Local marketing for restaurants & small businesses

What is local marketing?

Local digital marketing refers to strategies that target regional audiences located near your business, with a goal of driving traffic to your website. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a key component in any digital marketing strategy. The goal of SEO is to improve the quality and quantity of website traffic from search engines to your website.

SEO helps Google, Bing and whatever other search engine your potential customers are using to recognize your business, understand the services your business provides, and displays it appropriately in search results. The higher you can rank with search engines, the better your chance of appearing in search results, including in Google Maps. This means more website traffic, more conversions, brand visibility and awareness, and a higher return on investment.

Google map SEO
Google map search

If someone searches for ‘restaurants near me’, or ‘buck a shuck Toronto’ on Google for instance, a good digital strategy will ensure your business shows up first in search results if it fits the search criteria. A local strategy is key for a business that is tied to a physical location, such as restaurants, bars, pubs, salons, and spas. Getting your business to rank locally is quite easy, and best of all, inexpensive.

This is a beginners guide to SEO in 5 easy steps. Get your business ranking today!

1. Have a Website

First off, you need a website. There are lots of free website hosting and website builders out there if you do not have a budget to hire a web developer.

Squareup is great for restaurants, retail services and professional business allowing for consumers to order and pay online, accept curbside pickup and delivery. Customers can book appointments and even buy gift cards all online.

Squareup sample free website
Sample of a free website we created using Squareup

Other low cost options include Wix, Squarespace, and Wordpress.

If SEO is done correctly, people that show interest in visiting your business, or are searching for your services will come across your website. Therefore, it is important to have at minimum, your hours of operations, your preferred method of contact (phone, email), and your business address.

If you take reservations or appointments, display it on your website as well, and link to where people can go to book with you. If you have multiple services, make sure you have a link to this. If you run a restaurant, upload a menu.

2. Optimize Your Website and Page Content

A content optimization strategy is the practice of making your content relevant, results driven, and search engine friendly. This means your page should load quickly (within a second or two). Keywords should be thought-out and visible in your title tags (H1 headings), image tags, and meta description for your page. Your webpage should be mobile friendly (easily viewed on a mobile phone screen).

To speed up your webpage load time, use photos that are sized appropriately for the browser and screen. You do not need a 5MB, 2090px image when a typical screen size is only 1280p. Use modern image formats such as WEBP when possible to create smaller, richer images that can load much faster. We use online-convert to help us convert and compress files.

Do not leave important text burried in images. If you have text in an image that reads ‘buck a shuck wednesday’ for instance, Google will not be able to understand this. This means, users searching for oyster deals will not be able to find your business. Instead, use a title like ‘Daily Specials’ with a text that specifically reads ‘buck-a-shuck oysters every Wednesday along with your image.

Do not leave text burried in images

Do not constantly delete or rename pages if it contains valuable information. Search engines can take up to 60 days to discover a webpage. If you remove, rename, or delete a page, only to show the same information somewhere else, search engines will not be able to find your updated information fast enough to display your page in search results. If the page has already been indexed by the search engine, a broken page link may be displayed to your potential costumer if the page has been moved or deleted.

We see this all the time, where a happy hour promotion page gets deleted when the promotion is no longer on, and then the page gets re-added when the promotion comes back in next season. – That’s a big NO NO! Just add a comment on the page that lets users know the promotion is currently on hold or will come back in x time. Search engines need time to pick up text on your page, so be patient and you will be rewarded with increase traffic.

If you provide more than one service, list them out on separate pages. For example, a page might be called ‘Restaurant’, while another page would be called ‘Catering’, all linking from your home page. This will help create a separate search result to your ‘Catering’services landing page when potential customers search for ‘catering services near me.’

3. Add Your Business to Local Directories

Search engines can work in mysterious ways. One thing we know for sure is that Google and other search engines use backlinks (links that link to your website) to understand the credibility and local relevance of your website. The more credible these backlinks are, the more credibility will be attributed to your website.

The easiest way to get credible backlinks? – Local Business directories such as Google for Business and Yelp!

When you are creating your business profiles on these directories, make sure in your business description, you are not just copying and pasting the same text every time. Try and alter them a tad to make your pitch unique and broaden your context. For example, one description might say, ‘Located in Old Toronto, ABC Bar is an Italian inspired kitchen, known for wood fired pizzas, chill vibes and an amazing backyard patio.’ Another description could read, ‘Enjoy wood-fired pizzas, pastas and sandwiches in downtown Toronto with a focus on organic and seasonal produce.’

These 5 directories are a must for any local business:

  • Google My Business
  • Bing Places
  • Yelp for Business
  • Foursquare for Business
  • Yellow Pages for Business

  • Okay, feel free to stop here if that is all the time you have. You are already ranking ahead of many small businesses we see.

    If you have time, here a few more you can add your business to:

  • http://www.freeglobalclassifiedads.com/
  • https://www.ourbis.ca/en
  • https://www.fyple.ca/
  • https://www.n49.com/
  • https://www.profilecanada.com/
  • https://www.canadianplanet.net/
  • Weblocal.ca
  • https://ca.misterwhat.com/
  • https://ca.enrollbusiness.com/
  • https://www.cylex-canada.ca/
  • https://www.hotfrog.ca/
  • Cdnpages.ca
  • https://www.hotfrog.ca/
  • https://localtorontobusiness.ca/
  • Theblurb.ca
  • ibegin.com
  • http://www.localsites.ca/article/add-site-7.asp
  • Canadaone.com
  • https://www.breken.com/
  • https://www.smallbizpages.ca/
  • Canpages.ca
  • Weblocal.ca
  • Zipleaf.ca
  • https://www.storeboard.com/
  • http://www.lacartes.com/
  • http://www.canadianbusinessdirectory.ca/

  • If your business offers promotions, daily or hourly specials, you can add your business for free to Dealiem here.

    4. Social Media and Social Interactions

    This part is much more time consuming, and requires some dedication, but will help with building an audience. Set your business profile up on these social media accounts, and at minimum, create a link to your webpage so users can find your business online. If you can get content interaction, likes, shares, saves, and comments, Google will like you a little bit more.

    This is also a great way for free content and publicity. Users that frequent your business will 'check in' to your location, or post about their experience. You can reshare, retweet, or repost these interactions to your social media accounts. If customers leave you a review (good or bad), remember to respond.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

  • 5. Backlink Outreach

    Backlinks serve as votes of confidence for search engines. The more backlinks you have, and the more credible these sources are, the higher you will rank within search results. Therefore, you should always be promoting your website.

    Bloggers, local organizations and news outlets love to support their community, so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you are featured, ask for a link to your website to be included in the article, search engines will love you a little bit more.

    6. Add content to your website

    This is probably the least fun, and most time consuming for many people. But done consistently, it will bring organic traffic to your website time and time again.

    Google 'Happy Hour Toronto' for instance. Chances are, blogs will show up on page one. Heck, I'm sure Dealiem's blog on Happy Hour is on page one! We were able to rank on page 1 just by following these 6 steps!

    Own a business?

    See how Dealiem can increase traffic and expand your marketing reach by registering your business today. It’s 100% free, we promise.