For lack of a better analogy, Google is the Yellow Pages of the internet. If your restaurant isn’t listed on Google, it might as well not exist for customers who look up anything online before they try it. But unlike the Yellow Pages, Google has an extra layer of difficulty – no one ever looks past the first page of search results. So it isn’t enough to simply get listed on Google, you have to be on the first page to get noticed.

Thankfully, it isn’t difficult to use Google to your restaurant’s advantage. Most of the techniques that businesses use to optimise their visibility online can be done by anyone with a basic knowledge of how search engines work and some time on their hands. You can start with the following basic restaurant tips.

Make your mark with Google My Business

Google My Business allows you to get your restaurant listed in Google search results and manage the accuracy of your restaurant information. You can add your business if it isn’t already listed or claim your restaurant’s default listing generated by Google. All you need to get started is a Gmail account. After adding or claiming your listing, Google requires you to verify your business information. You will receive a postcard with a verification code via mail at your restaurant’s physical address. Log into Google My Business and enter the code to complete the verification process.

Once your restaurant has been verified, you own your Google listing and can review and update your information whenever you need to. Adding photos, Google reviews, contact details, an accurate address and updated business hours make your listing look credible and will boost its visibility in search results and on Google Maps.

Get to the top with SEO

Unless patrons know exactly what they’re looking for, or are already familiar with your establishment, they’ll use keywords when searching for restaurants. They will search for “Neapolitan pizza” instead of Coalition, or “African cuisine” instead of Pata Pata. Google’s search algorithm uses these keywords to find the most relevant results in the searcher’s location.

To get to the top of page one, you need to use SEO (search engine optimisation) tactics to make it easy for Google’s algorithm to find your website and connect to the right search queries. Using tools such as the Google Keyword Planner, you can strategically place keywords that are relevant to your restaurant across your website to ensure you’re on the Google algorithm’s radar. You can also hyperlink your website to and from other credible websites and use social media to drive traffic back to your website.

Make the hard sell with Google Ads

Google Ads is an advertising platform where you can pay for ads to appear at the top of Google search result pages. Much like SEO, Google Ads use keywords that your patrons are likely to search for and then build ads around them. Google Ads is easy enough for a beginner to create an advertising campaign and guides you every step of the way as you create your ads.

You can adjust your Google Ads campaign at any time based on the traffic your ads are generating and new keywords that the Keyword Planner picks up. Start small with a budget that’s just enough to measure return on investment and scale up from there. With enough practice and the help of a few advanced training videos, you can be an advertising whiz in no time.

For more restaurant tips that will give your business the digital advantage and transform your business growth plan, download our insightful guide to Restaurants in the Digital Age.