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SEO for Bars (2020)

Do it yourself SEO for Bars. Learn how successful Bars use SEO to get more Customers! In this tutorial you'll discover all the search engine optimization techniques you need to apply to your website (and the ones you don't) the way smart Bar Owners do.
Bar related image

Everything I'm going to cover here assumes you've read Setting up a Search Engine Optimizable Bar Website tutorial and implemented the actions. If you haven't set up your website this way you're going to be doing SEO with one hand tied behind your back and a lot of what I'll explain won't make sense or you won't be able to implement it.

So in short order your website should be either:

  • on Squarespace
  • on Wordpress hosted by BlueHost.

If you chose the Wordpress route and went through the steps in the Setting up a Search Engine Optimizable Bar Website tutorial you should have:

  • Theme X or Divi as your theme:
  • Yoast for SEO plugin
  • Contact Form 7 plugin
  • Shortpixel plugin
  • Permalinks set to 'Post Name'

At the end of the Setting up a Search Engine Optimizable Bar Website tutorial I also walked through the process of creating and preparing your images and photos so they are all visually of high quality but technically super small in file size.

And I also covered there how to create the basic pages of your site:

  • Home Page - a summary of the Drinks you offer and who you are
  • A contact page - so prospective Customers can get in touch with you or come to your Bar
  • A page about the Drinks you offer
  • A page about you - you're history as a Bar Owner, qualifications, client testimonials, etc.

So lets dive in!

What do you want your Bar website to rank for?

Basically what people searching for your Bar would type into Google and Bing. That would be:

  • Bar + [Location] - e.g. Bar Riverdale
  • Bar Owner + [Location] - e.g. Bar Owner Riverdale
  • cocktails + Location - e.g. cocktails Riverdale

Or they might use Google's suggestion:

  • Bar near me
  • Bar Owner near me
  • cocktails near me

It boils down to the same thing ... 'location' is a key word here so how to be sure Google and Bing 'get it'?

Adding your location

Yes, you have probably put your address (and/or the areas you cover) on your contact page but that's not strong enough. You need to repeat your location (and/or the locations you serve) on every single page of your site so Google realizes it is important.

My guidance here is that your 'location' should include the nearest area with around 30,000 people and any sub locations within that.

So let's say Smallesville is a small town with 5,000 people living there and it is located on the outskirts of Riverdale which has a population of 30,000. Then your location should be "Smallesville, Rivderdale".

Sliding the other way let's say Bigtown had a population of half a million and your Practice was in the Sleepy Meadows neighborhood where 30,000 people live. In that case I would put your location as "Sleepy Meadows, Bigtown" and focus on your immediate area.

You see the competition for Bigtown is probably high given the number of people that live there (and the number of Bars operating there) so you are far more likely to rank if you also promote your neighborhood or district.

If you want to include other nearby districts that's fine. Instead of putting your address on every page put something like "Serving Sleapy Meadows, Knotty Woods and Boom Docks in Bigtown".

So where to put this text? At the bottom right or bottom center of every page of your website. This is where people expect to find it and where search engines expect to find it.

In Squarespace place it in your footer - here's the tutorial.

In Wordpress:

  • go to Appearance -> Widgets
  • create a text widget with your address or locations you want to list
  • add the widget to your footer area

Job done! Google and Bing will now see your location, or the locations you serve, on every page and because they are repeated on every page it will give them more weight.

Optimizing your URL and page titles

Your URL will be - the bit called 'something' is often referred to as the slug and that's what we are interested in.

So looking at your contact page first. Is the slug something like and the main title users see something like 'Contact'. Right well that doesn't help a search engine much. Better would be:

  • Slug: /contact-riverdale-favorite-bar/
  • Title: Contact Riverdale's Favorite Bar

Now you've got those all important words (what you are and where you are) in your url and page title. Here's how to do it:

In Squarespace

In Wordpress

Now go through your other pages something like this:

  • Home Page:
    • Slug: You can't change this, it doesn't exist!
    • Title: Riverdale's Favorite Bar
  • About page
    • Slug: /about-riverdale-favorite-bar/
    • Title: About Riverdale's Favorite Bar
  • Drinks
    • Slug: /drinks-offered-riverdale-bar/
    • Title: Drinks Offered by Riverdale's Favorite Bar

If you have created specific pages about your Drinks one might be:

  • Slug: /cocktails-riverdale/
  • Title: cocktails in Riverdale

Notice we don't use words in the Slug like 'in' or 'by'. Any small words that don't actually mean anything (known as Stop Words) don't need to go into the Slug.

