6 Easy Ways to Boost Your Restaurant Website’s SEO

SEO is a buzzword that you’re probably familiar with. If not, let’s define it.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s defined as the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid or organic results. Basically, SEO helps your website rank higher in search results.

Why does this matter? Everyone has competition. When people are searching for a keyword or a business online, you want to be found in search results when the search is relevant to you. If your restaurant has a website (and it should!) you should be aware of the benefits SEO can provide for your business’ online visibility.

How do you go about tackling SEO? There are plenty of companies who specialize in search engine optimization who can do the work for you. If you want to hire a third-party, here is a list of the Top 50 SEO Companies of 2018. Of course, you’ll have to pay for these services. But, if you want to take matters into your own hands, there are ways to do that too! Today we’ll discuss 6 easy, “DIY” tips on how to enhance your online presence through SEO.

Post Quality Content

You want customers to WANT to read your information. The amount of time a customer spends on a website actually does have an influence on how your website is ranked on the web. It’s important for your website to have relevant and interesting information because this will encourage visitors to spend more time reading and interacting with the site. Aside from the core information about your restaurant, you should also have a blog. There, you can create blog posts that are relative to your audience. As a restaurant, you can post about new specials and events, ideas for recipes, local community endeavors, or even current industry food trends. You may be wondering why having a blog is so important. Let’s talk for a minute about content marketing.

As of late, content marketing has become an increasingly important part of an overall marketing strategy for companies everywhere, large and small. Content marketing allows a brand to gain not only visibility and higher SEO, but trust and loyalty from website visitors and customers. Consider this: Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without. That right there should be enough for you to want to start (and maintain) a blog! Not to mention, 77% of internet users read blogs.

Be sure that you’re blogging smartly and strategically. Don’t just write about things that are irrelevant to your audience just to say you have a lot of blog posts. Make sure the content you’re providing is useful, informative, and will draw the reader in. Strive to make your posts longer, too. You used to only need about 300 words for a blog post to rank well online, but times have changed! Try to have at least 1,000 words per blog post. It’s all about quality here, so remember that when you’re creating new content.

Link to Outbound Websites

Of course, your own website’s information and blog posts are important, but you should go a step further by linking out to content from other sites. Good content will include references, facts, and statistics from other websites in order to strengthen the information you’re providing to your reader. Linking out to other websites will not only add some depth and alternative opinions to your website, but will increase the legitimacy of your site, and Google will definitely take notice of this when ranking for SEO.

When linking to outside sources, do so strategically. Don’t link to irrelevant content just for the sake of linking. Make sure the sites you’re linking to are relevant and provide additional insights to the reader. As you start to provide more and more outbound links to other relevant websites, you’ll be able to form a network of other websites, bloggers, and companies. This is great because once other websites start linking back to you, it’ll help boost your SEO even more!

Provide Links That Actually Work

I know, this seems like common sense. But you would be surprised by the frequency of 404 error codes people run into on the web. 404 error codes happen when someone searches for an incorrect or removed URL. I’m sure you’ve come across something like this before on the Internet:

There is no greater frustration than clicking on a link that is supposed to show you a restaurant’s weekly specials and getting a blank page. How is the customer supposed to know what you serve if they can’t find it anywhere on your website?

When you’re posting a new page or blog, make sure the links work! Not only will broken links deter customers from staying on your website (and therefore seek out other businesses with information that does in fact load) but this also does have an impact on how you are ranked on Google. Basically, broken links = BAD. Test the URL yourself before promoting the new page to your customers. This will help to avoid frustration and confusion from your followers.

Luckily, you can find online tools to help verify your links work correctly; I highly recommend the Google Webmaster Tool for this exact purpose.

Of course, mistakes happen, and when someone is typing a URL, the chances of a typo are high. Because of this, there’s a chance your website visitors will run into a 404 Error page on your site. Lighten the mood by personalizing the page. Here are two creative examples of customized 404 URLs:

 realtor.com has a relevant, witty 404 Error page that is relevant to the real estate industry. realtor.com has a relevant, witty 404 Error page that is relevant to the real estate industry.  Lego's 404 Error page is so cute, you can't be that mad!  Lego’s 404 Error page is so cute, you can’t be that mad!

