10 local SEO tips for restaurants

Breton Towler
May 1, 2024

7 min read

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10 local SEO tips for restaurants
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Restaurant owners have to spin many different plates to ensure they aren’t hit with a lack of bookings and empty tables. While you might be proud of your delicious food and exemplary service, diners won’t come rushing through your restaurant doors if they don’t know how good you are. 

That’s why hungry customers need to be able to find you quickly and easily online across multiple platforms. Whether it’s uploading your latest tasting menus or updating your restaurant’s Google Business Profile (GBP) attributes, you must feed the appetite of local customers at those intent-rich moments. 

This can be achieved by effectively implementing local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategies to improve your online visibility and attract more customers within your geographical area. 

Local SEO is an important strategy for any eatery to implement. We’ve pulled together 10 local SEO tips for restaurants so you can become the go-to dining destination within your community.

What is local SEO for restaurants?

Local SEO for restaurants utilises different methods and tactics to improve their local search rankings and online presence. While restaurants with Michelin stars or world-famous chefs might target customers at a national and even international level, local SEO maximises the opportunity for restaurants to reach local customers.

In addition to general SEO practices like backlink building and on-page optimisation, you need to focus on consistent local citations, collecting positive customer reviews, and integrating localised content and keywords. By aligning these factors with your restaurant’s unique needs and objectives, you can stand out from the rest. 

Why is local SEO important for restaurants?

The food and drink industry is highly competitive, so you can’t afford to get left behind when it comes to online performance and reputation. 

Local SEO techniques for restaurants can increase website traffic, footfall, and orders, resulting in higher revenue. Location-specific content and keywords such as “pizzeria London” or “smash burgers Leeds” can also help you rank higher in search results when prospective customers search for specific cuisine in your area. 

Remember, the modern-day consumer craving food is unlikely to wander around the area until they encounter a restaurant. They’ll turn to their mobile device and search for the specific thing to satisfy their empty stomach. By meeting your customers’ search queries and intent, you’re more likely to appear high in local search results. 

Investing time in local SEO can also help restaurants build credibility and trust with local customers. While accumulating reviews and ensuring consistency in your restaurant’s local citations and NAP (Name, Address, Phone) is an ongoing process, it will improve your online reputation over time.

10 local SEO tips for restaurants

We’ve curated 10 fantastic restaurant SEO tips to help you succeed with your strategy. Read on to discover how you can generate higher reservation rates and increase your presence in the local area.

1. Claim and optimise your Google Business Profile

Customers rely on GBPs to find a restaurant that suits their needs. Your GBP listing directly influences your visibility in local search results, Google Maps, and the Local 3-Pack. Claim your GBP listing and ensure it includes basic information like your address, contact number, and up-to-date opening hours. 

However, this feature really comes into its own if you go the extra mile. Add an enticing, keyword-rich description of your food and the restaurant’s atmosphere. Consider adding high-quality images of your food, the restaurant’s décor, and pictures of your staff to give online users an insight into the gastronomic experience you provide.

There is even the capability to add your booking system to your GBP for extra customer convenience. Keep your GBP optimised to create an excellent first impression and mould long-lasting connections with customers in your area.

2. Encourage and manage customer reviews

Your GBP is also a chance to connect with new and existing diners through reviews. Respond to all your Google Reviews, and use them to mention some of your signature dishes or restaurant characteristics. 

Let’s say a customer praises your restaurant in Newcastle for its choice of vegan options — you can reply by naturally touching on this and even integrating a localised keyword. For example, you could target the keyword “vegan food Newcastle” by saying how proud your restaurant is of offering some of Newcastle’s best vegan food options.

Accumulating authentic, positive customer reviews and replying promptly to them (and any negative ones) can significantly boost your search rankings. It shows both customers and search engines that you care about your customers’ experiences and is a strong indicator of trust and credibility.

3. Utilise local keywords

Keywords are an essential part of local SEO for restaurants. 

Put yourself in the hungry shoes of locals and consider what keywords they will likely use in those micro-moments. Focus on long-tail keywords (search queries with three words or more) that drive in more qualified leads for your restaurant. Short-tail keywords like “japanese restaurant” are too generic, so consider local and niche keywords associated with your restaurant like specific dishes or deals. For example, “all you can eat sushi leeds”.

