Even if a business owner is knowledgeable regarding standard SEO practices, not all of that expertise will apply to optimizing local SEO for franchises. Since each franchise needs to target local visitors as well as stay true to the brand’s voice, it’s necessary to find a balance. One the one hand, each franchise’s website should look different from the others. On the other hand, site users from any part of the country (or world) should be able to immediately recognize that each website is part of a specific brand. With requirements like these, many ecommerce businesses focus on their local SEO to make sure that their organic traffic strategies are on point. But where you focus your search engine optimization efforts depends on the nature of the industry and where the target customers are going, i.e. an ecommerce company may focus on SEO for Woocommerce specifically. What would some of these strategies look like, though? Read more about it below.
1. Create listings on Google Business Profile
One of the goals of SEO is to make your business as visible as possible online, and an easy way to do this is to make separate listings for each franchise on Google Business Profile. A GMB profile will put the franchises at the very top of the search results, so potential customers won’t have to scroll down to find the website. GMB profiles can be managed by the business owner, or each one could be the responsibility of each franchise manager. However you decide to do it, this is a quick way to increase online visibility.
2. Refine the content marketing strategy
Assuming the franchises’ websites will have a “blog” section, it pays to put some thought into the content for each one. Say you have a pest control business, with locations in multiple cities. It would be relevant to your business to post generalized content about the different products you use, which pests you eliminate, etc. However, that wouldn’t really be of much use to consumers after a certain point, ass they could get essentially the same generic information from any of the franchise websites. Instead, search for subjects that are relevant to local consumers, as well as ones that shed light on your services. For example, you could discuss seasonal variations in local pest populations; it’s helpful to readers, and makes the franchise seem more invested in the community.
3. Utilize the right NAP
An acronym that stands for “Name, Address, and Phone Number”, a franchise’s NAP doesn’t just need to be available for optimized SEO; it needs to have a format that matches the NAPs of other franchises. Also, make sure the local NAPs don’t get mixed up with the corporate NAP; you don’t want people accidentally calling corporate to inquire about their local franchise’s opening hours, for instance.
4. Make the branding consistent
Consumers expect a similar experience in different franchise locations, and you should offer the same thing for the franchises’ websites. It’ll take more than just plastering the company logo at the top of every page, though; there should also be uniformity in aspects like the layout, the fonts, and the color scheme. If one of the websites veers too far away from what the others look like, site visitors could get confused and think that they’re in the wrong place. This could result in lost site traffic, which definitely isn’t a product of good SEO practices. Even though the sites should be unique, there still needs to be a certain amount of overlap between each one.
5. Build local backlinks
Contact various local charitable foundations, events, organizations, or schools to see if your business could collaborate with them in exchange for backlinks in whatever online forum they run. For instance, a clothing-related franchise could contribute T-shirts for competitors in a local sports event, or a restaurant franchise could provide lunch at an area high school. This will not only build your online presence, but it’ll also get the word out the old-fashioned way.
6. Make listings on national or local directories
Making a profile on Google Business Profile can have a big impact on a franchise, but there are plenty of other places that accept business listings too. For example, you could create profiles on TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Apple Maps; they may be national directories, but they also guide users to local businesses. There should also be truly local directories available, such as business directories, or directories that focus on specific niches. A good strategy would be to find a balance between national and local directories; that way you’re covering all your bases.
7. Use location-specific keywords
This is one thing that’s definitely trickier for franchises compared to other businesses. If one franchise website ends up grabbing national online traffic as well as local traffic, they could end up pointlessly competing with other franchises. This approach will bring people to your site who aren’t located close enough to benefit from your services, and it’ll fail to reach your target audience. This doesn’t apply to all franchises, though; larger businesses sometimes have a national website that automatically sends visitors to the nearest franchise’s website.
8. Build a sense of locality into each franchise’s website
Even though there needs to be a certain level of uniformity between websites, you still need to establish the differences between each location as well. Research local search terms so you can reach the right people, embed your Google Maps location on the site, and make sure the operating hours are easy to find. It might also help to include profiles of managers or staff, directions from various starting points, testimonials, or a structured local business markup. This content doesn’t just provide value to the consumer; it also makes them feel like the franchise is more than merely a faceless corporation.
There are many components to a solid SEO strategy, but if you’re taking care of SEO for franchises, the rules are a little different. If you start out with a well-defined plan, it’ll be easier to optimize SEO and accomplish your goals for each franchise.