Local SEO Best Practices for Corporate Restaurant Brands

With endless options to choose from and the ability to eat three meals a day, the restaurant industry can be an extremely competitive category for local search.

In addition, more and more restaurants are continuously opening and new types of concepts continue to appear.

Maintaining a strong presence in local search is becoming more difficult for corporate catering brands looking to do so at scale, sometimes with several thousand locations.

Many restaurant chains are operated by franchisees, which means that the brand does not own or operate their establishments, but rather provides support to owner-operators.

This adds another layer of complexity by being able to scale a brand’s local search marketing efforts since the business doesn’t have full control.

While there are many intricacies when managing a corporate restaurant brand, there are many ways for a brand and its individual locations to succeed in local search marketing.

Having a definitive local search strategy is essential because many restaurant tours start with a search on Google or directly in Google Maps.

In this article, we’ll explore in depth how to manage local listings and SEO at scale for corporate restaurant brands, and our best practices for succeeding in the ever-changing local search landscape.

Listing management for corporate restaurant brands

Having local listings is an absolute must.

Without a listing for a restaurant on key directories like Google, Apple, Bing or Yelp, it would be as if the location didn’t exist for searchers.

But having the location listed in smaller directories like OpenTable, Zomato, TripAdvisor, YellowPages, All Menus, Facebook, Foursquare, Zagat, and Grubhub is equally essential.

Each restaurant should have a listing in all relevant directories, as this is a ranking signal for Google, as citations are an effective way to link to the restaurant’s location page.

Location management platforms

For corporate brands to manage the large amount of ads with so many different attributes on the different sites, a centralized platform is needed.

Each directory accepts data slightly differently, and being able to perform updates quickly and efficiently is essential.

Especially since restaurants must be agile with the changes due to the pandemic.

Most corporate restaurants need a location management platform to be able to handle all the complexities.

These platforms allow them to update data in one place and submit it to multiple listing directories.

These platforms can also give franchisees the ability to access their restaurant and make their own updates instead of relying on the business to make those changes.

Franchise owner-operators tend to be more familiar with their locations and will be aware of any location-specific changes, as they can usually decide hours of operation or other nuances with their location.

Accurate and complete information is not only essential for restaurants but also a means of obtaining better visibility.

Having the wrong hours, incorrect status, or missing links will lead to missed revenue opportunities and possible negative reviews.

Reviews management

Review ratings are a key component in considering a location’s ranking. Google will also consider responses to reviews as a ranking signal.

Additionally, 59% of 18-23 year olds say online reputation plays a role in their restaurant purchasing decisions.

Restaurants tend to generate a lot of reviews, which provides a lot of interesting information.

Being able to respond to over 100,000 reviews per year will require a focused effort from the company or franchises.

Much like having a platform to manage listings, a tool to oversee and respond to reviews is necessary for enterprise brands.

This will allow you to see the number of reviews generated by restaurants, review scores and sentiment to further improve the service level of each location.

Ad content

Having engaging content in your listings is a great way for corporate restaurant brands to stand out. Two ways to do this are through photos and posts.

Many corporate restaurant brands only have a few stock photos that are the same on every listing.

Having unique photos on all your ads is a great way to make your profile more appealing.

Adding photos of the exterior, interior, or anything that makes this location stand out in a unique way is beneficial.

Google Posts is also a great way to share details about what’s going on there. Having posts on each placement is another opportunity to speak to your customer and impact rankings.

Screenshot of Google search for [Applebee’s], Google, December 2021

Local Pages

Individual pages are essential for any multi-location restaurant brand, as they let the user know what the specifics of that location are and what it offers.

The challenge for corporate brands is having many thousands of pages that may look like duplicate content.

Not differentiating each placement’s page can negatively impact SEO and not provide a real insight into the placement.

This, in turn, does not provide the reader with relevant content and is seen by Google as the brand of not providing quality content.

Single Content

For corporate brands to stand out locally, unique content is essential. Hyperlocal content is a great way to create unique content.

Restaurants can think about hyperlocal content in two different ways. The first is what relates to the location locally.

Highlighting specific neighborhoods near which the restaurant is located, major highways, universities, stadiums, museums, arenas or other major landmarks.

The second area is what differentiates each specific restaurant from the others.

Does this location offer any specific promotions or events?

These can be free kids nights every week, sporting events, nights with live music or even karaoke.

Another possibility is to highlight who works in the place and their biography.

The goal is to provide as much unique content on the location to make it stand out locally.

Having location-specific images versus a standard image across all locations is another opportunity to create unique content.

City Pages

Another way to help with local rankings is to create city pages for one of the cities a location is in.

Many searches today are location-based with a city modifier such as “American restaurant in Los Angeles”.

Having these city pages will help improve the restaurant’s ranking.

This is also another opportunity to create unique content for that specific city.

You can take the same approach with hyperlocal content for cities by calling out specific neighborhoods, museums, arenas, highways, and any other key elements that make that particular city stand out.

Even having unique images for each city will be beneficial.

Conclusion

For corporate restaurant brands to stand out in searches, having a dedicated listing and page strategy is essential.

By providing the specifics of each location and creating unique content, corporate restaurants can effectively compete locally with single-location restaurants.

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Featured image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

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