You get the picture! We are repeating certain keywords (who you are, what you do, where you are) in key places on your website. We're also not using the name of your practice. Why not? Because Practice names are (or should be) so unique that you will rank for them anyway so don't clutter up your titles and slugs with them

Remember your titles will show up in the search results of Google and Bing so being more descriptive simply makes you look more attractive to internet searchers.

In the search results simulation below the blue text represents your page title:

Contact Riverdale's Favorite Bar
At the Preonus we've been offering Drinks since 2012 and are proud to serve Riverdale. Call us toll free on 800-800-8000 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
I'm a Bar Owner that doesn't know my SEO from my ABC!
Contact Us
... a Bar Owner who hasn't set up their Search Engine Optimization correctly so Google is just grabbing something random off the page ...
Your page title gets used by Google and Bing in the search results most of the time so make sure your utilizing it well.

But what about the black text descriptions below your titles? We'll sort these out next.

The meta description

Totally ignored by search engines and often ignored by Search Engine Optimizers who don't know what they are doing ... the meta description is really, really important.

Its the text search engines are most likely to use (but not guaranteed to use) when they show a page from your website in their search results so it can be your one chance to sell yourself and get a potential customer.

It should be a punchy, attractive 200 character summary of that page's content which makes people want to click through.

Now as it happens the first line of text on each of your pages should be a punchy, attractive 200 character summary of that page's content which will make people want to stay longer and read more so to start with go back through your pages and tighten this up.

For example on your 'about' page your opening text could be something like "At the Preonus we've been offering Drinks since 2012 and are proud to serve Riverdale. Call us toll free on 800-800-8000 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm"

All very welcoming. Makes people using Google or Bing want to click through and makes people on your website want to read more. We've also got those all important words in there about what you do and where you are.

Now for each page add your opening line or lines as the meta description as well:

In Squarespace:

  • From the Home Menu click 'Pages'
  • hover over the page you want to add a meta description to and click the gear icon ()
  • click the SEO tab and put your meta description in the 'SEO Description' box
  • Save your work
  • Here's the step by step tutorial.

In Wordpress:

  • Make sure the Yoast SEO plugin is installed and activated
  • Open a page for editing and scroll down to the 'Yoast' box below your content
  • Add in your meta description
  • While you are here check the changes you made to your slug and page title are reflected here and if not update them.
  • Click the 'Update' button to save your work.

So why do we match up your opening text with your meta description? Google and Bing are far more likely to use this text in their search results if they see it is used prominently on the page and so that gives you a little more control over how they present you. Otherwise it can be a bit random!

So once again here is the end result of how your 'about' page could look Google's search results:

Contact Riverdale's Favorite Bar
At the Preonus we've been offering Drinks since 2012 and are proud to serve Riverdale. Call us toll free on 800-800-8000 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
I'm a Bar Owner that doesn't know my SEO from my ABC!
Contact Us
... a Bar Owner who hasn't set up their Search Engine Optimization correctly so Google is just grabbing something random off the page ...
Your meta description gets used by Google and Bing in the search results most of the time so make sure it attracts visitors.

Make your entities salient

Eh? Well you've polished up your slugs, page titles and meta descriptions but any spammer can do that. You need to be a little more convincing for search engines to trust you!

Bing and Google use something called 'Entity Salients Analysis' - an entity is a thing and the salience is how important that thing is on each page and on your website overall. Your thing is a Bar which serves Customers within a limited geographical area.

Proving that your website really is about that 'thing' means using words that search engines 'expect' to find on a Bar website.

If I walked into your Bar because I saw the words "Bar" above your door it is obvious what my expectations would be. But if you started talking to me about great casinos I should visit I might start to click that you aren't a Bar Owner after all.

Google and Bing will do the same thing if they wander about your website and can't find the wording they're expecting based on the other information you have given them in your URL, Page Title and Meta Description.

