Tips on Optimizing Your Restaurant’s Google My Business Listing So You’re Getting the Most Out of Your Online Presence.
Businesses have more ways to connect with their customers now than ever before. So restaurant owners and operators might be at a loss when deciding where to focus their attention to keep those tables full. Google search might feel a little more complicated and less effective than Social Media or one of the many maps, foodie, reservation, or review apps.
We thought it would be helpful to list our top recommendations for optimizing your Google My Business profile in addition to a little data on how important that really is.
Do I really need to use Google My Business?
Um, yes. Google is still the most popular search engine to find local restaurants, by far. Consider the comparison between Google Maps and, say, Yelp:
- 20.2MM reviews on the app itself
- 1 billion monthly users
- 46% of all Google searches are linked to something local
- 50% of people who search Google Maps visit a physical location within 24 hours
- 92% of searchers select something from the first page of local results
- A little over 1MM reviews on the app
- 92 million unique users per month
- 35% of people who search on Yelp make a visit to a physical location within 24 hours
Just as a review site, Yelp has less than 10% of the users Google Maps does even when compared to other map apps, nothing really comes close.
How to set up your Google My Business account?
Claim Ownership – the steps are easy:
1. Find your business and claim it.
2. Verify some information. Most of the time, this entails receiving a postcard with a code.
3. Fill out the essentials first and keep them accurate. Google ranking relies on and considers the accuracy of your information and will penalize businesses with poor ranking if they catch inaccurate info. Adjust your details to let people know if you have a random closure.
Typically, changes to your Google My Business details will take about 10 minutes to be reviewed, but in some cases, pending edits can take up to 30 days. If you find yourself waiting for days to get your edits reviewed, contact their help desk. Most of the time, this is all it takes to get a recent change published. A popular theory is that long wait times are a penalty for businesses where the submitted information is found to be inaccurate by Google. Just one more reason to keep the information as accurate as possible to avoid this.
Be sure to fill out everything that applies. Woman-owned? Veteran-owned? Every detail that is reasonable to add is encouraged. Do you have Gluten Free options for customers? Do you have Vegan options? Many people search specifically for these things, and if you don’t list them, your business will likely be overlooked as an option.
4. If you have multiple locations, make unique profiles for each location. Make them stand out and outline as much as possible to make sure people can tell the difference.
How to optimize your Google My Business account for search results
Tips for better Google Maps ranking
- Great photos that are clear and accurate
- Regularly/accurately updated specials
- A video of people enjoying your restaurant (get permission) or just show how friendly and professional your staff is.
- Put care and consideration into your main profile pic. This is essential as it will be shown to the most people
- Links to any reviews or social media profiles (and keep those fresh with content!)
Add Google My Business to your normal posting activities! Don’t know what to write about? Snap a photo of this week’s specials or the most popular dish to remind people how much they love eating at your spot! New drink and dish combination? Post it.
Don’t be long-winded. You want short flashy posts that are meant to get quick reactions. Posts disappear after a week, so keep it up and do it regularly.
DON’T FORGET A CALL-TO-ACTION!
Ask potential customers to do something. Create a link for “book now” or “order today.” A lot of potential conversions are lost because you don’t specifically ask for what you want from them.
Of the “first actions” a person can take after a local search
- 55% are visiting the business in person
- 35% call the business
- Less than 10% fill out an online form or use email
Be concise in your business description
Your google description needs to be specific, well-written, and easily read/understood. Nothing wrong with embellishment here but you still want to be specific.
You can call yourself a hip, intimate gastropub, but if you’re in an area where not a lot of people understand what a gastropub is, you’ll want to spell it out for them. Make the city’s best burger? Say so. Do you play sports, or is it fine dining? Great date spot? Put it in.
Direct people to your website
Make sure to set a preferred link to your website—don’t let a 3rd party jump in on your delivery links (unless you want them to). Many businesses will attempt to circumvent your details and get Google to use their links instead of yours.
You never have to allow this and can ask the company to remove them:
- They may lie and say they can’t (they can)
- They may say it means you can’t use their service (this is not true either)
All in all, Google Maps is the most popular place for consumers to look for local restaurants. With minimal work, you can get your Google My Business to show at the top of relevant searches in your area.