The concept of evergreen content is generally discussed in terms of food blogs that focus on recipes, cooking or gardening. Today we share 5 ideas for creating and optimizing evergreen content that will make your restaurant blog a go-to destination (and keep Google happy)!
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We talk a lot about evergreen content for food blogs around these parts. But so often, those articles pertain to blogs that focus on recipes, cooking or gardening. What do you do about evergreen content when you're a restaurant blogger?
When your blog focuses on writing about restaurants, breweries or wineries, you're in an ever-shifting market. Restaurant menus change, often multiple times a year. The chef and kitchen staff change, the front of house staff changes, ownership can change and all of that can have a big impact on a dining out experience (not to mention, restaurants close and then your original post loses all relevance!).
So how do you create evergreen content for your restaurant blog that can help your Google search rankings and bring readers back time and time again?
We're so glad you asked! Here are some of our suggestions for improving your restaurant blog's evergreen content.
1. Consider List Posts
List posts are popular for a reason: they're easy to read and useful for people who want quick tips. They're also very easy to update! Six months later if a restaurant you mentioned in your original list has gone out of business, you can simply pull it out of the list and replace it with another option.
The same strategy pertains if a restaurant's level of service or quality of food drops — just remove them from your list. The bulk of the list makers will still remain. You can also leave a note at the top of your post noting the date of the last update so readers immediately know how current your list is.
Some list ideas:
- Top 5 places that are student budget-friendly (great for back to school, especially if you're in a university town and new students are flooding into town in late August and early September)
- Best places for a romantic date
- Best places for an office going away party, department lunch or any other kind of work function where you need to appeal to a lot of different tastes and diets
- Best places for bar snacks
- Great places to get a "big salad"
The options for this are only as limited as your imagination! They'll appeal to locals and tourists alike.
Tips to remember:
- If you have a review on your site for any of the places on your list, be sure to link to it! Google loves internal links.
- When deciding how to title your posts, think of how people would Google for the information on your list.
- Lists with mass appeal can do well but do not underestimate the power of more obscure lists. Other bloggers may overlook something like "Pet Friendly Patios," but those topics can lead to a lot of search traffic
2. Review Culinary Destinations in Your City That Aren't Restaurants
Don't just review restaurants! Why not review specialty shops, delis, and cooking schools as well?
These could include:
- Wine shops
- Tea shops
- Cheesemongers and butchers
- Local specialty shops that specialize in oils, spirits and seasonings
- Shops that specialize in a particular cuisine; virtually every major city will have at least one shop that specializes in Polish, Italian, Latin American, Thai, German or Indian food (just to name a few)
- Fabulous kitchen shops
- Cookbook stores
- Cooking schools
These posts can often have a much longer life on your blog than a restaurant review and they can get you a lot of Google traffic!
3. Embrace Culinary Tourism
Culinary tourism is on the rise. More and more people are planning their vacations as much around where to eat as they are around what there is to do. They do their research before leaving home and often use Google as their starting point.
Posts that tout the best places to eat when you have 48 hours in a city always attract attention. But consider going even further with suggestions on hidden gems that only locals know about.
Think beyond restaurants and consider places where culinary tourists might want to shop for items they can pack home on the plane or use to cook with in their Air BnB. This could include:
- Roundup posts of everything we listed in point #2 (and of course, link internally to your review posts!)
- Where to go to find local specialities like craft beer, spirits, wine, smoked salmon, smoked meat, freeze dried Saskatoon berries, bagels, donairs ... you get the idea. You'll know your local specialties better than anyone else!
- Local public markets that are as much a tourist destination as a food destination
- Farmers markets
These are all little slices of heaven for the culinary tourist! If you can add in info about whether or not a shop caters to tourists and offers domestic or international shipping for their in-store purchases, that's even more helpful (many wineries and high-end specialty shops will offer this service or will package items for travel).
Video content for these kinds of posts can also boost their relevance; if you have a YouTube channel you can crosspost. And again, don't forget to link to full reviews for these places if you have them on your site.
