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Local SEO Best Practices For Enterprise Restaurant Brands

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Local SEO Best Practices For Enterprise Restaurant Brands


With endless options to choose from and the potential to eat three meals a day, the restaurant industry can be an extremely competitive category for local search.

Plus, more restaurant locations are continually opening and new concept types continue to pop up.

Maintaining a strong local search presence becomes more difficult for enterprise restaurant brands who are looking to do it at a major scale, sometimes with several thousand locations.

Many restaurant chains are franchisee-operated, which means the brand doesn’t own or operate their locations but instead provides support to the owner-operators.

This adds another layer of complexity being able to scale a brand’s local search marketing efforts since corporate is not fully in control.

Even though there are many intricacies when running an enterprise restaurant brand, there are many ways for a brand and its individual locations to succeed at local search marketing.

It is critical to have a definitive local search strategy since many restaurant visits start with a search on Google or directly in Google Maps.

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In this post, we will explore in-depth how to manage local listings and SEO at scale for enterprise restaurant brands, and our best practices for succeeding in the ever-evolving local search landscape.

Listings Management For Enterprise Restaurant Brands

Having local listings is an absolute must.

Without a listing for a restaurant on key directories like Google, Apple, Bing, or Yelp, it would be as if the location didn’t exist to searchers.

But having the location listed on smaller directories like OpenTable, Zomato, TripAdvisor, YellowPages, All Menus, Facebook, Foursquare, Zagat, and Grubhub is just as critical.

Each restaurant should have a listing on all relevant directories as this is a ranking signal to Google since citations are an effective way to build links back to the restaurant’s location page.

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Location Management Platforms

For enterprise brands to manage the vast amount of listings with so many different attributes across the various sites requires a centralized platform.

Each directory accepts data slightly differently, plus being able to make updates quickly and efficiently is essential.

Even more so with restaurants needing to be nimble with changes due to the pandemic.

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Most enterprise restaurants need a location management platform to be able to manage all of the complexities.

These platforms allow for them to update data in one place and have it submitted to multiple listing directories.

These platforms can also give franchisees the ability to access their restaurant and make their own updates instead of relying on corporate to make these changes.

The franchisee owner-operators tend to know their locations best and will be aware of any changes specific to the location since they typically can decide hours of operation or other nuances with their location.

Accurate and complete information is not only essential to restaurants but also a way to gain better visibility.

Having the wrong hours, incorrect status, or missing links will lead to missed revenue opportunities and possible negative reviews.

Review Management

Review scores are a key piece in factoring where a location will rank. Google will also consider replies to reviews as a ranking signal.

Additionally, 59% of 18 to 23-year-olds say online reputation plays a role in their purchasing decisions at restaurants.

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Restaurants tend to generate a lot of reviews, which provides a lot of great insight.

Being able to respond to potentially 100,000 plus reviews a year will take a concentrated effort from either corporate or franchises.

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Just like having a platform to manage listings, a tool to oversee and respond to reviews is necessary for enterprise brands.

This will allow you to see how many reviews restaurants are generating, review scores, and sentiment to further improve each location’s level of service.

Listings Content

Having engaging content within your listings is a great way for enterprise restaurant brands to stand out. Two ways to do this are through photos and posts.

Many enterprise restaurant brands just have a few stock photos that are the same on every listing.

Having unique photos across all of your listings is a great way to make your profile more engaging.

Adding photos of the exterior, interior, or anything that makes that location stand out uniquely is beneficial.

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Google Posts are also a great way to share specifics of what is happening within that location. Having Posts across each location is another opportunity to speak to your customer and impact rankings.

Screenshot from Google search for [Applebee’s], Google, December 2021

Local Pages

Individual pages are key to any multi-location restaurant brand since it allows the user to know what that location’s specifics are and what it offers.

The challenge for enterprise brands is having several thousand pages that can look like duplicate content.

Not differentiating each location’s page can negatively impact SEO and not give any real insight into the location.

This, in turn, does not provide the reader with relevant content and is seen by Google as the brand not providing quality content.

Unique Content

For enterprise brands to stand out locally unique content is essential. Hyperlocal content is a great way to build out unique content.

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Restaurants can think about hyperlocal content in two different ways. The first is what relates to the location locally.

Highlighting the specific neighborhoods the restaurant is near, major highways, universities, stadiums, museums, arenas, or other major landmarks.

The second area is what differentiates each specific restaurant from the others.

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Does this location have any specific promotions or events?

It could be weekly kids eat free night, sporting events, nights where there is live music or even karaoke.

Another possibility is highlighting who works in the location and their bios.

The whole goal is to provide as much unique content about the location to make it stand out locally.

Having specific images of the location versus a standard image across all locations is another opportunity for creating unique content.

City Pages

Another way to help rank locally is to have city pages built out for any of the cities a location is in.

Many searches today are location-based with a city modifier such as “American restaurant in Los Angeles”.

Having these city pages will help improve the restaurant’s rankings.

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It is also another opportunity to build unique content for that specific city.

You can take the same approach with hyperlocal content for cities by calling out specific neighborhoods, museums, arenas, highways, and any other key things that make that particular city stand out.

Even having unique images for each city will be beneficial.

Conclusion

For enterprise restaurant brands to stand out in search, having a dedicated listing and pages strategy is essential.

By providing the specifics of each location and creating unique content, enterprise restaurants can effectively compete locally against single-location restaurants.

