Copywriting

What is SEO and Why Do You Need it?

Epicure Digital Marketing Breaks SEO Down

If you run your own business, chances are you are approached on a daily basis by people who have a tool, product, or service that you “desperately” need. One of these is probably SEO. There can be a certain anxiety for business owners when it comes to services like this – you are proud of your business and you want it to succeed, but you are no website expert, and you are not even sure you know what SEO is. Do you really need it? Or is someone simply trying to sell you something?

To help, this week we are demystifying SEO.

Epicure explains SEO

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and, very basically, means ensuring that your website is high up on a search. Any search engine – let’s say Google – will look through all websites and work out which fit specific search terms. The more relevant a website is to a search, the higher up on the list it will be. Search engines tend to be clever and know how to examine a website’s copy, images, location etc. to determine how relevant it truly is to the search. This is why a Google search for “adorable baby kittens” will turn up pictures of adorable baby kittens, and not a second hand tyre shop trying to attract more visitors.

Epicure's SEO Kittens

Optimising your website for search engines will mean your website is more likely to be seen - this will attract more visitors, and these visitors can be turned into customers.

SEO – Then and Now

In the past, the way to show that your business was, for example, an Italian restaurant in East London, was to fill your website with the keywords that would be used by the people looking for businesses like yours. This could mean repeating the words “Italian”, “Restaurant” and “London” several times on each page. This also applied to the structure of your page, so instead of labelling your menu page “Menu”, you might label it “Italian Restaurant Menu”.

SEO Improves Restaurant Marketing

Thankfully things have moved on since those days – and the Google bots have gotten smarter than ever – so smart, indeed, that they can essentially mimic human reading patterns. This means that instead of looking for 18 instances of the word “Italian”, they will instead be scanning for content which genuinely relates to Italian food.

They will also be looking for content which is updated and changed regularly, to make sure that your website is still live. Every time new content is added, Google’s bots have to come back and “crawl” your page again, giving additional weight to your website.

SEO Improves Restaurant Marketing

Do I really need SEO?

The short answer is yes. Google is the world’s largest marketplace, and to miss out on an opportunity to rank well would be a mistake. However, this does not mean you should jump on board with the first SEO “specialist” who gets in touch – optimal SEO work can be both simpler and wider-reaching than that. Dan Zarrella, the author of The Science of Marketing began his career as an SEO specialist and is keen to point out that SEO is constantly shifting and changing. In actual fact, “you probably don’t need more SEO help. Most businesses would benefit much more from increasing content quantity and quality.”  

Search Engine Optimisation with Epicure Digital Marketing

How to improve your SEO in 5 easy steps

1. Optimise your copy

This does not mean throwing in keywords left, right, and centre - but it will never hurt to use them. Do you cook authentic Italian food? Then mention it! But back up this assertion with pictures of said food and further elaborations, and always make sure your copy is well-written and clear. If it hard for a human to read (too small, flashing, white writing on light background, full of misspellings and incorrect grammar) then it will be hard for Google to read.

2.  Fool-proof your architecture

This is where an SEO specialist comes in. Find out what keywords apply to you (they may not always be exactly as you would expect) and use them not only in your copy, but in each webpage’s meta data, such as title tags, headers, and meta descriptions.

3. Crosslink

Essentially this means including links to other pages on your website. For example, having a link to your Menu page in the main body of your homepage. The more links you have directing people to important pages, the better their visibility.

4. Get Blogging.

Remember we mentioned updating content? Having a blog on your website is the best and easiest way to have relevant, well-written, frequently-changing content on your site, without having to re-write your copy every couple of months.

5. Backlink 

A blog will also provide quality content to share with people over social media. This is where back-linking comes in. The more inbound links to your website, from whatever source, the higher it will rank. Simple!

Google

SEO algorithms are consistently changing – in 2010 alone, Google made over 500 changes to their algorithm - that’s over one a day! Because of this, SEO can seem like a risky investment, intangible and uncertain, but if you commit to filling your website with relevant, interesting, well-written content – with just the right amount of guidance – it will make all the difference.

 

Still have some unanswered SEO questions? Get in touch and we would be happy to answer them!

