Google My Business for Restaurants
Part 1: Benefits and Setup

December 17, 2018
toolsSEO

If you’re looking to increase your restaurant’s website visitors from Google, you’re going to need more than just a website.  A Google My Business page is essential for restaurants who want to compete for local traffic.

That said, just having a Google My Business page isn’t enough to attract potential customers, either, as you’re competing with every other local restaurant with a GMB page.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you get your GMB page set up and optimized so you can make the most of this free tool, and start growing your local search traffic today!

Google My Business Benefits for Restaurants

1. More search traffic

One of the main reasons you’d want a GMB listing is for increased SERP (Search Engine Results Page) visibility!  With multiple places in a SERP for a restaurant to appear, you’ll need a GMB listing to cover your bases.

Local Pack

When your potential customers turn to Google Search to find a local restaurant, they’re typically going to see Google My Business listings before they see website links.

google my business for restaurants

When Google assumes that the query (what you type in to search) has local intent, it will show you the “Local Pack” at the top of the results.  This SERP feature only includes details from Google My Business listings.

Even if you don’t appear in the 3 coveted spots of the “Local Pack”, searchers will more likely discover your GMB listing when they click the “More places” button beneath the 3 listings, instead of finding your website’s blue link by browsing beyond the first results page.  This is true especially when the top website results for a generic query like “mexican restaurants near me” will be big authoritative sites that list local restaurants, like TripAdvisor, Yelp and local publications.

In addition to appearing above the organic results (links to websites under the Local Pack), Google My Business listings are more visually interesting and can contain more pertinent info about your restaurant in an easy-to-view structured format.  These features - like images, an average rating, and whether a restaurant is currently open - result in more clicks to GMB listings from search results than website links get.

Google Maps

Google Maps is a wildly popular way to discover local restaurants, and the only way your restaurant will appear in its results is with a Google My Business listing.

google my business for restaurants google maps

Recently, Google has added news ways to discover a restaurant in Google Maps within the Explore tab.

google my business for restaurants maps

There are local restaurant recommendations, as well as “The Foodie List” that ranks the top spots in the city.

google my business for restaurants foodie list

You’ll need some local authority to appear in these sections, but the required first step is a Google My Business listing!

Knowledge Panel

This is the ultimate SERP feature for a restaurant (or any brand!) as it is an eye-catching block of images, links and useful info that dominates the whole right side of the page.

google my business for restaurants knowledge panel

While it is more rare for a particular restaurant’s knowledge panel to appear for a generic query like “restaurants near me”, you’ll certainly want the panel to be present for a branded query (i.e. when someone searches for your restaurant name).

The knowledge panel’s details aren’t only drawn from Google My Business, as it also pulls data from schema markup and other third-party websites.  However, your GMB listing is a primary data source, and having an optimized listing will help to trigger the panel to appear.

2. Restaurant features

Restaurants will be able to take advantage of some special features that have been recently added to Google My Business.

  1. Offer online ordering?  You can provide a specific link to your online ordering page!
  2. Want to allow users to book a reservation?  You can list a link to the page where someone would schedule a dine-in at your restaurant!
  3. Have a menu?  (Of course you do!)  List your menu items right on your GMB listing!
google my business for restaurants menu

Why are these features so awesome?  Because hungry search engine users can eliminate the steps of visiting your website (or your competitors’ websites) and browsing for options, when they can view menu items and book a table or order online right from the search results!

Google My Business Setup for Restaurants

To sign up for a Google My Business page, visit this link.

1. Click the “Start now” button

google my business for restaurants setup

You’ll be creating a GMB listing with a Google account, so make sure you’re signing in with an account that you want to use to administer your listing.

2. Add a location

google my business for restaurants add location

Keep in mind that you can edit and update your info at any time after you’ve gone through the setup steps.  Most of the info can simply be updated when you’re in your account, but updating your address would require you to go through another verification process.

3. Add a business name

google my business for restaurants business name

It needs to be the brand name of your restaurant, as it’s known to the public.  Don’t add location modifiers or other keywords.

  • Awesome Pizza Shop - YES
  • Awesome Pizza Shop - Boston, MA - NO
  • Awesome Pizza Shop - Best Pizzeria - NO

4. Add an address

google my business for restaurants location address

If you deliver, enable the check mark.

Google will then check to see if a GMB listing for your restaurant already exists.  If a listing does exist, then you’ll need to go through the steps to claim your listing so that you can update it.

If a listing doesn’t exist, proceed to the next step.

5. Define the service area

google my business for restaurants service area

If you deliver, you can define your delivery area either by listing the distance around your business location, or by inputting specific areas with postal codes, cities or regional areas.

6. Define the category

google my business for restaurants category

Here is where you can list the kind of cuisine you offer, which acts as a keyword to help you appear for relevant searches.  When you type in “restaurant”, or by typing in your cuisine type (e.g. “mexican”), you’ll see a drop-down list of options.  You must select an option that Google provides.

7. Add a phone number and website URL

google my business for restaurants phone website url

Make sure that the phone number you include is the same public number that would be listed on your website, and any other listings (e.g. Yelp).  Ensuring consistent contact info - name, address, and phone number - is important for ranking your GMB listing.

Also make sure to list your local number, in case you have a toll free number, as well.

Creating and optimizing a Google My Business listing is definitely one of the biggest steps you can take to get more traffic from Google.  However, it’s still only one part of the equation when it comes to actually ranking your listing.  You still need to participate in local SEO best practices in order to compete for local traffic.

We created an in-depth guide to local SEO for restaurants to help you out!

Verification

In order to confirm you’re a legitimate business, Google will send a postcard to the address you listed.  Add your name to make sure that the postcard gets to you, and let your staff know you’re expecting the postcard so they don’t consider it to be spam!

Click the Mail button.

google my business for restaurants verification

The postcard takes about 5 days to arrive, and it will contain a PIN that you’ll need to enter in your Google My Business dashboard.

google my business for restaurants verification code

Why verify?

Besides the ranking boost (since you’re confirming the main details of your business to Google), there are some other important reasons to verify your listing.  For example, when your listing is verified, you can:

  • respond to reviews
  • let customers message you
  • publish photos
  • add a booking (reservation) button
google my business for restaurants booking button

In the meantime,  there is lots you can do to set up and optimize your listing!

Check out the next post in our 3-part series: Google My Business for Restaurants: Optimizing Text and Images.

Behold: Online Ordering Software,
Customized for Your Restaurant

If you're going through the effort to create a Google My Business listing, it wouldn't be complete without a link to your online ordering software. Don't offer online ordering yet? We can help!

Your eHungry online ordering site is very affordable (only 1.9% per order with NO OTHER FEES), super customizable, and is optimized for search engines and conversions!

Learn more about all the amazing features of eHungry's affordable and easy-to-use software, and start growing your restaurant business today!

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