5 Tips to Boost Local SEO for Restaurants & Bars

You’re proud of your local restaurant or bar and the great relationships you’ve built up with your regular customers. But in this unpredictable economic climate, your quiet days can impinge on your profitability. After a while, it can feel as though every empty chair at every empty table is a lost source of revenue that threatens to imperil your restaurant’s finances.

Fortunately, you have an excellent team that makes and serves scrumptious food and you believe in your restaurant. Now you just need to get more people through your doors to show them just how good you are. By sharing a few local restaurant SEO tips, we’ll help you to do exactly that.

Do I need SEO for restaurants & bars?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is of paramount importance for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Gone are the days when local businesses could rely on footfall to sustain themselves. Even businesses in prime locations can struggle to attract the attention of capricious customers in the smartphone era.

If prospective customers in your area have a hankering for pizza, they’re not likely to wander until they find a pizzeria. When their craving for dough and cheese kicks in, they’ll instinctively reach for their smartphones to see what’s in the area, and make some pretty fundamental decisions about which local pizza parlour is deserving of their custom. Mastering the art of SEO marketing for restaurants can ensure that this hungry customer gets their pepperoni fix from you rather than one of your competitors.

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SEO marketing for restaurants & bars: 5 useful tips

Engaging local customers through SEO is a slightly different beast from targeting customers at a national and international level. It targets local customers at intent-rich moments in order to present their business as a solution to a search engine user’s problem… such as a stomach that’s desperately lacking pizza.

Here are 5 local SEO tips that you should make part of your marketing strategy.

Make sure your NAP information is up-to-date

This is one of the most elementary elements of SEO, but one that’s easily forgotten. Keeping your name, address and phone number (NAP) information enables customers to contact you directly through search engines like Google and other local directories.

However, if you have recently moved or you operate across multiple locations, the chances of your NAP data being incorrect on at least one directory grows exponentially. If your contact information is out of date, not only will this make it harder for customers to contact you, but it may also negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Establish a presence in online directories

Another important element of local restaurant SEO is listing your business in online directories. Of course, setting up a Google business account is a no-brainer. However, it’s important to remember other local directories such as:

  • UK Small Business Directory

  • Yelp UK

  • Yell (formerly the Yellow Pages)

  • Scoot UK

  • ABC Business Directory

Understand the importance of micro-moments when choosing your keywords

You can’t have SEO without keywords. And the key to understanding the best keywords in SEO for restaurants is understanding the importance of micro-moments. Micro-moments are those intent-rich moments when we will instinctively grab our mobile devices and start searching for something we need.

Micro-moments are usually divided into:

  • “I want to go somewhere” moments

  • “I want to do something” moments

  • “I want to buy something” moments

So, let’s say your aforementioned pizza parlour is located in the borough of Lewisham in London. Step into the proverbial shoes of a hungry local and try and think about what keywords they might use in these micro-moments. They might include:

  • Pizza parlour Lewisham

  • Pizza restaurant Lewisham

  • Pizza south London

  • Pizzeria Lewisham

  • Pizza takeaway Lewisham

  • Pizza southeast London

  • Italian restaurant Lewisham

Incentivise customer reviews

Of course, when this pizza-starved pedestrian in Lewisham enters the magic words into their search engine of choice, they will see more than your worthy pizzeria. They will also see your competitors’ restaurants, too.

So, what will determine whether they choose your restaurant or someone else’s?

User reviews may well be the deciding factor. Encourage or incentivise loyal customers to leave favourable reviews and you may stand head and shoulders above the competition in search engine results pages. And if your customers happen to post a picture of their most recent aromatic cheese-dripping feast as part of their 5-star review, so much the better.

Domain authority (DA) refers to the strength and credibility of a company’s website. The higher a website’s DA, the more likely search engines are to recognise it as a useful resource and therefore prioritise it over other similar websites in search results.

Link-building is a popular way for local businesses like restaurants to improve their DA and improve their SEO. If you can encourage authoritative websites to link back to your restaurant’s website, these will improve your site’s DA by association.

National publications like Time Out, Foodism magazine or Eater can provide extremely useful backlinks via reviews or mentions in articles that focus on your location. Another option is to reach out to local food and lifestyle bloggers who can also help to establish you as a worthwhile resource online.

How we can help

We can help you with your local restaurant SEO in a number of ways. We can help you to set up your Google Business Profile which integrates with Square, helping hungry diners find you when nearby. Our food delivery software can help you establish a presence on popular food delivery apps like Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats.

And don’t forget to check out our ultimate guide to SEO, relevant for all businesses.

Contact sales

Contact our sales team to learn more about how Square could help your business.