You probably think you have a brilliant website that follows your genius business plan and showcases your mouth-watering food? If you don’t have a line out the door right…

You probably think you have a brilliant website that follows your genius business plan and showcases your mouth-watering food?

If you don’t have a line out the door right now, we hate to break it to you, but you probably don’t.

Never fear this is a quick and easy 4 step guide to restaurant website redesign that will get your search engine rankings climbing, get your website more traffic and get your restaurant more business. Trust us, this will change your life.

Last week we covered some basics on how you could implement marketing techniques and promotion strategy. This week we want to take your restaurant, more specifically your restaurant’s website, quite literally to a higher level by implementing strategies that will improve your search engine rankings and drive more hungry customers to your site.

Follow these 4 easy steps and your website will be hitting the pinnacle of search engine results, you can thank us later:

#1 Keyword Research

#2 Consistent Content

#3 On The Go Focus

#4 Update & Rejuvenate (Site Migration Checklist)

Sounds a little dry but stay with us, this is amazing!

Keyword Research

We’re going to let you in on a little secret. There are thousands of hungry, money spending customers searching for your restaurant, yes YOUR restaurant…But they can’t find you! Ouch, yes that should hurt. You have a brilliant business plan with amazing food and they can’t even find you. You have to make your restaurant’s website content relevant to what people are specifically searching for so that your restaurant will come up as a top result in search engine rankings, in turn bringing you more business.

The best part is that there’s an easy solution to this it just takes a little elbow grease. Well, let’s say effort because you can literally sit on your couch while you make this happen. First step is to research the keywords that people are already searching for in your food genre, then we simply do what Darwin says survivors do (that’s us!) we adapt … and implement some basic principles for your restaurant’s website redesign.

In order to be relevant you need to be targeting and utilizing the keywords that local and potential clientele is already searching for, then you’ll use this content on your website. It sounds daunting at first. You’re thinking “how could I possibly know this? I’m not psychic!” Well, it’s really quite simple. So let’s break it down – you’re partying down in New Orleans’ French Quarter and you’re jonesing for some hot, cheesy, saucy pizza close by – what words would you put into Google to find that?

Ok, so you have done this before (we know you have) so what words describe your food and your restaurant? Here’s where the magic happens; using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool very carefully, you can actually see how many times people are searching for these specific delicious words,  and it’s free.

However, this is time consuming and as the free tool has made some changes over the years, it gets a little complicated to use.

We know, brilliant. Call off the search for a psychic. So here’s your new golden rule for website content – if nobody is searching for it then you don’t need it in the content of your website! Period.

We’ve adopted the method of using our best friend for the past three months calledSpyFu. If you think you have a mouth-watering combination of keywords, place it in SpyFu’s search bar, and instantly get any local competition you have willing to sabotage your savory word play to be first in the rankings.

To take it to the next level you can put these keywords that have the most hits into Google to see similar and related searches that people have searched recently. This will give you even more ideas of relevant key words and phrases that you need to use on your website’s page title, in its content and in the subtitles to the image file names you have on your site (yes, that’s right use these keywords under pictures to describe your food and restaurant).

Now, try looking up these keywords and phrases that you’ve found in your research as well as your restaurant’s location and see who and what comes up #1 in a  search – that’s your top competitor, that guy right there! So check out their site, what are they doing right and what keywords are they using in the content of their site? There is even a brilliant tool to see what keywords are being used on their site, which can only be found using SpyFu. Not necessarily trying to sell it, but, we’re huge fans of saving time, so…You’re welcome.

Consistent Content

Now that you have the keywords to use it’s time to focus on consistency. To become a contender in a search you have to have consistency in terms of content. You know where your restaurant is, so let’s start here.

You need to have on site optimization for local searches. This is a fancy way of saying that if you state and repeat your restaurant’s location with consistency on your site or associated webosphere real estate, you increase your search engine ranking when someone is searching for food in your area or location. These efforts increase three fold if you’re in local directories and come up on directory submission lists, but hold your horses we’ll get to that. What this means is you need to have your location not just in the content of your website but also in your page title to really optimize the search results.

Your page title is what comes up in the results of a search engine and here’s the magic formula to making it count: the keywords, your location and your phone number all in 165 characters or less.

