Six ways restaurants can dominate voice search marketing & why voice search matters for restaurants
Filipe da Luz
Voice search marketing isn’t new. Believe it or not, the technology has been around for well over a decade now. But the rate of voice-based searches is surging every year, with 65% of 25-49-year-olds speaking to a voice-enabled device at least once per day.
The ever-increasing volume of voice-based searches provides a huge opportunity for savvy restaurant owners to drive awareness of their brand, generate new business and increase sales.
What is voice-based search?
Voice-based search is the act of seeking information online using verbal commands.
You’ve likely used voice commands at one time or another, asking a smart speaker, in-car navigation, or mobile audio search/commands for what the weather is like or what’s on your schedule for the day.
But it’s intent-based questions, like ‘Where can I get a cup of coffee near me?’, that will benefit restaurant owners the most.
Why is voice-based search important for restaurants?
The main reason voice-based searches are so critical for restaurants and hospitality businesses is because these searches are also likely to be local searches. It’s estimated 58% of consumers use voice search to find a business that is local to them.
‘Near me’ are the magic words in voice-based search. In fact, Google revealed that ‘near me’ mobile queries were up over 200% between 2018-2019. And that number will only continue to grow.
And ‘restaurants near me’ is one of the most popular variations on that search phrase. But it can get even more granular. ‘Pizza near me,’ ‘Indian near me,’ and ‘Sushi near me’ are all popular voice-based searches people use to find specific cuisines within close proximity.
What’s more, voice search lets searchers perform several different tasks like getting directions to the restaurant, reading restaurant reviews, learning about specials and finding out the wait times.
However, instead of a full page of search results that you’re served up from a traditional written search, voice searches only provide the ‘top 3’ results, which means restaurants are in fierce competition to grab one of these coveted spots.
So how do restaurants nab a place in these in-demand rankings? It requires a multi-pronged approach.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile
You’ll want to ensure your Google My Business location information is complete and updated often.
- Ensure business address, phone number, and all contact details are included and correct
- Upload photos of the restaurant (inside and outside), your food as well as your menus
- Include service options (curbside, dine-up, pick-up, delivery).
- Answer user-posted questions
- Include all third-party delivery services you use
- Respond to reviews
- Add posts with specials, offers and events
The more often you update your profile and the more content you share, the better chance you have of appearing high up in all local, intent-based searches, including ‘near me’ searches.
Read our blog: How to create a killer local SEO strategy for your business
Generate as many high-quality backlinks from local sites as possibles
Get your restaurant listed on all online restaurant directories and any other local business listing sites – AND get as many reviews on these sites as possible. Build backlinks on online articles, guest blog posts, forums and comments sections, too. The more backlinks from high-quality and reputable sites, the better.
Make sure your website speed is SUPER fast
Speed is key. Run your website through a speed test to see how it performs on desktop and mobile.
If you get a low score, follow the recommendations on your speed test result page. Huge images, long videos and code bloat can slow your site down significantly, which will impact your chances at nabbing a spot in the voice search results.
Offer the best mobile experience to your users
An optimized mobile experience is good for your customers, and it’s great for getting ranked in a ‘near me’ search result.
Make sure your website is responsive and optimized for mobile. When it comes to restaurants, when a customer visits your website on their phone, they want to see your phone number, reservation options, menus and opening hours. Show them the essential information first and avoid creating an overly complicated or flashy mobile homepage.
Offer the best mobile experience to your users
Get lots of positive reviews on lots of review sites (especially Google Business)
This point can’t be overstated. Restaurant owners know that, for better or worse, reviews are the lifeblood of their business. Prioritize Google Business but ensure you’re asking people to leave reviews across multiple sites (Yelp, Facebook, online food ordering sites, etc).
Read our blog: How to leverage customer reviews to boost your SEO performance
Ensure you reference the locations you serve as often as possible
It may seem redundant, but you want to repeat the areas you serve everywhere that you can: online profiles, websites, social media, etc. Consider individual landing pages on your website for the specific areas or neighborhoods you serve as well. If you have multiple locations, ensure you list every area your different locations serve.
Take your restaurant’s marketing to the next level
There’s no denying that the restaurant industry relies heavily on search engine marketing to drive customers to their establishments. Voice-based search provides an incredible opportunity for restaurant owners to win new business and generate revenue.
If you want to learn more about leveraging the power of voice-based search for your restaurant, we can help. We’ve got a team of search marketing experts who are uniquely skilled at getting your restaurant found by more customers. Get in touch with Creative Guild today to find out more.