Restaurant Marketing

Restaurants near me—what is SEO for restaurants?

90 percent of consumers research a restaurant online before dining; but with all the restaurant options out there, how do you make sure yours is the first to be found?

Increasingly, consumers are turning to the internet first to direct their dining decisions. But how can you make sure your restaurant stands out amidst a sea of other options?

According to Moz, search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic. Put simply, optimizing for search helps your restaurant attract more people who are more likely to order from your restaurant website.  

How does SEO for restaurants work?

Like any marketing practice, SEO takes time and content to see results and cultivate growth.  

The number of website visitors to your restaurant is driven by factors like:  

  • Page speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Activity (e.g., reviews, likes, event calendars, etc.)
  • Photographs
  • External links
  • and ADA conformance

Increasing the quality of website traffic and exposure to your brand is dependent on your website including content that people are searching for—like what you serve, where you’re located, and your hours of service.  

This is why your menus, location address (linked to Google Maps as an added bonus!) and hours-of-operation are three of the most important factors on your website.  

Google and SEO for restaurants

Google is hands down the #1 driver of traffic, so it’s important to “keep Google happy”. A website that makes it easier for guests to navigate and find relevant information will always rank higher on Google than one that does not.

How to drive SEO for restaurants.

There are a few key actions you can take to optimize your website’s visibility. Keeping your menus and website content up-to-date goes a long way to improve results rankings. Consider including alt text descriptions on your beautiful food photography. This additional text helps with accessibility and allows search engine crawlers to interpret the images.

Setting up a keyword strategy is another solid way to boost your search result ranking. To start, think about topics like the type of cuisine you make, your most popular dishes or special events you host. Then try adding a few keywords to your website copy such as brunch, eggs benedict, and mother’s day. Over time search engines will recognize these changes and you should see your rankings rise.

Popmenu’s platform is set up to optimize restaurant websites for search engines and prioritizes location-specific content that is easily identified by guests and search engine crawlers, improving rankings for your restaurant and specific menu items.   

Popmenu’s SEO secret sauce—the interactive menu.

Restaurants using static text or PDF menus are missing out when it comes to SEO visibility. Diners decide where to eat based on photos, descriptions, and customer reviews – features that go hand in hand with optimizing search engine rankings. Plus, they aren’t easy to read on mobile devices, which can lead to customers searching for another place to eat.

Popmenu’s dynamic menus work double duty, giving guests everything they need to make a dining decision while increasing SEO favorability. They host a unique website page for each dish on your menu, creating more landing pages for Google to direct audiences towards. Plus, every dish houses guest activity (i.e., customer reviews and dish likes) that serve as important information Google uses to determine if that landing page can generate the best answer to a user’s question (think, “best breakfast near me”).

SEO for restaurants in action: Culhane’s Irish Pub

Culhane’s Irish Pub has been a Popmenu Boost client for 5 years and their search rankings demonstrate how Popmenu takes care of SEO without any work from the restaurant operators:  

They show up as the ‘best’ for local branded results in Google searches like:  

  • Best Irish pub in Jacksonville, FL
  • Irish restaurant in Jacksonville, FL
  • Best Irish in Jacksonville, FL  

What’s more? Culhane’s most reviewed dish—with 57 reviews and growing—is their delicious shepherd's pie; and it comes up in search engine results when someone goes to Google looking for “best shepherd's pie in Jacksonville, FL.” The result displays with a photo thumbnail captured directly from their website.

Pretty cool, huh? What you are seeing in the results is Google displaying a preview of the dish with a photo thumbnail and star rating based on average reviews and ‘pops’ (likes) generated on the Popmenu platform. Check out another example from The Hampton Social

Things to remember about SEO for restaurants

You will not be at the top of search engines overnight. It takes time, engagement, and persistence to rank well in search engines; but Popmenu can help you get there faster.

Google My Business integration

Google is the #1 driver of traffic to your website; it’s important to keep your restaurant’s business listing up-to-date. Popmenu's Google My Business integration automatically updates GMB with restaurant hours and other important information when you make changes in the Popmenu dashboard—so you can keep the information on your Google listing and website consistent.


Keeping an calendar of upcoming events, promos and specials on your website is another way to boost your search ranking. Regularly refreshing your events calendar helps your restaurant appear directly in Google Search results for customers to easily discover.


The more times your website comes up in response to people's questions in Google’s search engine, the stronger your organic search engine rankings. Blogs are an excellent opportunity to display your brand personality and generate your own content to show up in search engine results, organically.  

Press pages

External links on a website help boost SEO for restaurants. A press page not only builds credibility by showcasing the publications your restaurant has been featured in, it also amplifies your SEO with inbound, or external, links. Inbound links are termed the currency of the Internet and help establish a website's reputation on search engines.

Invest in the platform that puts restaurants first  

Popmenu’s platform and expert staff work to keep your website optimized so you don't have to, making it simple to convert visitors into guests at all stages of the dining cycle. 

Want all the tools necessary to build strong SEO for your restaurant? Schedule a demo and learn how we can help!

Front of the House Resource

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing for Restaurants

Consumers spend 40% of their monthly food budgets on restaurants. Wouldn’t it be great to capture more of it? You don’t need a degree in marketing or a big budget to effectively promote your restaurant. Heck, you don’t even need a lot of time. While marketing can feel utterly overwhelming, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be complex and a lot of it can be automated. This guide covers all the marketing basics with easy tips and examples so you can hit the ground running and quickly grow your sales. Learn how to: Bring your brand to life Create a simple marketing strategy that pays off Drive more traffic and orders through your online menu, website and social channels Automate email/text outreach to keep guests coming back for more

Download Now


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