6 Tips for Restaurants to Optimize their Google Listing

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As a restaurant owner or manager, you may have already claimed your Google My Business Listing. You know, the place where you list your address on Google Maps, business hours, phone number, and other contact information? It’s actually a pretty integral tool for your restaurants. Bringing in new guests and Google My Business go hand in hand.

If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business Listing or unsure of what it is, that’s okay, we’re going to go through how to set it up in a few simple steps, as well as a variety of things you should be doing to ensure you’re getting the best out of it so you can bring in more customers and increase your sales.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool for your business that provides all of your relevant business information in one box for those searching for your restaurant or business, and ideally when searching for the food or products you offer in the local area. The only requirement to have a GMB listing is your business needs to be client-facing in some shape or form. So basically, if your business is 100% online, with no in-person interaction, then GMB won’t work for you. 

When someone searches in Google for a shop, restaurant, public establishment, or any local search on, a box will show up alongside the search results where you’ll find the business’ reviews, location, hours of operation and more. We’ll dive more into that shortly, but first, we’ll quickly run through how to claim your Google My Business Listing. If you’ve already done that step, you can skip ahead.

How to Claim Your Google My Business Listing

Your listing may have already been created by someone, that’s not uncommon, but you have to claim it to make any changes to it. Apart from the basic contact information you can list, there are a few other interesting details you can add like built-in FAQs, curbside pickup availability, posts, your online ordering channels, and more. Here’s how to claim your business profile in a few steps. 

Step 1: Visit the official Google My Business page and click the Manage Now button. Make sure you sign up with the email you want to be associated with the GMB listing you are creating. 

Step 2: Search for your business. If it doesn’t pop up, create a new listing.

Step 3: Enter your business name.

Step 4: Choose the category you believe best fits your restaurant or business. This step is significant if you want to rank high in the google search results when customers are searching for the cuisine or type of product you offer. For example, you want to indicate that you are a restaurant or food & beverage business, so that when people search “best restaurants near me”, your chances of showing up are higher. You can get more specific with secondary categories. 

Step 5: Enter the address of your location and indicate whether you have a physical brick and mortar space or if you’re ad Service Business Area listing. The latter meaning you don’t have a physical location however you still serve customers in the local area. 

Step 6: Add your contact details so your potential customers know how to get a hold of you. Remember to always list your website URL. The easier it is for the guest to get to your website, the more likely they are to buy from you. Linking your social media accounts is always helpful as well, as you likely use that as your main channel to engage with your customers. The faster you can get eyes on your Instagram feed, the hungrier your guests will become, so don’t forget to attach those accounts.

Step 7: Finally, and most importantly, you need to verify your information, to confirm you own or manage the business. There are multiple ways to verify your business, but the most common method is via postcard. Yes, real mail. Google will send you a verification code in the mail so you can verify your GMB listing. You can also verify via phone or email, but we think a postcard is more fun!

Why Should I Use Google My Business?

Everyone searches on Google. Especially when it comes to finding what’s local. You’ve probably searched for “the best Korean BBQ near me” or “best coffee shops” in a certain city when traveling. Google dominates searches. As a restaurant owner, you simply cannot afford to put your Google My Business listing on the back-burner. Especially right now in these difficult times, where takeout and delivery is your primary source of revenue, you want to be easy to find, while leaving a good impression for your guests by providing them with all the information they need in one click – and you want to drive them to your most profitable ordering channels.

Trattoria Nervosa has all the details you need when you search for them.

A study by Bright Local shows that 56% of the people who see your GMB listing will go directly to your website, while another 24% will call your business directly. Simply entering the bare minimum amount of information will help bring in new customers. 

The same study also shows that 49% of all GMB listings get more than 1000 searches a month, with 96% of these listings seen at least 25 times a month. When it comes to digital hospitality, customers appreciate the convenience. Creating a strong GMB listing is simple, free, and effective. Here are a few tips to optimize your listing.

Not only does Google My Business help boost your online presence, but it also increases your visibility on Google Maps.

6 Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Let’s go over what we’ve done so far.

  • Claimed or created your Google My Business listing 
  • Set up your business account by adding all of the relevant information
  • Verified your listing

Now, how do you get the most out of your Google My Business listing?

