I very rarely write about individual website’s which are making mistakes online, but looking at the ASK restaurants website yesterday I was very surprised to see how a well-known UK brand has paid little or no attention to their search strategy.
Being a popular restaurant chain there are many opportunities to attract potential customers on the web and at the moment ASK do not appear to be taking advantage of these.
Quick Restaurant SEO Tips for ASK
This seems to be a perfect example of common mistakes website’s can make online. So seeing that there’s so many missed opportunities at the moment, I have listed some tips which they (and other similar sites) could apply in order to quickly start making an impact:
- From a branding perspective it just about does it’s job, albeit ranking behind Ask.com/.co.uk which are dominating queries for ASK. If you are looking specifically for ASK restaurants in a search engine you will find them, but looking at the search rankings the current traffic levels are likely to be very brand based. There’s very little optimisation work around attracting new visits and potential customers to the site.
- Website is all Flash-based – As much as Google has improved how Flash content is indexed, it’s still far easier to optimise content which is managed in an HTML format. Flash website’s still rank in Google, but this is largely because of their backlinks – a more HTML-based site would help the site attract organic traffic for targeted keywords.
- Duplicate content issues – when clicking around through the navigation the URL’s switch over to www.askcentral.co.uk, this contains an exact copy of the www.askrestaurants.com website, confusing the user and definitely weakening the strength of their own website by separating content across the two domains.
- The site is poorly optimised for locational keywords – this even gets outranked by review sites for it’s own branded location searches such as: ASK Abingdon. The information for each location is a very basic, un-optimised webpage so it’s easy to see why they are being outranked here by site’s which are better optimised and contain more useful content.
- Not using paid search at all – for branded and locational/geo-targeted Italian restaurant queries a modest PPC budget would be sufficient here and help them to attract potential customers via a targeted campaign.
- Not listed on Google Local – If you perform a Google search on Oxford Italian Restaurants the Google Local blended search results are listed at the top. When ASK are listed here (or in Google Maps), it’s only because they have been listed by a restaurant guide – rather than controlling the listing and clickthrough traffic itself.
- Poor title and meta tags – the title tags are really not optimised for any type of non-branded, traffic driving search terms. Plus there is no meta description tag, meaning that the result snippet when listed in the search engines is empty!
- No website analytics?! – I may be wrong here, but I struggled to find any tracking code – every website should be aware of its online performance. So if they are not even measuring the traffic and user activity on the site then that could be one of the main reasons why they don’t realise there’s so much potential for improvement here!
So those are just some very quick ways which ASK (and other restaurant website’s) can look to improve their profile in the search engines. And maybe you can get away with the odd pun headline once in a while too! :)