With endless options to choose from and the potential to eat three meals a day, the restaurant industry can be an extremely competitive category for local search.
Plus, more restaurant locations are continually opening and new concept types continue to pop up.
Maintaining a strong local search presence becomes more difficult for enterprise restaurant brands who are looking to do it at a major scale, sometimes with several thousand locations.
Many restaurant chains are franchisee-operated, which means the brand doesn’t own or operate their locations but instead provides support to the owner-operators.
This adds another layer of complexity being able to scale a brand’s local search marketing efforts since corporate is not fully in control.
Even though there are many intricacies when running an enterprise restaurant brand, there are many ways for a brand and its individual locations to succeed at local search marketing.
It is critical to have a definitive local search strategy since many restaurant visits start with a search on Google or directly in Google Maps.
In this post, we will explore in-depth how to manage local listings and SEO at scale for enterprise restaurant brands, and our best practices for succeeding in the ever-evolving local search landscape.
Listings Management For Enterprise Restaurant Brands
Having local listings is an absolute must.
Without a listing for a restaurant on key directories like Google, Apple, Bing, or Yelp, it would be as if the location didn’t exist to searchers.
But having the location listed on smaller directories like OpenTable, Zomato, TripAdvisor, YellowPages, All Menus, Facebook, Foursquare, Zagat, and Grubhub is just as critical.
Each restaurant should have a listing on all relevant directories as this is a ranking signal to Google since citations are an effective way to build links back to the restaurant’s location page.
Location Management Platforms
For enterprise brands to manage the vast amount of listings with so many different attributes across the various sites requires a centralized platform.
Each directory accepts data slightly differently, plus being able to make updates quickly and efficiently is essential.
Even more so with restaurants needing to be nimble with changes due to the pandemic.
Most enterprise restaurants need a location management platform to be able to manage all of the complexities.
These platforms allow for them to update data in one place and have it submitted to multiple listing directories.
These platforms can also give franchisees the ability to access their restaurant and make their own updates instead of relying on corporate to make these changes.
The franchisee owner-operators tend to know their locations best and will be aware of any changes specific to the location since they typically can decide hours of operation or other nuances with their location.
Accurate and complete information is not only essential to restaurants but also a way to gain better visibility.
Having the wrong hours, incorrect status, or missing links will lead to missed revenue opportunities and possible negative reviews.
Review scores are a key piece in factoring where a location will rank. Google will also consider replies to reviews as a ranking signal.
Additionally, 59% of 18 to 23-year-olds say online reputation plays a role in their purchasing decisions at restaurants.
Restaurants tend to generate a lot of reviews, which provides a lot of great insight.
Being able to respond to potentially 100,000 plus reviews a year will take a concentrated effort from either corporate or franchises.
Just like having a platform to manage listings, a tool to oversee and respond to reviews is necessary for enterprise brands.
This will allow you to see how many reviews restaurants are generating, review scores, and sentiment to further improve each location’s level of service.
Having engaging content within your listings is a great way for enterprise restaurant brands to stand out. Two ways to do this are through photos and posts.
Many enterprise restaurant brands just have a few stock photos that are the same on every listing.
Having unique photos across all of your listings is a great way to make your profile more engaging.
Adding photos of the exterior, interior, or anything that makes that location stand out uniquely is beneficial.
Google Posts are also a great way to share specifics of what is happening within that location. Having Posts across each location is another opportunity to speak to your customer and impact rankings.
Individual pages are key to any multi-location restaurant brand since it allows the user to know what that location’s specifics are and what it offers.
The challenge for enterprise brands is having several thousand pages that can look like duplicate content.
Not differentiating each location’s page can negatively impact SEO and not give any real insight into the location.
This, in turn, does not provide the reader with relevant content and is seen by Google as the brand not providing quality content.
For enterprise brands to stand out locally unique content is essential. Hyperlocal content is a great way to build out unique content.
Restaurants can think about hyperlocal content in two different ways. The first is what relates to the location locally.
Highlighting the specific neighborhoods the restaurant is near, major highways, universities, stadiums, museums, arenas, or other major landmarks.
The second area is what differentiates each specific restaurant from the others.
Does this location have any specific promotions or events?
It could be weekly kids eat free night, sporting events, nights where there is live music or even karaoke.
Another possibility is highlighting who works in the location and their bios.
The whole goal is to provide as much unique content about the location to make it stand out locally.
Having specific images of the location versus a standard image across all locations is another opportunity for creating unique content.
Another way to help rank locally is to have city pages built out for any of the cities a location is in.
Many searches today are location-based with a city modifier such as “American restaurant in Los Angeles”.
Having these city pages will help improve the restaurant’s rankings.
It is also another opportunity to build unique content for that specific city.
You can take the same approach with hyperlocal content for cities by calling out specific neighborhoods, museums, arenas, highways, and any other key things that make that particular city stand out.
Even having unique images for each city will be beneficial.
For enterprise restaurant brands to stand out in search, having a dedicated listing and pages strategy is essential.
By providing the specifics of each location and creating unique content, enterprise restaurants can effectively compete locally against single-location restaurants.
Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock