As a restaurant pro, you’ve probably heard how important it is for restaurant websites to rank well on Google for local searches. After all, most potential customers are usinsg sites like Google and Google maps to find a restaurant, bar, or another establishment in their immediate areas.
The simple fact is if a restaurant’s website ranks well for local searches, it is more likely to be seen by potential customers who are hungry and in search of a delicious meal.
Having a high ranking for local searches can also help a restaurant stand out among its competitors and attract more foot traffic to its physical location.
Additionally, a strong local search ranking can increase the restaurant’s branding and credibility, as it suggests that the business is popular and well-regarded in the local community.
The following guide is intended to educate restaurant owners and professionals on the essential ingredients for how to build an effective, user-friendly website that attracts customers searching for restaurants on Google.
Covered in this guide:
Part I: How to Optimize Restaurant Websites for Search
Several factors can affect the ranking of a restaurant website in search engines like Google. For example, when assessing a website’s search engine optimization, the most important factors include:
#1 Embracing Relevance
The website’s content should be relevant to the search query — the words potential customers are typing into Google to find your restaurant — and the business it represents.
To make restaurant websites relevant for search queries, you can follow a few best practices:
- Use relevant and descriptive titles and headings on your website. This helps search engines understand what your website is about and how it relates to specific search queries.
- Use relevant keywords throughout your website content, including in your menu descriptions and other information about your restaurant. This allows search engines to understand the specific types of food and services that you offer.
- Optimize your website’s images and videos with descriptive file names and alt text. Search engines understand the content of your images and videos plus how they relate to your restaurant.
- Use schema markup to provide additional information about your restaurant and menu to search engines. This can help your website stand out in search results and make it easier for users to find and understand your menu.
Overall, making your website relevant for search queries involves providing clear and accurate information about your restaurant and the types of food and services that you offer and using strategies to make this information easily accessible to search engines.
#2 Optimizing for Keywords
Your website should include relevant keywords in the page titles, headings, and throughout the content.
Choosing the right keywords for your website can help improve its visibility and relevance in search results. Here are a few tips for choosing website keywords for an Italian restaurant:
Start by brainstorming a list of keywords that are relevant to your restaurant and the types of food and services that you offer.
For an Italian restaurant, some potential keywords might include “Italian food,” “pizza,” “pasta,” “wine,” “dine-in,” “takeout,” “delivery,” “outdoor seating,” and so on.
Use keyword research tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner, to see how often these keywords are searched for and how much competition there is for them. This way, you can identify which keywords are most valuable to target.
Consider long-tail keywords, which are more specific and less competitive than shorter, more general keywords.
For example, instead of targeting the keyword “pizza,” you might consider targeting a long-tail keyword like “authentic Neapolitan pizza.”
Use your chosen keywords throughout your website, including in your titles, headings, and body content. Be sure to use them naturally and in a way that makes sense for your website, rather than stuffing them in artificially.
Overall, the key to choosing effective website keywords is to identify terms that are relevant to your business and that are being searched for by potential customers. By targeting the right keywords, you can help improve your website’s visibility and relevance in search results.
#3 Creating Quality Content
Your website’s content should be well-written, informative, and provide value to the user.
There are many different types of quality content that a restaurant should produce for its website. Here are a few examples:
- Menu: One of the most important pieces of content for restaurant websitesis the menu. Be sure to include detailed descriptions of your menu items, along with any relevant information, such as pricing and availability. You might also consider including images of your dishes to give customers a better idea of what to expect.
- Recipes: Sharing recipes for your signature dishes or popular menu items can be a great way to engage with your customers and provide them with valuable content. You might consider creating a blog or recipe section on your website where you can share these recipes and provide tips and techniques for home cooks.
- History and culture: Providing information about the history and culture of Mexican cuisine, for example, can be a great way to give customers a deeper understanding of the food that you serve. You might consider sharing stories about the origins of your dishes, or highlighting the cultural traditions and ingredients that are used in your cooking.
- Special events: If your restaurant hosts special events, such as live music or cultural festivals, be sure to highlight these events on your website. You might include details about the events, along with any relevant information such as dates, times, and ticket prices.
- Customer reviews: Customer reviews can be a valuable source of content for your website, as they provide insight into what customers like about your restaurant and can help you improve your business. Be sure to include customer reviews on your website, along with any relevant information, such as ratings and comments.
