How SEO TWIST Helped Al’s Steakhouse Update for 2017 Without Losing its Past
When Sam Saikali and Justin Merner visited SEO TWIST in March of 2017, we knew we had something special on our hands. After all, Sam’s late father and Justin’s grandfather, Al, was the founder, operator, and namesake of Al’s Steakhouse, Ottawa’s classic steakhouse. Though Sam and his siblings had been working on revamping and renovating the restaurant themselves, Justin suggested they come to us for help with the web side of things. The initial meeting gave us a detailed look at the size and scope of the project. SEO TWIST would develop a 10-page website to revamp and revitalize the restaurant’s existing and out-of-date site. “I contacted SEO TWIST to update the restaurant’s website, which was out of date,” explained Justin. “I met with the SEO TWIST team who were very receptive to my wants and needs for the site.” Justin had a sharp vision for how the site should look and feel, and based on his guidelines, we started to design, develop, and optimize the site.
Quality, Family, and Tradition
While a new design was needed, there had to be some continuity between the old site and the new. After all, Al’s Steakhouse was and is a family operation, with the restaurant staying in family hands after Al’s passing in 2016. Al’s Steakhouse was a hub of culture over the years, with several notable celebrities and figures stopping for a meal. Photos of these notable guests fill a wall at Al’s. Justin wanted to highlight Al’s atmosphere and quality, key features of the restaurant’s identity. Al’s is, after all, one of the few places in the city to grill on live charcoal, so that had to be front and centre. While the old site featured menus, it lacked high-quality images of prepared dishes. The solution? A scrolling gallery of delicious food behind the page content. It was important to the client that their modern design reflected their history without feeling dated or “retro.” They also wanted to highlight that 2017 was the restaurant’s 50th anniversary, which coincided with Canada’s 150th anniversary. SEO TWIST had a mandate to create a modern website with a timeless, classic feel. It also had to highlight the history of Al’s Steakhouse without feeling stuck in the past.
The Creative Process
Our designers set about developing the look and feel of the new site. They focused on a distinctly modern yet classic style to match the restaurant’s renovated look. Justin didn’t want visitors getting lost on lengthy pages. He wanted a clean, one-page look and design that highlighted what was special about Al’s Steakhouse. Clean designs benefit mobile-friendly sites, which Google’s search index will soon favour. Our SEO experts researched the most common keywords and phrases related to steakhouses and restaurants in Ottawa. They prepared a set of keywords for the client, and following his approval began to develop an architecture for the site. This architecture worked to improve how search engines index the site. It was important to keep the site lean with keywords unique to each page to ensure the index could find each page quickly based on a search. The last step was to build the site, using the coding know-how and skills of our in-house development team. They brought the visual design to life, and the design team put the finishing touches on the visuals. Meanwhile, our content writers created original written text integrating keywords that search engines would notice. We imported the text into the new site, and presented it to the client for their approval.
A Successful Launch—Digitally and In-Person
Design and development of the site progressed quickly, and we soon had a finished product ready to present to Justin and Sam. “I was [contacted] only a couple of weeks later with a professional, modern website which was beyond my expectations,” said Justin. “I had only minor edits and critiques, which were fixed in a matter of hours.” Based on the client’s feedback and input, we knew we had a good product in our hands. We incorporated the final design changes, and launched the site after Justin and Sam signed off on it. The site went live shortly before April 10, the grand reopening of the newly renovated Al’s Steakhouse. It was a perfect one-two combo; the site is an engaging, easy-to-find source of information for diners, who have taken to the refreshed and revitalized Al’s with its new energy and appearance.
“From the beginning of this process, I felt comfortable knowing I left my business’ website in the hands of true professionals,” commented Justin. “Your file is not going to one individual, but a whole team, who are there to work for you.” In the time since the site’s launch, traffic steadily rose and increased. Al’s Steakhouse is consistently a top-ranking site on Google search results for steakhouses in Ottawa. SEO TWIST was able to meet and exceed client expectations on-schedule and deliver a stunning finished product. “I am happy knowing I can work with [SEO TWIST] over the years and they will produce exactly what my business needs, while respecting urgent timelines and the-ever content of our site.” At SEO TWIST, we’re proud of the work we do for our clients. We help them grow and expand their business while highlighting what it is that makes them unique. Next time you’re in downtown Ottawa, stop by Al’s Steakhouse for a bite to eat!