The first and the most important step towards a digital marketing strategy for restaurants is to create a professional website (Essential features for every restaurant website). Without a website you don’t even have a digital presence, leave alone a digital marketing strategy (Why does your restaurant need a website?). You don’t have to be a tech guru or spend large amounts of money to create a stunning restaurant website. Restornt.com helps you create a gorgeous restaurant website in minutes with all the features required by a modern-day restaurant (Checklist for creating a restaurant website).
Now that you have created your restaurant website, the next logical step is to enhance your online presence with a wide range digital marketing tools offered by Google. While Google offers a large number of marketing tools, this article only considers the 5 top Google tools that are most relevant for a restaurant website and are easy enough to be used by any restaurant owner without requiring detailed digital marketing knowledge or technical skills.
1. Google My Business
One of the most powerful free ways to advertise your restaurant is through Google My Business, which enables companies to manage their presence on Google Search and Google Maps. The tool can bolster your rankings in local search results. Ranking high in local search shows you’re a legitimate and relevant business: you wouldn’t rank #1 in Google for “Italian restaurants near me” if you’d closed down six months ago. Plus, if you rank high in local search, more consumers will choose your restaurant over a competitor’s.
All you have to do is claim your Google My Business listing and your business can get featured in the search results (as well as in Google Maps) for local searches like the one pictured below. Check it out — all the businesses within the red call-out in the screenshot below are local Google My Business results for the search “Italian restaurants in London”.
2. Google+ Business Pages
If you are a restaurant, setting up and maintaining a Google+ Page goes hand in hand with your Google My Business listing (see above), making Google+ very critical for you. And considering your Google My Business listing will include a link to your restaurant’s Google+ Page, it’s important to take some extra time to make your page the best it can be. You can checkout Restornt’s own Google+ Page here.
Reports have been released showing the impact Google+ can have on both paid and organic rankings in the Google search results. Google+ is your basic social network with a few new offerings. The layout is typical Google. It’s simple and clean. The photos are used as a feature of profiles and business pages. Google+ has all the favorite features of similar social networks: Photos, Video, Commenting, +1-ing, and Friends.
3. Google Analytics
How many of your website visitors are brand new versus returning? How long are people spending on your site? Does it have a high bounce rate? All of these important analytical questions can be answered by Google Analytics, Google’s free website analytics product. Google Analytics can give you smarter insight into your website traffic and help you understand how people are finding and navigating your site.
Restornt websites are tightly integrated with Google Analytics out of the box. All you need to do is follow the step by step instructions to setup a Google Analytics account and you can view all of your Google Analytics reports directly from your Restornt website dashboard.
4. Google Alerts
Google Alerts enables you to monitor the web for mentions of specific keywords or phrases. Once set up, you’ll receive either email alerts or results via RSS whenever these phrases have been mentioned online. For instance, you can sign up to get notified whenever someone mentions your restaurant, products, executives, or your competition. This PR tool is a great way to stay on top of your restaurant’s online reputation and react to online mentions of your brand in a timely manner.
5. Google Adwords
If you want to give your organic efforts to rank in search a bit of a jumpstart, it might make sense to dabble in Google AdWords, Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) product. If you have yet to try it, here’s how it works:
You create ads that target specific keywords related to your business, and your ads appear above or to the right of organic search results on Google when people search for these keywords (see screenshot below). The cost your ads depend on the competitiveness of the keyword you’re targeting, but you only pay if visitors actually click on your ad.
Keep in mind that AdWords can quickly become an expensive marketing tool, and unlike organic search, it offers quick wins rather than longer-term, lasting (and free) results. That said, if used smartly, PPC can help you plan your organic search strategy.
Apart from having a dedicated website, not all restaurants need to use every Google tool on this list. However, when used in the right way — it can make your business leaner, smarter, and more efficient when communicating to your customers.