So they are expecting to see Bar related words like:

  • cocktails
  • craft beers
  • French wines

They'll also expect you might mention the kinds of people associated with your Bar:

  • Cocktail specialists
  • waiters and waitresses
  • security staff

And search engines are smart enough to understand what a Bar is and that it means you serve the Hospitality market sector so they would also expect words like:

  • Hygiene
  • Comfort
  • Qualified
  • Insured
  • Understand
  • Effective

Take some time to have a search around the web. Visit the Wikipedia page for your profession. Look at what related words Bar websites that rank well in Google use on their sites. Then knit those words into your content. They only count of they are within written text - lists like those above are weak - so work them in naturally.

If you struggle because repetition sometimes makes your text look awkward use a thesaurus to find alternatives such as "cleanliness" instead of "Hygiene". Google and Bing understand these synonyms.

Checking for readability

OK, we're now at the point where you have images and text on your pages and the text is rich in words that are associated with Bars.

Obviously its a good idea to read through what you have written for typos and places where it makes no sense but you should also be looking at the overall presentation using something we call 'chunking'. Chunking is where you break your content down into bite sized chunks.

By that I mean short paragraphs. Look at how all the major news sites (BBC / CNN / etc.) present their texts ... very short paragraphs. Sometimes only one line long. I'm doing the same on this page. I'm also breaking up the text by using bold characters every so often as you can see in the paragraph above.

Visitors are more likely to stay on your website (and so more likely to become Customers) if your content is easy to digest so split long paragraphs into smaller ones and embolden important sentences.

An image to break up text
Using images to break up long texts actually makes the content more readable

If you have a lot of text break this up with images as well. My general rule of thumb is an image at least every two screen heights on a laptop. Basically what I've done on this page. An image every now and then just so the text doesn't start to feel overwhelming.

Explain your images

OK! You've got great titles, slugs and text ... but what about your images? They look fantastic and they load fast but do Google and Bing know what they are about. Well they get better and better at this but they are still not perfect so help them out.

To do this we need to add an ALT (short for "Alternative" description) to each photograph which will also help your SEO.

This description needs to be an honest and accurate explanation of the image but you can also get in a few keywords of your own.

So lets say you have an image of your bar area. The ALT description could be "At Bar Preonus in Riverdale our legendary cocktails have been featured in the New York Times".

You've reflected the content of the image and once again got in what you are and where you are.

To add ALT descriptions to your images:

In Squarespace

In Wordpress


JSON-LD is a block of code that is placed on your website to pass key bits of information to Google and Bing. This includes the type of business you are, your location (both as an address and with longitude and latitude - great for GPSs), opening hours, telephone number and a whole bunch of other stuff.

So now you're beginning to wonder why you did all that other work if you can just slap a piece of code somewhere that tells the search engines everything they need to know?

Google and Bing won't believe your JSON-LD, just as they don't believe your titles, unless they see it verified in your content. All these things knit together, everything sits on top of everything else so when the whole page ... and even the whole website ... is bought together search engines say "OK, this website is definitely for a Bar in Riverdale"

So how do we get JSON-LD onto your website?

The first step is to create the block of code and the great people over at Steal Our JSON-LD have made a generator for you to do this!

JSON-LD generator from
The JSON-LD Generator from includes ready made templates for many types of local businesses

Now take your block of code and ....

In Squarespace:

For Wordpress

  • Use the Plugin Markup (JSON-LD) structured in

Once you are all done test your pages with Google's Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure everything is working correctly.

And that's it. Your website is Search Engine Optimized!

What about blogging, creating content, content marketing, blogger outreach, building backlinks, etc.?

No, none of that. These are SEO techniques which are not relevant to local businesses like Bars but people tend to spurt them out when they don't really understand Search Engine Optimization and how it should apply to a Bar which serves a particular geographical area.

Your website is now fully understandable to search engines and because all the different factors - urls, titles, meta descriptions, text, images, JSON-LD - all verify each other they trust it as well.

But that doesn't mean you are going to bounce straight to the top of Google or Bing. You might but it could well take a few weeks.

So while Google and Bing are mulling over your website lets get back to the SEO Guide for Bar Owners and move to Step 3 - getting your business on the first page of Google right now with Google My Business and on the first page of Bing with Bing Places.

Check out my Really, Totally Ultimate SEO Checklist .... it's huuuuuuuuuuuuuge!!