Since 2017, there has been a 250% increase in people searching for “near me” on Google and other search engines. That’s just one of the many glaring signs that point to why your catering company needs local SEO. You might have already set up a great strategy for general SEO, but if there’s not a plan for local optimization within it, the strategy isn’t nearly as “great” as it could be.
Catering companies need local search rankings. Although it’s still a relatively local business, there’s still an increase in competition, and with digital marketing and social media, different caterers are vying to outperform each other and gain all that valuable online traffic. If you want to be the one getting the traffic, here are some local SEO tips and best practices to keep in mind.
You can’t expect Google to consider your catering company to be reputable and worthy of a good ranking if you haven’t taken the time to claim and complete your Google Business Profile. This is where you can list your business contact information, details about your business, relevant categories or tags, and more. Google even has a handy tool to help you measure how “complete” your profile is—get as close to 100% as you can and your local optimization will be on the right track.
Networking, both online and off, can help you create relationships with people who can help your business grow. Plus, the more relationships you have (and links you share) with other reputable companies, the more Google will see you as a local authority and give your site a better ranking. Remember that as with everything, it’s about quality here, not quantity—five great links or connections are better than even 500 mediocre or low-quality ones.
Consider using social media as well as professional forums to make these connections. You can even make them in the real world at trade shows and other events, or by working on the same specific event or wedding with others in the industry. Take those relationships online and use them to the advantage of your local SEO efforts.
Today, 61% of all Google searches come from mobile devices. When people are in the market for a catering company, they’re not usually going to sit down at a computer to investigate—they’ll grab their smartphone, type or say their search, and see what results come up. They might even go straight to Google Maps instead of the search engine to find local caterers. If your site isn’t designed for mobile, it’s not going to get ranked the way that it should. You’ll be less likely to come up in Google’s local listings, too, and could be outranked by other caterers who have taken the time to create a mobile-friendly site.
Creating new content will be part of your local SEO strategy, but you don’t have to start from scratch. Just take the time to go through all of your existing content, both on your website and off, to see what you’ve got. Some material can be tweaked, keywords can be added, and you might even find some content that’s already good to go. If there is anything that doesn’t work, you can remove it and replace it with something better. As a bonus, if you’re not sure about doing this yourself, you can always hire someone to perform an SEO audit and let you know what the best moves would be.
Mostly, this involves getting listed in the right directories and making sure that you have a consistent directory listing across the board. Your name, address, and phone number (NAP) need to be the same everywhere online, including on your website and all directory listings that you have. Standardize a format and stick with it. Even so much as a difference in comma placement or abbreviations can get points taken away from your local rankings and your overall reputation in the eyes of the search engine.
As a catering company, pleasing people is the main goal of your work. If you have delicious food and a knack for executing a perfect event, people will typically be more than happy to talk about it. This means that you could find yourself getting reviews without even having to ask. However, you could ask (and perhaps should) so that you can maximize the reviews you get. Make sure they’re authentic and not paid reviews, first and foremost, and do what you can to encourage people to leave them everywhere.
If you’ve got negative reviews, address them immediately. No business can fully guarantee that it won’t encounter negativity. What you can do, though, is respond to the issue right away and make sure that you show that you’re making an effort to make things right. You can’t please everyone, but this will ensure that your reputation shows that you’re going to try.
If you do your job right, local SEO will help you get a higher ranking and guarantee that you get the leads that you deserve. Of course, you have to make sure that you have systems in place to manage those leads, including a 24/7 answering service, to ensure that you never miss a beat. A partnership with Smith.ai could offer that, along with lead intake, appointment scheduling, and so much more.
We can even offer assistance with outreach campaigns and outbound sales if you’re still working on generating the leads in the first place, ensuring that we cover every single detail. To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists from Smith.ai can do for your catering business, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.