This article was first published on April 15th, 2019, and was last updated August 2023.
Franchise SEO has unique issues and challenges for local owners. Not only are you part of a multi-owner, multi-location chain competing for traffic regionally or nationally, but you may also compete locally with other franchisees.
Coordinating franchise SEO efforts between you, corporate, and your marketing providers is a complex process and a tangled, ineffective mess at worst. However, there are some steps you can take to attract customers to your single storefront or multiple store locations utilizing online efforts.
5 Franchise SEO Steps You Can Take
1) Create a Solid Foundation
The first step is to look at what franchise digital marketing exists for your stores and address any outdated SEO campaigns and tactics that are in use. If your head is already spinning just thinking about the location audits you must conduct, take a deep breath and start with the basics.
As Part of a Corporate Franchise Website
It is likely the franchise already has significant authority so that search engines will rank the website pages more easily. The simplest way for headquarters to conduct search engine optimization for franchise locations is to have one website with landing pages for each store.
However, corporate is typically more interested in building brand recognition than they are in targeted hyperlocal content. This means that you may not be getting the exposure you need to grow your franchise business.
A more effective way to benefit from franchise SEO is for corporate to treat your location as a micro-site instead of a single landing page within state and city location pages. This allows you to create content marketing unique to your store and become an authority in your area.
If you do not have free rein to create your own website or micro-site content, claiming your Google Business Profile page can help you reach and engage with your local target audience.
As a Franchise Owner Website
If your store has its own site, or if you have access to a micro-site on the corporate website, begin focusing your franchise SEO with the main pages such as the home page, products, and services, ‘About Us’, and blog. These are likely the most visited pages and are the highest ranking on the search engine results pages. Make sure the information on these pages is unique, not the generic copy sent from corporate.
Even if you have multiple locations offering the same services, optimizing original content for each store can build more authority with Google. This also allows each location to have a social identity and develop a following. When your stores appear in multiple SERP listings, it can help you push the competition further down the rankings with duplicate content.
2) Check Your NAP
An often overlooked piece of SEO for franchise structured data is your name, address and phone number (NAP). Businesses move, typos happen, and phone numbers change. Make sure the contact information on your site is correct.
Then from there, conduct a web search query for your store to confirm the NAP is right everywhere. Consistency helps build authority.
3) Claim Your Google My Business Page
Most consumers looking for products or services use Google for their search. Regarding searches with local intent, such as “ice cream near me,” Google conveniently provides business information, such as NAP, website URL, and hours of operation, so the searcher never needs to leave the local search results pages.
These business listings, which can also include a map and directions to your store, are replacing the business website. If you don’t have a completed profile, you miss out on franchise SEO strategies.
Additionally, Google shows online reviews of your business, both positive and negative. Studies show that potential customers put more weight into your response to negative reviews than the review themselves. Respond quickly and professionally to maintain a positive reputation. It’s also important to encourage customers to leave reviews of your business.
A Google Business Profile listing also allows you to post information about your store. Posts are free and are shown on the search results page. Use this valuable space to announce special events, promote sales, and share other notable activities. Add high-quality images or video clips that capture searchers’ attention to attract more customers.
4) Be Social
Is each of your stores on the major social media platforms? Do you update them frequently with local images and information? Approximately 72% of consumer engagement occurs on local social pages. Maximizing online visibility can increase your audience and directly impact the brand’s national and regional perception.
Developing an intelligent, locally focused social media strategy can extend your brand’s reach, create genuine connections and build a loyal customer base. It also provides the opportunity to increase the SEO for franchise locations.
Brand messages are re-shared more often when posted by employees instead of the brand. Craft positive, topic-specific content and let your employees share them. Employee advocacy leverages brand knowledge and has a higher customer retention rate than other tactics. Keep the message authentic while appealing to a specific audience for the best results.
5) Capture Mobile Users
Most customers searching for local businesses or services do so on their smartphones. Optimizing your website for mobile is critical to attracting more customers. Click-to-call, social sharing, and simplified navigation are examples of one-tap actions that improve the user experience. If your page takes too long to load, requires horizontal scrolling, or requires several clicks to get the information they want, searchers will leave your site in favor of another that is easier to use.
Get in Touch with Boostability Today
At Boostability, we help agencies with white label SEO to help small businesses compete without breaking the bank. We work with you to develop a digital marketing strategy that includes SEO for franchises to help you grow your business. Contact us today to learn more about our white label SEO services.