There is no way around the fact that a successful restaurant marketing plan must include ranking your restaurant on Google Maps for your location.
Google is one of the first sites that hungry people search to look for food, and they might be looking for yours! If you’re searching for ways to bring in new customers, you cannot ignore the power of Google Maps.
Below, we explore seven Google Maps hacks that are designed to get a restaurant business to rank higher and bring in more business.
7 Google Maps Tips & Tricks for Restaurant Owners
Have you ever wondered why, within Google local searches, certain restaurants appear in the Maps’ three-pack and, perhaps, why yours doesn’t? The quickest way to bring in a lot more revenue is to get your restaurant positioned within those top three results.
We’ve identified seven easy methods to assist you in optimizing Google Maps to inevitably attract new customers.
#1 Have a Website
Nowadays, having a website for a restaurant is essential. A website alone isn’t enough to outrank a competitor, but a well optimized one is. An optimized website allows you to convey the information necessary to draw clients in via Google Maps.
Although there is no set formula for designing a website, there are a few important details to include that will help you show up for certain search results.
It helps to have links to online ordering, reservations, and reviews. If you use third-party apps to manage reservations and orders, give users the relevant links and forms on your website so that they can do so quickly and conveniently.
You’ll want to have your latest menu(s) accessible so that potential patrons can “check you out” first. In fact, marketing firm MGH discovered that 77% of diners visit the restaurant’s website before they order delivery or dine-in.
Your website should include:
- Phone number
- Physical address
- A Google map of your location
- E-mail address/contact form (if applicable)
- Links to social media channels
You can also help your restaurant rank for more keywords by writing detailed descriptions of your dishes and adding them to your homepage.
Finally, schema markup, an invisible script that’s added to your site that includes your menu items, can help earn better ranking positions and trigger certain search features.
#2 Optimize Your Google Business Profile
The Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) directory serves as the foundation for the Google Maps search results. In other words, you can’t get into Maps if you don’t have a GBP set up.
Ensure that you claim or create your listing and that it is well optimized using the following steps:
First, make sure your website and contact details are accurate and up-to-date. Include every piece of contact information you can think of, such as your address, phone number, and website, so that Google has as many details as possible about your location.
Then, check that your operating hours and days are correct. Google Maps users are made aware of store hours, holiday closures, and even grand openings.
Avoid using information that is duplicated or inaccurate. Google offers no reward for businesses that attempt to game their system.
Finally, publish images taken on premises and lots of them. Add pictures of all your dishes, and be sure to include plenty of interior photos, too! Patrons and Google alike appreciate a GBP that has lots of imagery. Little things like this will increase your rankings on Google Maps.
#3 Familiarize Yourself With SEO
While being an expert at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t necessary to run a successful restaurant, as a responsible business owner, you should be familiar with this marketing tactic.
Start by getting to know the keywords that people might use when searching for a restaurant like yours. Conduct some basic keyword research and add those keywords to corresponding pages on your website.
Creating new content for your website is a great way to integrate keywords. You may consider blog entries, recipes, an “about” page, or featured menu item pages.
An active website is often one that ranks well. So make sure your website is updated when menu items change or announcements are added to your blog, and update those daily specials…well…daily!
#4 Setup Your Social Media Channels
Your company’s social media networks are another avenue to improve rankings in Maps, as these types of websites are powerful citations that send signals to Google’s algorithm.
If there isn’t currently a profile for your company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., you should create one right away.
People often go to their favorite social media channel for information about restaurants to read reviews and look at customer-posted photos.
#5 Write Compelling Blog Content
Creating blog content that’s “compelling” is much easier said than done. However, if you stick to creating a few specific types of content, it can boost your overall search rankings.
The one style of content that works best for restaurants, and the majority of small businesses, is informative content.
Informative content can be factual-based, such as the following examples:
- How We Make Our Hollandaise Sauce a Little Different
- How to Make Acme Restaurant’s 3 Signature Cocktails at Home
- Discover the Farm Where Ted’s Steakhouse Sources Their Beef
Similarly, informative content can be opinion-based. Here are some ideas:
- Linda’s Restaurant Staff Each Share Their Favorite Dish & Why
- 5 Most Common Burger Builds Our Customers Request
- We Asked 100 Patrons Which of Our Menu Items Would Be Their Desert Island Choice
#6 Use Third-Party Services
While there are a number of third-party services, such as food ordering apps, that can help a restaurant grow, there are some companies out there that can actually help with ranking your restaurant on Google Maps as well.
Mentioned above is how having profiles setup on social media channels can trigger positive signals to Google’s algorithm, but they’re not the only type of site that can give you a leg up.
Citation websites, more specifically restaurant citation sites, can bridge the gap between a new restaurant and its trustworthiness.
Imagine there are two breakfast restaurants operating on the same street, offering the same food items, and, for argument’s sake, all other things are equal. Except one has hundreds of websites that references their establishment and the other has just a handful. In theory, the restaurant with the majority of citations will reap the benefits of favorable search rankings over the other guy.
#7 Get Customer Reviews
Without a doubt, reviews are either a restaurant’s best friend or their worst nightmare. Why? Because in the restaurant industry, up to 58% of consumers use reviews to help them choose their next meal’s restaurant, per a GatherUp survey.
Nowadays, customers find restaurants mostly online. Many aren’t likely to chance a visit if they happen to come across your restaurant and notice that no one has taken the time to write a review. Nor will they visit if there are too many low-rated reviews.
Not to mention that eateries that no one is talking about have a much harder time standing out from Google’s perspective: Without any reviews in a competitive market, your business may never find one of the three highly coveted Maps positions.
Having an online presence is essential for restaurant owners, since the vast majority of customers learn about new restaurants near their location by Googling.
If you leave it to chance, you may end up falling behind your competitors. So be sure to implement as many of the recommendations listed above as you can. Also, be diligent about requesting and responding to reviews, providing accurate information, and keeping your website and the copy within it up to date.
Remember, if you have any questions at all about how to use Google Maps to your restaurant’s advantage, the MenuLabs team is happy to assist! Give us a call or send an email today.