In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any business, and restaurants are no exception. One of the most effective ways to enhance your restaurant's visibility and attract diners is through Google Listing optimization. This article will guide you through the key steps to optimize your Google My Business listing and ensure your establishment stands out in the crowded culinary landscape.
How important is Google Listing for a restaurant?
Whether you're a multi-location business or a modest restaurant serving your community, optimizing your Google listing is imperative. Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy from having an optimized listing:
Reach new diners.
A Google listing is like a virtual storefront that can significantly impact a business's success. Recent surveys suggest that 62% of diners discover restaurants through Google. With more people turning to the internet to find dining options, a well-optimized Google listing can make the difference between being discovered by potential customers and getting lost in the vast sea of eateries. It serves as a digital billboard, providing essential information such as your location, contact details, menu offerings, and reviews, giving hungry patrons the confidence they need to choose your establishment.
Establish an online presence in lieu of a website.
An optimized Google listing is one of the easiest and fastest ways to create an online presence without a website. It's free, easy to use, and has a good reach you can capitalize. While creating various online channels to widen your reach is still recommended, having an optimized Google listing is a great way to build your online reputation.
Connect your listing to numerous Google apps and services.
Google runs a seamless ecosystem that allows restaurant owners to integrate their listings in numerous Google apps and services. For instance, a GMB listing automatically appears in a Google Map search, depending on the user's location. Furthermore, a booking done through your listing with Reserve with Google is automatically linked to a user's Google Calendar. This seamless experience gives diners customer satisfaction. To learn more about Reserve with Google, read our complete article here.
Collect customer insights.
Restaurant owners should know how important customer insights are. Regardless if you have great food, if diners aren't satisfied with the customer service, they're less likely to dine again. Despite this, conducting an on-site customer satisfaction survey can significantly affect a dining experience. This is why it's imperative to find a way to collect insights without disrupting your customers.
Creating a Google listing automatically comes with a Google Reviews account, which you can use in collecting customer insights unintrusively. Aside from knowing the preferences of your customers, you can also use Google Reviews as a social proof to promote your website. To learn more about this, read our complete article on the benefits of utilizing consumer insights for business.
Manage online presence of multiple locations.
Managing an online reputation for a multi-location restaurant can be daunting. A single bad feedback from one location can harm your entire chain. Fortunately, Google allows you to easily manage multiple listings under one account. This way, you can respond to bad reviews and mitigate their effects on your brand. Read our complete article, Google My Business Multiple Locations Guide: Strategies for Optimization.
How do I promote my restaurant on Google?
Getting Google ads is an effective way to promote your restaurant on Google. However, since this may be costly, especially for new restaurants, optimizing your Google My Business listing is a great alternative.
How to add your restaurant listing on Google?
Getting your restaurant listing to appear on Google is the first step towards increased visibility. Here's how you can claim and verify your business on Google:
1. Create or log into your Google account.
If you don't already have one, create a Google account or log in to your existing account.
2. Visit Google My Business (GMB)
Go to Google My Business platform and click the "Manage Now" button.
3. Search for your restaurant
Type in your restaurant's name and location. If your business appears, claim the listing; if not, create a new one.
a. Claiming a listing
Under the Business Profile, click Claim this business. Request ownership by filling out Google's request form.
b. Creating a listing
Create a profile through this link. Enter the name of your business. Select your business category. Then, fill out the GMB form with pertinent information about your business, such as location and contact information.
4. Verify your business
Google will send a verification code to your business address via mail or phone. Once received, enter the code on the GMB platform to verify your business.
How to add your Restaurant on Google Maps?
Adding your restaurant to Google Maps is essential for customers to find your location effortlessly. Follow these steps:
- Log in to GMB: Sign in to your Google My Business account.
- Navigate to "Info": In the left-hand menu, select "Info."
- Add Location: Under the "Address" section, click the pencil icon to edit your address. Ensure all details are accurate.
- Pinpoint on the Map: Click on the map to pinpoint your restaurant's exact location.
How does Google Maps recommend restaurants?
Google Maps indexes restaurant listings through the location they've placed on their GMB profile. Aside from the location, they rank their recommendations to user searches based on Google Review rating, keywords used on the GMB content, and overall activity of the listing.
How do you optimize your Google restaurant listing?
Now that you have a GMB listing, it's time to optimize it for maximum visibility and engagement. Here are the key strategies:
Choose appropriate keywords
Incorporate relevant keywords in your listing's description that reflect your restaurant's cuisine, ambiance, and location. This will improve your chances of appearing on relevant search engine results pages (SERPs).
Here are some of the strategies when using keywords for your Google listing:
a. Identify Main Keywords
Main keywords are often the words customers use when looking for restaurants like yours. Most of the time, this consists of [business category] + [location]. Examples: Italian restaurant in Manhattan; Steakhouse in Luxembourg
b. Use Longtail Keywords
Longtail Keywords are search phrases that are more specific to a business, such as your restaurant's name, menu item, and other unique offers. Examples: 4-cheese pizza in Manhattan; steakhouse alfresco dining in Luxembourg
After identifying the main and longtail keywords, use them on your Google Listing description, GMB posts, and when replying to Google Reviews. This will increase your chance of getting indexed by Google for these specific keywords. To learn more about how your Google Reviews can increase your SEO, read our complete article How to SEO Optimize Your Review Responses
Create a menu page
86% of customers check menus online before dining in a restaurant. For this reason, it's essential to have an optimized menu page on your GMB listing. Fortunately, Google has made creating a menu page easier for business owners. Here's how you can do it:
- Log in to your GMB account and click Info on the left side of your dashboard.