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Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

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SEO

How Data Is Reshaping The SEO & Digital Marketer’s Landscape

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How Data Is Reshaping The SEO & Digital Marketer's Landscape

There is a new data revolution happening, and it’s sweeping across the industry so quickly that many SEO and digital marketers are struggling to make sense of the insights and intelligence at their disposal.

To utilize this opportunity, marketers need to evolve their mindsets and use technology to analyze multiple data formats and understand the new opportunities it can bring.

SEO marketers of today and digital marketers of tomorrow will need to extract, structure quickly, and manipulate data to drive the most critical business outcomes.

Data has always been mission-critical to digital decision-making.

The Economist, back in 2017, declared it the world’s most valuable resource.

Fast forward to today and the future, and we can see that the exponential growth of data fuelling this revolution is staggering.

According to the IDC, the amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount of data made since the advent of digital storage.

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Think about that for a second!

Flash drives, for example, were introduced in 2000.

This means that in the next five years, marketers will have to analyze and make sense of 2x the data created in the last 22 years!

The Data Revolution Means More Sources & Complexity For SEO

The data revolution has gone on for some time now, and it’s changed our concept of what counts as “data,” rightfully so.

In the past, we thought only numbers mattered.

But, in this new digital world where everything is converted into ones and zeros, data is broader and contains text, audio, and visual information – all bits waiting to be processed!

  • Machine-based and human-generated data are growing at a rate of 10x faster than conventional business data.
  • Machine-created data is increasing exponentially at a 50x the growth rate. This data revolution is primarily marketing-driven and consumer-oriented who are “always on.”
  • In just the last 18 months, the volume of site processing data we have been generating at BrightEdge has increased by 11x!
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As a result of these increasingly demanding trends, SEO and digital marketers need to adapt and become more like data analysts and scientists in approaching the extraction of structured data insights and business intelligence – without adding more manual work.

Fortunately, SEO is well-positioned to take advantage of this new data revolution.

  • Increasing your keyword universe – More keywords mean more data points to look at with reporting and fuelling insights. While focusing on conversion rate metrics is very important, it wouldn’t be possible without opening the scope of your audience and getting more people in the door. SEO has drifted away from writing for a primary dedicated keyword and is now way more advanced with advancements in search engines like Google’s understanding of intent of searches through RankBrain and BERT.
  • Increasing your search footprint – will also help you discover unexplored of informing your future content strategy or ideate new keyword ideas. However, sometimes you might miss the boat, like the transition of Content Management Systems slowly turning into “Experience Platforms” as they offer more functionality to meet the needs of today’s webmaster or marketer.

Read More On SEJ

Data Is The Currency Of An Accelerated SEO & Digital Age

By 2025, Worldwide data will reach 175 zettabytes.

But unfortunately, the human brain can’t process, structure, and analyze all that data.

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So technology engines have to help, and digital marketers should be the driver.

There is a massive opportunity for companies that can utilize data to create more engaging experiences.

A recent study showed that 95% of business leaders recognize this as their biggest growth lever over the next three years, which means there’s plenty at stake here!

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Robust data analysis ensures decisions are evidence-based and have more accountability.

Drawing on existing and new data sources to fully integrate business acumen and analytical skills into decision making, sourcing, managing, and analyzing large amounts of unstructured data will ensure continued use and success.

SEO began with data and has evolved.

From the introduction of real-time SEO in 2019 and Page Experience Updates in 2021, SEO’s future lies again with data and the creation of intelligent systems. Here marketers can leverage combined data sources that structures data for them.

As a result, they can achieve business objectives and stay ahead during all data and digital transformation stages.

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Technology & AI Are Helping SEO Evolve

Advancements in technology and, in particular, AI and Natural Language Processing has meant that SEO and digital marketers can become data analysts without having to become an actual data scientist.

This is key to unlocking structured insights from your company’s big data to make more precise predictions about what is coming next based on existing information.

Digital marketers can evolve, understand key trends, and learn in new areas such as:

  • Predictive modeling of future trends and forecasting based on multiple types of data.
  • Real-time identification of opportunities and intelligence.
  • Digital research at scale with both historical and real-time data.
  • Leveraging automated visualizations for various stakeholders.
  • Improved data security and compliance.
  • Market and business intelligence at a macro level.
  • Consumer behavior at the most granular level.

SEO and digital marketers can learn critical skills such as statistics, data analysis, data visualization, and strategy.

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AI, NLP, and machine learning are helping them do this without needing expertise in computer programming and software applications.

What digital marketers must do is combine their communication skills and analytics skills with stakeholders who cannot think outside of the advertising box.

Read More On SEJ

Data Analysis & Intelligence As Competitive Advantage

The application of technology will be the driving force behind the next generation of data analysis technology.

Therefore, SEO and digital marketers of today should learn how to better utilize insights from data analysis.

It’s becoming more apparent that the marketing platforms of tomorrow will require the capabilities of data analysis and science infrastructure at their core.

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The future of marketing will blend technological know-how, business sense, and an understanding of data analysis.

The next generation of SEO will touch all components of marketing, from video, email, and voice, to digital performance of content.

SEO and data science will converge into one evolved discipline that drives omnichannel acquisition and democratizes data.

Marketers who embrace this new era of SEO will be well-positioned to succeed in the years to come.

Data is reconfirming its role as the new competitive advantage, and as SEO and digital marketers, you must evolve if you want to be part of the future.

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Featured Image: ra2 studio/Shutterstock

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