I recently spent some time in Seattle working for a well known restaurant down there. I was invited to work on site to not only get a feel for their business in person, but help generate some cool content to use as linkbait. The overall experience was rewarding and allowed me to build links for a niche I never really have before. The amount of unique link building options for a restaurant was an eye opener, and hopefully these tips get your place off and running.
The local search market is getting more crowded every week, and ranking well involves many factors. If you’re in a large city like Seattle, things can be even more difficult. The best way to attract someone to your restaurant is easily your food, right? With that being said, food content is king! The first step I took with this business was bringing in a local photographer to shoot all of their dishes for not only their website, but for use in our social media campaigns. Their website only had a few pictures in all, and half were just interior shots of the restaurant….this wouldn’t do! So before you set out to score some links, make sure you have juicy shots of that beautiful food ready for use in your link building efforts.
Tip 1) Group Deal Sites
With the exploding popularity of group deal websites like Groupon, Living Social and others, you should not ignore these any longer. The first obvious benefit is the opportunity to expand your brand throughout your community, and secondly lies the gold mine of quality link building opportunities. Most of these sites offer great links within your businesses profile which only goes to add to the diversity of your link profile…something were a huge advocate of!
Tip 2) Zagat Rated
Restaurants love to hear feedback, and having a great Zagat rating is a great honor for any kitchen. Being listed on Zagat’s website also comes with a link among other things, but for this article we’ll just stick to that. You can even get a sticker to remind customer’s that they can also take part and rate your restaurant online. Don’t be afraid to embrace the user review because you’re going to get one whether you like it or not.
Tip 3) Local Food Bloggers
Almost every town in North America and Europe has a food critic or blogger, and they’re prime targets for scoring a link as well as extra exposure. We invited one prominent local foodie come out for a lovely evening with her husband which eventually ended up on her food blog with some nice brand links. The restaurant also noticed social mentions due to her Tweeting about it, logging into the restaurant via Foursquare and traffic from her Facebook Page. This also resulted in our client restaurant in getting nearly 50 new Facebook Page fans of their own which will result in a decent amount of revenue in the future.
Tip 4) Urbanspoon.com
This is perhaps one of the best know restaurant review sites out there for every time of local eatery…no matter if you’re McDonalds, some food stand on 5th street or the best known luxury spot in town. This site ranks very well for keywords you’re going to want to rank for, plus you get a nice link out of it. You can also take advantage of linking out to other reviews of your place which gives more link juice to those reviews. All in all, good stuff!
Tip 5) Local Business & Restaurant Directories
Every city has a good number of local business directories, all in which will have a restaurant/food section. While directory links are not the hottest these days, it doesn’t hurt at all to be listed here. You may not get a huge amount of link juice, but you will also benefit from the local search traffic they get. The same goes for restaurant directories, not the hottest but there is a decent amount of them out there. Just fire up Google (or your favorite search engine), and try a search for restaurant directory, or even better yet, try and break it down locally. It doesn’t take up much of your time, some will have a small fee but at least you’re continuing on building a more diverse link portfolio.
Tip 6) Foursquare
Foursquare is another great way to socially get active within your community, it’s also another great place to snag a link. Venues do get a link here, and the more active your page is the better off you’re going to be. If you’re already not on there, dive in and setup some wicked deals for the local mayor. Our restaurant offered up to $30 worth of free drinks to its mayor and it’s generating a lot of buzz after only two weeks of going live. You can also jump on board with Gowalla, Yelp Check-ins and even Facebook’s if you’re feeling frisky.
Tip 7) Competitor Backlink Analysis
This was mega handy when we were link building for our client restaurant. We made a list of 30 of the top restaurants in Seattle and went ahead and dug out all their backlinks. We used OpenSiteExplorer as well as Link Diagnosis to quickly make the rounds, and what we came up with made our job that much easier. We found over 100 quality linking opportunities by doing this and managed to score dozens of links from them within the first 72 hours of working that week. If you’re in a large city you’ll find a lot of hidden resources by doing this so don’t overlook it, even if you’re not a SEO consultant.