SEO for Restaurants: Google My Business, local keywords and user-generated content

Published 03.07.2024 - Last update 03.08.2024
restaurant seo
Table of contents
  1. Optimise your Google My Business profile
  2. Local search keywords
  3. User-generated content for restaurants

In 2024, effective use of restaurant SEO and social media has the potential to transform your restaurant business overnight. Your restaurant’s digital presence has never been more important – even if customer journeys start offline, most potential diners will visit your restaurant’s social media profiles or website during the consideration process. But how can you improve your restaurant’s discoverability and visibility online?

Our short guide delves into strategic approaches you can take to organically bolster your restaurant's SEO and social media visibility and drive traffic to your website —without resorting to paid advertising or expensive media campaigns.

Optimise your Google My Business profile

Recently renamed as Google Business Profile, this feature allows business owners to improve the ways they reach customers on both Google Search and Google Maps – especially critical for high-intent users searching for somewhere to eat nearby!

A well-optimised Google Business Profile centres around one principle: accuracy. Ensure your Google My Business profile has complete data for your restaurant, including the physical address, contact phone number, website, business category and up-to-date opening hours. Photos are important too – this not only improves the user experience, but Google considers the quality and recency of photos when deciding how to rank your restaurant. Be sure to include images of both the restaurant and the food, and update your photos every couple of months.

Google also takes note of how you handle reviews on your restaurant’s profile listing. Frequently responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and their feedback. Of course, it goes without saying that high-quality and positive reviews from your diners can improve your restaurant’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a customer will book a table with you.

google my business restaurant

Technical SEO for restaurant websites

Your restaurant website is often an important part of a customer’s online journey when researching and considering where to dine. Your website should be mobile-friendly, fast-loading, and easy to navigate – otherwise, you might see a large proportion of visitors “bouncing” when they can’t find the information they’re looking for, or if your page load-times are too slow.

Ensure key pages like an updated menu, food prices, opening hours and options to book are easily accessible to users. Take a look at common user journeys and behaviour on your website using analytics software – is there one page in particular where most users leave your site? Which pages do potential customers visit first, and most frequently? All of this can give you insight into what fixes your website might need to improve booking rates from visitors – and additionally help to boost your ranking on Google search platforms.

Local search keywords

46% of all Google searches are looking for local information, so if your restaurant isn’t optimised for local search, you could be missing out on customers looking to dine in your area. Incorporating location-based keywords into your website content and meta descriptions can help attract these diners searching for local restaurants.

The key to ranking for keywords is staying specific. Dreaming of appearing #1 on search results for “london restaurant” is often too ambitious and unrealistic given the amount of competition on broad, popular keywords. Instead, focus on more relevant and specific keywords like “indian restaurant in dalston”, “gourmet food borough”, or “best burger places tooting”. This will help you appear for relevant searches across Google search and Google Maps users looking for their next meal nearby.

User-generated content for restaurants

Word-of-mouth marketing has never been more complex, or powerful. Social media means that every one of your diners is a content creator, with a platform and following amongst their friends or beyond.

Almost 40% of consumers now use TikTok for information — the platform is even more popular with Millennial and Gen Z audiences, who are beginning to favour it over Google when beginning their search user journeys online. Hashtags like “#londonrestaurant” have climbed into the hundreds of millions of views – with mainstream media outlets beginning to take notice.

user generated content

It's clear that in 2024, Google isn’t the only search engine you need to consider. That’s where user-generated content comes in – anecdotal and personal reviews are the most popular form of content on the platform. Ensuring your restaurant – whether it’s the food, the interior décor, a particular event, or a unique selling point – is being talked about and shared across the relevant areas of Instagram, TikTok and other social media is critical to staying relevant and visible online and ensuring you’re a step ahead of local competitors.

Encourage your patrons to share their dining experiences on social media and tag your restaurant. Reposting this user-generated content from the restaurant not only fosters a sense of community but also enhances your social media presence. Advertise discounts and run giveaway competitions on social media to attract those with a platform, or even provide incentives for posting about your restaurant, like free drinks or side dishes.

By implementing these changes and focusing on their online presence, restaurants can enhance their digital visibility across multiple channels, driving more traffic to their website or booking listings, and ultimately increasing footfall. For those looking to further streamline their operations and digital marketing efforts, exploring B2B software solutions for automating booking systems can offer additional advantages and work hand-in-hand with a strong digital strategy.

To discover how TheFork Manager can revolutionise your restaurant's operations, get in touch with our team today.

Table of contents
  1. Optimise your Google My Business profile
  2. Local search keywords
  3. User-generated content for restaurants
Discover TheFork Manager

Gain greater online visibility

Increase your table occupation rate

Fight against no-show

Rely on Industry expert