Most people have heard of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, but many lack a clear understanding of what it encompasses. SEO is the process of optimizing websites for increased visibility and traffic. The end goal is simple: when someone searches for a service or product you provide, you want that person to find your business first.
At face value, SEO sounds fairly straightforward but it introduces a few significant challenges. First, search engines are constantly evolving. Google releases over 500 algorithm updates each year, which causes ongoing shifts in SEO best-practices, making the process a moving target. Secondly, you should think of SEO as a race, as many of your peers are also actively engaged in the process. It’s not just about performing; it’s about out-performing the competition.
While we won’t master SEO in one article, here are a few ideas to help get you started:
1. Talk to the pros.
If you’re paying a website developer to maintain your site, hold them accountable and ask what they’re doing to address SEO. Reach out to any TV, radio, or print advertisers you utilize. Most have entered the digital world and some may be able to provide an audit of your site to help identify opportunities.
2. Engage your customers.
Search engines analyze your relevancy in the marketplace. That relevancy grows as people review and actively talk about your businesses. Encourage your customers to post reviews online. Whether it’s on Google My Business, Trip Advisor, Yelp, or Facebook, online buzz will help bolster your search rank. Be sure you’re listed on all major directory and review sites to strengthen your SEO.
3. Check your content.
Ultimately, the content and structure of your site is at the core of SEO. Proper positioning comes from “keyword research” and establishing what type of search terms people are using. Ultimately, you’ll be able to optimize the content of your sites to match. Dynamic content also provides advantages for SEO – so if you have a blog or other update page, be sure to use it.
4. Don’t forget your partners.
If you’re sponsoring local organizations or events and you’re not asking them to share a link to your website, you’re missing a valuable opportunity! Search engines value these external links, adding to your relevancy and rank.
5. Get out and research.
Take a moment to search for “Restaurant SEO” and you’ll find more resources than you could review in a lifetime. However, after reading a handful of articles, you’ll likely find some other common concepts that will help guide you.
Don’t be discouraged by the sheer amount of SEO information available. As you research, start small and begin by establishing a few common strategies that are practical for your situation. Every race begins with the first step.