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SEO pillars

THE SEARCH RANKING QUESTIONS

Restaurant SEO

Recently I was asked these two questions by the owner of a new sushi restaurant that just opened up:

“Why are we not on the top of Google for ‘sushi’ in our town?”

“Can you bring us to the top in a week?”

The food is delicious, the service is great, the atmosphere is right, the grand-opening sign is high up outside. We observed customers are happy and satisfied when they tried the food.

So indeed – why this new business is not showing up on top of Google search results when people are looking for sushi in this town? As the matter of fact, this new restaurant is ranked lower when you search on your phone. Similar  low search rankings are found on Bing and Yahoo for this new business.

THE 3 SEARCH PILLARS

3 Pillars of SEO

To understand what is happening in search for this restaurant, we first have to accept these 3 building pillars for higher search ranking for any business:

SEARCH PILLAR #1: What do YOU say about your business?

How well are you describing your business online? Are you providing content precise and truthful about your services and products? Is your content providing values to your customers? How is your content appear on mobile devices – on phones and tablets? How is your content appear on mobile devices?  Google has said over half of searches are coming from phones and tablets.

 

SEARCH PILLAR #2: What do your CUSTOMERS say about your business?

How are customers reviewing your business on Yelp, Google, other local search, review,  yellow pages sites? Are they happy with or hate your business? Do they say they will be coming back?

 

SEARCH PILLAR #3: What does your COMMUNITY say about your business?

How popular is your business in your town? Are you getting positive mentions and stories from local publishers and bloggers, and authoritative review and service sites in your line of business?

 

Google and other search engines will do whatever it takes to bring the most relevant results to people who search. We believe these 3 search pillars collectively summarize what search engines are looking when ranking your business against your competitors. Especially for a new business, we’ll also have to take a look at how high the pillars of the local competitors are. What we will have to do is catch up and beat them in their own game!

SEARCH PILLAR BUILDING

Our road map for building these search pillars:

How to build Pillar #1

Time frame: short

  1. Website: make sure client website has precise and engaging content that visually appealing to customers. The website should be search engine optimized with the right keywords and information
  2. Local Listings: publish your business to all local search (Google, Bing, Yahoo), map, review (Yelp and others), directory, yellow pages sites and (new) in-car and mobile navigation apps. The content to publish includes both basic NAP (name/address/phone) profile, comprehensive profile (about, history, chefs, menu), visual content (images/videos), and promotions (specials, messages).
  3. Social media: created business accounts/pages on all major social media sites relevant to your business, for example, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.
  4. Content fresh: Create a content plan and update customers regularly, daily preferred and weekly is the minimum, to web sites, local publishers, your social media places.

 

How to build Pillar #2:

Time frame: longer

  1. Monitor customer reviews on Yelp, Google and other sites that are important to your business
  2. In-time engage with your customers on their reviews: say thank-you and invite customers to come again; answer questions when they ask; respond to customer complaints immediately.
  3. Loop back positive customer reviews and comments to your content plan – sharing them on  your web site and your social media.

Don’ts: Never ask customers to give you a review. Influence them instead.

 

How to build Pillar #3:

Time frame: longest

  1. Outbound content: when you update your content, include meaningful information and links to sites and people important in your community. But don’t spam your customers with these outbound content just because you need it for this pillar. Instead, be selective to the outbound content to include – only when it adds value to your customers.
  2. Outreach: be involved in your community. Join community associations and sites and ask to have your business mentioned and links added on their sites. Plan a tasting event and invite local celebs and publishers to come over…

Don’ts: Don’t join so-called link exchange networks. Their names are already registered with Google and other search engines. You don’t want to associate your business them, which will only hurt your search ranking.

 

ANSWERS TO SEARCH RANKING QUESTIONS

At this point, I think we have clear answers to the two questions we are being asked:

 

“Why are we not on the top of Google for ‘sushi’ in our town?”

Answer: Our client just started building the 3 pillars for the new sushi restaurant. They are far short than what some of the in-town competition has built over time. It is no wonder we are not on top of local search results, yet.

 

“Can you bring us to the top in a week?”

Answer: No. Rome wasn’t built in a day. So we need to set the right expectation with the client. With a solid pillar building plan in place and real-time search and competition tracking, it is only a matter of time (we expect 3-6 months at this point) for our client’s new business to rise to the top in search.

 

It is well known that SEO (Search engine optimization) takes some time to get results (refer to the above to-do lists for our pillar building exercise), especially for a new business that is just starting.  If an SEO “expert” starts to promise over night result, you need to wonder how legit he or she is.  Check our Facebook post for some tips of how to avoid SEO pitfalls like this.

We believe that it is of ultimate importance for business owners to build a great business with long-lasting and sustainable growth. For this purpose, building solid search pillars  with the given road map is the right way to go!

While taking time to build up the 3 search pillars (the so-called “organic” search engine optimization), we may advise our clients to get customers in short term via paid approaches such as search and social media advertising, direct mail campaigns.With a reasonable budget, we can create an initial customer base fast.

FanZappy is a team of experience marketers and technologies. We are the one-stop place for all your marketing needs. Drop us a note and we’ll be happy to check where you are in the search pillar building process.

 

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