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  • Writer's pictureRachel S

SEO Google My Business for Restaurants: The Best Guide to Get More Customer Visits

Imagine that you finally opened that coffee spot you’ve been dreaming of for years. Its location could not be better, it is situated on Madison Avenue, the heart of Manhattan’s borough, and a place that normally does not miss the passerby’s eye. To top it all, its name is quite catchy, ‘Cup Of Joe’, which is a reference that seems to bolt the right wires between frequent site seekers.

Yet, not right across from your street, another Coffee Shop, ‘Slush Spot’ seems to be gaining traction. What is it about that spot that attracts New Yorkers? Does it have to do with the whole vegan groove? Or is it heap decoration? Or maybe it is somehow strategically closer to the subway station? The answer, to your surprise, could be all of the above.

See, nowadays just opening up a restaurant, coffee shop or pâtissière is not enough to catch the attention of potential clients. On the contrary, since an average person checks their phone approximately 344 times per day, you might want to aim for something that lives rent-free in their mind and is within reach of their hand, the Google Search bar on their cell phone.

On average, Google’s Search Engine receives at least 3.5 billion searches per day, which means that a person is doing a Google search almost every second. For this reason, no matter the inquiry, the answer is commonly found on Google. When someone is looking for a place to stay or have lunch, Google’s Search Engine picks a couple of qualities to throw results at the user, for example:

  • Location

  • Opening Schedule

  • Reviews

But what does that have to do with a business, in this case, a restaurant, out shadowing another? Well, because the results that pop up first on a user’s search are linked to a Google My Business!

What is Google My Business, then?

Google My Business is the term used by Google to talk about Google’s Business Listing. It basically takes the business’ name, location and other info like the website, social media profiles or pictures and makes it more effortless for potential customers to find it. Additionally, it is an outlet that allows clients to leave reviews, ask questions and solely interact with the business.

So, by creating a Google My Business account, you can access, customise, manage, and enhance your Business Profile on Google, all still for free, which we’ll get into briefly.

In short, Google My Business is the closest thing the internet has to a Sunday market: the latest trending products, local brands to look out for and the best farmer’s market all in one place.

However, it is important to point out that: Google My Business boosts your business’s search ranking and overall visibility. How? By improving your Local SEO. In other words, bringing local customers to your business.

76% of local searches result in a visit within 24 hours, so book a free consultation to optimize your SEO Google My Business.

Is there a difference between GMB SEO and Traditional SEO?

Organic SEO stems from the increase of organic traffic to a website. The term organic basically refers to unpaid content showing up on the search- engine-results-page or SERPs, while quality traffic denotes the visitors searching for what you offer to them.

However, the big difference with Google My Business is that GMB shows searchers where and how to visit your business while improving your local SEO. Additionally, a listing for a local business is more likely to appear when people search for a nearby business using Google Maps.

SEO Google My Business: How to rank first on Google for Restaurants?

With the increase of local businesses comes an increase in competition. Therefore, securing the chances of getting noticed by your clients is essential for your company to prosper.

But, if you’re still feeling a little lost or have no clue of where to start let us guide you through your process:

1. Check your competitors

Like any other field in life, competition is part of the road to success, but a match wouldn’t be a competition without some healthy rivalry. In many sports, athletes are in constant sync with their competitors.

Whether you own a big or small business, having a detailed analysis of your competitors that offer a similar service/product to yours is extremely important to acquire a higher ranking online.

Yet, to understand how this applies to the restaurant industry, we’ll give you an example:

Imagine that your Italian friend, Francesco is opening his own ‘Trattoria’ in Little Italy, New York. Yet, whoever has wandered through the streets of lower Manhattan knows that competition between food spots is no novelty. On the contrary, Francesco’s Trattoria is vying to get the attention of customers against ‘Il Cortile’, ‘Zia Maria’, ‘Casa D'Angelo’ and many more.

For this reason, Francesco decides to take matters into his own hands, and study his ‘rivals’. He pays close attention to their venue (decoration and design), attention to clientele and even scans through the menus. In the end, he finds out that clients are into cosy spaces that take away the noise of the busy city, decoration that evokes the classical Italian ‘style’ but pick up on new trends that merge New York’s Culture with what tourists crave: a taste of the European country.

All these aspects, which seem minimal, are actually important qualities that future customers notice and take into account. Therefore, scanning through potential competitors is the key to making your business stand out among others and attracting future clients.

To sum up: you can optimise your SEO Google my Business Profile based on your competitor analysis findings, making sure all of your profile’s areas are filled out using targeted keywords or SEO Words.

2. Keyword Optimization leads the way in SEO for Google My Business

Keywords or SEO Words are ideas or topics that define what the content you’re trying to advertise is about in our terms, they are words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also known as ‘search queries. This means that they are basically the bridge between people’s inquiries and your content, therefore your business’ goal is to drive organic traffic to your site from the search engine result pages which keywords will help you set a target.

But how to arrange these keywords strategically in your Google My Business?

Set Primary Categories:

The topics you choose to advertise are essential for reaching your target audience and increasing search traffic. In a B2B space, like digital marketing, it is essential to track the high and low volume of searches to accelerate the process of approaching a niche market, while using the broad keyboard of Google to type those keywords and scan through the options.

