Vivid Insights & Marketing

The Definitive Guide
to Coffee Shop SEO


What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process that helps your coffee shop’s website be found on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others. It’s about making sure people can find your coffee shop when they look for it online. Understanding how a search engine works will help you develop an effective Coffee Shop SEO strategy. This can help you rank higher in local searches and drive more customers through your doors.

The following steps will explain the process of using SEO to achieve higher rankings and get more customers for your coffee shop.

Step 1 - Keyword Research

The first step in getting a coffee shop website found is figuring out what people are actually searching for when they want coffee. This will dictate which keywords should appear on your site and in which places they should appear. In order to find out which keywords to use for your coffee shop, you will need a keyword research tool that tells you the search volume for words or phrases relating to coffee. There are free tools such as Google Keyword Planner, as well as paid options such as SEMRush, KWfinder, or Ahrefs. Some of the paid options also offer free trials or limited access without a premium membership. Your best bet is to use one that includes some sort of difficulty score for each keyword.

How to Decide Which Keywords to Use For Your Coffee Shop

When researching which terms and phrases to use for a coffee shop, there are a few things to look for based on the data. For starters, what is the search volume for keywords in your area? For reference, there are over 12,000 searches per month for “coffee shop near me” in Charlotte, NC. At first glance, it seems like an awesome term to use because of the sheer volume of searches. On the other hand, because of the number of searches for that exact term, competition is extremely high. It is so high, in fact, that an actual coffee shop’s official website doesn’t even show up on the first page. Charlotte Observer, Yelp, and a few other review sites are taking up all the slots and it is only once you get halfway down page 2 that you finally find Just Love Coffee Cafe.

A better strategy is to look for keywords that aren’t as competitive, but still have a lot of search volume. An example would be “coffee place near me,” which only has 630 searches per month, but is much less competitive. For this keyword, there are 4 coffee shops in the top 20 search results as opposed to 1 for the more competitive term. 630 may not seem like much when compared to 12,000, but it is much more likely that you will be able to position yourself near the top of page one for that term. Ranking anywhere in the top 3 for that keyword would earn your coffee shop anywhere between 30-125 new potential customers per month.

Coffee Shop SEO

Step 2 - On-Page Optimization

Once you have established which keywords you want to use, you need to put them in the correct places. Additionally, you have to be careful not to use the keywords too much or you could be penalized for “keyword stuffing.” You want to make sure you use them enough in a natural way so it will be clear to the search engines that you are indeed a local coffee shop. There are tools such as Yoast that will tell you what your keyword density should be based on the word count of your content.

Title Tag & Meta Description

One of the most important places to put your target keyword is your title tag and meta description. The title tag and meta description are what you see when a website shows up in search results. These two things can be adjusted within a website builder dashboard. On top of giving users information about your business, placing your target keywords in the title tag and meta description sends another signal to search engines about your business, and positively affects your rankings.

Coffee Shop SEO

Headings and Subheadings

A good piece of content will typically be separated by headings. Different headings have different levels of importance, ranging from H1 to H6. The H1 heading describes the page and is usually the title found somewhere near the top. You should only have one of these. H1 headers usually have much larger text and may even be a bolder font. If at all possible your exact target keyword should always be in your H1 heading.

If your target keyword is “coffee spot,” then your H1 header should read something like “The Hottest Coffee Spot in Charlotte.” Conversely, if the keyword you are targeting is “coffee shop near me,” you most like won’t be able to use the exact term. This is because there are not many ways to use “coffee shop near me” in a sentence without it looking like keyword spam or stuffing. This is one of the things you will need to consider when choosing your keyword. You want something that has good volume, low competition and is easy to incorporate into your content without making it look like you were trying to fit a keyword in there.

H2 headers are also very important and should contain your keywords as well depending on the circumstances. If you don’t have any headers lower than an H2, then you will not want all of your H2s to include the target keyword. Putting your target keyword in all of your headings is considered over-optimization and could result in a penalty or your page being ignored by search engines. If you have some H3s and H4s, then you can include the target keyword in all of the H2s as long as it makes sense without worrying about overdoing it.

Alt Text of Images

Alt text refers to text that is used in place of an image when a browser can’t render it. This alt text helps provide context for the images on your website. Using keywords in alt text throughout your site will help your page rank better for specific keywords. It’s important that you use relevant and original content for each image on your site because search engines know how often these images change across sites and how useful they are within those pages. You can’t just put the same target keyword as alt text in all the images on a page. Doing so wouldn’t make sense and could be viewed as spam by a search engine. The alt text must be related to the photo and must apply to the surrounding content. 