Keep Your Information Updated

The easiest way to optimize your GMB listing is to simply keep all of your relevant information updated. 

  • Your restaurant name
  • Where you’re located
  • How to contact you (phone number, social media – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook)
  • Website URL
  • A short description of your business
  • Ways to reserve tables
  • Your preferred online ordering channels

Provide everything your customers need to know at a glance. If they need to contact or order from you, they can in whichever way is the most convenient for them, by giving them a variety of options.

Post New and Relevant Photos

Think of your GMB page almost as another social media channel. You want to ensure your guests are keeping up with your brand or what’s going on at your restaurant, and most people base their judgment off of photographs, especially in the hospitality industry. Pictures are an incredibly important part of your GMB listing. Add your restaurant logo, photos of your food, photos of your restaurant interior and exterior, and/or a video tour. This content will give your customers a peek into what you have to offer.

It’s important to update these photos regularly, with current menu offerings and interior design that you would normally put on social media, so that you maintain consistency, and that there are no surprises for your guests when they order or show up to your business.  

Set Your Preferred Ordering Channels

Your GMB listing also allows you to set your preferred eCommerce channels for online ordering and reservations. If you’re using first-party online ordering on your website, then you’ll want to list your website URL as your primary channel, so that you drive all the traffic to your website. From there, you can direct your guests to whichever channel you want them to order from.

If you’re using third-party ordering and delivery services, it’s likely that you are paying different rates for each service. You can list your preferred ordering method, but regardless of whether you’re using first-party or third-party ordering, we recommend you solely put your website URL, so you’re increasing the traffic on your website in any case. From there, you can prompt your guests to order. Many third-party delivery services have lower rates when orders originate from your website.

Respond to Your Customer Reviews

When you’re on the hunt online for where to go for dinner, I think we can all agree that restaurant reviews and ratings hold pretty significant weight in your decision. In fact, according to a local consumer review study by Bright Local, 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Google reviews, along with reviews from the web (ie. Facebook, Yelp, and reservation services like OpenTable & Resy) will show up in your GMB box. 

You can go the extra mile and extend the hospitality you excel at in your restaurant, by going online and responding to your customer reviews. It’s a great opportunity to engage with your guests, especially in a time where that human connection is limited, to thank them for their business and their review. Remember to respond to negative reviews as well. It sets the standard by showing that you care about every customer equally, and the quality of your restaurant. Be mindful when responding, however, it’s much more effective to respond as opposed to deleting it or ignoring it.

Add in Your FAQs

Google My Business has a built-in FAQ tool, which can save you lots of phone calls and messages from potential customers. Compile a list of questions that your customers frequently ask you in your restaurant, on the phone, or on social media, and clear any doubts they may have in the question and answer section. Your guests may want to know if your restaurant does catering, if you host private events, if your patio is dog friendly, if you accommodate private parties if you have diet-friendly options, your service area, if your meat is halal, just as a few suggestions. Those who search for your restaurant also have the ability to ask you questions on your listing, which you can answer and save for future readers.

Google Posts

Remember what we were saying earlier about your Google My Business listing being like another social media channel? Well, with Google Posts, it only further proves that point. Similar to Facebook and Instagram, Google posts are a great way to connect directly with your customers, by capturing their attention with bold photography of your delicious food and catchy text to reel them in. 

These posts help your search engine optimization strategy by helping generate more organic clicks. You can include buttons in these posts to send customers to certain pages or to specific actions.

Summary

When it comes to organizing your restaurant’s presence online, there’s no better tool for you to use than Google My Business. It’s a free service that elevates your guests’ experience when they search for you online. Setting it up is one thing, but with mindful up-keep, it will no doubt enhance your professionalism online, helping you leave a good first impression. They may seem like small details, but they make a difference! We’re in difficult times right now with the pandemic, so prioritizing your digital space is key to bringing in more customers to order online from your restaurant.

Set up your listing now or manage your existing Google My Business listing in your business dashboard or in the Google My Business app. Google My Business works well both on desktop and mobile devices. If you haven’t already, claim your listing now!

If you need an extra hand in setting up your Google My Business listing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at hello@sociavore.co, or check out the Google My Business Help Community if you run into any challenges when operating your GMB listing.

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