Describing your business in a way that stands out among others is a way to pick the right keywords that represent your business. Before we go any further, here is an example:

Let’s go back to our friend Francesco, planning to open his own ‘Trattoria’ in Little Italy. Analysing meticulously how to set up his SEO Google My Business, Francesco now has to select a couple of categories that will describe his business as a whole.

These will serve clients to understand the purpose of his restaurant fully. This means that, instead of labelling his ‘Trattoria’ as a simple restaurant, he will likely add adjectives like:

  • Trattoria

  • Italian Restaurant

  • New York

  • Little Italy or Lower Manhattan

It is crucial to point out that categories must include: location, the venue's name, what type of service it provides and its purpose, in this case, ‘Trattoria.’

Use a primary keyword that describes your business and stick to it:

Francesco’s restaurant could best be described as a ‘Trattoria’, which is what sets it apart from other food spots. Yet, how could he use this category to his advantage?

Describing which type of business the restaurant is will make it easier for potential clients to be attracted to it because they will indirectly separate it from other options. Therefore, Francesco must separate his business into a couple of keywords maintaining ‘Trattoria’ at the centre of his characterization:

The ‘Monza’s Trattoria’ is an Italian restaurant located in Little Italy, New York City, at the heart of Lower Manhattan. Its menu is characterised by its ‘gusto squisito’ and typical dishes that evolve with the seasons. This food spot is perfect for those who are looking to get a taste of Tuscan summers and engage in a culture that revolves around rich flavours that transcend pasta and pizza.

Monza's trattoria italian restaurant in Little Italy

  • Name of the business: Monza’s Trattoria

  • Keyword: Italian Restaurant

  • Location: Little Italy

Optimizing your Google My Business could bring 230% more website visitors. Click here to get started.

3. Fill out all your contact details:

One of the most underrated and important parts of your GMB is your contact information, which can be a bridge between your business and potential customers. However, sometimes some business owners tend to be misled when it comes to understanding which type of data should be included to connect with others.

Therefore, bare in mind that some of the data that you should include are:

  • Address

  • Website

  • Phone number (that should match the one included on your website)

  • Short description of your business

4. Add a description

Potential customers can connect with your business through different channels, whether it's social media or your website, it is essential to make them work synchronically. SEO Google My Business is basically a tool for free advertising, therefore standing out from your competitors is key.

Providing a detailed description of your business and staple achievements will make clients attracted to your company, using relevant keywords as well as prioritising marketing strategies (through social media) will boost your online traffic.

For instance: Francesco’s ‘Trattoria’

Here’s an optimized SEO Google My Business Description:

Monza’s Trattoria Restaurant in Little Italy, New York City is the top-rated Italian restaurant in New York City offering classic Italian foods including pasta, pizza, and calzones, along with a full selection of wines & Italian desserts. Learn more about our deep ties to Italy, view our menu, or book a reservation by visiting our website!

5. Add your products and services

Being specific is not something that should be overlooked by users who are just getting familiar with how Google My Business works, on the contrary, that small detail can come in handy when filling in their Profile information.

In a Business Profile, you may get an option to add the services you offer, along with their descriptions and prices. If your business has multiple categories, group services together into sections under the appropriate category to keep your services organised.

6. Add photos

Increasing engagement with potential customers is a call for action and a way to boost interaction is uploading pictures. A study led by Bright Local showed that companies that post photos regularly are more likely to get calls, direction requests and clicks on their website.

Choosing images that represent the brand of your business is fundamental for customers to identify your enterprise. Google My Business does have a set of guidelines for each business owner to follow when posting photos, and they can help each organisation target different types of clients.

Having an optimized SEO Google My Business could increase phone calls by 35%. Start Now.

Nonetheless, including pictures shouldn’t be confused with preferring to use stock photos. In short, your business's personality can be showcased through the pictures you choose to post and, if you happen to have a venue, then they’ll simply be the only way to attract clientele.

Think of pictures as a menu’s entrée or an ice cream display, they catch the eye’s attention, they focus the spotlight on the experience that future clients will have if they choose to visit your venue.

For uploading pictures to your Google My Business it is important to take into account that:

  • Add a label to each image you upload. E.g: the restaurant’s lobby area/waiting area

  • Use keywords and add the venue’s location.

E.g: Pepperoni Pizza ‘Monza’s Trattoria’ Little Italy, New York City – Description, restaurant name and location.

Bear in mind that you have to include photos of various areas of your venue. E.g: If you were to upload a photo of the entrance of your restaurant, then make sure that the picture actually showcases the place you intended to display.

However, these uploads can be divided into the following:

  • Main Photo: this should be a photo of their storefront/front door more

  • Photos: add 3+ more photos, such as the ones they provided. If they provided photos you must upload all of them

In summary: taking these factors into account will make a huge difference in how your business approaches potential clients and reaches its target! Start boosting your online traffic or SEO!

Is this too confusing? Let Merchynt give you a hand.

About Merchynt:

All businesses (especially local businesses) need help with some form of marketing. The good news is that you don't need to become an expert in every single aspect of digital marketing to scale your marketing business. Instead, you can partner with the right local marketing agency, like Merchynt.

Merchynt helps small businesses get more customers, optimize their listings, get 230% more website visitors and get more ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews.

Merchynt has an excellent reputation on Trustpilot and has helped hundreds of local businesses grow by more than 200% a year.


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