March 30, 2023

Local SEO Case Study: 3-Step Action Plan Leading to Traffic Increase in 2 Months

 “Over half of the restaurants spend less than 10% of their time on marketing, and just 12% even have personnel dedicated to it” – TripAdvisor

Restaurants are operation-heavy businesses that focus mostly on ironing out operational kinks and customer service. While most restaurateurs would agree that having a brand is important, most are so preoccupied with operations that they have no spare time to focus on marketing strategy. Owners, if you want your restaurant to be full, you need to find a way to create something for clients to come to you.

So, here are a few SEO quick fixes for all restaurant owners out there.

This local SEO case study today discusses the current state of the F&B Industry and a case study on one of our SEO client restaurants with an owner laser-focused on operational efficiency. We will focus primarily on Search Engine Optimization, with emphasis on Local SEO services, then end off with some short tips on how to get your website up to scratch quickly.


The case for Local SEO in the Restaurant Industry

Thanks to research done by TripAdvisor, SEO for Restaurants is something that is not taken as seriously as most would think. The result of this is a front-page full of slow loading speeds and mobile un-optimized websites. When we tried to examine the first few pages for “Chinese Restaurants near me”, most of the top sites did not optimize their load speeds, nor did they make it easy for pages to load on mobile phones. We will get to more about how to deal with this a little later.

60% of users first search online for a local restaurant or café before heading out. Combined with the statistic that 88% of users head out on the same day that they decide on their restaurant, this is not a small number of F&B customers that restaurants are missing out on purely due to SEO alone. 

SEO Statistics

local SEO services

Hence, because most searches are location-based, the best SEO strategy for Restaurants will be Local SEO. Although this works best for single-location restaurants, this strategy forms the search engine optimization campaign base for food chains that have more than 1 location. This SEO campaign will apply more than once in those cases, but it would get trickier the more outlets there are.

One of the criteria we love to use to select niches is the level of competition. If the level of competition is low, then fewer resources are necessary to hit Page 1 and stay there. In F&B SEO, the advantage is to the First Movers; if our clients are able to move quickly and use the right strategies before other restaurants catch on, then it becomes easier to rank higher for specific keywords as the incumbent (in this case, sites which already rank highly) are seen as more trustworthy in the Search Algorithm’s assessments. This is therefore a potentially high-return investment.

Hence, in an industry where Search Engine Optimization has not taken owners by storm, it is a great niche to settle in and specialize. Then, with our assessment of the industry, we embark on improving the metrics of one of our Client Restaurants.


2-month case study - Power of Local Searches for Chinese Food in Florida

SEO metrics before

First off, the metrics for our clients starting were something like this.

As they already had a good local following on Social Media thanks to word of mouth, we had the fortune of support from a solid Facebook Page if we needed to run any promotions.

While this seems strong enough (ranking for 127 keywords already) something seems a little off – they were only getting 56 organic traffic. On top of that, their bounce rates were high, at about 85%, which implies that they were getting relevant traffic – but they were not getting quality traffic. It then comes to another question – where does the good traffic go?

Terminologies: Terms that you need to know

Not everyone reading this is a local SEO expert, so we thought to clear up some terms that we use.

Google Business Profile

This is a profile that is given to you if you register as an approved vendor under Google My Business (Google Business Profile in 2023, the name keeps changing). Because Google is rather strict with its verification, local businesses that hold onto a Google Profile generally perform better on the local search.

You should be able to check what the requirements for the local listings are here.

Local Directories

Some may have heard of this phrase in link building operations. Simply speaking, anyone can call themselves a local business, but the best verification process for a local business takes place when the business is mentioned in a local directory. A local directory holds a list of businesses and their operating locations, hence helping Google confirm that this business is indeed alive and kicking. Hence, it stands to reason that, in any local results, a business' organic visibility has a positive correlation to the number of directories it was mentioned in. Even better when the directories are highly relevant to the Niche of the business - for example, a Listed Company should always be listed in CrunchBase.

You can read about how to use backlinks for your pages for optimum organic results in our off page SEO guide.

Local SEO

For those who don't really know, local SEO is one of the sub-strategies of overarching Search Engine Optimization processes. The SEO that you know and love revolves around google search, organic search results and ranking position. Organic results can determine the overall performance of the site, but today we are only focusing on one aspect of the google search results. What we focus on today is called Local rankings.

Local Rankings

Local rankings are shown even higher than the organic search results - it appears in the Google maps embed itself. Here, you can see those meta descriptions and keywords don't matter at all.

The top 3 rankings on Google Map is called the local pack. It shows your service pages in a specific city. The locations and proximity of the business are generally more important than keyword research, so it becomes more of a game of listings optimization.  On the mobile device, appearing on the local pack is a direct avenue for phone calls. Hence, in local search, the ranking positions in the local pack translate quickly into phone calls for your services.

Schema Structured Data

Structured Data helps Google crawlers achieve an understanding of your page's content quickly. It also tells Google about the type of business that you run, as well as prices, phone numbers etc. How this helps Google can be read about in their own documentation.

A local business should have the LocalBusiness Structured Data put into their website, for example.

You can check for any schema errors in the "Rich Snippets" section of your Google Search Console, or you may simply put your site through Google's schema checker.