As a rule of thumb, only use keywords where they fit and flow naturally within the body copy of pages. It’s good practice to incorporate them throughout your website’s URLs, headings, and meta descriptions. Also, include mentions of your neighbourhood and your restaurant’s proximity to any local landmarks.

Lean on keyword research tools to ensure you’re optimising for keywords that are being searched. By integrating localised keywords into your local SEO strategy, Google will be able to understand your pages when it crawls your site, helping your restaurant rank better in the local SERPs.

4. Create local content

Creating helpful content presents a fantastic opportunity to attract people to your restaurant. 

Think of ways to connect with your local audience through blogs, videos, infographics, and downloadable content. Restaurant owners and chefs can produce an array of content, such as recipes or how-to videos of their signature dishes, cutting vegetable techniques, or even the culinary history of their food.

If users benefit from your content they will remember it, even if they don’t visit your restaurant straight away. Don’t forget to use local keywords in your content to help users find your information, as it will be more likely to appear high up in the local SERPs.

5. Engage with local influencers

Working with food influencers on social media can give your restaurant that sprinkling of credibility. Is there a local celebrity or somebody well-known in the community you can partner with to increase the spotlight on your restaurant and boost bookings?

Consumers tend to trust influencer recommendations more than brand-produced content. However, whoever you partner with to promote your business needs to align with your brand values. For example, if you’re a meat-renowned establishment, don’t team up with someone who promotes vegetarian recipes. 

Restaurant influencers also need to share the same target audience as you for maximum impact. That way, when they share your signature dishes or talk about their incredible visit to the restaurant, it will encourage their followers through your restaurant doors.

6. Don't forget about link-building

Local link-building is an effective way to prove to Google your site is authoritative. Reach out to local food bloggers, travel bloggers, and publications for beneficial backlinks via mentions in articles or reviews that focus on your restaurant. 

Don’t forget your internal linking strategy, either. A quick win is linking to your website and menu(s) from your GBP, as well as building links naturally between your commercial and non-commercial pages.

The more links you have from other reputable sites, the higher your domain authority (DA). Building a robust backlink profile means your restaurant will be more prominent in local searches for your target keywords. Consider websites like Foursquare and Tripadvisor too — they can be extremely rewarding for restaurants.

7. Use social media

Take advantage of social media platforms to share images of your food, special menus around celebrations like Christmas and Valentine’s, and what’s new in your restaurant. Sharing positive customer reviews on your social media channels is another effective way to get customers to step back and take notice of you.

Be witty, use memes, hold giveaways, use relevant hashtags, and devise innovative campaigns to attract new customers and engage them with your eatery.

8. Make sure your NAP information is consistent

From your social media profiles to your GBP, consistent NAP data is an important trust signal for search engines. Conduct a thorough review of your existing local citations to identify any discrepancies in your NAP data. You should also scout out any additional local directories or review sites that could boost your local search authority.

Inaccurate information leads to frustrated customers. For instance, an incorrect phone number will prevent customers from contacting you to make a booking if online booking isn’t an option.

9. Create localised menu pages

Restaurants can directly add their menus to their GBP listings, giving customers quick access to their menus from the local SERPs. You can also create area-specific menu items and pages on your website, matching the search intent of each local audience. It’s good practice to list your menus on other popular business directories, especially those such as Facebook and Tripadvisor, which double as review sites.

10. Monitor competitors

Keep track of your competitors, their online activity, and what they’re ranking for. When a user searches for pizza, your pizzeria will not be the only one showing up in the local SERPs — your competitors will also be there trying to win their business. 

Different factors could determine whether they choose your pizzeria or another in the local area, but you must research the competitive landscape to discover opportunities in the local restaurant scene.

How Mirador Local can support your restaurant

Whether you’re a small café, street food vendor, or nationwide brand with a mass of eating locations scattered around the country, Mirador Local can help. 

Our single, easy-to-use dashboard enables you to manage and update your GBPs in one go, giving hungry diners accurate information to find you and what your restaurant offers when nearby. 

Optimised GBPs can help you establish a tasty online presence in your local area, driving new revenue and awareness of your restaurant.

Try a slice of our local managment software.