You can change alt text in the area where you upload or select an image in most website builder platforms. If you are uploading an image of employees or a new product to your coffee shop website, you can simply add your keyword into the alt text section before clicking the select button.

Does Optimizing Your Own Coffee Shop Website Seem Like Too Much Work?

Vivid Insights & Marketing has worked with many businesses in the food & drink industry including coffee shops, to help boost their search engine rankings. We can help you drive new customers to your coffee shop every day.

Step 3 - Off-Page Optimization

It is rare for a website to rank highly on search engines with keyword research and on-page optimization alone. Most of the time, you are going to need a certain amount of signals to be sent to search engines from other sources. For example, if other businesses, blogs, review pages, or directories link to your website, it gives you more credibility, thereby increasing your relevance. For that reason, acquiring backlinks and building new citations is an important part of any SEO campaign. Here are a few strategies for acquiring new citations and backlinks.

Building New Citations

One of the most important aspects of Coffee Shop SEO is citation building. Citations are basically mentions of your business that appear on other websites—such as reviews, press releases, and customer testimonials. Getting these mentions helps potential customers find your website and encourages them to spend money. The more citations you have, especially local citations such as Google or Yelp, the higher you’ll rank in local search engine results, which leads directly to increased foot traffic at your store.

To get new citations, you can do one of two things. You can build them yourself, or you can use a citation building service. Building citations yourself will require you to create a new account for each listing, and then enter your contact information and business description one by one. This can take a long time, especially if you plan on building a lot of them. The alternative is to use a citation builder such as BrightLocal. Once you create an account with them, you can submit your contact information, business description, and logo and have it disseminated to as many directories as you want automatically. There is a fee associated with the service, but it is usually only a few dollars per listing.

One of the pros of using the citation service is you don’t have to worry about inconsistent information across different listings. Having consistent name, address, and phone number information is extremely important when it comes to local SEO for your coffee shop.

Acquiring Backlinks

Backlinks are an often overlooked aspect of SEO. One of the reasons why is because they are so hard to come by. People would rather put their efforts into another area of the website that they have full control over. Backlink building is different from other SEO practices because you can’t just sit behind your computer screen and work harder or longer to generate more results. Since the backlinks come from other websites, it’s not always clear how many you can get or where they might come from. When optimizing a website in the food or drink industry, links should mostly come from other coffee shops, restaurants, bars, or blogs relating to food and drink. Niche-related links have a much greater effect on your SEO performance due to their relevance.

Even though backlink building is somewhat unpredictable, there are steps you can take to actively increase your backlink profile. While there is no magic number for how many backlinks are needed for your website, there are metrics you can monitor to give you a rough idea so you make a link-building strategy. Online tools such as SEMRush or Ahrefs will tell you the “Domain Authority” or “Domain Rating” of your website. You can compare your number to your competitors while also looking to see how many backlinks each of you have. Since some backlinks are more powerful than others, there is really no way to know exactly how much a backlink is worth, but having an idea makes it easier for you to plan your link-building campaign.

Coffee Shop SEO

Acquiring Backlinks Naturally

As a local business, you will naturally attract backlinks over time. If you are a member of the local chamber of commerce, or the newspaper does a press release for your business, you will get backlinks from the websites of those organizations. Acquiring links naturally is nice, but it doesn’t happen often and you don’t get enough of them over time to really be competitive with SEO. To get top rankings, you will almost always have to actively pursue links through blogger outreach.

Blogger Outreach & Guest Posting

Using blogger outreach to increase the strength of your domain is one of the most powerful things you can do to increase your rankings for your coffee shop. Assuming you have followed the first two steps and your website is optimized with the right keywords, blogger outreach is the final step of Coffee Shop SEO. Instead of cold calling or sending thousands of emails asking people to link to your website, you can hire an agency specializing in building them for you. A blogger outreach agency won’t just ask other websites to link to you for no reason. They will create a valuable piece of content and publish it to the other website in the form of a guest post, with a link coming back to you.

Blogger outreach services range in price, but good quality links cost around $200 each on average. When people learn that the service is $200 per guest post and they don’t know exactly how many they need to make it to the top of search results, it scares them. They tend to go looking for some other alternative, or they buy spammy links somewhere like Fiverr and end up doing themselves more harm than good. At the end of the day, you have two options, find guest posting opportunities yourself, or hire someone else. Your websites backlink profile is one of the most important factors for ranking, there is no way around it.

2021 Client Data

Leads Generated
$ 0 M
Revenue Generated for Clients


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