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Customers Are Searching Online. Will They Find You?

If a customer is new to the area and wants to eat Mexican food (or Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Thai, Mediterranean or Indian—whatever type of cuisine for that matter), what do you think would he do? Do you think he would go around the neighborhood and look for the place, or look for a restaurant he likes in the yellow pages?

No. Chances are they would simply Google it.

They would type “Mexican restaurant Orlando” into the search box and will be presented with page after page of results in the location, and choose whichever seems to have the most scrumptious dishes in their menu or menu card holder.

So try putting yourself in your potential customer’s shoes and type your search words (your type of cuisine then your city) in Google’s search box. Once you hit enter, Google will give you a page containing the top 7 results it drew from its system, with review ratings and review counts underneath the restaurant name. If you’re not part of the first seven, click Google’s Place Page, or the one that says “more results near Orlando, Florida (or your city).”

Now you’re on Google’s Place Page, showing all restaurants in the city that you entered in the search box. This page exhibits your restaurant to potential new customers on Google. Can you easily spot your business in the list, or are you buried in page 8 of the results? After seeing your restaurant, still putting yourself in your potential customer’s shoes, would you have the inclination to dine there?

If you find yourself giving an honest answer of “no,” (you might indeed be buried on Page 8, or 4, or 2) no need to panic. It’s still possible to bring your business to Page 1, and it is still possible to come up with a more attractive listing. It would take some effort, of course, and it would entail time; you can assign one employee or you can do it yourself.

There are step-by-step guides featured online, and the guide details that you do the following:

1. Claim the page.

2. Customize the listing by adding photos, details, coupons, videos or enticing food items on your menu and menu card holders.

3. Take stock of the restaurant’s reviews and encourage your happy, regular customers to write good reviews so you can improve the restaurant’s star rating.

4. Expand and reinforce your online presence by adding your listing on different online directories and review platforms. In doing this, you have to ensure that the name and contact information of the restaurant is consistent in all of them.

There are more to do, but that’s the general picture. Looking after your online presence does not end with steps 1 to 4, as it is a continuing process of monitoring, updating, submitting listings, responding and encouraging customers’ engagement. The results is sure to bring you more business (translated: more sales) and will be in direct proportion to the efforts you put in.

Or you might not be willing to put in all that effort and decide to hire the services of local marketing experts who can do this for you. They will set up and manage your local listings on Yahoo, Google and Bing, and assist you in propelling your restaurant’s listing to Page 1.

So there. After all’s been said, we would like to stress once again that in these days when just about everyone we know relies on the internet, your online presence is very necessary to stay in business. Customers search online –it’s imperative that they be able to find you.