Austin Marketing: SEM/PPC Tactics for Restaurants
Article by Austin Search Engine Marketing Company Semantic Advantage, Inc.
– Austin Online Environment
There are currently 1,690 restaurants serving the Austin
market, according to the National Restaurant Association. This is one restaurant for every 468
people, making it one of the most competitive food service markets in the U.S.
The Austin marketing community includes dozens of online
marketing agencies; and this intensifies the rivalry among restaurants for
customer attention and promotional offers. Central Texas is also a hotbed of mobile computing and
social marketing; and local restaurants have taken advantage of these new technologies
to expand their audiences and increase business. Online restaurant marketing in Austin has become an
essential – and extremely competitive – business necessity.
Online – Agency Search Engine Marketing Examples
Recent changes in the Google search results pages -- coupled
with the rise of social media marketing and online restaurant directories -- have
created challenges for online agencies marketing Austin restaurants and bars.
inclusion of Google Places results on Page One -- displacing more deserving organic search results. A search for ‘austin restaurant’
yields 7 Google Places restaurants, followed by 7 business directories, one
actual restaurant (yea, Threadgills!) and two more business directories. Page
Two has only 3 listings from restaurant websites.
engine preference for video and social media sites. A YouTube video or tweet about a small, poorly regarded dive could
easily outrank the homepage of the most popular restaurant in town.
organic and paid search results are also peppered with listings from online restaurant
and business directories. Even if
these contain a listing for your restaurant, this can be a negative for your SEO/SEM
program -- because it presents a list of your competitors. A lot of the search engine preference
for directory sites is due to their size – ranking algorithms tend to give big
websites high authority ratings.
These three effects limit the utility and cost-effectiveness
of organic SEO -- and the value of specific PPC keywords in a paid search SEM program. As a result, there are no banner ads on
the Google search results for ‘austin restaurant’, and only five ads on the
rail (two of these from daily deal companies). A search for ‘best austin restaurant’ yields no restaurant websites
in the organic results on Page One. [Aside: There are 7 Google Places results for ‘worst austin
restaurant’ – three of these are also on the ‘best austin restaurant’ list!]
The restaurant directories and rating/review sites have
categorized their listings and optimized pages for the search terms
‘restaurant’, ‘dining’, ‘eatery’, ‘eating’, ‘cuisine’, ‘food’, ‘hamburger’,
‘lasagna’, ‘ristorante’, ‘romantic’, ‘steakhouse’, ‘sushi’ as well as
nationalities. Most are not using
‘bistro’, ‘café’, ‘cantina’, ‘chophouse’, ‘diner’, ‘pizzaria' (except Yelp),
‘taverna’ or ‘trattoria’ -- so these would be relatively good PPC keywords for
a restaurant to use.
Marketing – Austin Pay Per Click Campaign Management
Here are some search engine marketing tactics that can enhance your SEM/PPC campaigns for restaurants. These, combined with good SEO fundamentals and an active social marketing program, can significantly increase the effectiveness of your Austin restaurant marketing
For those restaurant-related search terms which produce organic results
dominated by Google Places, business directories, social media sites or video
sites, paid search is probably the most cost effective way to get visibility and
Create at least one PPC keyword group based on your city
name and the word ‘restaurant/s’. Austin
marketing example: ‘austin restaurant’ and ‘austin restaurants’. In a large city, this will be a
short-tail (high volume, high CPC) keyword group, so you should also create a
keyword group based on the name of your neighborhood and the word
‘restaurant/s’. Example: ‘hyde
park restaurants’, hyde park restaurants’, 'north austin restaurant’, ‘north
In addition to managing the standard PPC
campaign settings for geo-targeting, choose keywords for specific neighborhoods, roads/streets
and nearby attractions. Examples
for Austin marketing: ‘barton springs ice cream’, ‘south lamar bistro’,
Use your food and drink menu
items as PPC keywords. This is
particularly effective for the mobile audience -- which might be searching for
something to eat or drink right now. Austin marketing examples include
‘east austin pizza’, ‘westlake sushi’, ‘round rock fried chicken’.
If your restaurant focuses on a specific type of ethnic
food, create one or more keyword groups for ethnic eating
establishment names. For an Italian
restaurant in Austin you could try ‘austin frasca’, ‘austin osteria’, ‘austin
paninoteca’, austin ristorante’, ‘austin spaghetteria’, ‘austin taverna’,
‘austin trattoria’. Most of these
are fairly long-tail and inexpensive in PPC.
In addition to the usual Negative Keywords, add negative
keywords that exclude someone looking for recipes, cooking schools, food information
-- or restaurant franchises, furniture, decoration, supplies or software. Examples: ‘-recipe’, ‘-recipes’,
‘-school’, ‘-course’, ‘-directory’, ‘furniture’, ‘-supplies’, ‘-equipment’. Periodically check the search
results for your keywords to identify other candidates for negative keywords.
Plan for mobile consumers. In contrast with a high resolution desktop or laptop
display, even the best smartphone can only display the top two or three PPC ads
(without scrolling). So it may be
worth raising your bid to get to the top of the first page.
Use Day Parting to synchronize your ads with your peak
hours. If your restaurant doesn’t
serve breakfast, you may not want to run your ads in the early morning.
Run Holiday-related ads with enough lead time for customers to make
plans. New Year’s parties can
require 2 or more weeks; one week is usually sufficient for Mother’s Day or
Valentine’s Day. The more popular
your restaurant, the more lead time you should allow.
Build a good foundation for your SEM/PPC program with SEO and Social
Marketing. Organic search engine optimization can
significantly enhance your Relevancy Score and PPC Quality Scores with the search engines
– enhancing your ad position and reducing CPC. Search engines have a high regard for links from the major social
sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.), restaurant ratings sites (Chowhound,
Dine.com, Eats.com, FoodRatings.net, UrbanSpoon, Zagat) and business
directories and ratings sites like Bing Local, CitySearch, Google Places,
MerchantCircle, Yahoo! Local and Yelp.
Semantic Advantage --
Austin Marketing Company
Restaurant marketing in Central Texas can be extremely
challenging; and you need an experienced Austin marketing agency to expand
your website traffic, customer base and sales.
Contact us to discuss your company’s marketing goals and how we can deliver
a cost-effective program to maximize the ROI of your Austin marketing program.