The basics of how to get to the top of Google
Let us guess: you run or even own a restaurant or bar that you’ve put a lot of work into, and people love it! However, despite all this, you can’t easily find your business when you search on Google? Yeah, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one.
We have no doubt that your business is at the top of its game when it comes to what you have to offer, so why is it that Google doesn’t seem to recognise your hard work? Well, the simple answer is that Google does want to show you off, but your site isn’t giving you the credit or recognition that you deserve.
The importance of search engine listings in today’s world can never be underestimated. People expect results instantly and will almost never go to the second page of search results. In this blog post we’re going to share some industry tips, tricks and insights as to how you can get your restaurant or bar out of the digital shadows and into the spotlight that is Google’s first search engine results page (SERP).
To begin, let’s get you familiar with the term ‘SEO’, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. Say you run a Mexican restaurant in Dublin. The more optimized your website and social channels are for search engines, the more likely you are to appear within the first results you see when you Google something like “Mexican food Dublin”. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is, sort of. Basically, when you ask Google a question, or even just search a collection of words, Google will scour the internet for answers. These answers are pulled from sites and social channels that have relevant content based on the search. The more relevant your content is to the search, the higher your business will rank on Google’s list of results.
Look at things from a customer’s perspective. Are you always going to search “Mexican restaurant in Dublin”? Probably not. Let’s say you’ve been craving an authentic style quesadilla, but Dublin has a multitude of restaurants and you don’t know where to go. You google “best quesadilla in Dublin”, and the first search result that pops up captures your attention. Your mind’s made up and off you go.
Even though the first result may not in fact be the best quesadilla you can get in Dublin, your customer trusts Google, and the first result it shows essentially acts as a recommendation. The search engine found this result because the restaurant’s website and social channels mentioned the terms ‘best,’ ‘quesadilla’ and ‘Dublin’ in some way or another. Not because of their lacklustre food, which is obviously nowhere near as good as yours. It is worth noting however, that reviews left by customers can have a similar effect on how highly you rank in Google’s search listings. Use this to your advantage by ensuring they’ve had an unbeatable experience at your business.
This example is important because it shows you that your business can be an answer to a multitude of questions and searches, but it’s up to you to put yourself out there so people can find you. There are a variety of ways you can improve the SEO of your website and social channels which will help with this. Here are a few core examples:
Put yourself out there
The more branches in different locations your business has, the easier people can visit you. Fortunately for you, the same goes online. While having your own website is fantastic, why stop there?
You have a multitude of ways to be found in a search engine. Having a Google Business profile is really easy to set up and incredibly beneficial when trying to be found, particularly if someone googles something like “restaurants near me”. The same goes for having a Facebook and TripAdvisor page, both of which offer additional benefits to your business outside of SEO too.
The content of your pages
Arguably the most important thing you can optimize. Think about what terms and phrases people will search when they want to find your restaurant or type of cuisine. These words should feature on your page somewhere. Describe your restaurant, what you have to offer, your niche, your menu, your location and anything else you can think of that will lead people to find you.
When you’re happy with the content you have, consider the clarity of your pages and how this will affect the user’s experience. Do you have titles or headings in the right place? Is your text easily readable and well-structured in short paragraphs or lists? If someone using your website finds it difficult to scan through information, Google will act no differently and your ranking will suffer as a result. Best avoid that.
The technical stuff
There’s a whole bunch of ways you can improve your SEO if you get a little creative with the technical side of things. For instance, If you upload a photo of your delicious food or drink, title the image file as descriptively as possible. Google will take the name of your photos, videos and any other content into account when it’s searching for results, so this is an easy way to boost your SEO performance without even having to mention key terms directly on your page. It’s also good practice to compress your image files so your site will load faster.
Another thing to pay attention to is your headings, titles and meta description. Let’s break this down.
- Headings and titles range both in size and importance, with H1 being the largest and H6 being the smallest. H1 should be the heading of your page, so use it once and make sure it leaves an impression with the person browsing. Titles can be anything from H2 – H6, and while they aren’t as important as H1, be conscious of which one you’re using nonetheless.
- A meta description is a very short snippet of text placed inside the code of a webpage that describes its content. The meta description then appears under the page’s URL in search results like so:
So, now that we understand what you have to do to improve your business’ SEO score, let’s take some action and work on how you can improve it. Below are some super handy resources that can help you get your SEO in tip top shape.
Google, our friendly Internet giant, offers us a variety of tools to help us improve SEO, the most prominent being Google Trends. This feature is very user friendly and straightforward. Google Trends allows you to see what keywords people are searching for as well as compare keywords. This is particularly useful as it allows you to see what kind of terminology you should be using on your pages to increase your SEO performance.
Another way you can look at what people are searching for is Google’s suggestions list. When you search keywords, Google will show you a list of alternative searches related to the keywords you’ve used at the end of the page. In the example below, I searched “improve google listing”, and Google automated a list of other keywords and phrases I can search for to help me find the answer I need.
To wrap things up, SEO and online presence is a vital part of any business in today’s world, especially for an independent restaurant or bar. If you take one thing away from this blog post, let it be this – don’t sell yourself short.
You’ve put in the hard work to get your business up and running, so make sure that people know about it. We hope you feel more confident in how you can improve your SEO after reading our tips and tricks, but do get in touch if you want further advice or you want us to take care of everything for you instead.