Search engine optimization is something that’s deeply misunderstood. Many don’t know what it is, let alone how to implement solid franchise SEO strategies. We’ve created a complete guide of the best franchise SEO strategies to implement in 2022. Click below to get your franchise SEO on the right foot:
What is Franchise SEO?
To start, let’s answer the question, “What is franchise SEO?”
Simply, franchise SEO is the work involved to improve SEO results for a franchise (most often a business with multiple franchise locations). This is an example of multi-location SEO.
Why is local SEO for franchises important?
There are many benefits of SEO in general, but there are some specific benefits of franchise SEO services. Here are a few of the primary reasons why every franchise should be focused on search engine optimization:
- More local visibility
- More brand recognition
- More local leads and potential customers
At the end of the day, those are the primary benefits of local SEO services for franchises. The bottom line KPI is to increase leads, and in turn, revenue for your local business.
We created a franchise SEO strategy guide for every local business owner hoping to increase their online presence. And the great news is that every single one of these strategies is easy enough for more to start implementing on their own today.
10 must-use Franchise SEO strategies
Again, we compiled all of the search engine optimization efforts a business owner could do to a handful of high impact steps.
By following this process, you’ll cover the majority of work needed to see better results in the SERPs.
Create and optimize Google My Business listings for better Google Maps performance
When it comes to SEO for franchise businesses with multiple locations, your most important step to see better results in the SERPs (specifically on the maps side of things) is to create and optimize your Google My Business listings.
Creating a Google My Business listing is easy. Simply go to google.com/business/, sign in and get started.
The process to set up a business listing is very intuitive. Simply fill out all of the business information, placing the highest priority on showing the correct name, address, and phone number.
Be sure to do this for every franchise location.
Once each franchise location has a Google My Business listing, make sure you’ve optimized the listings. Here are a few of the most impactful pieces to optimize:
- Business hours – Be sure to always have up-to-date business hours. Google allows you to block out holidays and time off, making it extremely helpful. From a user’s perspective, the last thing we want is for a user to find your franchise in the maps, get directions to your store, and find it’s closed for the day even though the hours online say it should be open.
- Products/Services – There’s no better way to improve your Google My Business listings’ relevancy to search terms than filling out the Products or Services section of your account. This gives Google a direct way to know what you should be showing up for in searches.
- Business description – Another great way for search engines and users to see what your business is all about is through the business description, found on the Info tab in the Google Business Profile Manager, at the very bottom. Google allows 750 characters (as of June 2022), allowing you to be creative and tell a gripping story (as well as allow you to include relevant keywords for your franchise).
- Photos – Upload as many photos as possible! It’s important for users to understand that you have a legitimate business. The obvious high priority is to have Identity photos (cover photo and logo). From there, continue uploading photos as often as possible! And be sure to tag your photos as well with Interior, Exterior, At work, and Team. Again, we want users to get a good feel for your franchise.
Additional citations (Yelp, etc.)
Once you have created and optimized your Google My Business listings for every franchise location, find and create optimized citation listings for as many other citation sites as you can.
Yelp is a great next step after Google My Business, for every business but especially food-related businesses.
From there, you have a lot of options for creating more citation references of your franchise locations. At the end of the day, the strategy is for there to be more references of your business locations with the correct business information (see more in the step below).
There are specific tools (Yext, for example) that allow you to create a profile per location that will then push to other citation sites. This is known as an aggregator. Online software like Yext allows you to control the information across multiple citation sites (and even suppress duplicates).
Consistent brand info (NAP)
A very important SEO strategy for local businesses is to ensure you have consistent brand information for every reference of each business location, especially when you have multiple business locations.
The most important information to keep consistent is the name, address, and phone number of every location.
A solid SEO campaign for franchisees will prioritize this every time because this is a quick way for users and Google to be confused about your business.
Say, for example, you started a business at home 5 years ago, creating a lot of information online about that business. Later, you moved to a new city and decided to make a small change to your business name.
In this example, there are likely references to both business, with different business names and locations, and probably different phone numbers as well.
By auditing citations and ensuring every reference of your business is updated, it will be a huge value add for users trying to find your locations online.
More online reviews and consistent online reviews
A great way to have better online visibility for local searches is through customer reviews.
Again, our priority will be with Google reviews.
We encourage franchise owners to create a system that leads to consistent reviews.
The reason this is so important is because we can’t always change our business location and, because of that, the proximity of our business to our users’ locations (a primary ranking factor in the maps). We can, however, improve our perceived trust with users (which is another way to rank better in local searches).
