Why Your Restaurant Should be Using Paid Search Advertising on Google & Bing

In short, it's an incredibly undervalued ad channel... for now.


Keyword advertising is still the best, most intent-based form of advertising that exists. For that reason, search advertising has become big business for every corporation around the globe.


In recent years, with the proliferation of smartphones, came a large increase in local-based searches. Now, approximately 1/3 of all searches (occurring on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc) have local intent, meaning that the person is looking for something in their local area. And searches related to restaurants, dining out, and food are no exception.


The number of people turning to search engines to look for specific types of food, restaurants, and cuisines is already staggering, and increasing every day.


Do a quick local search for a restaurant cuisine in your area and you'll likely get the Google Local Pack of results. The Local Pack is the three local business results that accompany a map (and as well as the option to see more results along with the map). In the standard organic results below, you're likely to find links to Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Zamato, but in most cases, there will be no paid search ad at the top of these pages. Herein lies the opportunity. There are very few advertisements for local restaurant search terms. But here's an example of a restaurant already taking advantage of local search:


Your ad at the top of the results


Very few restaurants (less than 1%) are taking advantage of this opportunity, which means that buying keywords (which instantly gets you to the top of the search results) is currently very undervalued. This is a huge opportunity for restaurants, both large and small, to use paid search to drive customers to their business. But there's an element of time sensitivity, because as more restaurants begin to participate in paid search- and thus compete for popular terms- the cost of this channel will rise. To get the most value out of this channel, it's best to start now and take advantage of this low competition environment.


While the number of searches for any one keyword in one city may be low on a daily basis, if you are creative and think about the hundreds of different keyword combinations people are keying into search engines, in aggregate they add up to a large, meaningful number. There are dozens of combinations of search terms that have to do with restaurants, eating out, dining out, menu items, happy hour, lunch, brunch, breakfast, dinner, delivery, take-out, and so much more. At the very least, there are hundreds of keywords that every restaurant can buy on the cheap.


There are many tools on the web that will help you discover the multitude of terms, one we like isUber Suggest.


Before you set out to do all of your research, check out the article we wrote that goes into detail about setting up your campaigns, and we also did a large amount of keyword research you can easily reformat to and can use for your campaigns.Click here to see the article.


Another great case for PPC is the comparison with organic rankings. While your restaurant may come up for some valuable terms organically, it's impossible to rank for the several hundred that you can be advertising for instantly at the top of the page. Keep in mind too that organic listings now start about half way down the page, but paid search ads are still at the very top.


Keep in mind that's it's free to bid on keywords- so you could have 10 or 10,000- and you only pay when someone clicks on one of the terms on which you're bidding. Getting great results with paid search results is a byproduct of putting the time and effort in to build your campaigns correctly, so the more effort you put in, the better ROI you'll get out.


Take advantage of this opportunity while it's still under-valued and you still have an advantage. Let us know how your experience with buying keywords or Google Adwords for your restaurant. Leave us a comment or send us a note below, we answer every question.