An aside: SEO for restaurants

19 March 2010

The other day, we got an ad through our letterbox for a new Thai restaurant. We’d become fed up with the other neighbourhood Thais, so decided to try this one this evening. We could remember the name, “Cafe de Thai”, and the street, All Saints Road, but no more, but hey, no problem: let’s Google it!

The results were odd; I won’t link to them because they’ll change rapidly enough, but what we found was that the front page results had two links to aggregators of celebrity Twitter accounts (because someone who is apparently semi-famous tweeted about the place), but everything else was about other places on the same street, or with vaguely similar names. By contrast, a search for their competitors came up with a bunch of random London restaurant listing sites, many of which I’d never heard of — but all of which had the information I was looking for, to wit the telephone number and the precise address.

What’s interesting to me is that (a) neither restaurant’s own web page was on the first page of the listings, and (b) this didn’t matter. All that mattered was that the contact details were at the front of the list; the more established place had loads of listings sites giving contact details for them, but the newer place was nowhere to be found. So perhaps, while software companies spend money to make as sure as possible that their own website is at the top of the search results for their name and industry segment, SEO for restaurants is much more nuanced: you don’t need your own website to come first, just that of a decent listings site. Ideally, one would assume, a listings site where you get a good rating…

Anyway, just in case anyone has wound up on this page looking for details of the restaurant:

Cafe de Thai
29 All Saints Road
020 7243 3001

I recommend the scallops and the weeping tiger; Lola liked her dim sum and red curry with prawns. Alan Carr recommends the green curry, apparently…