Overall, the key to producing quality content for your restaurant website is to provide value to your customers and give them a sense of what makes your restaurant unique and special.
#4 Supporting User Experience
Your website should be easy to use and navigate, load quickly, and have a mobile-friendly design.
There are several things that a restaurant can do to improve the user experience (UX) on its website:
- Make the website easy to navigate: A well-organized website with a straightforward navigation menu makes it easy for users to find the information they are looking for. Consider organizing your website into logical sections, such as menus, location, and contact information, and use clear headings and subheadings to guide users through the content.
- Use high-quality images: High-quality images can help create a more engaging and visually appealing website. Consider including photos of your restaurant, your dishes, and any special events or promotions that you offer.
- Provide clear and accurate information: Be sure to include all relevant information about your restaurant on your website, such as your location, hours of operation, contact information, and menu. This helps customers easily find the information they need to visit your restaurant or place an order.
- Optimize for mobile devices: Many people use their smartphones to access websites, so it’s important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. This includes using responsive design to ensure that the website looks good on different devices and screen sizes and optimizing for fast loading times.
- Include customer reviews: Customer reviews can be a valuable source of information for potential customers and can help improve the user experience on your website. Consider including customer reviews on your website, along with any relevant information, such as ratings and comments.
Overall, improving the user experience on your restaurant website involves making it easy for customers to find the information they need and providing them with a visually appealing and engaging experience.
#5 Building Backlinks for Restaurant Websites
Backlinks are links from other websites that point to a specific page on your website. Your website should have a good number of high-quality, authoritative links from other websites in order to help with ranking well.
Backlinks are also known as inbound links or external links (from the perspective of the website linking to your site).
Having backlinks from high-quality, authoritative websites can help improve the ranking of your website in search engine results. This is because search engines view backlinks as a sign of the quality and relevance of your website.
When a website has many backlinks, it can be an indication to search engines that the website is popular and trustworthy and, therefore, should be ranked higher in search results.
In general, the more high-authority backlinks a website has, the better it is likely to rank in search engine results.
#6 Addressing Technical SEO on Restaurant Websites
Your website’s technical aspects, such as the URL structure and the use of header tags, should be optimized for search engines.
Technical SEO refers to the practice of optimizing a website for the technical facets that can impact its visibility in search engines. It also involves ensuring that a website is properly configured and optimized to be crawled and indexed by search engines. It’s also done to provide the best possible user experience for visitors.
To implement technical SEO on a website, you should take the following steps:
- Make sure restaurant websites are crawlable by search engines by ensuring that it has a sitemap and that all important pages are linked to from other pages on the site.
- Make sure the website is mobile-friendly by using responsive design and testing the site on different devices.
- Use structured data to help search engines understand the content and context of the website, which can improve its visibility in search results.
- Use security measures such as SSL certificates to protect the website and its visitors.
- Monitor the website’s performance using tools such as Google Analytics to identify any issues that may be impacting its visibility in search results.
Part II: Understanding How Customers Search for Your Restaurant
There are many ways that customers may search for restaurants to eat at. Some common search queries include:
- By proximity: For example, “restaurants near me.” Customers may use this type of search query to find restaurants in their immediate area.
- By location: For example, “best restaurants in [city/neighborhood].” Customers may use this type of search query to find the top-rated restaurants in a particular location.
- By amenities: For example, “restaurants with outdoor seating” or “takeout restaurants.” Customers may use these types of search queries to find restaurants that offer a specific amenity or service.
- By cuisine type: For example, “Italian restaurants” or “Mexican food.” Customers may use these types of search queries to find restaurants that serve a particular type of cuisine.
It is important for restaurant owners to understand how customers search for their type of fare because it can help them optimize their online presence and be more easily found by potential customers.
This is particularly important in the digital age, where many people rely on search engines and online directories to find restaurants and other businesses.
By understanding how customers search for their type of food, restaurant owners can identify the most relevant keywords and phrases to include on their websites and in their online listings. This can help their restaurant appear higher in search results when people are searching for the types of meals and drinks they offer.
In addition, understanding how customers search for their type of fare can also help restaurant owners tailor their marketing efforts and target their advertising to the right audience. For example, if a restaurant owner knows that their target customers are more likely to search for “vegan restaurants” rather than “vegetarian restaurants,” they can focus their marketing efforts on reaching people who are searching for vegan options.
