Search engine optimization tactics will help restaurant owners escape negative reviews.
PR nightmares can happen to any business, at any time, but their negative effects don’t have to last forever. If someone Googles your brand, there’s no reason why a negative story needs to become a permanent mantelpiece on the first page of Google. While consistently terrible PR might be a symptom of bad business practices, a few errant gaffes can certainly be mitigated with great search engine optimization (SEO).
- Utilize an always-on approach for any branded terms related to your restaurant. This is a surefire tactic to always showing up first in result pages. Additionally, owning the paid search section of Google’s results page ensures other brands can’t conquest potential customers.
- Wikipedia articles typically always rank on the first page for a brand. There are even firms that specialize solely in developing Wikipedia articles, getting them approved and keeping them approved. With a domain authority of 100, it’s not likely Wikipedia articles will fall out of Google’s good graces any time soon. Please note that for restaurants that opt out of a specialized Wikipedia firm and write and submit an article in-house, it’s important to become familiar with Wikipedia’s stringent article guidelines and acceptance policies.
- Interlink all social accounts (Facebook should have links to Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, etc. and vice versa). Companies that utilize this strategy have success showing actual tweets in search result pages, rather than a Twitter profile alone.
- Feature well-optimized menus on partner websites like Allmenus.com or Opentable.com, in order for Google to add individual menu items to the search engine result page within their knowledge graph.
- Key executives should have personal websites that mention and link to the brand website. Not only will this strategy rank executive websites for brand-related search terms, it’s also a good way to earn additional links and increase domain authority. This tactic is high-effort, but the payoff is worthwhile. Also, ensure these websites are developed on separate servers to avoid link-network penalties from Google.
- Set your restaurant up with Yext or another local listing management platform. For a company with just a few locations, the prices are pretty reasonable. This strategy will earn long-tail rankings on sites like Foursquare, Yelp, etc.
- Execute duplicate suppression across social and review accounts. For example, a company may have two Glassdoor accounts with negative reviews on both accounts. By combining these duplicate accounts, you limit the amount of times this result can show up in a search engine.
Of course, restaurants should do everything they can to limit the source of negative press. But for unintended blunders, the above tactics will act as defensive measures to suppress negative Google search results.
Sean Baker has 18+ years marketing the restaurant industry. He is the President/ Partner at IMM, a digital ad agency located in Boulder, CO.