Local SEO best practices for corporate restaurant brands


With endless options to choose from and the ability to have three meals a day, the restaurant business can be an extremely competitive category for local research.

Plus, more restaurants are continually opening and new types of concepts keep popping up.

Maintaining a strong local search presence becomes more difficult for corporate restaurant brands that are looking to do so on a large scale, sometimes with several thousand locations.

Many restaurant chains are franchised, which means that the brand does not own or operate their locations but instead provide support to owner-operators.

This adds another layer of complexity that can scale a brand’s local search marketing efforts as the company doesn’t have full control.

While there are a lot of complexities when running a corporate restaurant brand, there are many ways a brand and its individual locations are successful in local search marketing.

It is vital to have a definitive local search strategy as many restaurant visits start with a Google search or directly in Google Maps.

In this post, we’ll explore in depth how to manage local listings and large-scale SEO for corporate restaurant brands and our best practices for succeeding in the ever-changing local search landscape.

Advertising management for corporate restaurant brands

Having local listings is an absolute must.

Without a listing for a restaurant on key directories like Google, Apple, Bing, or Yelp, it would be as if the position didn’t exist for researchers.

But having your position listed on smaller directories like OpenTable, Zomato, TripAdvisor, YellowPages, All Menus, Facebook, Foursquare, Zagat, and Grubhub is just as crucial.

Every restaurant should have a listing in all relevant directories as this is a ranking signal for Google as citations are an effective way to link to the restaurant’s location page.

Location management platforms

In order for corporate brands to handle the large amount of ads with so many different attributes across sites it requires a centralized platform.

Each directory accepts data slightly differently, and it is also essential to be able to make updates quickly and efficiently.

All the more so with restaurants that need to be agile with the changes caused by the pandemic.

Most corporate restaurants need a location management platform to handle all the complexities.

These platforms allow them to update data in one place and send it to multiple directory directories.

These platforms can also offer affiliates the ability to log into their restaurant and make their own updates instead of relying on the company to make these changes.

Affiliate owner-operators tend to know their locations better and will be aware of any location-specific changes as they can typically decide on opening hours or other nuances with their location.

Accurate and complete information is not only essential for restaurants, but also a way to gain better exposure.

Having wrong hours, wrong status, or missing links will result in lost revenue opportunities and possible negative reviews.

Revision management

Review scores are a key element in keeping track of where a position will rank. Google will also consider responses to reviews as a ranking signal.

Additionally, 59% of 18- to 23-year-olds say online reputation plays a role in purchasing decisions in restaurants.

Restaurants tend to generate a lot of reviews, which provides a lot of in-depth information.

Being able to respond to over 100,000 reviews per year will require a concentrated effort on the part of companies or franchises.

Just like having a platform to manage ads, corporate brands need a tool to supervise and respond to reviews.

This will allow you to see how many reviews restaurants are generating, review scores and sentiment to further improve each venue’s service level.

Content of the advertisements

Having compelling content within your listings is a great way for corporate restaurant brands to stand out. Two ways to do this are through photos and posts.

Many corporate restaurant brands only have a few stock photos that are the same on each ad.

Having unique photos in all of your listings is a great way to make your profile more engaging.

Adding photos of the exterior, interior, or anything that uniquely makes that location stand out is beneficial.

Google posts are also a great way to share details about what’s happening at that location. Having posts in every position is another opportunity to talk to your customer and influence rankings.

Screenshot from Google search for [Applebee’s], Google, December 2021

Local pages

Individual pages are critical to any multi-location restaurant brand as they let the user know what the specifics of that location are and what it offers.

The challenge for corporate brands is to have several thousand pages that may appear to be duplicate content.

Not differentiating the page of each position can negatively impact SEO and provide no real insight into the position.

This, in turn, does not provide the reader with relevant content and is seen by Google as the brand that does not deliver quality content.

Unique content

For corporate brands to stand out with unique content locally is essential. Hyperlocal content is a great way to create unique content.

Restaurants can think of hyperlocal content in two different ways. The first is what concerns the location at the local level.

Highlighting the specific neighborhoods the restaurant is located in, major highways, universities, stadiums, museums, arenas or other major landmarks.

The second area is what differentiates each specific restaurant from others.

Does this location have specific promotions or events?

It could be weekly for kids to eat free night, sporting events, live music nights or even karaoke.

Another possibility is to highlight who works in the location and their bios.

The whole goal is to provide the most unique content about the location to make it stand out locally.

Having location-specific images relative to a standard image in all positions is another opportunity to create unique content.

City pages

Another way to rank locally is to create city pages for all the cities in which a location is located.

Many searches today are based on location with a city modifier such as “American restaurant in Los Angeles”.

Having these city pages will help improve the restaurant ranking.

It is also another opportunity to create unique content for that specific city.

You can take the same approach with hyperlocal content for cities by calling up specific neighborhoods, museums, arenas, freeways, and whatever other key things that make that particular city stand out.

Having unique images for each city will also be beneficial.

Conclusion

For corporate restaurant brands to stand out in search, it is essential to have a dedicated listing and page strategy.

By providing the specifics of each location and creating unique content, corporate restaurants can effectively compete locally with restaurants with a single location.

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Featured Image: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock





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