With the vast number of customers now looking online to find inspiration for where they could eat out, the importance of having your business come up in Google searches is more important than ever.
A quick search on Google for ‘top restaurants in Brisbane’ brings up these results:
In the list of websites that Google most recommends the searchers click on, there are four news or opinion pieces, three sites where readers can find reviews on businesses, two unbiased directories and only one actual business. This particular search brought up four advertisements, though this can vary. In this case, the ads consisted of three business and one directory websites.
What can you do to get your business showing up in Google’s list? How can you ensure you’re making the list of most recommended businesses in the review sites and news articles that come up?
The first thing to do is to get a basic understanding of how Google works.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘SEO’ by now. It stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and in a nutshell, it’s the process of making your website ‘optimised’ for ‘search engines’. In other words, the best (‘optimised’) websites show up in Google (‘search engines’) first. There are other search engines too, but for now we’ll just focus on Google, as it is the most popular for Australian internet users.
SEO is a complex process, and Google has complex algorithms to assess websites which we won’t go into. But to give you a basic understanding, SEO involves things like:
- Using ‘keywords’ in the text, titles, links, tags and URL. Keywords are those words that people type into the search box. See how Moda Restaurant has as its title ‘Best Restaurant in Brisbane City’? That’s not an accident.
- How popular a website is – the more times people go there, the better. The longer they stay, the better. Do people enjoy being on the website or do they leave straight away?
- How reputable a website is – how long has it been around, is it updated regularly, do other authoritative sites link to it?
- Performance – how fast is the website and does it work properly? Is it easy for the readers to find information or is it filled with ads and hard or confusing to navigate?
There are many more things of course, but the key to remember is that Google wants to look good to its users. If people come to Google and it sends them to dodgy sites with little relevant information, then no one will want to use Google. But if Google can somehow find exactly what a person is looking for (even if sometimes the person isn’t quite sure what they want!) – then Google is the hero. Google is looking after your customers. So it’s your job to let Google know that you want to look after them too. And you do that through SEO.
So, what can you do to get on Google’s first page?
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Make sure your website is user-friendly, has the sort of information that people would be looking – or searching – for (not just what you want to tell them), and try to update it regularly. One way to keep it updated is through a blog or news section on the website.
- Make sure your menu is online. Google is very smart – it knows when searches are related. ‘Top restaurants in Brisbane’ is definitely related to ‘restaurant menus Brisbane’ – so if you rank highly in one search, you’ll do better in the other one too.
- Look at all the review sites like Urban Spoon, Beanhunter and Trip Advisor. How does your restaurant or café rank on those? If your ranking is below excellent, read the customer comments and see what you can do to improve those ratings. Importantly, make sure your business’s contact details are given, especially the website and any social media pages you have.
- Do some old fashion PR – if you’ve received business awards, make sure they’re mentioned on your website so Google knows about it. Try inviting journalists and bloggers to your business so they can write about it. When they next do an article, they might add you to their recommended list.
- And of course, there is always advertising. While only one café made it to the first page, others have showed up too because they’ve paid for it. Google Adwords is where you pay to show up on certain search terms or phrases that people type into Google. This can be a lot cheaper than traditional advertising. And the good news is that having people click on your page straight from the Google search will also boost the SEO of your website too. So it’s a win-win. Google often gives out vouchers for advertising, so it’s possible to even try it for free – sometimes you just have to ask!
I hope that gives you a better idea of how Google works. Next time I search for ‘Top restaurants in Brisbane’ or the Gold Coast, or Townsville – you get the point – I hope I get to see your business in the list.
— Article by Mikaela, Redmako Marketing Coordinator