Like all local businesses, franchises rely on online marketing efforts and local SEO to rank in search engines and increase their reach to new customers.
But how do you stand out when there are over 750,000 franchises in the U.S. alone?
While a general understanding of SEO is important for digital marketing, SEO for franchises differs from general SEO practices. Understanding those differences is key to standing out from the competition and reaching potential customers. Let’s dive in.
Franchise SEO vs. Regular SEO: What’s the Difference?
Franchises have the advantage of numerous locations, but this can make local SEO tricky. With multiple pages for the same business on different sites, it’s important to know how to optimize each location independently.
Regular SEO focuses on keywords and content that pertain to a single website or company as a whole. On the other hand, franchise SEO is a specialized form of local SEO that focuses on optimizing each franchise location. This includes making sure that each site contains the correct information—such as address and contact details—and that it is formatted correctly.
For example, regular SEO may focus on the best mattress brand. This will cover global brands that are sold in multiple locations, but the sites looking to rank are ones that want to be viewed as experts on the topic.
Franchise SEO will focus on specific locations that offer services or products that pertain to the search. For example, a person would search for best mattress near me. The results for that are quite different from the above.
Franchise SEO also considers the local search queries used by potential customers. This means that you should focus on optimizing for local keywords and phrases, such as “franchise near me” or “best franchise in (town).”
Use These 10 SEO Strategies for Your Franchise
Now that we understand the differences between franchise and regular SEO, let’s look at 10 SEO strategies to help franchises succeed in 2023 and beyond.
1. Identify the Most Important Keywords Related to Your Business
The first step in any SEO strategy is to identify and research the most important keywords related to your franchise. You should focus on local keywords and terms related to what sets you apart from the competition.
We don’t expect you to be a keyword research expert overnight. But there are many tools available that can help you identify and research the right keywords for your business.
Ubersuggest allows you to get insight into the strategies that are working for others in your market so you can adopt them, improve them, and gain an edge. In the example below, you can see the term ‘best mattresses near me’ is very competitive. From there, you can choose to use relevant keywords that don’t have as high of a difficulty to rank for, or are locally based like ‘best mattresses near New York, NY’.
2. Find the Geographic Areas Where Your Business is Most Successful
Once you have identified the most important keywords for your franchise, it’s time to focus on local SEO. This means figuring out which geographic areas will most likely bring in business and optimizing for those specific locations.
Google Ads is a great tool to use here. By using its location targeting feature, you can find out where your ads are performing best and focus on optimizing for those areas. You can also use the location targeting feature to find out which geographic areas have the most potential customers and target them with your SEO efforts.
3. Localize Your Keywords
When optimizing for local SEO, it’s important to localize your keywords. For example, if you are targeting the keyword “best mattresses near me,” you should also focus on localizing that phrase with terms like “best mattresses in (city)” or “best mattresses in (neighborhood).”
Localizing your keywords ensures that you are targeting the right customers in the right areas. It also helps to make sure that your website is ranking for local searches, which will help increase your visibility and reach potential customers.
If you have multiple locations, it is especially important to localize your keywords in order to reach customers in each area.
4. Localize Your Website
Optimizing for local SEO also means that you should localize your website. This includes making sure that each franchise location is listed on its own page with the address, contact details, and other relevant information prominently displayed.
You should also make sure to include a map of the area with each franchise’s location marked. Doing this will not only make your website more search engine-friendly, but it will also help customers find the nearest franchise location.
It’s common to have multiple domains associated with a franchise. In this case, you should link all of the domains together, as this will help search engines understand that they are related.
5. Optimize Your Individual Businesses on Google Business Profile and Yelp
Having an up-to-date Google Business Profile and Yelp page for each franchise is essential for local SEO success. This ensures that prospective customers can easily find the information they need about your franchise locations.
Make sure to include accurate contact information, business hours, photos, product details, and other relevant information on these pages in order to get the most out of local SEO. It’s also important to keep this information updated when store hours change for holidays or vacations.
6. Make Sure Your Brand is Consistent
The key to successful local SEO is consistency. This means making sure that your brand messaging, logo, and other visuals are consistent across all platforms, including your website, Google Business Profile, Yelp page, and social media accounts.