Have a Mobile-Friendly Site

It’s no surprise that a cell phone is as essential to some individuals’ survival as food and water these days. Look around as you walk down a street – most people will be holding a phone, whether they’re texting, surfing social media, looking up directions, or making a call. And they’re not just playing games and texting friends, they are also looking up information on what to do and where to go. In fact, 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.

It is incredibly important that your website is mobile optimized, as we are a generation where we find a majority of our information on mobile devices. 57% of people will not recommend a business to others if the business has a poorly designed mobile site! Yikes. Not only does a mobile-optimized site raise you in Google’s search rankings, but it also makes the user experience easier.

I can guarantee that a customer will be more likely to interact with your website if it is well formatted to the phone screen, quick to load, and does not require you to zoom in on a menu PDF (the most frequent frustration I myself run into). Not only does Google find mobile-friendly websites to be more legitimate, but they actually began penalizing websites that are not mobile optimized, which will lower that actual website in search results.

Have Social Media Icons

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram have proven to increase SEO, while also allowing you to self-advertise socially. The more social media available, the better. Customers like to know what they’re going to get, and social media sites often help exemplify what it is you offer. You can post high-quality photos and videos, use relevant hashtags, and even link out from social media to your website to drive traffic.

You should have social media links on your website to your social media accounts. This is a great way to market your information because customers will be able to easily share the social media links themselves, therefore giving your business free marketing. It’s easy to install social links on a website, and they often have cute little icons that are easily clickable to direct the customer to the more creative content of the business. The social media sites for brands are also often shown in search results for that business. This is great because people can easily look at your social sites to get more of a feel for your restaurant through the content you post socially.

You can also create social links that allow people to share your website content on their own social media channels. This is a great way to help your blogs and other content gain traction online (without you doing the work!)

Include Keywords (But not too many!)

Customers are looking up different phrases on the internet constantly. You want your content to include the keywords and phrases customers are searching for, that are relevant to your restaurant, because your site will appear in search results more frequently for those keywords. Try to stick with phrases (also known as long-tail keywords) instead of a single word, as customers are more likely to search for “strong spicy margaritas” as opposed to “margaritas.” Plus, long tail keywords are easier to rank for because they’re more specific and less generic.

Google’s ranking algorithm puts the importance of keyword’s at 15%, clearly stating that it’s an essential element of a website’s SEO.

While I stress the importance of including keywords in your content, try not to overdo it or else it can appear that you’re unnaturally marketing, and Google will penalize you for doing so. If you’re putting “strong spicy margarita” in every sentence, Google, and your readers, will catch on.

Choose keywords that you want to rank for, that are relevant to your business, and that you can create content around. You can even start off by doing your own keyword research to find out what people are searching in order to discover your website. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to help do so. Then, make sure you’re using those keywords in the copy on your site and incorporate them into blog posts (but remember, don’t “overstuff” your web pages with a keyword).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential process to consider when maintaining a business website. It is important to know how you rank in search results and how you can improve your ranking online. As mentioned, there are plenty of companies that specialize in SEO that would be happy to help you, but there are also DIY ways to get the job done. Use these 6 tips for improving your website’s SEO. Good luck!

Thanks for reading. Interested in improving your restaurant’s online presence? We can help! SinglePlatform puts your menu and business information accurately on the search, review, travel, and social sites people are using to find new restaurants. Get in touch today to learn how we can help you stand out everywhere that matters online.

8 Elements of a Stellar Website

You’ve heard it before and you’ll probably hear it again, having a website WILL in fact boost your online presence and drive customers through your doors more frequently. However, according to Espresso Digital, 29% of small businesses still don’t have websites! Is that you? If so, you’ll want to consider creating a digital presence. If you don’t, you’re missing the opportunity to attract new customers.

And when it comes to a website, it’s not just about the colors, photos, and fonts that make it (and you) successful. It’s important for your website to encompass user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing components in order for customers to engage and learn about your business. Luckily, you do not need years of web developing experience in order to create a satisfying user experience for your customers. From customer reviews to correct business information, here are ten necessary elements your website needs to be successful.

Essential Business Information

This one seems pretty obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many websites actually lack the essential information people are looking for. As a restaurant, you want people to visit your brick and mortar location. But, how will they get there if they don’t know where you’re located, and how will they know when to visit if your hours aren’t listed? It’s extremely disappointing for customers to receive inaccurate information online and then show up at your door, only to find out you’re actually closed! That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that your business information is easily found online & that it is always up to date. If you have seasonal hours or a change in location, make sure it is reflected online as soon as possible. Also make sure to have contact information, like a phone number and email, clearly available so customers can get in touch with you. The various search engine, travel, and review sites also show your business information, so make sure it’s accurate in all those places as well.

