So, you’ve opened your restaurant, launched your website and have implemented online booking. Excellent. Surely all you need to do now is sit back and wait for guests to flock through your digital doors in search of a table for this evening…

I’m afraid there’s a bit more work to be done; you need to make sure your website can be easily found on search engines first. Then they’ll come flocking through. I promise.

There are many ways to make sure your restaurant website is visible, but in this post we’ll focus on the cornerstone of becoming discoverable online: searching engine optimisation, or SEO, as it is more commonly referred to.

SEO for restaurants is, you’ll be glad to hear, relatively straightforward and only requires time and a healthy dose of common sense on your part. You can do it yourself, too, so there’s no need to hire in an expensive SEO expert to help you along.

To ensure your restaurant website can be found on Google, all you need is the checklist below. Let’s get cracking and get your business found!

1. Perform some keyword research

Think about how customers may find you. ‘Burger restaurants in Northampton’ may fit the bill. Equally, ‘where to take my girlfriend on our first date in Northampton’ might be a very useful key search term.

People tend to ask questions when Googling these days. Think about the questions to which you can provide answers and make a list of keywords and phrases you can start working into your website’s content.

2. Optimise your pages for Google

Don’t be fooled by those who tell you SEO is a dark art – it really isn’t. Think of search engines as digital human beings; they want to find relevant content when asked and are intelligent enough to know when they discover a page which is bending the rules for its own benefit.

You don’t have to fill each page of your restaurant’s website with keywords, but you do have to insert them where it matters:

  • URL. Include keywords in the web addresses of your pages. They can appear before or after a /. Just make sure they’re present.
  • Page titles (H1). It may be tempting to give each of your pages fancy titles, but using keywords will prove far more fruitful. ‘Our restaurant is the talk of Northampton’ is a great example of keyword usage within a page title. Use keywords in subheadings, too (often known as ‘H2’ headings).
  • META description. When Google displays search results, it includes two-line snippets of text from the websites it finds, known as the META description. Web editing software such as WordPress will let you change this text for each page. Make sure it is short, to the point and includes your most important keywords.
  • Images. Search engines can’t see images. Well, they can, but they have no idea what they represent, and that’s why ‘alt tags’ exist. An alt tag is a descriptive piece of text hidden behind each image. Ensure you include keywords relevant to the image in your alt tags.
  • Body content. As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to stuff the body content of your restaurant’s webpages with keywords – it’ll quickly become unwieldily if you do. Use them fleetingly and don’t be afraid to pick and chose from key phrases.

3. Get on Google+

Google’s social network may not be on the same level as Facebook and Twitter when it comes to popularity, but it contains one tool restaurants must make use of: ‘Google My Business’.

It’s easy to set up, benefits your SEO and ensures Googlers will get handy, quick access to the pertinent details about your restaurant while searching for that table.

4. Sign up to local directories

Receiving inbound links from high-profile websites will do your own SEO the world of good, so make sure your restaurant has a presence on Yelp, TripAdvisor and any local directories you can find. Nearly all will offer free listings – make use of them!

5. Start link building

This can take a while, but it is worth investing your time in it. As mentioned in number 4 above, inbound links to your website are crucial, therefore do all you can to gain as many as possible from reputable sources.

Candidates for inbound linking are local attractions with whom you can partner and offer reciprocal links back to their website, restaurant critics and the rising trend of ‘bedroom’ influencers who can talk up your restaurant on their social media channels. Reach out and ask for links to your website – the worst people can say is ‘no’.


That’s it – just 5 tips to help you master SEO for your restaurant website. Just remember that results won’t arrive overnight; you need to be in this for the long game. Keep your SEO game strong, though, and you’ll be able to reduce your reliance on pay-per-click advertising.

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