4 SEO Basics every Restaurant should know!

SEO is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website, but it’s probably also the most technical aspect of your marketing strategy. As such we have compiled a handy guide highlighting a few SEO Basics for Restaurants.

On food-blog.co.za, we focussed on SEO from the get go with Google being the main player in South Africa by far. Don’t discount Bing or Yahoo though if you have an international audience as well. Did you know that Bing is the preferred search engine in Brazil?

Reading up on SEO, you get a pretty quick idea of which factors are important when optimising your website to be ranked well on search engines. But knowing which factor is the most important is a little more difficult as the SEO landscape changes all the time. Google always adds new aspects to their algorithm which allows them to identify the most relevant website for a specific search query.

We work with more than 100 restaurants throughout South Africa. Naturally, I am browsing on their websites as well to find new specials or download their latest menus. With that I always keep an eye on their SEO and I come across basic issues very often. I’ve highlighted a few as part of this article.

SEO Basics for Restaurants

1. Focus on Long Tail Keywords

Firstly, you need to identify the keywords that you’d want to rank for. Ideally, you’d want to be visible on page 1 for “cape town restaurant” for example  or “durban cocktail bar”. Lots of people search for these kind of phrases and your traffic would spike if you rank well for these key-phrases.

But many online media websites know this too. Competition for places is high. As such, you’d be much better of to rank for long tail keywords. These search phrases are much more specific and don’t have as much competition making it easier to rank for.

You could focus on keywords such as “Camps Bay restaurant with a View”, “Sandton Restaurant with a Fire Place”, “Umhlanga Cocktail Bar serving Mojitos”. You would need to set up dedicated pages for each key-phrase you are trying to rank for – a blog or news section on your website would be the perfect way to go about this.

The long tail keywords that you are trying to rank for will need need to be included in your title tags, your headings as well as your copy.

2. Use relevant Title Tags

Title tags is the most prominent heading on your search results. You would want to make sure that the key-phrase you are trying to rank for is shown on here.

3.  Make use of headings

Another way to show search engines what your content is about, is making good use of <h1>, <h2> and <h3> headings. Always include your key-phrases in these.

4. Keep the Copy long

I’m not the biggest fan of long copy, as I believe that people do not have time to read. They want to receive the most important information as quickly as possible and then leave. But when trying to rank for a key-phrase, I do make use of at least 4 – 5 paragraphs. This gives me a lot more opportunities to include the chosen key-phrase seamlessly into the copy.

I hope you found these SEO Basics for Restaurants valuable. That’s what we are trying to rank for with this article. See how we made use of this key-phrase in the title, headings and copy.


This section has focused on on-site SEO optimisation so far. But to be ranked well on SEO, you also need to receive in-bound links that point to your website. Make sure that these come from reputable sources; this is VERY important. A good way to go about this for restaurants is to contact blogs and media that have reviewed your establishment in the past. Contact them and ask them nicely to include a link to your website as part of the review. Maybe send them a voucher as a thank you. This will go a long way of improving your SEO.

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