There are 34 cities and another 19 unincorporated communities across Orange County. Every one of them is loaded with restaurants, eateries, bars, lounges and cafeterias. There are cafes, bistros and lunch counters and all of them miss out on at least some of the people looking on-line for where and when to eat.
Orange County is a savvy market, too. Some of your toughest competition is probably all over the local and mobile SEO scene, but then again, lots of other restaurants are not. There are restaurants well positioned enough that they can get away with basically letting their store-front do all the marketing. But guess what? They’re still leaving the entire Local Search and Mobile Markets to chance.
That’s literally leaving money on the table, so let’s start scooping some of it up!
This article is just to give you a start – with five fast and easy tricks – to optimize your Orange County restaurant for local and mobile search. It’s a big field, but there’s no reason not to get going now.
1. First, Claim Your Google+ Listing!
That might seem obvious. But just because Google has indexed your business and listed you, it doesn’t mean they’re going to optimize things. Do a search and find your listing in Google Plus. If it’s there but the main image is a giant map, then it’s still unclaimed. Google actually makes it pretty easy, to select the “Manage This Page” button and claim the listing. You need to have a Gmail account and you’ll need to verify that you’re the business owner or an authorized rep by telephone or a post card through the mail.
If no listing exists, you’ll need to set one up. Just go to google.com/places and click on “Get Started For Free”. You’ll need to fill out everything as accurately as possible and while you shouldn’t use the page to try to replace or stand in for a website, it’s almost as important. Make sure they get the restaurant name, physical address, and phone number, and the web address right. Categories, especially for food type are tremendously important, too, so select them carefully. You can continue working on it for several weeks or even months so don’t worry about getting it all correct during the first sitting. You’ll also want to add some photos.
2. Check Your Mobile Compatibility
One big reason that your Google Plus page is important is that it’s thoroughly mobile compatible. So even though it’s not recommendable to totally abandon your website in favor of a Google Plus page, you can get away with letting your Google Plus page stand in as a purely mobile page – at least while you’re optimizing for mobile search. It’s a big market, and restaurants are foolish to ignore the growth potential of mobile.
3. Optimize for Local Place Names
As we mentioned above, the city names, unincorporated communities and all kind of place names are an important part of optimizing for local. One good way to distinguish your business from others is with the place name used as a keyword. In many cases, that can mean optimizing pages for your food type and your place name. Santa Ana Pizza is almost ok, but Santa Ana is a pretty big place. If your reputation is good, people will drive across the city for it. Otherwise they’re going to want the Pizza that’s closest. Otherwise, you need to be optimizing for “Heninger Park Pizza” and all the communities you’re serving.
We’ve written a lot about keyword research, and for local search optimization, local, community level and neighborhood names can be among the most important keywords.
4. Do Your Research
Building on that thought, think about how people are likely searching for Pizza, or your food, in your area. Especially if your selling a niche food, or an alternative, such as vegetarian only, you’ve got to be aware of the most important combinations of keywords people are using to search. You should also check the Google Adwords Keyword Planner for a more thorough understanding of how people are searching in your area.
5. Understand Off-Site SEO
Local search SEO for Restaurants is very much an off-site process.
Dozens of directories will help with your rankings, particularly if they accept some reviews (and you get some reviews) but you need to claim the most important of your listings and optimize them. Make sure your contact information is consistent across each of them, and don’t feel overwhelmed. There can be literally hundreds of listing sites. You don’t need to claim and be on every single one, but the most important for your market should be sufficient.
Keep in mind also, that Orange County is home to some listings directories that are in and of themselves as important as the big national directories like Yelp and Foursquare.
BestRestaurantsinOrangeCounty.com is a good place to start. And while the OCStandard.com, for example, will accept your listing for a fee, it’s really the type of market you’re serving that will determine how much, if anything, you might budget toward online marketing or advertising.