What is franchise SEO?
Franchises have multiple locations. While this can be an advantage from a sales standpoint (you get to cover different demographics and geographic), it is the greatest hurdle for marketers attempting to scale their SEO efforts. Each location has its own website and landing pages to manage and optimize for local SEO.
This can often lead to issues such as technical SEO and duplicate content as you carry out the same business in all locations. This is where franchise SEO comes in.
Franchise SEO is improving the search engine visibility of all franchise websites under a franchise business. These websites must promote the brand while maintaining localized pages for multiple locations.
Franchise SEO may include search engine optimization efforts like creating Google Business Profile Listings, writing blog posts, targeting geo-specific and other relevant generic keywords, etc., to build your brand presence online.
Here are some of the best practices for Franchise SEO to build your franchise SEO strategy.
Best practices for franchise SEO
Getting brand consistency, location targeting, and focused lead generation right is crucial for a multi-location business like a franchise. To achieve these goals, businesses utilize the power of franchise SEO to harness their brand equity in localized setups. A significant part of a franchise SEO is searching for the right keywords.
Begin by identifying and tracking the keywords valuable for your business. Tracking keywords help in monitoring visibility changes and knowing the overall SEO health of your website.
The difficulty in keyword research for franchise SEO services is that the business may offer several services across many geographic areas. You must ensure you track website visibility across all the service-geography combinations.
For this, a tool like MergeWords can be helpful. When you identify the combination of services and locations, you plug all the information into the tool and create queries for every combination to scale your keyword research and avoid gaps in the tracking process.
Segment and localize your keyword tracking
All franchise queries will have an inherent local intent. No national ranking would be involved, even if the search query is ‘commercial plumbing’ without geographic modifiers. Google will show search results specific to your area without you having to mention that.
Instead of tracking keywords at a national level, use a tool like STAT that would allow you to track a particular keyword in a specific geographic location. You can even add the ZIP code of a particular area and track keywords to gain insights into how the keywords perform locally.
Use geo-specific keywords and keyword segments to track your keyword performance in a specific location. Keywords segments for the queries you monitor allow you to conduct your tracking at a deeper level to analyze aggregate local rankings.
Examine the most important geographical locations
Franchise SEO marketing can also be done by reviewing high-priority geographic areas and monitoring keyword performance for each. When you have segmented rank tracking at hand, you can better analyze where you stand at each specific geographical position.
What does this entail?
You can zero down on the highest-priority geographical areas and better analyze them to develop a more-focused franchise SEO strategy. This strategy can be applied to a large number of locations as well.
There are chances you may rank well in one location and low in another. If you are ranking low in a high-priority area, you can focus on specifically reviewing this area and developing remedial measures to improve search engine optimization efforts.
Keyword segmentation tells you where you rank high or low and where you need to focus your efforts first.
Make pages that are location-based
Building specific location pages for every area you serve is important. This step is a crucial part of the SEO franchise marketing needs to concentrate on. When you create location-based pages, you are increasing your chances of ranking for geo-specific search queries related to your core keywords.
Google doesn’t need additional prompts to localize search results for many industries. This Google feature increases your chances of ranking even for general keywords without geographic modifiers. For instance, you may rank for both keywords – commercial cleaning services (location-neutral) and commercial cleaning services in Alaska (location-specific) if you build location pages.
However, franchises underinvest in their franchise SEO strategy, and most landing pages contain only generic information of little use to the visitors.
Ideally, your location pages should contain optimized title tags, customized on-page content, office address, phone number, contact information, structured data makeup, reviews, and external links to relevant sources for the specified area.
Brand yourself consistently
Beyond location-specific customized content, maintaining brand consistency for each website and landing page is equally important for the success of your franchise SEO strategy. This is because, ultimately, it is the franchise chain that’s serving different locations.
Franchises offer the same user experience across all outlets, which should reflect in the branding of each location-specific website. Whether a person is visiting an outlet or scrolling through the website of any franchise location, they will expect to see the same color schema and design layout.
There are chances that if a person visits your website and encounters a webpage with a different design than what your franchise is known for, they may leave the site mistaking it for a dupe or assume they must have landed on the wrong page.
Apply the correct NAP
Using the right NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) is paramount for local SEO. For each website, the format for NAP should be the same. For instance, if you use brackets to separate the area code for a particular franchise’s phone number, ensure the phone numbers on all the websites are posted similarly.
The NAP can be complemented with embedded Google maps, hours of operation, direction details, structured local business markup, etc. Denote the NAP for each location instead of mentioning the corporate map only. You can include corporate contact details as well. This should be on a separate page, and add ‘Corporate Address’ as an option in the footer menu.
Determine your content marketing plan
Your franchise SEO marketing strategy may include localized keyword research, landing page optimization for local SEO, and keyword segmentation to track location-specific keyword performance.
However, these franchise SEO Services aren’t sufficient to grant you the needed visibility and positioning. You will also need to implement a content marketing strategy. This can help further the success of your digital marketing campaign.
Content marketing can get tricky for Franchise SEO. Deciding on a topic may be hard. You may have to choose between a blog about general topics or related to your niche. At such a timestick to your niche or product or related to the specific location for each franchise.
The best franchise SEO strategy would be to create content keeping in mind the nearby residents. This can be done in two ways. The first kind of locally-targeted blogs may concentrate on general local news and events. Consider this kind of content strategy if you have a broad target audience or your product sells among a wide range of people.
The second kind of blog may be written specifically about your niche with a local slant. For instance, if you have a pest control service business, your blog can talk about the different types of pests and rodents in that particular city and how to deal with them.
Get your business listed on platforms like Google Business
To get listed, you will need to create a Google Business Profile. This should be done for all your individual businesses. It also means each location outlet should have its own Google business profile listing. You can complete the listings using several ways.
There are two ways to do this: each franchise owner can create their listing, or you can set up each listing under your own Google account. The former would create franchises under different accounts, while the latter would have one account for all listings. All the GMB profiles can later be linked to their individual website to optimize them for local SEO.
GMB profiles appear in Google search results along with websites. Each GMB appears along with ratings and other relevant data. GMB profiles appearing in search results usually get the most clicks.
You must create separate profiles on other directories, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, Apple Maps, etc., to get citations and links from these directories and improve your search rankings.
Create local backlinks
As part of your SEO campaign, building local backlinks is also essential to improve your visibility and credibility on Google. However, a franchise involved in a multi-location business can simultaneously find it complicated and overwhelming.
Collaborating with local businesses can be difficult as you won’t want to backlink to or from a competitor for your location-based keywords. Instead, try unique ways to bring such backlinks to your website.
For instance, organize a blood donation camp at a school for a blog post announcing the sponsorship and the backlink leading to your website. Similarly, you can work with charities, events, schools, and other local organizations.
If you are in the food business, you can arrange free meals for the homeless in collaboration with local charities and earn backlinks in return.
With 93% of the online activities emanating from a search engine, local-specific businesses have to attempt higher rankings on Google and similar search engines for improved visibility, increased traffic, and better conversions.
While Franchise SEO can get tricky as you struggle to balance brand consistency and post unique content for each location, it can be truly rewarding for your business.
The best way forward is to identify the challenges franchises face and build a roadmap and guidelines so that each specific location can consider its brand marketing bible.
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