Site Search

6 Tactics you can Leverage Online to Generate New Customers for Your Restaurant

Download Print

In an age where nearly everyone walks around with a powerful computer in their pocket, SEO (search engine optimization) is more important to brick and mortar businesses than ever. By leveraging the best local SEO tactics, you can help ensure that, when people are looking for a new place to eat, yours restaurant is one of the first things they see.

1. Claim your presence on Google My Business and Bing Places

Getting a foothold on the search engines' own properties makes it more likely that they will serve up your place in the search results when people are looking for restaurants like yours. Include high-quality photos in your pages. This way, when Google pulls images from your site to go with listings, they'll see enticing images that will make them want to visit your place.

2. Ensure that your site is mobile-friendly

It's just common sense: people are most likely to be researching restaurants when they are getting ready to eat. And, data backs it up: according to Search Engine Land, two out of three restaurant searches convert in an hour or less. Smart phone users are most likely to seek directions or a restaurant phone number, so make sure that those are easy to find on your site. You can test the other qualities of mobile-friendliness of your website using Google's webmaster tools.

3. Practice good basic optimization

Create unique title tags for each page. Create a meta description for each page that is optimized for the user so that Google does not pull a random string of text from the page. By making these descriptive and inviting, you can make your listing in the search engine results inviting, too. This can significantly improve your restaurant website's conversions.

4. Engage in "barnacle SEO"

Barnacle SEO refers to attaching yourself to something larger and then waiting for tasty bits (prospective customers) to float by. Look at what sites do well in your local area. If TripAdvisor comes up in searches for restaurants, it is worthwhile to make sure that you have a good presence on that site with good photos and accurate and up to date NAP (name/address/phone) information. The same thing goes for Yelp. By attaching yourself to these bigger names, you increase the chances that your page on those sites comes up when people are searching for a place to eat.

5. Include your city or region in the right places on your page

Your city or region and the relevant keywords for each page should appear in your title tag, H1 tags and in ALT attributes of images. If you are in a large city where neighborhood names are more important, use those as well or instead. You should also embed a Google map with your business marker into your webpage to not only help with SEO but to make it easier for customers to get directions to your place. Together, these let search engine spiders know that your location is an important part of what you have to convey and helps assure that you will show up in local searches for restaurants.

6. Work on local link building

Quality backlinks are extremely valuable when it comes to getting your site high in search engine results. Reach out to important local sites to help get more of these links out there. Sponsor local children's sports teams or other organizations and ask for a link and credit on their website. Sign up to press request services and be available to be quoted in local publications. Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit in a subreddit that is relevant to your local area and industry. Offer a scholarship. Enter the running for local awards. All of these can help get you backlinks and additional local visibility.

It's important to remember that you don't need to be the top result all over. You just need to place well on the search engine results in your local area. By paying careful attention to these and other local SEO tactics, you can increase your visibility and convert more people in your area to happy and loyal customers.

Alex MembrilloAlex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions, an award winning digital strategy agency based in Atlanta, GA. His innovative approach to digital marketing has transformed the industry and delivered remarkable results to clients of all sizes and markets. Membrillo has extensive experience with restaurant and franchise marketing. Cardinal has been 3-time consecutively named on Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately-held US companies. Visit to find out more about Cardinal Web Solutions. Membrillo tweets @Alex_Membrillo