Your Business’ Story

It might seem obvious, but it’s important to keep in mind that when someone comes across your website, they may not know what the heck you offer. Many potential customers may stumble upon your site while doing research on sites like Google and Yelp, which is why it’s necessary to offer a full description of who you are and what you offer. Are you a restaurant serving traditional Italian cuisine? Make that obvious on the homepage! You can also have a separate “About Us” page that tells customers about your business’ history, staff, and cuisine. Creating a story about your brand helps to paint a picture in customers’ minds and shows them how you’re unique.

Proof in the Pictures

You know the age-old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. Although it’s cliche, it’s true. Customers want to see what they’re going to get before they walk in your doors. You should showcase your business by having high-quality photos of your food and atmosphere on your site. Having professional photos is a plus because no one wants to click on a URL and find the home screen to be blurry and headache inducing. Pictures are part of your story and overall brand persona, so be sure to have clear and enticing images that will make customers want to come to visit you. We also know that customers can be quite impatient, so having images load quickly is helpful as well. Having images that load quickly will not only improve the user experience, it will actually help raise your SEO.

SEO, the Way to Go

If you’re tech-savvy, you’ve probably heard this acronym many times before. But, for those who aren’t focused as much on technology, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. We’ve discussed those sites like Google, Bing, and Yelp already, but SEO directly relates to how your business website performs on these sites. Of course, if you’re a Mexican restaurant in NYC and someone types in “Mexican food in NYC” you want to show up! SEO ensures that your business is at the top of search results for relevant keywords and searches. Getting technical is essential for a well-performing website, and SEO is key to making sure you’re being discovered online. According to Main Street ROI, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results! Some simple ways to increase and strengthen your SEO include using correct keywords, using numerous links, and adding as many videos and images as possible. With over 85% of consumer engagement with brands being local,  it’s essential to be in the places where people are looking for your business!

Showcased Positive Reviews

In today’s society, customer reviews have become one of the most influential versions of modern day word of mouth. 92% of people read online reviews! I can’t tell you the number of times a negative review on Yelp has discouraged me from heading into a restaurant or ordering a piece of clothing online. People’s opinions matter and have a lot of influence on others’ decisions, so use this to your advantage! There’s no shame in exemplifying good reviews and testimonials on your website in order to prove your business’ value and experience with past customers. I can guarantee you that potential customers will take reviews into consideration when deciding whether or not to dine with you, so make sure you put those positive reviews in front of them!

A Simple URL

This may seem obvious, but there are tons of websites floating around out there with ridiculously long website URLs, and some may not even work. This is a basic, yet important, component for your website. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. Your domain name should reflect your brand and if .com is available, take it! I would recommend as little special characters (like $!%) as possible- aka anything other than letters and numbers. It will just make things all around easier for the customer to find you & easily type in your website address if they need to.

An Interesting Blog

Now, this may not seem like a necessary addition to a website, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to have some creative and quality content on your website. Not only does a blog help with your website’s SEO, but it can also easily be shared on social media sites to give you even more content to post socially. Make sure your blog content is relevant and useful for your customers because having irrelevant fillers is just a waste of your time! If you’re a restaurant, write about top trends in the industry, inform your customers about new events and specials, and even do employee spotlights about your staff. Creating a blog presence helps to show off what makes your business special & adds a human touch to your website.


Make sure your website is responsive and user-friendly, so it will appear aesthetically pleasing whether people are searching on their laptops or their phones. Nearly 60% of searches are happening from mobile devices, so you want to make sure your website looks great on any type of technology. The navigation bar, which should include important sections like Menu/Products/Services, About Us, Contact Us, and Testimonials should be responsive on both desktop screens and smartphones so that this information is always easy to get to. Having an easy-to-use website that loads quickly and is clear and efficient on the eye is necessary for customer engagement. Not only is it important to have an inviting landing page, but also to include the business information in multiple tabs and pages that the customer can easily look through to find exactly what it is they are looking for (and maybe even some information they didn’t know they were looking for!)

A website is your brand’s online storefront. Just as you strive to make your business eye-catching on the exterior, you want to do the same with your online presence. Use these 8 tips as guidelines for creating an awesome (and user-friendly!) site.