That said, we recommend checking the validity of the schema even before you implement it. This is because faulty schema will sometimes adversely impact the process via which Google crawls your site, thereby affecting your ranking instead. You can use the schema validator tool recommended by Google.

Know more on how schema markups can improve your on site SEO performance on our on page SEO checklist.

The Blatant SEO issues we saw

  1. Lack of Google my Business – Focus on your Local SEO strategy!

One very glaring error that our client has made from the start is the lack of a Google My Business (GMB) entry. When we mention “quality leads”, it points to those users who search for “Restaurants near me” related searches. To rank on these places, which is labelled as “Position 0” on google maps, restaurant owners must first have a registered business with Google. This citation is known as a google business profile - which every local business has to hold. Optimizing your Google Business Profile is part of our Singapore SEO packages.

Position 0 maps

In this case, search engines favour active restaurants, and have gathered significant good reviews. While the review gathering stage would take some time, the first step to get on the SEO rankings would be to snag a verified business listing on Google My Business.

The quick fix: Sign up for a verified Google My Business and run a promotion on social media to get a 10% off the next meal if a Google Review was left by the customer. To organically get more 5-star ratings, a local campaign is usually the best idea. Offer a direct incentive to your customer base to leave a review, and as long as the food chain’s food quality isn’t bad, customers usually have no reason to say no. From an initial 0 reviews, we have moved up to 120 reviews, with an average rating of 4.89, good news for the local SEO.

  1. The Lack of Focus on Technical SEO  

Our client’s webmaster had not heard of the term “Local Schema” for their website before and never applied it on the website. This local schema markup helps the restaurant’s SEO campaign, as it tells the search engines clearly what type of organization the owner’s business is. With clearer data, the search engine can rank a website easier and hence, better data increases the visibility and importance of the website to search engines.

The website’s speed was also not remarkable, taking a long 10.9 seconds to load the first bits of content. This means that a user had to wait 11 seconds to understand what this F&B website offers, and this could be the main reason to explain the 85% bounce rate on the Restaurant’s website. Customers don’t like to be made to wait.

  1. The abundance of Non-Authority Links

As in the screenshot above, there were only 7 referring domains, none of which were authority, and a total of 127 Backlinks came, mainly from two domains. We suspected that this flurry of low authority follow-links is a negative SEO factor. Hence, we thought that one actionable could be to contact this webmaster, or if not, disavow some of these spammy links.

Action Plan: Increased Authority for the local businesses

Step 1. Page Speed Optimization

The restaurant’s menu images were 2 MB in size and that caused the site’s loading speed to slow down. We managed to stagger the photo loading times, with the least important contents loading last and also minimized the photo size by 90% to decrease load times from 10.9 Seconds to a respectable 6.4 Seconds. This speed optimization helps a bunch with the ranking positions.


Supercharged, Superfast!

Step 2: Local Schema Application

Our F&B SEO Specialists implemented the Local Schema for “Restaurants” on the website. This is the most direct way of telling Google, “Hey, look. I’m a restaurant serving this particular area in Florida!”, and hence boosts the local ranking power for the vicinity. This works very well for single-location restaurants and helps add to the search engine visibility of the restaurant’s website.  

For our client, we opted to use the local business, FAQ, and review schemas.

Step 3: Local Citations, listings and backlinks building

We managed to get rid of and disavow a bunch of spammy links. We have also managed to get two high Domain Authority Links (food reviews) to the site. Our team created citations on major websites such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Apple Maps to ensure that our locations are always mentioned on high authority domains, creating the impression that our client is a large player in the restaurant market. You may directly search for directories on Google, by searching using term modifiers. In this case, something like "Restaurant Listing" Florida, for example.

How is the local business's organic traffic now?


Would have been better... but COVID said no

In general, there’s still a lot of work to be done, even though there’s still a bit of an increase from the start. There has been a definite tank in the middle, but we checked that there was no significant change in the ranking, and hence, can be attributed to the sudden onset of COVID-19. The traffic has increased from 56 to a stronger 152.

While all this within two months is no mean feat, we are still serving this client happily and confidently. There will be a point when COVID-19 ends, and when that end comes, our Chinese restaurant client will be primed and ready to catch all the eating-out craze that will grip the United States of America.  


There’s huge potential out there to tap into for restaurant owners. Using Local SEO, the aim objective of all top SEO agencies in Singapore is to show up not only on the first page, but also on the maps for your county, and your area.

However, please bear in mind that marketing is only backed up by great service quality and even tastier food. If your business fundamentals are not strong, perhaps this is a good time to work from the ground up and ensure your F&B Chain is supported by solid operational processes and delicious food. The results for each restaurant will not be consistent - depending on your competition.

If you’re confident that your food will leave your customers begging for more, schedule your short call with us right now, and we’ll tell you how to get your hungry customers through the doors. As seen in this case study, it doesn't matter if you are based in a different country than we are. Being the top SEM agency and the best SEO company in Singapore, we can get your site the result it needs. Do you want to discover how we increased internet traffic to an elderly care service by 250% in three months? Check out its case study now!

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Thomas Tay
SEO Head at Khepri Digital’s Singapore branch. An SEO nerd by day, he is responsible for the research & development to assess the impact and changes in Google algorithms. His work powers the processes behind Khepri Digital’s SEO manual. When not looking at SEO experiments, he tends to be around the Northern Area of Singapore, chomping on Satay and Chicken wings.