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How To Get Your Hospitality Business Found In Google

Written by Digital Impact Solutions on February 24, 2016
If you are in the hospitality niche, whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or bar, you will know the importance of good online visibility. TripAdvisor now has major influence and bad reviews can seriously hurt your reputation and drive away prospective customers.

However TripAdvisor is not the only way to to promote your business online, there are other ways one of these being an optimised Google Map Listing.


With 80% of local visitors visiting premises as a result of finding them in the local map listing, it is well worth the effort in optimising your business.

Here we outline the steps you need to take, to rank here effectively and more importantly get customers asking for directions, making a reservation or ringing to book a table.
 
  1. Optimise Your Website - This is mainly for new businesses as the first step, as most restaurants, bars or hotels will already have a Google Map Listing setup. You need to pay attention to key areas of the site as below.
  • Meta Tags – These are the words that appear when you do a Google Search for anything and play a part in helping Google decide what it is your business does and where you are based. I would make sure that you pay attention to this. The important meta tags are <title> and <meta description> Here we see how they look in a Google Search:



The first part is called the title tag and this needs to contain both the important phrases people will type in to find your business and the area the map listing is optimised for. (you have a maximum of 64 characters to play with here). The second part is the meta description and usually contains a sentence or two with a call to action. (no more than 160 characters long). Depending upon how your website is built will determine how you edit these.
 
  • Body Text – Content is king! Having your keyword phrases repeated unnecessarily is not only frowned upon by search engines but also will cause your visitors to leave your website. Concentrate on pointing out the features and benefits of your establishment, separated with paragraphs. I would mention your main keyphrases only 3 times maximum per 300 words of content. Try and create as much rich content as possible but don’t make it sound too robotic.
  • Pictures – Invest in high quality pictures of your establishment, food or menus and tag them appropriately. Again don’t go overboard in using keywords here or you will over-optimise your site. You will need plenty of photos for your map listing setup.
  • Call To Action – make sure your phone number is visible on your site, usually at the top of your site, a contact us form on the home page means potential customers can easily contact you should they want more details
  • Footer – I would recommend putting the address of your site here (very important for your map listing), I would also highly recommend a schema markup
  • Make sure you have at least 5 pages of content, normally called a brochure website.
 
  1. Setup Your Map Listing
If you have already done this, don’t skip this section, as a good optimised map listing is the key to jumping above your competitors.
 
  • The first thing you are going to want to do is sign up here https://www.google.com/business/ (you will need a google account). First do a search and make sure you don’t already have a listing, and fill in your main contact details (make sure these match exactly what is on your website address known as your NAP (name, address and phone number). Also make sure you choose the category that best matches your audience (chicken restaurant, Chinese restaurant, bar) etc.

(don’t put keywords in your business name or the area you cover unless it’s actually in your business name).
 
  • Press continue and you will then get a message about validating your listing. This will mean Google will send a postcard to your address, with a pin number to validate the details are correct. This may take two to four weeks to arrive. Enter the code to move on to the rest of the listing.


 

Make sure you fill in as much information as possible and link it back to your website. Opening hours and a decent description (mention your main keyword phrases once), will be the difference between people contacting you or another establishment.
 
  • Photos – Here is the chance to make your business shine and if you’re a fairly new business odds are the other competitors won’t have taken advantage of this. Upload a main picture for the map listing (make sure it’s high quality), your logo and then I would recommend a decent photo of the outside of your premises. You will then be guided through to interior, exterior, menu photos, team photos. Food and drink photos. Again this is where a professional photographer pays off. Not only will the more information you fill in here mean better rankings, but it will also show potential customers what exactly your premises look like, the ambiance they can expect and show your food in the best possible light.
 
  1. Citations And Links – The third and probably most important part of the strategy is making sure you name, address and phone number appear in local directories, called citations. The more citations you get the better chance you have of gaining that all important top three listing. You can find many local links but some you may want to consider are featured in this blog post http://www.nexuswebsites.co.uk/top-15-free-uk-business-directories/ (make sure this matches what is on your website and map listing)
 
  1. Reviews – Getting good quality reviews of your map listing can be gained both ways, organically through people visiting your listing or earned through third party software (never try and artificially promote your map listing through false reviews, this can permanently cause your listing to be removed). Once piece of software I recommend is https://www.getfivestars.com/ this will handle the process for you and can be a great customer service tool. Encourage visitors to give you their email address and get feedback about the service they received whilst building up your reviews. It will take them through the process of leaving you a review and also present you a with a handy widget you can place on your website with the reviews shown for potential customers. Just a quick note on reviews ALWAYS respond to any negative reviews or reviews with only one or two stars. If you address the customer it will show other potential customers you care.
Of course if you all this seems too much you could always get in touch and we would be happy to use our expertise to help your business through the required steps. Just fill in the contact us form, email or call us on 07866036701. You can download a FREE sheet of tips here.
 
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