How to improve your restaurants ranking on TripAdvisor

Here at Weeare we believe that having a user-friendly and search engine-friendly website is one of the best ways to gain more customers to your restaurant, but we simply can’t ignore websites like TripAdvisor that millions of users run to when looking for a restaurant to dine in. We use it all the time, whether it’s here in the UK or somewhere abroad, TripAdvisor has a massive effect on diners and you should use it to your advantage.

In this article, we will look at what you can do to improve your restaurant’s TripAdvisor score and in turn get more customers to your restaurant.

TripAdvisor’s indexing algorithm can mean the difference between your restaurant being fully booked most evenings to only having a few visitors every now and again. The search results show how your restaurant competes with other local restaurants within a certain geographic area. Restaurants at the top of this list are going to be seen more by potential customers than those at the bottom.

The way TripAdvisor rank restaurants are based on the:

• Quality of the reviews.
• Quantity of the reviews.
• Recency of the reviews.

What TripAdvisor doesn’t tell you is the weight of importance of each ranking factor. This means that it’s difficult to know if a restaurant with more reviews will rank higher than one with only a few. To find out we decided to look into the rankings more closely and report the findings to you so you can learn how to improve your restaurants ranking on TripAdvisor.

Our Findings

A higher average score was the main factor in ranking all of the restaurants, which you would expect. You would expect a 5-star rating to rank higher than a 4-star rating. However, when restaurants start to have the same overall ranking this is where things start to get more complicated.

Let’s take the following example.

Restaurant 1 has a 4.5 overall rating, 75 reviews and 5 reviews within the last week.

Restaurant 2 has a 4.5 overall rating, 200 reviews and 4 reviews within the last week.

You would assume that restaurant 2 because of the sheer volume of reviews would rank higher, but that wasn’t the case. We found that equally ranked restaurants with more recent reviews were ranking on top of those restaurants with more reviews. This shows to us that TripAdvisor puts a high level of importance on restaurants with recent reviews and ranks them accordingly.

The recency of your reviews is very important when it comes to ranking your restaurant so you should put a huge emphasis on getting quality reviews every week.

What should you do to increase your restaurants ranking on TripAdvisor?

So what should you do? Firstly the number one ranking factor is your restaurant’s overall score. The only way to improve this is to provide your users with a better customer experience. If you have had bad reviews in the past look at them and see if there is a common theme, if there is you need to work on that area. Improving your customer’s experience should be at the top of your list, you are not going to please everyone but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trying to.

If you’re struggling to get reviews then think of ways to incentivise your existing customers to leave reviews. You could offer them a small discount to leave a review, or maybe a free bottle of wine. The choice is yours, get creative. We have found that business cards asking your customers to leave a review and giving them one with the bill often works. If you would like some TripAdvisor business cards printed contact us, we can help.

By asking your customers to review your restaurant you are going to build a funnel of constant reviews, think back to the above example 1 extra review that week was enough for the business to claim the top spot from its competitor that had more total reviews.

Building your reviews up over time with quality feedback will help your business tremendously. Not only will your potential customers know that your restaurant serves quality food and gives good service but they will know that you listen to them. By encouraging your users to review your restaurant you can learn from them, you can see what you did well and what you can improve upon. This feedback is vital in helping your business and when you get to a point where 95% of your customers are happy you will reap the footfall from TripAdvisor.

For more great tips and tricks on how to improve your online presence check out the rest of the posts on our blog, and if you need help with search engine optimisation get in touch.

Why your restaurant website is losing you money

Restaurant websites are quite often one of the worst designed websites on the internet.

I cant remember how many times I have landed on a restaurant website simply looking for either the opening times, a contact number or the restaurants menu and not being able to find it.

I have also found that restaurant websites for some reason seem to be stuck in the past, auto playing music, website intro screens and PDF menu’s all leave a bad taste in your mouth.

These websites don’t leave a good impression of your business, so in this article I will give you some essential advice for when you are getting a website designed for your restaurant.

Visitors Needs

In any web design project the focus should be on your visitors needs. In the case of your restaurant visitors they will probably need to know the following:

• The restaurants location.
• The restaurants opening times.
• The restaurants contact information.
• The restaurants menu.

Your website user will also want to access this information on their phone as well as a desktop computer. When you know what your visitor needs then you can start designing a website that works for them.

Contact Information, location and opening times

One of the biggest problems with restaurant websites that I have found is a lot of them don’t have their contact information, location and opening times in an easy to find location. If your visitors cant find any of the information listed above then you will lose that customer.

Your visitors should be able to find all of the information listed above on every page that they land on. That way there can be no confusion on how to contact your business, where you are located or what times you are open.

Your Menu

Your menu that you have put careful consideration and planning into can also cause problems online. Most restaurant websites display their menu online in PDF form. You maybe thinking there is nothing wrong with this, but you would be wrong. Think back to your visitor, he or she just wants to see the items on the menu, how much your food costs and then they will make a decision whether:

• They like your food choices.
• The food is within their price range.

