Search Marketing Tips for Your Multi-Location Restaurant

Studies show that four out of five people search online for restaurant choices at some point.
Studies show that four out of five people search online for restaurant choices at some point.

Search engine marketing can be an effective tool for restaurants looking to expand.

When you are marketing multiple brick and mortar locations, search engine marketing can be one of your most effective tools. Four out of five people search online for restaurant choices at some point. By using paid search marketing, you can assure that your establishments are right at the top. Keep these top tips in mind to be sure that you are using search engine marketing for your multiple locations in the way that serves you best:

Run geographic campaigns for each location

One giant campaign that kicks everyone to your home page is not the most efficient way to work. The more clicks a surfer has to complete before getting the information they want, the more likely they are going to navigate out of your site and on to your competitor's.

Instead, run a separate campaign for each area where you operate. Only people who are in that area will see your ad at the top of their search engine results. This can make it more likely that people will click through and check out your restaurant and also cut down on clicks that don't convert.

Long tail keywords are your friend

Don't just bid for "seafood restaurant." Include bids for long tail keywords that include the type of restaurant you run, plus each of your locations. This allows you to score well on every one of your local restaurant spots.

Send people to the right page

Don't just send surfers to your home page. Send them to a page that is dedicated to the specific location that is nearest to them. Hubspot has found that the more landing pages a business has, the more conversions they will win. Each location of your business should have its own dedicated page that you can make the target of its own paid search campaign.

Don't forget about mobile

At this point in time, the majority of Americans are walking around with a powerful computer in their pockets. When they are looking for places to eat, this is the tool that they are most likely to pull out. Make sure that every one of your location pages is mobile optimized. You can do this by using a mobile-first strategy or by using responsive design so that every page looks its best no matter what size screen your surfer is using. Also, make all elements of each page easy to read. For images, use small file sizes that load quickly. Do not include any code that is not mobile-friendly. Consider creating HTML versions of menus, as 80 percent of consumers consider it important to see a menu before choosing where to eat. PDF menus are easy, since you can use the same design you did for your printed menus. These artfully designed menus typically look great on a desktop computer. But, on a smart phone's smaller screen, they can be difficult to read. Anything that causes friction in your surfer's selection process is likely to send them away. HTML menu pages make it easy for them to see what you offer and increase the chances that they will find something they like and give your closest location a shot.

Choose the right time of day for your search engine marketing

Search engine pay per click ads allow you to use a function known as "day parting" so that your ads only show up at certain times of day. It makes more sense to advertise your dinner specials closer to the part of the day when people are most likely to be picking someplace to eat. By limiting your search ad to the time of day when you are most likely to get a quick conversion, you are more likely to get a better return on your advertising dollar.

Use informative and enticing copy on every one of your ads

Say you are looking for a place to eat and kind of feel like having tacos. Are you more likely to click through to the restaurant site on the ad that says "Best Mexican Restaurant in Dubuque" or "Enjoy Authentic Mexican Cuisine Tonight?" Tell as much as you can about your specialties, your location and everything else that sets your business apart. You have just seconds to win someone's attention after they have entered their search. Use the text in your ad's headline to transmit an alluring and actionable message.

Search engine marketing is a key tool for your digital marketing success. By yielding it effectively for every franchise location, you can reach prospective eaters in each market and turn them into happy, loyal customers.

Alex Membrillo

Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions, an award winning digital strategy agency based in Atlanta. His innovative approach to digital marketing has transformed the industry and delivered remarkable results to clients of all sizes and markets. Membrillo has extensive experience with restaurant and franchise marketing. Cardinal has been three-time consecutively named on Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately-held US companies.


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