How to Use Google to Help Patrons Find You

Every day, people are searching for a restaurant on Google. Make sure you're the one they find.

You've finally finished your website. It features gorgeous pictures of your restaurant, an easy to read menu, and an online reservation that works like a charm. That's all you have to do, right? Not so fast. Just making a website doesn't necessarily mean you are going to see traffic; online or in person. You have to make sure that people can find you and for that, you need Google.

When it comes to searching, Google is king. But how do you make sure that your business pops on Google search, Google Maps, or Google Places? Use these simple tips to start getting the traffic your business deserves.

1. Make a Google My Business listing.

Google holds your hand through this easy step-by-step process. Once you sign up, you'll be able to track data about your business, post photos and promotions, reply to customers, and you'll be listed on Google Search and Google Maps.

2. Make sure you keep Google My Business current, accurate, and detailed.

By including a long and unique business description, selecting accurate categories, listing and updating business hours, putting high quality images on the listing page, regularly updating your profile and, of course, including an accurate phone number and address, you can make it much easier for people to find your business using Google's powerful search function. This will not only serve as a resource for existing customers, it can help you optimize your local presence and bring in patrons who otherwise might not have ever known you existed.

3. Get in the Google index.

Did you know you can submit your website to Google to help it pop in search results? If your website is ready for viewing, you can submit it to: Google Search Console URL Crawler. Google adds new sites to their index, and updates existing ones, every time they crawl the web. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that all submitted URLs will be added to the index, but it doesn't hurt to put it out there and hopefully increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) presence.

4. Learn and use SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Search engines look at content in a scientific way to determine what someone is really looking for and what sites will have that information. You want to make sure that Google can see what your site is for and to serve it up in an organic search. This is different from paid advertising, which we'll get to next, and is free. There is a lot you can do to help make sure that your site has a better chance of organically popping up in a search.

5. Advertise.

AdWords and AdWords Express are two great options Google offers for running advertisements on their search engine. They each have their benefits; AdWords gives you a lot of control over the look and feel of your ad while AdWords Express streamlines the entire process.

With AdWords, you pick a goal for what you want people to do. Visit your storefront is a great option for restaurants, although you can also set goals to have customers call or take action on your website. It'll let you choose your area and tell you how many people you'll potentially reach with the ad. You can add different headlines and logos, set a daily budget for how much you want to spend as well as a monthly maximum.

With AdWords Express, most of the steps are taken care of for you. You just tell it what you want to do and let it do its thing. It's a great option if you aren't as tech-savvy, or have only a small amount of time on your hands, but you still want to run ads to boost your visibility.

6. Make a little extra cash on the side with Google AdSense.

You can run ads for other companies on your own website. You can choose where to place the advertisement on your site, and some of the physical features as far as size and design, and Google decides what types of ads that they think best fit with your content. They even have a way to put that ad space up for auction so that you can be sure that you're selling that space to the highest bidder.

One of the best things about Google is that they're always ready and willing to help. They have the best written resources for all steps of any process, they host user help forums, and they provide ways to contact a real-life person if you still can't find what you need. They are also always adding to their services, so keep an eye out for their updates. You never know what new, exciting way to reach your customers is right around the corner.

Hopefully, these tips will help get more visitors to your website, but remember the ultimate goal is to get them into the restaurant where you will be able to get them hooked on your business!