For example, take one of the most well-known franchises, McDonald’s. The company’s golden arches can be recognized around the world, even without any word or context. That is the type of brand consistency you should be aiming for.
Source: It’s Nice That
This will help search engines understand that you are a legitimate business and will also give customers a better overall experience when searching for your franchise locations. Regardless of the number of locations, there should be one cohesive brand look and brand voice so customers can easily recognize your franchise.
7. Enable NAP Consistency
NAP stands for “Name, Address, Phone Number,” and it’s important for local SEO success. Search engines are constantly looking for NAP consistency across all platforms to determine the legitimacy of a business.
In fact, 81% of consumers used Google to search for information on local businesses in 2021.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that your franchise name, address, and phone number are accurate and consistent across all platforms to maximize visibility. Incorrect information will make it more difficult for potential customers to find you and will deter them from wanting to use your services.
8. Optimize E-A-T on Local Pages
E-A-T stands for “Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness,” and it’s essential for local SEO success.
In order to optimize E-A-T on your franchise’s local pages, you should include a variety of content such as customer reviews, product descriptions, contact information, FAQs, and more. Doing this will help build trust and credibility with search engines and customers.
You should also consider adding additional content, like blog posts, podcasts, or videos related to the franchise in order to give potential customers more information about your services. If you are a fitness studio, you could create blog posts around fitness and health-related topics, which would help you establish authority as an expert in the field. See the example from OrangeTheory Fitness below.
EAT is of critical importance to YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) sites. This refers to websites that could have an impact on someone’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety. Franchises often fall into one of these categories — for example spas and gyms. For that reason, it’s even more important to establish EAT across your website, to ensure the search engines that you are providing quality content and information.
9. Develop a Great Content Strategy
Creating content is essential for SEO success. You should create a content strategy that focuses on both local and national topics related to the franchise, such as blog posts, podcasts, infographics, and more.
Including keyword-rich titles and descriptions with each piece of content will help search engines easily understand what it is about and rank it accordingly.
You should also focus on creating content that is both informative and entertaining in order to engage potential customers. Videos, podcast interviews, infographics, and other types of multimedia content are great ways to keep people engaged with your brand.
Content creation doesn’t have to be a daunting task. You can use tools like BuzzSumo and Ahrefs to help you identify topics that are popular in your industry. This will help you create relevant, engaging content and more likely to rank well in search engine results.
10. Encourage Local and Constant Online Reviews
Consumers are 50% more likely to be motivated to buy by an online review than by a discount or promotional offer. That’s why encouraging customers to leave reviews is one of the most important aspects of local SEO. Reviews not only help your franchise build trust and credibility in the eyes of search engines, but they also give potential customers more insight into what it’s like to do business with you.
You should make sure to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. Doing this will show customers that you are engaged and open to feedback, which will help build trust and credibility with potential customers. Most businesses don’t respond to their negative reviews, essentially leaving money on the table, as companies who respond to at least one in four reviews earn 35% more than unresponsive businesses.
When starting local SEO for a new franchise location, the most important thing is to make sure that your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) is consistent across all platforms. This will help search engines find your information and rank it correctly in the SERPs.
You should also focus on creating great content related to your industry and encouraging customers to leave reviews. Doing this will help build trust and credibility with potential customers, which is essential for local SEO success.
Franchise SEO focuses on both local and national topics related to the franchise. This includes creating content such as blog posts, podcasts, infographics, and videos related to the franchise in order to give potential customers more information about your services.
Additionally, you should focus on optimizing E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) on local pages by including accurate information about your business and your field.
SEO for franchises is a great way to bolster web traffic and build trust with potential customers. By following the aforementioned strategies, your SEO planning can help ensure that your franchise locations are seen in local searches and gain more online visibility.
Remember, when it comes to franchise SEO, consistency is key. Be sure to keep your NAP information consistent across all platforms and create content related to the franchise in order to give people more information about your services.
Also, encourage customers to leave reviews, as this will help build trust and credibility with potential customers.
Local businesses can be very successful with SEO, but only if they understand what it takes to make their franchise stand out in the search engine results.
When was the last time you performed a search for your own franchise to see how you ranked?
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