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!
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.
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.
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 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.
Recently, Google has added news ways to discover a restaurant in Google Maps within the Explore tab.
There are local restaurant recommendations, as well as “The Foodie List” that ranks the top spots in the city.
You’ll need some local authority to appear in these sections, but the required first step is a Google My Business listing!
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.
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.
Restaurants will be able to take advantage of some special features that have been recently added to Google My Business.
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!
To sign up for a Google My Business page, visit this link.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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