Don't forget the airport!
Most airports aren't in the heart of major cities and people who have a short layover or are just in town for a quick meeting might not want to head into the city. There's a reason airports are surrounded by hotels, and if you've ever been stuck in Mississauga or Richmond at 10 pm on a Wednesday and are desperate for something to eat other than McDonalds, you know how frustrating it can be!
Great post ideas could include places to eat that are a 10-minute or less Uber or taxi ride from the airport, or airport hotels that offer a solid late-night eats menu.
If you fly a lot, writing something on the food IN your local airport, both before and beyond security could make for a great post!
4. Don't Forget the Suburbs
If you live in the suburbs then you know it can be very difficult to find any blogs that talk about restaurants close by that aren't a chain. But there can be excellent dining in the burbs and exploring it in your blog can open up a whole new niche for you that other local bloggers have neglected.
Try a couple of annual roundup posts of nearby suburbs highlighting some of the best culinary delights, and update it once a year with new finds (and remove outdated ones).
Those of you who've been blogging for a few years will remember the 365 Days of Dining that the city of Richmond, BC did. FBC Member Lindsay Anderson, now of Feast, An Edible Roadtrip and co-author of the cookbook Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip, was hired by the city of Richmond to eat out at a different restaurant every day for a year. Richmond was able to highlight their rich restaurant scene and position themselves as a culinary destination on their own, and not just a suburb of Vancouver.
Some of our most evergreen and popular FBC posts have been ones that have highlighted restaurant scenes in smaller Canadian centres where there's not a lot of written coverage!
5. Think Seasonal
Restaurant bloggers can absolutely produce seasonal content without creating a single recipe.
There are the obvious posts like where to eat for Mother's Day brunch or a romantic Valentine's day dinner, but don't forget these other ideas:
- January: where to eat on a budget, where to eat to stick to your New Year's resolution (or healthy eating, juiceries, plant based restaurants, etc.), hot chocolate or other winter food-themed festivals
- February: Valentines and romantic restaurants are a no-brainer but what about anti-Valentine ideas like the best places to eat when you just want to read your book by yourself?
- March/April: Easter brunch and chocolate shops
- May: Mother's Day, but also engagement parties, wedding showers and baby showers
- June to August: patio roundups, fair food, where to eat with kids, culinary summer camps, local road trip food destinations, public markets, farmers markets, wedding rehearsal dinner spots, culinary walking tours
- September: cafés (for parents who've dropped their kids off at school and have a new-found 30 minutes to themselves), where to host a Halloween party, harvest dinners and wine festivals. You could even highlight places that help with meal planning or meal prep.
- October: winter seasonal festivals, where to host office holiday parties (yes, companies start planning their office holiday parties this early!)
- November and December are all about parties, quick places to eat before shows, concerts, theatre times and hockey games
To Sum Up
Just like with creating any kind of evergreen content, the trick is thinking about what people will be searching for and when. Build your content around that. Some of it will be seasonal content you can use year after year and some of it will be year round content you can consistently promote over and over again via social media.
Write your content in a way that makes it easy to update as changes happen. Pull restaurants or locations that are no longer valid and replace them with something new without getting rid of your entire post. Don't be afraid to republish old posts.
Don't forget internal linking to other content on your site.
Keep a spreadsheet of your seasonal content or use a tool like Meet Edgar or Co-Schedule to repurpose your content every season and re-promote it on social media.
Repurpose your evergreen content on your Instagram feed interspersed with your most recent dining experiences to make your blog a destination spot. If you have a business account on IG you may be able to link directly to posts in your Instagram stories which will also encourage people to click through.
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Melissa Hartfiel is a co-founder of FBC and is the site’s Managing Editor. She’s a graphic designer who writes, doodles, photographs and eats chocolate and drinks tea. She blogs about food, photography and creativity at her own blog, Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or connect with her on LinkedIn.