Understanding how customers search for their type of fare can help restaurant owners attract more potential customers and increase their visibility and reach online.
Part III: Ensure Your Restaurant’s Website is Setup for Success
It should go without saying that having the capability to process orders through your website is an essential design aspect.
In the modern era, it is becoming increasingly important for restaurants to offer online ordering on their website in an effort to boost sales and meet customers’ technology expectations.
Additionally, online ordering can help a restaurant streamline its operations by automating the order process and reducing the need for staff to take orders over the phone. This can save time and resources, allowing the restaurant to focus on preparing and delivering high-quality food.
Overall, offering online ordering can be a valuable addition to a restaurant’s website design and can help the business attract and retain customers in the digital age.
In addition to being able to process orders, here are some must-have design aspects for effective, well-optimized restaurant websites:
Your website should be easy to use and navigate on a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets.
#2 Attractive Design
Your website should have a visually appealing design that reflects the restaurant’s brand and atmosphere.
#3 Easy to Navigate
Your website should have a clear, intuitive navigation structure that allows users to easily find the information they need.
#4 Up-to-Date Menu
Your website should have an up-to-date menu that is easy to read and browse.
#5 Contact Info & Directions
Your website should prominently display the restaurant’s contact information, including the address, phone number, embedded map, and hours of operation.
#6 High-Quality Photos
Your website should include high-quality photos of the restaurant’s interior, exterior, and menu items.
#7 Customer Reviews
Your website should include customer reviews to help users get a sense of the restaurant’s quality and atmosphere.
Part IV: Embrace Branding to Help With Growth
Branding can play a crucial role in helping a restaurant grow its business locally. Here are some ways that a restaurant can embrace branding to achieve this goal:
#1 Develop a Strong Brand Identity
A strong brand identity includes elements such as the restaurant’s name, logo, color scheme, and font choices. These elements should be cohesive and consistent across all marketing materials.
#2 Create a Unique Value Proposition
A unique value proposition (UVP) is a statement that explains what makes the restaurant different from its competitors. A well-defined UVP can help the restaurant stand out in a crowded market and attract customers.
#3 Use High-Quality Visuals
High-quality visuals, such as photos of the restaurant and its food, can help the restaurant build credibility and appeal to customers.
#4 Consistently Deliver a Great Customer Experience
Providing excellent service and a welcoming atmosphere can help the restaurant build a loyal customer base and positive reputation.
#5 Utilize Social Media
Social media platforms can be a powerful tool for promoting the restaurant and engaging with customers. The restaurant should have a presence on relevant platforms and consistently post updates and engaging content.
Part V: Upgrade Your Menu to a Smart One
Schema markup is a type of microdata that can be added to a restaurant’s website to help search engines understand the content on the page and provide more relevant and useful results to users.
By adding schema markup to a restaurant’s menu, the restaurant can help search engines, and apps for ordering food understand the types of dishes and drinks it offers and make it easier for users to find the information they need.
Here are some steps a restaurant can take to optimize its menu with schema markup:
Identify the type of schema that is most relevant to the menu: There are several types of schema markup that could be relevant to a restaurant menu, including Recipe, Menu, and FoodEstablishment.
- Mark up the menu with the appropriate schema: Once the appropriate schema has been identified, the restaurant can mark up the menu with the relevant schema. This can be implemented by adding HTML tags to the website’s source code.
- Test the markup: After adding the schema markup, the restaurant should test the markup to ensure it is correct and that the information is being displayed correctly.
- Monitor the results: The restaurant should monitor the results of using schema markup to see if it is having a positive impact on search engine rankings and user experience.
By following these steps, a restaurant can optimize its menu with schema markup and improve its visibility in search engine results.
3 FAQs About Schema Markup Menus
Schema is a technical aspect of a website and is often best left to your website developer; however, it’s important that you understand what it is and how you can use it to your advantage.
Here are three of the most commonly asked questions about menus marked up with schema:
#1 How is Menu Schema Added to Restaurant Websites
Menu schema is a type of structured data that can be added to a website to help search engines understand the organization and hierarchy of the content on the website. This can be done by adding specific tags to the HTML code of the website, or by using a schema markup tool to automatically generate the necessary code.