Think of it as the epic tweet of your business. Keep it simple, descriptive and creative. You also need your address and phone number on every page of your website. If you do this you substantially increase your odds of coming up higher in search engine rankings and in local directories.

We suggest making this information a simple footer on every page of your website. If you have this information listed consistently and accurately then you’re half way there. Next you need to get this basic information on a directory submission list and in local business directories to further optimize your results.

Directory Submission Lists

Oh good you’ve heard of them. Now get on one! Nobody is checking the phone book anymore. Do they still make those? Get your restaurant on a directory submission list, now. Say it with me “Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp” now that’s a cheer your inner cheerleader can’t resist. Check out this awesome site for the top 50 best business directories for local marketing.

When you implement this step you are now increasing the number of times you come up as a result because you are listed consistently across the cyber universe in local business directories and directory submission lists. Oh yea, you’re on your way now.

On The Go Focus

Your customers are movers and shakers, they’re on the go. They are facebooking, tweeting, instagramming, & snap chatting fiends and they HAVE to be able to find you using just their cell phone.

It seems trivial to have to say this but it is shocking how many restaurant sites are not mobile accessible. We know… shocking but true, so don’t be a victim. Last week we talked about how to get down with key cell phone apps and increase business so check it out if you haven’t already.

Now, remember how you were so brilliant placing your address and phone number in the footer of every page on your site? Well, you little genius you, since you already have your phone number as a footer guess what? People will be able to use their cell phone to simply click on your phone number and place a call directly to you, as well as click on the address and put it into their cell phone’s navigation. Voila, you’re welcome.

Another basic assertion about humans is we like visuals, it’s really uncomplicated. We are a very simple species. We like color, are attracted to shiny objects and our attention span lasts for short increments.

Let’s work from this idea. People want pictures to see what you’re talking about and sometimes that’s all they want. You can describe something with frilly adjectives until you’re a high tone of indigo blue in the face (See that? Not effective, just weird.) The simple truth is that people want to see it so give them what they want – lots of pictures. We are officially a people of few words and lots of pictures. Look at your Instagram, Vine, Snapchat we don’t even want words anymore we just want to see it!

This leads to our next very important point – these images must be clear and of a high quality! People know by now and have been scammed enough times that they’re not going to go somewhere or buy something from a business that does not care enough to express itself visually in a quality way.

After all this research and website redesign you’ve done you don’t want to finally get all this traffic on your website and then people “x-out” because you have wack pictures.

That’s right, just put a little effort in. Do a photo shoot, take photos of the experience and what makes it special. Show your employees, show them the food, make them want to come in and check out your restaurant.

Update & Rejuvenate (Site Migration Checklist)

We’ve covered how important consistency is and further how consistency across listing directories improves your search engine rankings. This is because you are pointing your customers repeatedly to one singular address instead of multiple. The need for consistency does not stop there.

Did your restaurant move? Did the phone number change? These things do not update themselves. You have to update all of your content to make sure it is consistent everywhere and you are not listed at several different addresses or phone numbers. This means your website in addition to social media. If you are listed in several locations you are hurting your rankings because your laziness is pointing the internet to multiple listings instead of one consistent one. It’s just like cleaning house after a long winter.

Consider it spring cleaning for your business – out with the old and in with the new. Let’s update, rejuvenate and make your business relevant again.

Many restaurants decide to overhaul their business by starting fresh and altogether abandoning their old site, starting over with a new one. This can be absolutely disastrous to your search engine rankings if not done properly.

To make this method a success you need a site migration checklist to be sure nothing is left behind or left out:

  • All links to the old site must now point to the associative links on the new site
  • No content left behind; bring all relevant content to the new site
  • Use permanent redirects to the new site urls
  • Consult a good back end developer

If you follow these 4 easy steps to restaurant website redesign you will substantially raise your search engine rankings quickly which means more interaction and engagement on your site. Once you get more traffic you’ve already managed the content; it’s relevant, consistent and up to date; not to mention, you are also in local directories which has you climbing to the top of rankings like the champ that you are. If you combine this with last week’s article you are building a powerhouse of an online and marketing machine. You are bound for success!

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