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How is your restaurant’s web presence? Having a strong image that shines through on the internet is crucial – studies have shown that these days 97% of consumers use some sort of online media to look for local businesses, and that includes restaurants. Out of all of those consumers, 90% rely on search engines when they’re hungry to spend their money, and if you want them to spend it at your restaurant, you have to know how to harness those search engines to work for you.
What’s a restaurateur to do? Luckily, there’s a service out there that could take your business to the next level. It’s simple, it’s streamlined, and it’s mostly free. It’s called Google, the biggest search engine of them all, and it’s ready to help you succeed.
Get SEO Friendly with the Google Keyword Tool
So, you have a website for your restaurant – or perhaps you don’t, but you’re ready to take the leap. The ideal result of your website is, of course, for potential diners to find you. But they can’t if they don’t know where to start, so the first step to Google success is improving your rankings through search engine optimization (SEO).
To rise to the top of Google rankings, you have to be the most “relevant” site around. SEO involves using strategic search terms your customers might be looking for within the text of your site to drive up your ranking. Are you a restaurant in Los Angeles? Make it clear, not once but a few times even, and Google will get the message. If you’re not sure which keywords are best, you’ll need to enlist some help, and there are plenty of programs and services out there that promise to generate all the best keywords for only a few hundred dollars. But who needs them? Google has it all.
You don’t have to sign up for Google AdWords to use its Keyword Tool – you just have to have a Google account, and that takes about five minutes max to set up. Type in a keyword phrase you’re thinking of using for your website – “Los Angeles restaurants,” for example, if that’s your neck of the woods – and not only will the Google Keyword Tool show you how many people search for that term per month, but it will also give you a comprehensive list of related keywords you can use to strengthen your text even more.
Get on the Maps (Google Maps, That Is) with Google Places
Do you have a business listing on Google? If not, you should. Your cooking may put you on the map, but it’s a listing with Google Places that will literally put you on the map.
Google Places works in conjunction with Google Maps. Type in “Los Angeles restaurants,” for example, and Google brings up a laundry list of restaurant names. Restaurants with a Google Places account, however, stand out with their own little dot on the map. What’s more, your Google Places listing gives readers a wealth of information without having to jump to a new website – a convenience that a lot of internet users value. Photos of your restaurant, your phone number and hours, even your menu – they can all be here, at your potential diners’ fingertips. It even aggregates Yelp, Citysearch, and Gayot reviews so that people can see how great you really are.
For a Few Dollars More…
All of this so far has been free – and if that’s for free, imagine what you could get for a bit of change? If you think your site has broad appeal, you could try taking Google AdWords for a spin, using top keywords to build text ads. If you’ve done your work on Google Places, on the other hand, you can bump up your listing with Google Boost. This advertising feature puts your restaurant at the top of the search page, and also qualifies your restaurant to appear in Sponsored Link sections.
Compared to other types of paid advertising, these are relatively low-risk. You only pay for these ads when somebody clicks on them, so your chances of that person being interested go way up from your average banner ad. Considering the new customers you could see, this strategy has the potential to pay for itself. Paid advertising isn’t for everyone, but for the right business it can be just the boost you need to make your restaurant succeed.