January 26, 2015
A Recipe For Perfect Meta Data: Tips & Examples for Restaurants
One of the quickest and easiest things a restaurant can do to improve their Google rankings and search visibility is to optimise their meta tags. This article is going to outline some of the key things to consider when writing your tags and back up these tips with real-world examples of well performing restaurant sites.
OK, so the first thing you need to know is: What is a meta tag?
Basic meta tags consist of a “page title” and “description” which tell the search engines what that page is all about which helps you rank for relevant searches. Therefore it is important to insert keywords where appropriate.
Additionally, meta data is what shows in the search results* so it is important to make it intriguing and click-worthy too.
*Sometimes Google will choose to change the meta data displayed to match the search query at the time.
Note: You may have heard people talk about the “meta keywords” tag in SEO. While some primitive search engines still use this information, the top search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing & more) completely ignore it so there is no point wasting your time on this. Additionally it can help competitors see which keywords you are targeting…
Before we crack on with some real examples and suggestions lets take a quick look at what you should be aware of when crafting your titles and descriptions.
- Every title and description should be unique, no two pages should be the same. The reason for this is if the search engines suspect two pages are very similar, they may choose to not index one of them. This could mean missing out on potential traffic.
- Branding is important, not only to searchers but also search engines. Hungry searchers are more likely to engage with restaurants and eateries they recognise – be it because they have had a good experience before and know what to expect, or a friend’s recommendation may have stuck in their head. Additionally, you want to make sure that you are ranking for your restaurant’s name (or similar terms).
McDonald’s ranks for it’s own name as well as nicknames “Maccy D’s” and “Macca’s”.
3. Use keywords appropriately in your titles so that your site ranks for relevant searches. More important keywords should be used towards the start for added benefit, and use synonyms in the description if fitting. Keywords in a description are not a ranking factor but may help with click-through-rate.
4. Be aware of maximum character lengths to afford truncating (as demonstrated in the example below). Typically search engines allow for 55-60 characters (including spaces) for titles and 150-160 characters for description. However, for results on a mobile, character limits are even less.
OK, so now we have cleared that up, what should you be aiming for? We look at 5 common restaurant site pages and give you tips below…
This is your most important and therefore you must blend branding and one or two keywords in your title. In the description you should give a brief overview of what diners can expect and squeeze in a call-to-action if you can. I recommend adding a location(s) as well if you have space.
Las Iguanas has failed to optimise their homepage title beyond a bog-standard brand name and will struggle to rank for a search for a particular type of restaurant. Additionally, the description tells me nothing about the restaurant itself which isn’t very inviting.
I personally prefer to capitalise words in page titles but that is by no means a rule. Here, Host tell us that they are all about the customer experience and quality but not much else. While this may help CTR (click through rate), it won’t help them to rank for appropriate keywords such as [european cuisine] or [restaurant bishop stortford].
I love Chilango’s meta data. The have important keywords such as [Mexican], [Burritos] and [London] in their title and go into more detail in their description. Additionally, their brand features in both title and description.
If you have multiple restaurants, having a page for your site for each is important to be able to optimise for local searches such as [italian restaurant in brixton]. You will want to list some of the key localities/areas you operate in here as well as the type of restaurant you are.
In the example above we can see that Strada have targeted terms such as [modern], [italian], [covent garden] [london] and various dishes. Therefore they have a good chance of ranking for queries such as “pasta restaurant in London” and “Italian restaurants Covent Garden”.
Wahaca do an awesome job of injecting some personality into each of their unique restaurants. Here users get a feel for the restaurant before walking through the doors. One recommendation I have is to include the type of cuisine for customers not familiar with the Wahaca brand.
Offer vegan, halal or special types of foods? Highlight them on this page. Type of cuisine(s) is vital too.
Wagamama do a good job of highlighting the cuisines as well as key dishes (with potential keywords) in their description.
The Ritz add weight to their offering by showcasing their chef but leave their menu fairly open to changes by simply specifying “seasonal menus” using british produce.
Gordon Ramsay’s menus are categorised by type (in this case grill) but is fairly standard. However, they do have a call-to-action (view menus) at the end which you may consider doing yourself.
Bring your locations, contact number and email address to the forefront here. Your number one goal is to get a reservation so make it easy for people to book!
This is an example of a poor title and description – or at least one that won’t do Vanilla Black any favours in getting visibility or bookings.
Amico Di Amici give brief directions in their description but would benefit from a phone number in the title or at least a promise of an email address/number on the page in their description
Although a little messy and hard to process at first glance, Il Forno’s meta description contains the main elements i’d like to see as a potential diner – including car parking details! Perfect.
Do you offer a takeaway or delivery service? People are actively looking for this and will use appropriate keywords to find options so make sure you include variances within your tags.
Pho includes address details which will help them rank for searches such as [thai delivery south london] even if the description is a little messy. On a side note, if you are looking for website/content inspiration for your restaurant, Pho have it down!
Again, another restaurant targeting takeaway searches in London very well. Cinnamon Soho are pretty bold with their opening “Arguably, the best lunch takeaway in London” but I like it and people are likely going to be intrigued to click it which is exactly what they want.
Yo! Sushi target terms such as [delivery], [takeaway], [order] and [catering] all within one set of tags without it sounding too much – very cleverly done.
I hope this has given you a little inspiration to go back and assess your meta data for your restaurant. There is no one correct way to do things but hopefully these tips will get you on the right path.
If you have any questions about any of the above, feel free to call us or drop us an email. Additionally…