Local SEO is one of most powerful tactics a restaurant or restaurant chain can employ. It is no secret that most consumers marry local search rankings, reviews and ratings on Google to merit. When someone is searching for a restaurant nearby, they will typically choose one from the top three local search results, and the way you get your listing to the top is by doing Local SEO. If the user doesn’t like the results, they are much more likely to search a different keyword than dig past the top three local results. Why is that?

The reason is merit. When the user doesn’t find what they want in the first three results, they assume those results are the most popular restaurants in that category. So, rather than waste time, they move onto a different keyword.

How to Get Your Restaurant Ranked

There are numerous factors that go into building your search engine rankings, but for restaurants, there are particularly unique approaches to outranking your competition. The first thing you must understand is which SEO factors are important.

  • Content
  • Backlinks
  • Editorial Coverage
  • Reviews on Google as well as third party sites.

Because restaurants heavily rely on PR strategies to grow, it is important to understand your restaurants positioning strategy. Without having an edge, angle or clear differentiating factors, restaurant reporters, journalists and online lifestyle magazines won’t cover your news. If you happen to be in that situation, you should go back to step one and develop a marketing plan and brand strategy.

As for you others out there who have a great story, this article is full of actionable tactics you can employ.

Step 1 – Build Your PR Network

The first step is to figure out who is reporting on restaurant news. Figure out who all of the local restaurant reporters, franchise reporters and major food bloggers are in your area. Some great sources to start with are trade journals like bizjournals or your major local news station. Build a list of every contact you can find, including their email, twitter handle, instagram profile, linkedin profile and facebook. Once you’ve collected all of that information into a spreadsheet, it is time to start crafting your story.

Step 2- Crafting Your Story

This part can get tricky, but if you are serious about your restaurant, chances are you have a good story in there somewhere. You could come out with a new recipe like “Gluten Free Pizza” or maybe you’ll be hosting live music every Thursday. Just make sure that the story is interesting and engaging. Launching your new website is not a story. However, enabling online orders and checkout on your website is a story.

Step 3 – Prepare Your Press Release

You have a story, and you have contacts. Now it’s time to prepare a press release. For this, you’ll want to craft a press release that you plan to distribute through multiple news channels and sources. Before you send it to PRnewswire, you should start by pitching the story to your preferred publications. Make a list of all of the news, trade journals, blogs and publications you want your story covered. This list should be a list of your TOP choices.

Step 4 – Outreach

Outreach is perhaps the most important step of them all. Once you’ve created your top list of news publications you want to cover your story, reach out to them manually and make sure the email is personalized. Part of the strategy here is to make a connection and grab attention. That means your news headline should be newsworthy and interesting. Your email should be short and sweet. If you write paragraphs, they will not read it.

Step 5- Wire Service

The final step here is to launch your press release through PRnewswire after you’ve reached out to your top publications. This creates a more impactful effect because if your story were to get covered by one of the top 5 publications you wanted to cover your story, chances are, the press release will simply help solidify the news. This can generate a more viral effect, helping generate more links, thus dominating local search.

Give it a shot. There’s nothing to lose. Sometimes the extra effort is worth it.