Help hungry diners find you: From the Editor

Help hungry diners find you!
Colleen Cross
July 16, 2019
Buying locally, eating locally and hiring locally are considered good things to do. But what about searching locally?

Restaurants Canada recently hosted a webinar about online search trends and how restaurant operators can attract more diners who are searching online by using some relatively simple strategies.

The session’s presenter was Steve Buors, CEO and co-founder of Reshift Media Inc., in Toronto. Buors shared tips to help hungry diners find your restaurant.

Buors pointed out three major trends in online search: voice search, search coming directly to customers while in a store or restaurant, and local search. I want to highlight local search because it is simple, powerful and not always used to best advantage.

Here’s the gist of it: You do a search on Google – “Give me restaurants in Saskatoon” – and you don’t even need to state your location: Google knows where you are by your internet provider (IP) address and makes an educated guess about what you want. This is different from the typical organic search in which you get a list, often with Yelp or Trip Advisor coming up first. In an organic search, it’s tough for an independent restaurant to get onto that list.

Local search is whole different ball game. Because it uses a different algorithm than organic or paid searches, it’s easier to get your business noticed.

To show up in a local search, Buors said, you must claim, complete and make the most of your My Google Business page. Google creates these pages for all businesses, but it’s up to businesses to make sure they are accurate, complete and used to best advantage.

Four out of five people do local searches and those who do are more likely to actually show up and buy something. There is an urgency to finding a result nearby and many people search right before they buy.

So it’s worth doing some extra work to get noticed.

Facebook recently launched a Facebook Local app, in which the search command “Eat and Drink” is prominent.

This search recommends restaurants based on several factors and provides more information such as reviews and proof others you know have visited.

Here’s your to-do list: Claim and optimize your Google My Business pages. It’s the information on the “card” at the right of your computer screen that comes from Google’s own directory, which has a listing for every business based on what they find on your website and on sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor. “Your page is there – whether or not you want it – and you should claim it!” Buors said.

Make sure your address is perfect, phone number, hours, add categories of what you serve (burgers, pizza, breakfast, deep-dish pizza, etc.). Choose a main category to display, then you can add more to help people understand what you serve.

Upload as many high-quality photos as possible of people at your restaurant, smiling and enjoying themselves. And have a plan for responding to reviews, especially negative ones.  

The best part is that you don’t have to be a big name to take these steps. Independents have the exact same chance to show up in a search.

For more tips, read “How your pizzeria can use online search to bring in more customers” at canadianpizzamag.com.

Here’s hoping new customers find their way through your door this summer!

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