How To Perfect Your Restaurant’s ‘Near Me’ Ranking & Attract New Customers
Near Me searches have gained in popularity year on year. Between 2018-2019 there was a 150% growth in the use of “near me now” searches. And the Top Category for searches is Food Businesses at 84%
A Near Me search is when someone uses Google on their smartphone, or laptop, to search for a nearby business selling what they’re looking for.
For example “Italian Restaurants Near Me Now”.
The Near Me search function is typically used 10-30 minutes ahead of the person wanting to visit a business to shop, buy, eat or drink. In the Digital Marketing industry this is known as a ‘Micro-Moment’.
There’s no pre-planning or booking for these guys; they want to eat and they want to eat now.
How do we know this? Because Google tracks the lead time from the Near Me search to the persons arrival at one of the businesses featured in their map search, using their phones GPS.
How Do Near Me Searches Work?
A customer’s proximity to your business location will play a part in whether your restaurant comes up in a Near Me search. Google ‘mines’ for restaurants with an address nearest to where the searcher is.
Good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) across all your social media channels, and your website, also play a significant role. Get it right and your restaurant can still feature in the top 3 search list, even if your location is further away than other restaurants.
However, if you want to be at the top of search rankings you need to have a Google My Business account.
Follow our steps to improve your visibility in Near Me searches and grab a slice of the Micro-Moment ‘I-want-it-now’ customer market
How To Improve Your Google Map Rank for Near Me searches
In order to feature on Google Map in a Near Me search, ahead of other restaurants and Google’s organic search algorithms, you need to set up a Google My Business profile for your restaurant.
Step 1. Create a Google account for your restaurant. If you already have one go straight to Step 2.
Step 2. Sign in to your restaurants Google account and go to the Google My Business setup page.
Step 3. Complete the details with your restaurant’s name, address, phone number (NAP) and email etc. Make the address as accurate as possible or match it to the address shown in Google Maps.
For instance, if you are in the habit of abbreviating parts of the address. e.g. ‘St James Blvd’ but Google Maps lists the road as ‘St James Boulevard’, make sure that you also use the full name.
Step 4. List your business in the correct category. You can choose One Primary Category and nine Secondary Categories. But it’s best to limit Secondary Categories to a maximum of three.
As an example: You own an Italian Restaurant.
Your Primary Category should be “Italian Restaurant”. Rather than just “Restaurant”. “Italian Restaurant” is more specific to your business. “Restaurant” is too generic a category, as there will be hundreds, if not thousands nearby.
Your 1st Secondary Category may be “Pizzeria” or “Pizza Restaurant”
And your 2nd Secondary category may be “Restaurant”
However, IF you are known by customers as a Pizza Restaurant, because that’s what you serve mostly, but you offer other Italian dishes too, you could select “Pizzeria” or “Pizza Restaurant” for your Primary Category. And “Italian Restaurant” as one of your Secondary Categories.
If you really want to get in to the technicalities of Categories. Or if you want to learn how to see what categories your competitors are using, you can check out this article by Ardent Growth.
Step 5. Once you have set up your account basics you will now need a code from Google to verify your business account.
You can opt to be sent a postcard by Google to your restaurant address, which will include a code to apply to your account.
Or you can select Verify Now and receive the code by phone. Make sure you are next to your business phone and can answer it. Write down the code given in the automated message and then add the code to your Google My Business account.
Perfecting Your Google My Business Account details For The Best Near Me Results
Step 6. Complete as many fields (below) as possible for your restaurant listing.
The more information provided the more ‘rated’ or ranked your listing will be by Google. And the more chance your business will feature in a Near Me search above other businesses, which are geographically closer to the customer.
- Restaurant Website URL
- A link to your menu on your website or Facebook page (website is better)
- A link to your online reservation form/platform
The three fields above, when completed, will show up in a Google search as three separate listing results boosting your restaurants visibility.
They also offer ‘micro moment’ customers the option to go straight to the page they want, without having to trawl through your website or Facebook page to look at your menu or make a reservation.
- Photos of your restaurant interior and exterior
- Photos of your food
- Complete the About Us section, mention the type of food you offer, how long you’ve been in business, anything that would be attractive to a potential diner
- Your business hours
- Include Tags and keywords that describe your cuisine or dishes; ‘Italian’ ‘best tiramisu in Manila’, ‘Biggest Pizza Menu in Makati’ ‘authentic Italian Lasagne’
Step 7. Check your other business listing sites. Such as Foursquare, BingPlaces, Yelp or Zomato.
Make sure these are up to date, with the exact same information you provided in your Google My Business. If these listings contain abbreviations to your address such as ‘Blvd’ instead of ‘boulevard’, update these. This step is important
Step 8. Double check your Social Media pages (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.) and make sure they also have the same address as your Google My Business set up. Also make sure they have the same email address, website address, opening hours. And double check your location map to make sure the ‘pin’ is in the right place.
Steps 7 and 8 enable Google to ‘mine’ for your business information and verify and authenticate it. This boosts your business online search rating and ranking.
Other Steps To Boost Your Near Me Ranking
Click-Thru Rate. The more people who ‘click-thru’ to your website, Facebook Page, Menu Page etc from a Google Search, the more ‘points’ you get to your ranking. Especially if the searcher stays on those pages for a period of time.
Google algorithms sees this action as evidence that your pages and social media accounts are the most relevant to that search. As a result they will rank your business and social media pages higher in their search results.
This is why the first three fields under Step 6 of setting up your Google My Business account are so important.
Google Reviews. Google Reviews are shown on your map listing under your business name. But they don’t actually give any weight to your Google or Google Map Ranking.
What Google Reviews do is give a potential customer added confidence in choosing your restaurant. Especially if you have received a lot of Google reviews and have 4 or 5 stars.
How To Rank For Near Me If You Have Multiple Locations
The only way to do this is to have a Google My Business account for each location.
If You are a chain with the same name for each venue, add the location to the end of the business name. e.g. Tita’s Coffee House Pasig, Tita’s Coffee House Makati etc.
You will also need to add separate landing pages for each location on your website (which is actually pretty quick and easy to do). If you use the same website URL for each Google My Business account, Google will not allow you to register a 2nd account.
Each location landing page can include the address of that branch, opening hours and then a link through to your menu page or reservation platform.
After that the process to set up the account is the same.
If you want help with your Digital Marketing you can check out our competitive Social Media Maintenance Package here