How to List Your Restaurant at the Top of the Google Search Page

Getting to the top of a Google search may be difficult, but it’s a great goal to aim for when promoting your restaurant.
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Increase your ranking when it comes to Google organic searches by providing only the most relative information on your website. (Photo: tongcom photographer/Shutterstock)

Over the past few years, it has become increasingly difficult to stand out on the Google search page if your site is not a top result.

According to a 2017 study by Ignite Visibility, the first search engine result on Google garners 20.5 percent of clicks, the second position gets 13.32 percent and the third receives 13.14 percent. Clicks drop to 8.98 percent for number four and continue to decrease the further down the page the searcher goes.

Derek Hales, editor in chief of Modern Castle and a former senior SEO strategist for ad agency iCrossing, said working to appear at the top of a Google search “absolutely is important” for a business of any size.

“Ideally, you want to be number one, but at a minimum appearing within the top three spots is critical, especially for critical keyword phrases or localized geographic terms. ‘Best gyro in Phoenix,’ for example.”

So, how exactly do you go about boosting your search rank, especially when you don’t have a large, corporate budget behind your restaurant?

Here are a few tips from SEO experts on how to rank a top position and bring in more customers to your restaurant.

Provide relevant information on your website

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Keri Lindenmuth, of Kyle David Group, suggests contacting your website administrator and making sure your site contains all of the necessary on-page markups so that Google’s algorithm can access your information. (Photo: Keri Lindenmuth)

When people perform a Google search, the first thing they may see above organic search results is the “Featured Snippet,” a small box with what Google believes to be the best answer to the search query.

According to Keri Lindenmuth, marketing manager at web tech and design firm Kyle David Group, Google pulls the most relevant information from a high-ranking website to place in the Featured Snippets box.

If you want to land this coveted space in search results, she advised restaurants to “rework website content so that it showcases their menu, popular keywords, reviews, ratings, price range and location.”

Also, check with your website administrator to make sure you’ve included any special on-page markups required so Google can pull this snippet of information from your site. While it’s still up to the Google algorithm to choose which website wins this coveted real estate, ensuring your site has clear, up-to-date information relevant to the query and the proper markups will at least get you in the running.

“Then, next time someone searches ‘restaurants in Cleveland,’ ‘inexpensive places to eat in Philly,’ or simply ‘Italian food,’ restaurants in those areas may be able to see their information above the search results,” she said.

Related: 7 SEO Best Practices Your E-Commerce Site Can’t Ignore

Ensure your site is properly coded and indexed

In order for Google to recognize your site, it must be properly coded and indexed. If this sounds like gibberish to you, then hire an SEO professional to help you in this area.

To explain how indexing works, Seth Worby, CEO and founder of digital marketing agency Champ Internet Solutions said to “think of every page on your site as a book and Google as the library that houses that book. If Google is going to house your book, they need to know that it exists. So how do you ensure Google knows your site exists? Coding. Have an SEO professional ensure that your site is properly coded. It’s that simple.”

Get backlinks to your site

Google also wants to see if other reputable websites think the information you provide is valuable and are linking to your site.

If they are, you have a better chance of ranking high in search results. Build backlinks by looking to your social circle and professional network, including partners and other businesses, for who might be willing to link to your site from theirs.

“Businesses are built around relationships, [and] so is the web and websites,” explained Hales. “Use your business relationships to help increase your backlinks.”

Related: Danny Sullivan’s Top SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Plan your keywords

Another way to boost your Google ranking is by incorporating relevant keywords into your website that users are searching for.

“Use data to be certain you know exactly what your customers are searching for when they are trying to find you explicitly (i.e., by your exact name) or implicitly (i.e., by relevant but generalized terms; ‘Chinese food near me,’ for example),” said Hales.

Utilize Google’s keyword planner to identify top keywords and phrases used in searches and then find places to include them within the text on your website. But beware of forcing or “stuffing” keywords into your content. Google’s algorithm is set up to catch “black hat” SEO techniques like these, which could actually penalize your ranking.

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“Focus on what makes your establishment unique.”-Seth Warby (Photo: Seth Worby)

Focus on your unique niche

It’s going to be difficult to rank for big, broad search terms like “Chicago restaurants,” said Worby, so take a slightly narrower approach, so you are more likely to show up in the No. 1 spot.

“Focus on what makes your establishment unique,” Warby suggested. “Maybe you have the best whole wheat thin-crust pizza in town. Focus on your specialty and what makes you unique to improve your ranking.”

Related: Boost Your Business through Local Search Optimization

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