About the Author: Sophia Lesser is an Account Manager at SinglePlatform, where she onboards and orients new customers, designs websites, and offers support throughout her day. When she’s not working with small businesses she is usually exploring NYC and going to different music shows around Brooklyn.

4 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Mobile

Chances are, you’re already hosting a website for your small business. But with the number of mobile web viewers growing each year, it’s just as important for your site to perform great on mobile as it is on a PC. So how do you go about optimizing your current site for mobile? Here are 4 ideas to get you started:

1. Prioritize Content that Mobile Users Want

Take a look at your current site’s analytics to see which pages mobile users are visiting most. Once you’ve identified the most popular mobile content, you can adjust your site structure and design to help users find what they’re looking for more quickly.

2. Streamline Your Website Design for Better Mobile Usage

Mobile users want sites that load quickly, use simple navigation, and provide key information up front. Consider how you can adjust your current site (or, if building a separate mobile site, how you can rethink your existing content and organization) to be as simple and accessible as possible.

3. Test Mobile Performance

Review your site on every mobile device, operating system, and browser you can get your hands on. If you find something that doesn’t look or perform the way you expect, get it fixed. Anything that frustrates you will also frustrate your viewers—and unhappy viewers are unlikely to do business with you or recommend your business to others.

4. Keep Improving

As more users begin to interact with your mobile site, it’s important to monitor their activity and behavior so that you can continue to optimize your content. The needs of potential customers may change over time—and your site should change with them.

The Bottom Line

Putting your visitors first, whether in person or online, is the best way to land and retain new customers. Optimizing your site for mobile is just one way you can better serve consumers. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help.

How to Create the Most Effective Call-to-Action Button for Your Website

For small business owners, finding new ways to initiate and drive online conversions should top your to-do list. Considering conversions indicate people are engaging with your business, ensuring you make it easy for them to do so by including a call-to-action on your website is essential in increasing reach and expanding your customer base.

Whether you want people to subscribe to an email list, book a reservation or appointment online, or purchase directly from your website, an effective call-to-action button can help your business achieve that.

To help your business increase conversions, here’s how to entice prospective customers to click your call-to-action button:

1. Do Your Research

To better understand what kind of call-to-action button would work most effectively on your website, research what your customers like best about your business. Whether you offer a best-selling deal on your service or a popular happy hour, research what draws customers to your business. This information is key in designing your call-to-action button; the better tailored your button is to the interests of your customers, the higher your conversion rate will be.

2. Clarity is Key

Once you decide what the best call-to-action is for your business, the copy on your button should be clear and concise. Directly state the action they’re about to take with no more than five compelling words; the most important aspect of your copy is that it’s straightforward. When a customer clicks a call-to-action button and it leads them somewhere unexpected, they may feel misled or lose trust in your business.

3. Location Matters

Considering 55% of people will spend 15 seconds or fewer on a website, the placement of your call-to-action button is extremely important. Ensure that your call-to-action button is one of the first things potential consumers see on your site to increase the likelihood they click it.

4. Contrasting Colors

While the location of your call-to-action button is important, contrasting its color against your website to make it stand out is key. While research hasn’t concluded what color is most effective, green and orange have been reported to perform the best. Not only is the color of the button important, creating white space around it is another attention-grabber. Ensuring your call-to-action button can be easily picked out on your page will ultimately increase clicks and drive conversions.

5. Urgency is Important

Motivate people to convert by creating a sense of urgency. This is a simple way to reach your business goals faster. When people feel a product or service will soon be unavailable to them, they are more inclined to sign up, make an appointment, or purchase right away. Using phrases like “limited time offer” and “today only” in your call-to-action copy will provoke a sense of immediacy, motivating them to act now rather than later.

Understanding how to incorporate your call-to-action button into your online presence will encourage your customers to not only interact with your business, but also take the steps to convert with it. Use these tips to design your call-to-action button to increase your business’s conversion rate, while simultaneously helping you fulfill your business goals. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your business.

Five Simple Ways (& Three Free Tools) to Optimize Your Local Business Website

As a local business owner, selling your products or services is the most important thing on your to-do list. While focusing on in-person sales is crucial for revenue and important for your business’s foundation, your website is often the first impression prospective customers have of your business.

