal so let your customers know
It makes sense to keep your menu seasonal (the ingredients are fresher and more flavoursome), so it would be great to let your customers become patrons and let them know to come back and try the new seasonal dish. Having your patrons come back is the easiest way to keep everyone happy. Most restaurant websites do not have a “subscribe” or “keep in touch” option which takes away the restaurant’s ability to invite their patrons back. The subscribe option is by far the most inexpensive and polite method of reaching out to your patrons. It is much cheaper than mail-outs, radio or tv advertising, etc. It is one of the best methods of sending a reminder to come back.
8. WASCAD (Yes! Googly talk) – Web Analytics, Search Console, Adwords
Setting up your website is just the beginning; installing systems to operate the website is a crucial step to pursuing internet profits.
1. Google Web Analytics allows you to measure website performance
2. Search Console tool detects problems and starts the process of getting your website found by Google
3. Google Adwords allows you to find keywords and gives you a chance to advertise and create brand awareness Correctly using the Google suite of tools properly is where the money is, it maximizes the chances of success with your website. It is important to install these tools as soon as possible. Netology can assist with this process.
So here are the Restaurant Website SEO 8 Spices
The SEO 8 spices to operating a successful restaurant business website.
- Mobile Friendly Website– Mobiles are most trusted social instrument and restaurants are social venues so this makes sense
- Google MyBusiness – You have to do it to get listed by Google
- Trading Hours – in a format that Google likes – Schema.org
- Google Maps– get a Google Map gadget on your location page
- Menu in HTML – Stop force the customer to read PDFs online.
- Gallery Photos – Give them a special virtual tour
- Have a Subscribe option – Have an option to keep in touch
- WASCAD – Web Analytics, Search Console, Adwords – the tools must be installed and running
It is important to note that the web developer is just one player of the website production line. To have the website operate profitably, it requires other specialists – Webmasters, Analysts, SEO, SEM and Content marketing specialists. An increase in traffic will normally translate to an increase in business and profits. At Netology, we can help you get real results for your restaurant website.
We have been cooking up layout concepts for a restaurant website – you can find it here – http://netology.net.au/restaurant .It is still in development so we will be adding to it every so often. If there are any features that you would like to see on the development website please write to us.