- Click Menu, which will appear as a fork and spoon.
- Click Add Menu.
- Add categories. Example: Appetizers, Side Dishes, Cocktails, etc.
- Click Add Menu Item to add specific items under each category with their respective prices.
Including all your menu items in your GMB listing is highly recommended. It will also help to include photos of your menu in your listing.
Post on Google Updates
Restaurant owners often disregard the Google Updates feature of Google My Business. Having a consistent content stream on your Google Updates shows your business is still active. Furthermore, it also proves the legitimacy of your business, fostering confidence among your potential diners.
Here's how you can post updates to your GMB listing:
- Log in to your Google My Business account.
- Click on the listing you wish to post in.
- On the left side of the navigation, click Posts. Then, click Add Post.
- Write your post in the space provided. Add a photo, a call to action button, and an event date, if applicable.
When posting on Google Updates, include appetizing photos of your menu items to entice customers to visit your restaurant. Aside from this, it's also highly recommended to always include a call to action button, be it a booking landing page or a mailto: link.
Collect and respond to Google Reviews
An online survey suggests that 61% of consumers read reviews about restaurants more than any other business type. While retail stores can show the quality of their products through online photos, videos, and other marketing assets, only social proof can attest to the quality of a restaurant's food.
Positive reviews can greatly influence a customer's decision. Encourage satisfied patrons to leave reviews on your Google listing. The higher your rating, the more appealing your restaurant will appear to potential diners.
How do restaurants increase Google Reviews?
As mentioned, collecting Google Reviews for restaurant listings could be trickier than other businesses, as it may disrupt customers' overall dining experience. To help you avoid this, here are some tips on how you can seamlessly collect reviews:
- Ensure the business information on your Google listing is complete.
- Create an automated review collection process through Google Review links and QR codes. To learn more about this, read Learn How to Generate and Share a Google Reviews Link
- Train restaurant employees to actively encourage diners to post reviews.
- Consistently request reviews through numerous channels like social media, email, and SMS.
- Place review reminders on your physical store.
- Offer incentives to any form of review, not just for Google reviews. To learn how to avoid getting flagged due to customer reviews, read Why Buying Google Reviews Hurts Your Business
- Show appreciation to reviews by responding and sharing them on your social media accounts.
To learn more about these strategies, read our article Boost Your Business with lever Review Collection Strategies.
Why should restaurant owners reply to Google reviews?
In an article from Khoros, 83% of customers say they feel more loyal to brands that respond to their concerns. This figure alone shows how important responding to reviews is, whether it's a positive or a negative review. Diligently responding to restaurant reviews shows your commitment to customer satisfaction and fosters a positive online reputation.
However, responding to restaurant reviews can be tricky. You should observe timeliness, professionalism, brand consistency, and SEO optimization in each of your replies. For this reason, it's highly recommended to incorporate an AI review reply assistant into your review management process.
By instantly generating responses, MARA AI Review Reply Generator reduces both response times and operational costs. It can create human-like, personalized responses, fostering a sense of value and understanding for customers. Furthermore, MARA AI improves overall star ratings by enabling restaurants to promptly address every review, align each response with industry-specific standards, and incorporate digital optimization strategies like SEO.
MARA AI not only achieves a 100% response rate with its advanced capabilities but also facilitates ease of use, allowing restaurant teams to seamlessly integrate it into their workflow from day one. By eliminating the need to start responses from scratch, the tool conserves valuable mental effort and ensures consistently high-quality responses, even with multiple team members involved.
Register for a FREE MARA account today to see how it can help your Google listing optimization.
Optimizing your Google listing for your restaurant is a strategic move that can yield substantial rewards. In an era where online searches drive customer choices, a well-optimized listing can be the difference between a packed house and an empty dining room. By following these steps and best practices, you'll be well on your way to establishing a strong online presence and attracting more diners to your restaurant's delectable offerings.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Google Ads is a worthy investment for restaurants that wish to expand their online reach. However, it’s imperative to understand that Google Ads could only be effective if you have an optimized Google restaurant listing, active social media presence, and an efficient online booking platform.
Google determines a restaurant's busyness through aggregated location data from users' smartphones, analyzing foot traffic and historical patterns to estimate real-time busy periods. This data appears on a Google restaurant listing under the section Popular Times.
Your restaurant might not appear on Google due to incomplete or inaccurate business information, unoptimized online presence, or possible suspensions violating Google's guidelines.
To make your restaurant visible on Google, create or claim your Google My Business listing, provide accurate and detailed information, add appealing photos, encourage positive reviews, and ensure your website is search engine optimized.