The Clear and Simple Truth of Good Copywriting

Copywriting Tips Straight From The Epicure Desk

‘If people cannot write well, they cannot think well…’  - George Orwell

Putting a pen to paper can bring out the worst in us. Sometimes when we write it is almost as if we have woken up in the midst of a fancy tea party for aristocrats where we feel an impulse to sound more intelligent than we are, speak more florally than we normally would or use big words when smaller ones are more appropriate.

Writing can be a space in which we attempt to flex our vocabularies and flaunt our smooth and sophisticated styles whilst throwing everything else – including meaning – to the wind.

The secret to good writing is communicating meaning. Yet for many the myth of good copy writing; i.e. style over substance, is the more appealing, intuitive option.

The Elements of Style with Epicure Digital Marketing

From what we can discern from Orwell’s quote above, writing well requires thinking well. It turns out that thinking well is probably a lot easier than you would have thought.

Thinking well does not mean – necessarily – solving an impossible math equation or offering an illuminating interpretation of a poem or painting. It can merely be stating the obvious; for instance, that you prefer coffee to tea, or that you enjoy beach holidays.

Expressing something simple cogently and clearly is thinking well and it is this basic skill that is your greatest asset in all your writing endeavors, including restaurant copywriting.

Restaurant copywriting shares the same scope as journalism. When writing a news story, the writer is advised to pretend s/he is speaking to her/his friend at the pub – simple, almost colloquial language. For instance: ‘You are never going to believe who I just saw whilst walking past Exeter College, Oxford… Thom Yorke!’ Granted the structure of this is not necessarily appropriate for publication, but the ingredients are all there.

Yesterday Thom Yorke was seen walking by Exeter College, Oxford, reports Chris O’Leary at Epicure Digital Marketing. That’s better. Not the most lyrical line ever written but its meaning is as clear as day.

In this same vein, when you approach copywriting either for your restaurant or a client’s, begin with the most basic, fundamental parts of what makes the restaurant special or worth visiting for a meal.

Imagine, for instance, that you are dealing with a client that specialises in authentic Neapolitan pizza. The message that you must communicate is: This restaurant serves delicious authentic pizza from the Mecca of pizza, Naples.

Let’s consider a relevant headline: Pizza from Napoli. Don’t be fooled – there is nothing wrong or unfashionable about telling your reader exactly what it is you are offering, particularly given that this three word headline would be reinforced by a high-resolution image of a mouth-watering authentic pizza, and hopefully supported by fantastic design and branding.

Where possible, it never hurts to add a bit of flair to one’s copywriting. Just don’t force it. If you would like to add another layer of meaning or intrigue to your headline – without sacrificing its original impactfulness – why not try something like From Napoli, with Love? This example, when added to a marketing framework that unequivocally shows that we are dealing with a pizza restaurant in London, clearly expresses that the pizza is authentically Neapolitan and is made with love. This headline also benefits by being placed within a popular and fashionable British cultural framework; i.e. James Bond and its range of British, sexy and on-trend significations.

Great writing takes style

 

An example of a really good, but concise and basic headline is on the New York City burger chain Five Napkin Burger’s website. Their homepage leads with MEET THE BURGERS in clear, large font laid on top of a high-resolution image of a big, juicy and delicious burger. The language is simple – three words – and the message even clearer  – this place does a damn good burger.

Let’s consider another NYC restaurant (which shall remain unnamed) that is arguably better than Five Napkin Burger – a stylish wine bar that serves great wine and flatbread pizzas. Instead of just telling us about the quality food and drink they offer, they write: Savor The Sensations. Our extensive wine list includes exquisite bottles from around the globe. Our sommelier has traveled the world collecting only the finest wines… It continues in this style for a good deal longer.

Let’s play spot the difference – one example offers us three words that combine to not only give us pure, unadulterated meaning, but also one heck of a reason to pay them a visit (that is, if you like burgers).

The other example hides from us the truly excellent reasons why we should drop by for wine and flatbreads through nearly 70 meaningless and self-consciously-styled words. This not only gives the reader a nearly meaningless message, it renders its digital marketing impotent.

The clear and simple truth of quality copywriting is that all you need to do is pretend you are telling your friend over a drink at the pub what your restaurant is about and why it is worthwhile.  Do this, and you will be well on your way to the evocative and captivating copy your restaurant’s marketing craves.