The menu can then be displayed in search results, helping users to easily navigate to specific pages or sections of the website.
#2 How Should I Categorize My Restaurant’s Schema Menu?
There are a few different ways that you can categorize your restaurant’s schema menu, depending on the structure of your menu, items served, and the information that you want to highlight. Here are a few options to consider:
By type of dish: You could organize your menu by different categories of food, such as appetizers, entrees, desserts, etc.
By course: You could group your menu items into different courses, such as appetizers, main dishes, and desserts.
By cuisine type: If your restaurant serves a specific type of cuisine, you could organize your menu by that cuisine type. For example, if you serve Italian food, you could have categories for pasta dishes, pizza, and antipasti.
By dietary restriction: If you have a lot of options for specific dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian or gluten-free dishes, you could create separate categories for these items.
Ultimately, the best way to categorize your schema menu depends on your specific restaurant and the needs of your customers. It may be helpful to think about what information your customers would find most useful when browsing your menu and use that as a guide for organizing your schema.
#3 Which Websites Accept Schema Markup Restaurant Menus?
There are a number of services that accept and interpret schema markup for restaurant menus. Here are a few examples:
- Google Search: Google allows you to use schema markup to provide additional information about your restaurant’s menu to Google Search. This can include the names and descriptions of menu items, as well as pricing and availability information.
- Google My Business: If you have a Google My Business listing for your restaurant, you can use schema markup to provide detailed information about your menu to Google. This can help your listing stand out in search results and make it easier for customers to find and understand your menu.
- Yelp: Yelp allows businesses to use schema markup to provide additional information about their menus to the Yelp platform. This can include the names and descriptions of menu items, as well as pricing and availability information.
- Other online directories and review sites: Many online directories and review sites, such as Zomato and Foursquare, also allow businesses to use schema markup to provide detailed information about their menus.
Overall, using schema markup for your restaurant menu can help make it more visible and easier to understand for customers, whether they are searching for your business on search engines or using online directories, food ordering apps, or review sites.
Part VI: Make Online Ordering Easy
Here are some steps you can take to optimize your restaurant website for online ordering:
#1 Make Online Ordering Prominently Displayed on Restaurant Websites
The online ordering option/button should be easy to find and prominently displayed on your website. This could be in the form of a button or link on the homepage or in the website’s navigation menu.
#2 Make the Online Ordering Process Easy & Seamless
The online ordering process should be straightforward and user-friendly. This includes having a clear and concise menu, allowing users to add special instructions, and providing options for delivery or pickup.
#3 Optimize Restaurant Websites for Mobile Devices
Many customers use their smartphones to place online orders, so it is important to ensure that the website is optimized for mobile devices. This includes having a responsive design and a fast loading speed.
#4 Use Clear Calls to Action
To encourage customers to place an online order, use clear calls to action such as “Order Now” or “Start Your Order.” These should be prominently displayed on the website to make it easy for users to take action.
#5 Offer Incentives for Online Ordering
To encourage more customers to use the online ordering feature, consider offering incentives such as discounts or special promotions for ordering through your website.
There are several factors that can affect the ranking of restaurant websites in search engines like Google. The most important factors for a website’s search engine optimization are relevance, quality, and user experience. Addressing a website’s technical aspects, such as the URL structure and use of header tags, also help with search rankings.
Customers tend to use search engines to find restaurants that are nearby, have good reviews, and offer the type of food and services they are looking for. By optimizing your website for these types of search queries, your restaurant can increase its visibility and attract more customers.
By including specific design aspects, including online ordering, a restaurant can create a website that is both visually appealing and functional, which can help attract and retain customers.
Many customers prefer to order food online, either for delivery or pickup, rather than calling or visiting the restaurant in person, making this a must-have design aspect of your website. By offering online ordering, a restaurant can make it easier for customers to place orders and increase the chances of receiving orders.
By embracing branding and consistently delivering a great customer experience, a restaurant can differentiate itself from its competitors and attract more business.
A restaurant can assist search engines and food ordering apps understand the kinds of food and beverages it serves and make it simpler for customers to obtain the information they want by adding schema markup to its menu.
By following the steps outlined above you can optimize your restaurant website for getting found in online searches, make it easier for customers to place orders, and beat your competitors to the punch.