SEO for franchise locations 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 at best 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 the power of the internet.
Create a Solid Foundation
The first step is to look at what franchise digital marketing exists for your stores and address any outdated SEO tactics that are in use. If your head is already spinning just thinking about the location audits you need to 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 search engines will rank the website pages more easily. The simplest way for headquarters to conduct SEO 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 with targeted hyperlocal content. This means that you may not be getting the exposure you need to grow your 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 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 My Business 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 may also be 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 that offer the same services, having original content optimized for each store can build more authority with Google. This also allows each location to have its own social identity and to develop a following. When your stores appear in multiple SERP listings, it can help you push the competition further down the rankings.
Check Your NAP
An often overlooked piece of SEO for franchise data is your name, address and phone number (NAP). Businesses move, typos happen and phone numbers change. Make sure the information on your site is correct, then conduct a web search for your store to confirm the NAP is right everywhere. Consistency helps build authority.
Claim Your Google My Business Page
The majority of consumers looking for products or services use Google for their search. When it comes to 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 search results pages. These business listings, which can also include a map and directions to your store, are taking the place of the business website. If you don’t have a completed profile, you are missing out on an SEO for franchise opportunity.
Additionally, Google shows reviews of your business, positive and negative. Studies show that customers put more weight into your response to negative reviews than the review themselves. Respond quickly and professionally to maintain a positive reputation.
The Google My Business listing also provides you the opportunity 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 any other notable activities. Add high-quality images or video clips that capture searchers’ attention to attract more customers.
Is each of your stores on the major social media platforms? Do you update them frequently with local images and information? Approximately 72 percent of consumer engagement occurs on local social pages. Maximizing 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.
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.
Contact Us Today
At Boostability, we help entrepreneurs, mom-and-pop shops and small businesses compete without breaking the bank. We work with you to develop a digital marketing strategy that includes SEO for franchise to help you grow your business. Contact us today for a free consultation.