Top 8 tips for franchises
There are the SEO tips that business websites, in general, should follow – and then there are the ones that franchise websites should follow. With one brand but multiple locations (and websites), it’s important to approach SEO optimization correctly. You can’t just treat each website as if it’s a stand-alone effort, but you also can’t take the exact same strategy for each one. An eCommerce website design company like WebCitz could help you navigate the ins and outs of the matter; after all, this is a little complicated to manage without the right experience. With some background knowledge and a little expert help, you should be on your way to optimized SEO in no time.
Tips for franchises
Here are some of the tips which you can follow for better SEO.
Build local backlinks
This can be tricky, but there’s always a way to make it happen. The main obstacle is that you don’t want to get links from competitors; that just doesn’t make any sense, and it won’t help your franchise. Instead, you could work with events, charities, schools, or organizations. For example, a food-based franchise could sponsor lunch at a local school, or a clothing-based franchise could donate unsold stock to a charity for the homeless. In either case, you could use it as an opportunity to get your name out there; in exchange for your participation, you could ask for a blog post to announce your sponsorship, linking to the franchise’s website.
Get listed on Google Business Profile
Paying special attention to Google maps SEO and the details behind your GMB listing is very important for your online presence in Google’s search engine results pages. You don’t just want your website to come up; you want Google to feature your business in a GMB profile at the top of the page. It also puts the franchise onto Google Maps, another tool that people use to find local businesses. You could manage the GMB profiles for each franchise yourself, or you could leave it to the franchise owners; either way, this is something that will increase exposure for any franchise.
Get listed on other platforms
Google isn’t the only platform to create profiles for; you could also make profiles on Apple Maps, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. Even though these are all national directories, they’re optimized for local searches. Then there are local directories, like business directories (among others). You could also look for directories that are specific to the franchise’s niche. It could be for family-oriented restaurants, home repair, or construction services – anything, really. Each franchise should have its own mix of profiles on both national and local directories, depending on what’s available in the area.
Develop your content marketing strategy
Here’s one of the tricky parts of managing multiple franchisee websites. While they all need to stay true to the brand, they also need to appeal to the local target audience. In general, it’s best if you create blog articles that are relevant to the location of each franchise, rather than staying within general topics that are related to your products. This doesn’t just help differentiate between franchises; it also provides more value to the consumers and keeps them invested in your brand. For example, a pest control business could talk about the most common pests for the area or seasonal trends in local pest control needs.
Use keywords specific to the location
A keyword tool will reveal competitive keywords – the ones that locals will use to find your business. Keep the emphasis on local search terms, not national; if you target national search terms, you could end up having a lot of site traffic from people who are too far away to visit the franchise. The exception to this would be for national websites that redirect users to whichever franchise location they’re nearest to; this usually works best for larger franchises.
Use the correct NAP
This acronym stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number, and if you want to optimize local SEO, it’s critical to use the right format for each location. You should also make sure that you’re using the NAP for specific locations, not the corporate NAP. Of course, you could include that as well; just make sure it’s separate from the local NAP, such as in the footer section. Pay attention to formatting; for instance, ensure that each location has its phone number written out in the same style (parentheses or not, how the dashes are formatted, etc.).
Build locality for each franchise website
Each website should feel individual to that location, and there are several ways to make it obvious. Use local search terms, have an embedded Google map on the website, and post the hours of operation where they can be clearly seen. You could also include testimonials, directions, a structured local business markup, and brief profiles of management and/or top employees. This makes each location feel unique to the area, rather than being a faceless service that happens to have a local address. It also increases the value of the website for the target audience, since it provides the information they’ll find most useful right there on the franchise’s website.
Use consistent branding
Just like every franchise should offer the same experience at each location, their websites should be easily identifiable as part of the same brand. Users will expect more than the same logo and products; they’ll also expect a similar color scheme, layout, and fonts. If users expect to see a certain “look” on one of the franchise websites, but they don’t get it, they may exit the site because they think they’re at the wrong place. There’s no reason to lose site traffic because of inconsistent branding. Just find a balance between adhering to the brand image, and offering information unique to each location, and both your SEO ranking and trust from your customers will improve.
While there are many similarities between good SEO practices for franchises and local businesses, there are plenty of differences too. If you can lay out a clear roadmap from the beginning, you’ll be able to optimize SEO early on and drive your brand forward.