Your visitors want to browse, they don’t want to have to download a PDF to their computer or phone to then browse. Many visitors can also be cautious of PDF files because downloading them from an unknown source can lead to viruses being stored on their machine so you can see why some users may opt not to download your menu and skip your restaurant all together.

PDF files are easier for the web developer to attach to your site, it requires less development but overall it has a negative impact on your business. Don’t hire a lazy web developer, hire one that understands your business and its customers.

A better solution is to make the ‘Food Menu’ page on your website contain the actual items on your food menu and style the page appropriately to match. This allows the user to browse your menu, see your prices and make a decision without having to download a single file.

Mobile friendly website

All websites should be mobile friendly, but restaurant websites in particular are big offenders when it comes to not being mobile friendly.

If your website doesn’t work well on a mobile phone or a tablet then you are getting punished by the search engines. Your business listing will be further down the search list and your users will hate you!

A website that doesn’t work on a mobile phone will cause your users too much bother that they will abandon the reservation process completely.

In 2016 your website needs to work on a mobile phone, if it doesn’t you could be making up to 60% of your customers angry and frustrated, losing you and your business money.

If your website isn’t getting enough bookings you may have the above problems, another problem you may have is your SEO sucks.  If that is the case check out our SEO Cardiff post.

5 restaurant web design mistakes that are costing you money

Recently we created a new website for La Bodega a Spanish restaurant in Merthyr Tydfil that was celebrating its 25th year anniversary of being in business. As La Bodega was our very first restaurant web design we did a lot of research into what a restaurant website should and shouldn’t have.

Here are the top 5 web design mistakes for restaurants that we found in our research.

1. Auto playing music.

Thankfully not many sites had this but I was still shocked to see that some businesses think it’s a good idea to auto play music on a website in 2016. If listening to the A-team in a 1999 style ringtone wasn’t bad enough then imagine the horror when we couldn’t find an off switch.

Playing music on your website slows down your page speed and results in your potential customer having to wait around longer for your webpage to load. But by far the biggest problem that I believe music on a website is that it makes your business look unprofessional.

All websites need to make their respective businesses look professional, but a restaurant even more so. Foodies or potential restaurant customers will take a look at your website and make a decision based on your sites appearance and associate that with your food. Having a poor user experience will mean than your visitors will think that your restaurant serves low quality food.

2. loading / welcome screens

There is nothing wrong with welcoming your visitors to your website but having a separate page that your user needs to click through will cause more bother than the worth of it.

A rule of usability is that your user shouldn’t have to click more than they need to, to get somewhere. So imagine your hungry, your partner is shouting at you because you forgot to make a reservation at your favourite restaurant and you need to make a quick booking somewhere, but the website your trying to use doesn’t want to help you. The website loads, you see a welcome screen, you need to click through to another page, you click through, the page is loading, your partner is shouting, you give up. Beans on toast it is, and you and your partner wont be speaking for the next few hours. You don’t want that, and you don’t want your customers to experience it either.

Your website should be quick, easy to use and easy to find information, which brings us on to our next point.

3. Hard to find information

Quite recently I visited Venice in Italy and one thing that surprised me was the poor quality on every restaurants website. Trying to make a reservation when you don’t speak the language is one thing but trying to make a reservation when the restaurant doesn’t show a telephone number or email address is a whole new challenge.

If you own a restaurant then your website should be one of your most effective sales tools. Your contact information should be easily accessible on every page on the site, if it is not, your visitors may have problems contacting you making you lose out on customers.

4. PDF Menus

Most websites that we surveyed made you download a menu before being able to view it. Now there are a few problems with this, firstly users hate it.

Remember where we said above that you shouldn’t make your users click more than they need to? Well here is another case of it. If I click on a menu link I expect to see the menu, not have to click on another button on the page to download the menu.

Secondly some users are cautious about downloading PDF’s from unknown sources as they have been known to carry viruses.

If you want to get around this then you should have your menu page designed to allow your users to browse your menu without having to download anything.

5. Non Responsive

A website that doesn’t work on a mobile device in 2016 is behind the times. For a restaurant however it is like disobeying one of the 10 commandments.

A restaurant website that doesn’t work on your phone will make you want to pull your hair out.

Trying to navigate around a website that wasn’t built to work on a phone is a nightmare. Opening times, reservation forms, food menus are all hard and sometimes impossible to use. If your website for your restaurant is not mobile friendly then you are losing business.  Non responsive websites are also bad for search engine optimisation.

If you have a bad website, talk to our digital marketing consultants today.

Conclusion

Researching restaurant web design best practices was an interesting process that not only left us hungry but often frustrated. If you want to stop your potential customers from being frustrated then get in contact with us and we may be able to help your business become more profitable.

If you own a restaurant and your not getting enough bookings you may want to check out our search engine optimisation service

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