Build the right site
Building the right site can be dependent on the type of franchise you have or are starting.
Some franchises allow franchisees to create their own microsite on a unique domain, while others only give the franchisee a dedicated page for their location.
We typically recommend a microsite and unique domain, although it’s subjective. The reason why recommend franchise websites that are not tied to the franchise site/domain is because of the level of customizability it gives us.
In short, we can do basically whatever we want if we’re working on a custom microsite.
The drawback is that it can take longer to see results.
The big benefit is that the long-term results are typically much better, as we’re allowed to create more pages and posts than we otherwise could have.
The SEO strategy behind content creation for franchises is to increase topical relevancy.
If you’re building a microsite, it’s highly important to create content that makes your business topically relevant to what you do.
There are some advantages with a corporate site. For one, you can build off the authority already created by the domain.
With a unique microsite and domain, you have a lot more control but need to put in a lot more work on your own.
One specific franchise SEO example of content creation is with location pages.
We typically have a location page created for each of a business’s franchise locations.
From there, we link to individual franchise locations from their respective Google My Business pages.
This way, if we have a handful of locations, every user isn’t being directed straight to the home, but instead the specific location page for the location they’re interested in learning more about.
Creating these local landing pages is a great digital marketing effort that we’ve found search engines love to see.
Local SEO strategy for franchise businesses is different from other local SEO services. And local SEO is completely different from e-commerce or national SEO.
One of the biggest differentiators is with the target keywords we’re going after.
Every SEO campaign will have head terms and long-tail keywords. In a local SEO campaign for franchise websites, however, the long-tail variants are usually location-based.
For example, a long tail keyword for a plumber could be ‘best plumber salt lake city UT’ with the primary search term of ‘plumber’.
It’s important to perform the necessary keyword research to discover which of these long-tail keywords have actual search volume. Doing will help you prioritize your efforts and, in the long run, improve your local search rankings. In fact, there’s maybe no better way to see better Google search results (especially in the organic search section of results) than to implement the correct location-based keywords on your site.
Doing so will make your site hyper relevant to the best keywords.
Location-specific structured data
If you haven’t heard of structured data, here’s a quick guide.
In short, structured data is information written in a specific form that Google understands.
And, while Google is incredibly good at understanding what a page is about, structured data gives important information to Google in a format built for Google.
Basically, structured data is a great way to ensure Google understands your site the way it should be understood.
And the great thing is that there is location-specific structured data that you can implement.
For franchise business owners with multiple locations, structured data is a great way to help Google fully understand what your website is all about.
Optimize your site speed
While optimizing site speed a digital marketing strategy that will specifically benefit franchise businesses, it’s an SEO strategy that you should prioritize from the start.
Site speed has been a top ranking factor for some time now.
The faster your website, the more users will stay.
This is another example of why a microsite could be a better option for your business. With full control of your site, you’ll be able to do a lot more to improve site speed, giving your site a better chance to rank well in the organic search results.
Frequently asked questions about franchise SEO
We compiled a list of the most-asked questions when it comes to franchise SEO and answered them for you.
How do I avoid duplicate content when implementing franchise SEO?
Duplicate content is a big concern when it comes to franchise SEO services.
When creating local landing pages for multiple locations and similar services, it can be difficult to differentiate them.
At the end of the day, the way we combat the risk of duplicate content is be making sure we’re always providing content that is unique and useful.
One example of how we can show unique content is by including reviews on landing pages.
Find the right local franchise SEO services
If you’re the franchise owner that doesn’t want to worry about all of these franchise SEO strategies and just wants to focus on your business, we totally get it!
That’s typically why we talk to franchise owners in the first place.
We specialize in franchise SEO and have a system that works! Here’s a quick breakdown of what our local franchise SEO services include:
- Extensive keyword research (with long-tail local keywords included)
- We use the best keyword research tools to track keyword rankings and pull valuable insights
- Google My Business optimization and management
- Optimization and creation of other citations
- Content creation and website optimization
- Landing page development
- Website development
- Site speed optimization
- Monthly reports
Really, these are just a few of the primary pieces of our local SEO services for franchisees.
Every campaign is different, with unique needs for each of our partners. The local SEO services that one franchise owner receives may be different than what another partner of ours receives, based on their needs.
Click here to schedule a discovery call where we can address any concerns you may have about search engine optimization, as well as give you options that will increase your organic visibility moving forward.