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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.

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.

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.

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.

More resources:


Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

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SEO

Beginner’s Guide to Optimizing Websites for Better Rankings

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Beginner's Guide to Optimizing Websites for Better Rankings

You want to rank on the #1 spot in Google. I get it. Everyone wants that spot but how come you’ve never been able to get your keywords there consistently?

I wrote this guide for you to get some of your keywords there in 30 days or less.

Just like a car needs regular tune-ups to keep it running smoothly, your website needs periodic SEO maintenance to help it maintain a high ranking.

Here are some routine tasks that me and my team in SEO Hacker do for our client’s website upkeep.

Publish fresh or update old content regularly

One crucial element to maintaining your website rankings is your content. Without content, search engines can’t take into account that your website is authoritative and trustworthy.

With that said, do you consistently create original and satisfying content? Have you also backtracked some of your old content and looked to see if there are articles that needs updating?

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With Google’s recent helpful content update, it’s important to consider how you create content.

Below are some guide questions to help you re-evaluate previously published content and how you create new content:

  • Does your content demonstrate your expertise and depth of knowledge from using a product or service?
  • Does your content primarily summarize what others have to say without adding much value of your own?
  • What impression will your content leave on a reader? Will they learn something new or experience something satisfying?
  • Do you create valuable content while keeping Google’s guidelines and core algorithm updates in mind?
  • Does your content promise to answer a question without a clear, confirmed answer yet, or one that hasn’t been confirmed?
  • Does your visual content follow Google’s image SEO best practices?
  • Is your content and web design and interface mobile-friendly?
  • Is your content likely to receive backlinks because of its resourcefulness and value?

These questions will help you plan and create substantial content for your website that’s aligned with your audience and Google’s recommendations.

Check your internal and external links periodically

Did you know that backlinks help to establish the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) of your website? Links are an active and powerful ranking signal to this day.

When other websites cite your website or web page via links, it shows Google that you’re authoritative and trustworthy.

To maintain your website’s rankings, you will need to check your internal and external links periodically. Internal links or interlinks are hyperlinks that point from a page in your site to another page on your site.

Internal links help users navigate your site and find the content they are searching for.

What internal links do for SEO is that it helps search engines find and understand the value, relevance, and relationship between your web pages.

On the other hand, external links or outbound links are hyperlinks that point from your website to an article on a third-party website. Every time you link to another website altogether, it is an external link.

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I’m guessing your next question here is, does creating outbound links matter in SEO?

Some SEO specialists agree it matters in SEO, while some don’t. In any case, how I decide is if it helps the reader know more about the topic or the content that I wrote, I will link out for sure. Every external link included in our content is meant to cite relevant and authoritative sources.

Consequently, these links let my readers learn more about the topic deeply. In addition, it also gives me the opportunity to build some expertise and authority to the content I wrote as well.

An experiment done by Reboot Online showed how external links can help improve your website’s ranking. Their study concludes that “outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings.” To learn more about their updated study in-depth, you can read about it here.

What this study and my personal experience concludes is that linking to sites with good contextual authority has a positive impact on your content’s rankings when done correctly. It helps send trust signals to Google.

But why do you need to occasionally check your hyperlinks?

Remember, we create content for people. If someone clicks on a link and receives an error message, they are more likely to leave the site. Links that no longer work or are inaccessible are called broken links. While broken links do not directly affect your website’s rankings, inaccessible links directly affect user experience – which I could argue is a ranking factor.

Optimize your titles, meta descriptions, and alt text for images

You shouldn’t neglect the small details like titles and meta descriptions that contribute to your website’s organic traffic and ranking. Titles and meta descriptions play a major role in making your website visible in the search results.

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These elements aren’t considered on-page ranking factors per se, but what they do is they help searchers see and understand what your website or your webpage is about straight from the search results page.

meta description screenshot
A lot of people click on titles and meta descriptions on search engine results pages (SERP) that contain relevant summaries. When searchers click on your website’s title and meta description related to their query, your click-through rate (CTR) increases.

On the other hand, adding alternative text (alt-text) to your images plays a role in making your websites rank because of its importance on Google Image Search. If an image doesn’t load or is inaccessible to a web browser, an alternative text provides a helpful description of the image to users.

In essence, adding alternative text to images is like hitting two birds with one stone: it helps searchers who may have images or scripts turned off in their web browser understand what your image is about. Similarly, it helps Google bots crawl and index your website better.

So, if you haven’t optimized your website’s titles, meta descriptions, or your images’ alt-texts yet, now’s the time to do so. If you don’t know how to optimize your meta description, here’s a helpful post where we share some useful tips on how to do it.

Key Takeaway

In SEO, nothing is sacred. This is why SEO is never a one-time fix. Rankings in search results aren’t permanent. Search engines like Google constantly update their algorithms. Plus the fact that your competitors can catch up and get ahead if they employ better SEO strategies. Whatever tactic or strategy you have in place now for your website to rank may not work tomorrow.

This is why SEO maintenance is important. By regularly performing these and other web maintenance tasks, you can help your website earn high rankings in search results and keep it there.

Did you find this article helpful? Let me know in the comments below.

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