What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a way to make your website more friendly to search engines. This brings more guests to your website, drives more reservations, and makes it easy for website visitors to find the information they’re looking for — like your menu or hours.
Starting in 2016, Google began to emphasize that websites should consider its purpose, and fulfill its purpose to the best of its abilities. This included an update in instructional materials given to Google’s human Search Quality evaluators, which emphasize that each website should display “E-A-T”, or expertise, authority, and trust within its niche.
This means that the goal of any restaurant website is to provide users with useful information they expect to see, including:
- Up-to-date menus
- Hours of operation
- Contact information
- Gift cards
- Seasonal info
What does BentoBox do for SEO?
BentoBox provides the technical foundation of SEO, and automatically applies these SEO best practices to all sites:
Signals to search engines that your website is high-quality and loads fast.
Makes sure your website design adjusts to a smartphone screen.
Shows search engines that your website is secure with a “https” URL.
Makes it easy for search engines to find your website’s pages.
Tells search engines which pages on your site to crawl.
Shows search engines where to find your menu, reservations, location, etc.
Doing Your Part for SEO
Google is able to learn information by “crawling”, or indexing your website. When Google does this, it checks particular areas of your website’s structure and content for signals of what your website is about.
Google then calculates a ranking/positioning for your website based, in part, on how it interprets those signals.
That means that the first step is to optimize every “SEO” field already available in BentoBox:
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- Meta descriptions of individual pages
- Headings (H1s, H2s, etc)
- Image Alt Text
- Schema Fields
Page Titles 101
The page title is what the user sees when the page shows up in SERPS (Search engine result pages):
For the homepage title, use the following formula:
BUSINESS NAME + KEYWORD [in] GEO-LOCATION
California Grill - Fresh Food in Whittier, CA
Two Roses - Burgers & Brunch in Washington, DC
Woodside Pizza - Pizza, Burgers and Lunch Specials - Woodside, NY
Note: Make sure to check to make sure your title tags fit in 60-70 characters.
The meta description is a bit of code which provides Google with a short summary of what that page is about. This is one of the first impressions that a site owner can make on a Google user because of its front-and-center positioning in Search Results:
Google does not consider a meta description in its algorithmic ranking of a website. That means meta descriptions are for your users, not machines. You can change your meta description as often as you like, so feel free to play around with it until you find the best short description of your website that is going to drive clicks.
Note: Keep the length to between 130-160 characters. There is no maximum length, but if it is longer than 160 characters, it will be truncated.
Learn more about Meta Descriptions here in our Help Center.
California Grill -
California Grill features burgers, sandwiches and brunch specials everyday at our family friendly Whittier, CA location. Try our happy hour cocktail specials!
Two Hands NYC -
Bright & airy cafe with juices & espresso drinks plus light fare like pastries, salads & sandwiches.
How do I know which keywords to use in my page titles?
The page title should reflect the content of the page as well as what information you want to present to site visitors and Google.
If the page features menus, or a special event, then the page title and meta description should state that clearly and directly.
For homepage titles, find 1-3 keywords that summarize what the site owner wants to rank for.
Schema is structured data or code which is added to a website so that a search engine like Google can better understand what the website is about.
Although you can’t optimize schema, a BentoBox website has particular fields that need to be filled so that the schema code can be fully generated: the Price Range, and Cuisine type in the General Settings section.
On-page content is one of the most important factors that influence a website’s standing in Google.
Here are some factors to consider when optimizing page copy:
- Create a clear hierarchy with Heading tags (e.g., H1, H2, H3 etc.);
- Use unordered and ordered lists (Google likes structure!)
- Emphasize important page copy with stylization (bold, italicize, underline)
- Emphasize internal links
- Questions - look for opportunities to ask and answer questions
- 8th or 9th grade reading level
- Seasonal content emphasis: valentines day, any special events
- Look for important keyword variations via free tools like Google Trends
How do I know if my SEO is doing well?
Once your website is set up, you can monitor SEO performance in several ways:
You can track top level SEO metrics easily with Google Analytics. Metrics to track include:
- Top pages getting organic traffic
- Sources driving all traffic to the site (measure organic traffic)
- % Of organic traffic coming from Mobile vs. desktop
- Organic conversions
Another way to track organic traffic, diagnose common search issues, and get keyword level reporting directly from Google is to sign up for Google Search Console.
Taking control of your Google My Business Listing is an important step in control your restaurant’s web presence. Although your website is your most important online presence, providing information directly to Google about your menus, hours of operation, etc can be a great way to inform your customers--and the world’s biggest search engine--about everything happening at your restaurant.
BentoBox offers Localsync, where you can control how your restaurant hours and menu displays on Google, Facebook, and Foursquare. Localsync allows you to improve your local rankings and discoverability online, and save time by updating all your important business information in one place.
What else can I do?
- Claim your Google My Business Profile and maintain it with LocalSync
- Ensure your website’s content is always up to date
- Ensure your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number is consistent across the web
- Include keywords on your site to match your brand
What if my restaurant website does not rank well for the most important keywords?
While there is no guaranteed way to achieve a certain visibility or rank for your website on a specific search term, the principle is that Google will rank those websites which seem to be the most useful to users for any given search term.
For a restaurant website, follow these steps to ensure you’re doing everything you can to capture Google ranking:
- Certain websites have a “right to rank” for certain terms. Make a list of keywords your website “should” rank for, and check their popularity using Google Trends. Incorporate those keywords into your page copy, page titles, H1s, meta descriptions, and internal links.
- Control your Google My Business listing by using Localsync, which keeps the hours, description, and menus of your GMB listing correct and up to date.
- Encourage other websites such as partners, diners, or community boards to link to your website.
- Create and control Goals to track particular conversions/milestones in Google Analytics. These can provide a lot of information about how your users want to use your site.
- Inbound anchor text, the SEO strength of the domain linking to your site, and keywords in page titles/content are known ranking factors.
- Behavior signals from your users, such as click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, etc indicate to Google
- Encourage your customers to leave reviews on Google My Business. Google weighs these when deciding the ranking of your site.
SEO is constantly changing as search engines like Google and Bing continually optimize the experience for their users. While specific SEO strategy around your brand falls outside of the scope of BentoBox, following the steps and tips above will help you position your website to capture organic search traffic and rankings.
If you have further questions about your site’s SEO, contact support.