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A Restaurateur’s Guide to Maximizing Google My Business

Google map restaurant location
Looking for ways to maximize your restaurant’s online visibility? One option you might not have considered yet is creating (or claiming) your Google My Business profile. But what exactly is it, and more importantly, why should you care?

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What is a Google My Business profile?

For starters, it’s one of the most far-reaching ways to get your restaurant’s name out there. There are about 5 billion searches for restaurants every month on Google, and you’d be missing out on all of that traffic if your business isn’t listed on it.

In this guide, we’ll be walking you through all the essentials you need to know about the platform, including what it’s capable of and the ways you can use it to its full potential.

A Google My Business profile is essentially an official listing for your restaurant stored on Google’s database. This listing will contain your business’s name, location, business hours, and contact information. However, the platform has grown to offer much more than that.

It gives you the ability to connect with your market whenever they use any of Google’s services. From the basic search function to Google Maps, having an official profile means that you’d be giving your restaurant many different ways of reaching your customers.

The best part is that all of it is free to use. There’s really no reason to not be part of it. In fact, failing to create a, or claiming an existing profile on the platform could mean that customers won’t be able to find your business, they might even be directed to the wrong one (ie your competition), or as mentioned below, 3rd party online ordering platforms can silently add links back to them hijacking your listing.

Ways to Maximize Your Profile

Ideally Google My Business is not something you simply get on and forget about. While creating your account and optimising it is easy, managing it effectively requires a fair amount of effort on your part. Don’t worry, though, everything gets easier once you get the hang of things.

For a better idea of what to expect, here are the different ways you should be using your profile:

1. Make sure your profile is complete

The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your profile is complete and up-to-date. For restaurants, a few of the important details to include are your operating hours, whether you offer delivery, and which geographic areas you service.

Additional information such as your price range and specialty can also be included. All of this will help potential customers figure out what your restaurant offers, which helps you attract your target market.

Finally, make sure you verify your profile so that it actually shows up in the search results!

2. Offer your menu

Google My Business lets you link your listing directly to your menu. However, a better way to provide this information is to use the menu feature that’s baked into the service. Navigate to the appropriate section on your Info page (it’s called Menu and has a cutlery icon), and start adding individual menu items. You can even add prices for each item and categorize them according to how you would a traditional menu.

What this does is that it lets people know exactly what they can expect when they enter your establishment, giving them a basis on which to make a decision.

3. Upload high-quality photographs

A menu isn’t enough to stand out on Google My Business. People love seeing actual photos, so you need to provide these to your potential customers.

There are three types of photos you want to upload: your logo (which you should’ve done in the first step), a cover photo that serves as a visual representation of what your business is all about, and additional photos that support your identity. The last one can include food shots, pictures of your restaurant, and even your staff.

Remember to include a picture of your storefront. That way, people can easily recognize your restaurant when they decide to visit.

4. Post regularly

You can use your profile similar to how you would use a typical social media site. That means you can publish posts to provide more information to potential customers. This can be about a promotion you are currently running, a new addition to your menu, or an event that you’d be hosting.

One thing to note about Google My Business feeds though, is that these posts expire after seven days, which means you would ideally schedule a new post regularly so that your profile appears alive and always updated.

5. Use the booking feature & online ordering link section

To really make the most of your profile, you need to provide a link to your reservation and online ordering system. This is effectively a call-to-action that lets people conveniently book a table at your restaurant at the date and time they set or order food easily.

If you don’t currently have this type of system, Google has a list of partner services that offer this functionality. They’re pretty easy to set up, but you must be diligent in managing yours so that your customers are served properly.

With the order online link section, you can add in a link direct to your online ordering page. This is a must as unfortunately some 3rd party platforms add their own booking links for your restaurant, essentially hijacking customers who were likely to order direct to you and now able to claim a commission. 

The only way to remove these links is by directly requesting the platform that added them to remove them. But that can be frustrating as requests often go ignored (as we’ve found trying to get a few removed). Some providers are better than others however and do remove the links.

In saying that, by adding in your own link your link will appear first. Thus it’s critical that you claim your Google business listing even just for this benefit, or rather to stop losing orders to 3rd party platforms. 

6. Respond to customers’ reviews

Your profile will have a dedicated section for customers’ reviews. These cumulatively comprise your business’s rating on the platform, which is represented by a number value denoted by stars.

Whenever a customer leaves a review on your profile, try to respond to it. This is even more important if the review is a bad one. Doing so lets people know that you value your customers’ opinions, and the quality of your response might be what’s needed to sway that customer’s or future customers’ opinion back to your favour.

7. Leverage engagement analytics

Google My Business gives you reports on the performance of your profile. It tracks metrics such as the number of times people search for your restaurant, which keywords are giving you the most number of impressions, and what actions these impressions resulted in.

All of this represents valuable data that lets you identify opportunities and weaknesses that you can act on. By keeping track of them regularly, you’ll have more information to base your future decisions on.

Conclusion

As we said earlier, making the most out of Google My Busines takes consistency on your part. You need to be familiar with what the platform provides so that you can use it effectively. With the information provided in this article, you’re on your way to ensuring that happens.

But if you don’t want to DIY (or simply don’t have the time) we include Google My Business optimization and weekly posting as part of our restaurant marketing packages. If you’d like to know more about how to use Google My Business or have other ideas about marketing your restaurant, reach out, as we’d love to help.

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