Undoubtedly, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a huge challenge for independently-owned businesses. Restaurants, in particular, have had a difficult time staying afloat. Although many eateries have been able to continue offering take-out and delivery options for the past few months, reopening in at least a limited capacity is proving critical to the survival of many establishments.
But whether your restaurant will be serving customers only outdoors and continuing with take-out options or you’re preparing to reopen your indoor dining area with approval from your state, it’s more important than ever for restaurants to appeal to those within their community. One of the best ways to accomplish that is through digital marketing efforts. But in addition to online advertisements, you’ll want to focus on local search engine optimization efforts in order to target diners who are ready to place an order.
Why Are Local SEO Services So Essential For Restaurants?
More than 50% of online searches now start on a mobile device, which means that local SEO continues to grow in terms of importance. Any type of premium SEO is meant to attract people searching for specific keywords and relevant results. But when you focus on local optimizations, your intention is to appear in searches being conducted by people within your immediate area.
This is especially important for restaurants, as they depend on local foot traffic and orders placed or delivered within a certain radius. When optimized correctly, your site and business listings will appear more prominently when someone is looking for food nearby — and that’s key to your survival during the pandemic and beyond.
How Can Restaurants Improve Their Local Search Engine Optimization During COVID-19?
- Claim and Update Google My Business Listings: Google My Business (GMB) listings allow restaurants and other organizations to quickly and prominently show up in local search results. They readily display the address, operational hours, website, and contact information for a given business in a way that otherwise wouldn’t be possible with conventional search results. Restaurants are also able to add descriptions, cuisines, menus, photos, reservation information, and recent posts or announcements to draw attention to these listings. Notably, Google has actually allowed restaurants to make changes to their GMB names to include words like “take-out” or “delivery” with no associated penalties. You can also make posts related to COVID-19 to better communicate with prospective customers. Since these updates show up prominently when someone conducts a search, it’s a good idea to claim these listings and update them regularly as conditions continue to change.
- Optimize For Popular Pandemic Terms: During the pandemic, consumers have spent more time online than ever — and they’re often searching for updated results that reflect our “new normal.” Not surprisingly, Google has reported huge spikes in search terms like “take-out,” “drive-thru,” and “delivery” as they pertain to food service. In addition to including these terms in your GMB listing, you can optimize with them on your website itself. Page title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags that include these high-volume search terms can often give your SEO a boost and allow visitors to more readily find your site in SERPs. Optimizing for these terms can help your restaurant survive a potential second wave and allow you to diversify your offerings in the coming months, as well.
- Add Alerts and Prioritize Responsive Design: As any Clearwater SEO company will tell you, the success of local SEO depends on your site providing a stellar experience on mobile. Since most people who search for local results are also conducting those searches on their smartphones, your website needs to function perfectly regardless of how it’s being viewed. If your website isn’t responsive, now’s the time to make those changes to your website design. While you’re at it, you might consider adding some alerts (either in your header or in an overlay) that inform customers about any coronavirus-related changes. You can also use these to drive online orders or gift card purchases, which are both highly important for restaurants right now.
It’s clear just how essential local SEO is for restaurants during the pandemic. But you don’t have to execute this strategy on your own. Contact Studio98 today to take your restaurant’s digital marketing to the next level.