How to Take Local Search Engine Optimization to Multiple Locations with Franchise SEO
Let me take the opportunity to apologize for the title, which is not the complete picture. Search engine optimization, or SEO as it is more commonly known, has a wide range of implications and needs. From the needs for franchises to single businesses to the differences between paid SEO techniques and those with an organic base, you need to understand the differences.
There is a lot going on in the industry, with SEO needs including the development of effective landing pages to relevant keywords that are niche specific. Many franchise companies are attempting to figure out the best SEO techniques, as are their marketing experts.
You can find tons of information that has been written and published on the web regarding search engine optimization. However, this type of research will likely not give you the results that you are seeking. The big reason for this is that the focus in these articles is incomplete at best.
Among the reasons for this is that each location in the world has area specific needs when it comes to SEO. Each location needs to cater to the local audience. In addition, you will see that your strategies must differ from that of online retailers who also serve a large area. Understanding how to get your business seen by the right folks is vital to your success. Ensuring that your content still pleases google and the other search engines is an essential aspect of franchise SEO.
If you are brand new to the concepts involved with search engine optimization, fear not. You can check out this beginner’s guide for free and get the information that you need.
Start With Directory Listings
Listings are the first, but not only aspect of your SEO needs that have to be addressed. Any local directory that lists businesses should have your company name and every franchise listed. One option is to find them with your own research. Alternatively, there are some great tools like Whitespark you can use.
Never heard of Whitespark? This is an excellent opportunity for you to find the directories that are niche relevant. Among the benefits for this amazing tool is that it will provide the listings for those folks in the correct parts of the country. After all, if your business is located in Miami, a listing in an Anchorage directory is not likely to get you the visits you need.
While you can take the time to seek out the relevant directories and manually list each of your franchise locations, this is incredibly time-consuming. One of the things that you have to do when you are working on this is to make certain that each site has the correct information. You need to be consistent and have the right name. For example, if your business is ABC Contracting, you don’t want to have your name show as ABC Contracting Boise.
The NAP, or name, address and phone number listed in these has to be correct or you will lose consumer confidence. This data should be visible on all of the locations and pages to ensure consistency and recognition. When providing links, you need to use care to ensure that you are not going to cause confusion for the automated engines. Positionly and others support this stance.
Another problem that some franchisees have experienced related to Google+ profiles. Each of your locations needs to have a local page for folks to find. Otherwise, the people who are searching for your company are going to get your corporate office or a location that might be on the other side of the country, leaving them frustrated and going elsewhere for their needs.
If you don’t yet have these profiles, now is the time to do this. Don’t put off this vital aspect of SEO. After all, Google is the most used search engine out there so it only makes sense to take advantage of that and have local profiles for each of your franchises. This is an important thing to take care of that will yield instant results.
Although you might find it tedious, you need to have a fully completed profile for each and every franchise location. This includes making certain that your google+ pages have the correct map and url for your franchise. Additional information regarding the open hours and other facts that consumers need should be there.
While you might have started some social media profiles for the corporate office, this is not going to help you when it comes to reaching consumers. You need to have specific profiles on each site for every franchise that you have. Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more are available for your free use. Take advantage of these or others that are more niche specific.
Local Websites That Are Not Optimized For Their Regions
Now, when it comes to local website SEO, there are two approaches that businesses take. One involves placing all of the franchises on the same site, with specific urls for each. This is a great way to add some juice to your link profile. Geolocation software will help you to get the right people to find each site.
However, if you don’t do this, you will not benefit. Consumers are not going to take the time to figure this out when your competitors are already giving them the exact connection that they need. With the redirect automated, you can benefit immensely!
Others suggest having a specific site for each of your locations. These are sometimes referred to as microsites. While it will cost you more cash up front to go this route, the long term benefits are incredible. This allows you to run site-specific promotions for each franchise location and to obtain clear data regarding the success of each.
If you don’t have the budget for that right now, you can find some methods that will help you to get on the right path. For instance, you can find help at SpaceCraft and Spaces that will give you the content and identity you need for each site without breaking the bank.
You will get great websites that have a uniform appearance. This way, if a customer relocates to a different area or is visiting another city and wants to find your site, the brand recognition will come into play and they will know they have found the right location.
With this method, you can get more keyword variations out there and find the ones that work best for you with each location.
GPS Can Be Added To Your Website
Another important tool that many folks forget about is GPS. you need to have your site added to POI databases to help ensure that folks are able to find you.
Doing so will get you in front of folks and can even have your locations easily found with the navigation systems that are automatically built into a wide range of car makes these days. However, you should have someone actually check each of these to ensure that the information is accurate. Even tiny discrepancies can end up costing you customers.
Use Schema Markup
You need to make sure that your keywords target local audiences, and a schema markup can help you with that. You can find tools that help with this type of stuff at schema.org.
There are additional things that you need to do to ensure that your company gets the right ranking for your keywords and intended audience. All business partners should have some knowledge and connection to the others in the franchise to ensure that you have a consistent message and brand presentation.
Create Custom Landing Pages
Don’t forget about the importance of landing pages for your search engine optimization efforts. While there are lots of rules regarding landing pages, many of these are not applicable for franchises. Among the differences is that you need to be sure that the visitor can quickly and clearly see the contact information.
When you have a contact form, make sure that you have a location area for folks to fill out. This will ensure that they are going to receive communications that are relevant to their area. The ten-foot rule applies in this situation: simply, you should stand that far from the screen and still read that clearly.
Your landing pages also have to be mobile friendly. While this was not the case a few years ago, times have changed. Google will be less friendly in rankings to those businesses that are not meeting the needs of this growing group of consumers.
Another aspect of proper planning is ensuring that folks who find your site through affiliate links and paid ads are getting the same clear message. As an example, you want visitors who are coming to the site from Atlanta to find that data rather than landing on a page for the Los Angeles branch.
While most companies have yet to implement these important things, you can take the bull by the horns and start improving your image now. The way that folks search for information and the ways they receive it are undergoing a change. Be a part of the change starting now!
There are a few more things to keep in mind. First of all, you should audit your listings several times per year to ensure consistency and accuracy. While you need a corporate site, make sure your local sites are well balanced into the mix. Focus on good search techniques, including geolocators. Your landing pages have to be great, and visitors need to find the local franchise they seek. Stay on top of the latest developments and pay attention to your rankings and reputation.
Continue to test your site and always seek ways to improve for ultimate success!