Considering 97% of consumers search online for products and services, ensuring your local business is equipped to receive these potential customers through a well-done website is essential. Designing it to be mobile-optimized is also crucial; 96% of smartphone users have researched a product or service on their mobile device.

Since 60% of small businesses don’t have a website at all, creating a website for your business will not only attract online searchers to you; it will also give you an advantage over your competitors who aren’t online.

To help you get started, here is a compilation of the most important components you should have on your website:

1. Cover the Basics

Creating a website for your business may seem like a daunting task, especially if you aren’t tech savvy. However, your website doesn’t have to be complicated, or even fancy; first, it just has to be there. Start by including the most important information about your business, such as your name, address, and phone number in the footer. Make it easy for customers to either visit you or call with any questions.

Next, add some key messages and a list of your products or services, letting customers know what exactly it is you offer, and how you differ from your competitors.

Choosing a Content Management System (CMS): WordPress and Squarespace are the most user-friendly, cost-effective (WordPress is free!) options for creating a website without paying a pricey developer.

2. Use (Simple) Design to Your Advantage

After you have the basics down, it’s important that your website’s design is aesthetically pleasing without distracting people from the point of it: your product or service. Using your home page (the page most people are directed to from a search engine or review site) to showcase your most popular products or services as well your contact information is an effective way to grab consumers’ attention right away.

No-design design: There are many free and inexpensive templates available on ThemeForest and MojoMarketplace to get you started.

3. Help them spend money

Enticing them to take action when they come across your website, whether it’s to book a reservation or call for a price quote, gets them to consider your business as an option to fulfill their needs. Calling people to action as soon as they open your website will ultimately make them more likely to do business with you.

Make it easy to transact: Most online food ordering, reservation and booking SaaS businesses will have an easy-to-install widget that will create a button or section of your site where it’s easy for someone to convert.  For a list of popular options, click here. (link to your other article!)

4. Make it Fast & Easy to Navigate

40% of customers will leave a website if it doesn’t load within three seconds, so there’s no time to waste. People are searching to find specific information that will meet their needs; if your website makes it hard for them to find what they’re looking for, they will look elsewhere.

Put only the most important things in your navigation bar, typically Home, About Us, Menu / Services / Prices, and Contact Us are sufficient. By organizing the information on your website into digestible sections, you make it easy for customers to quickly access the information they’re looking for.

Speed checker: Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool will tell you if your site needs a boost.

5. Add Insights, Photos, and Updates

Give customers a reason to come back to your website frequently by offering them relevant product or service updates, industry-related information, news, or blog posts. When you provide customers with more than a transaction, you establish credibility while enforcing how much your business cares about customers’ experience with you.

No time? No problem: Update posts don’t need to be lengthy. 100-300 words, once every week or two, is sufficient to improve your SEO value and show customers you care about their interests.

Creating a website that makes it easy for consumers to discover you, purchase from you and interact with the content you post can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty as well as your business’s revenue.

To learn how SinglePlatform can help manage your small business’s online presence, click here.

Google’s New Tool for Small Business Websites

Living in the heart of the digital age, ensuring your small business has an active and up to date online presence is necessary for keeping up in a competitive market. Realizing this, Google has rolled out a new tool to help small business owners check how compatible their websites are with mobile and desktop, as well as how fast they load on each.

Generating scores for your website based on mobile-friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed, Google creates a report that ranks your website in each category and then allows you to see which aspects of your site need to be fixed in order to improve your score. 

This tool improves upon the previous one available from Google. The previous tool was only able to tell you if your site was or wasn’t mobile-friendly, without telling you how exactly to make your site better. With the detailed report, Google pinpoints your problem areas, allowing you to see exactly which areas are slowing your site down or making it less mobile-friendly. 

Considering that the number of searches completed on mobile has surpassed the number of searches completed on desktop, using Google’s new tool to ensure your small business is up to speed will ultimately increase your overall discoverability on the web.

SinglePlatform helps small business owners manage their online presence. Get started today!

8 Reasons Mobile Matters for Local Businesses

In our on-the-go, digital-obsessed world, mobile is more important than ever before. If your small business doesn’t have a mobile-optimized site, than you’re customers might not be able to find you on all their devices. Not convinced? Check out these eight reasons why mobile matters for your local business.

Your business needs mobile and SinglePlatform can help with that. Mobile optimization is available to all of our customers at no additional fee. Contact us to learn more. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more insights about your business.