Many people believe that franchises have it easy when competing against other businesses due to their franchisor’s ongoing support. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, franchise businesses must establish their own presence on the market and make an effort to both attract and retain customers. Although franchises enjoy the benefits of a brand’s reputation, it’s still important to make a name for themselves. Luckily, franchises don’t have to compete in the global market but instead focus on the local one.
With that in mind, local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an excellent way to establish a good presence on the local market and engage with the local customers. What’s more, a franchisor may provide guidelines for an effective SEO campaign but it’s still up to the franchise owners to execute marketing strategies properly. That being said, here are a few tips for franchise SEO and how to improve local search rankings.
Create a website
The key element for your Local SEO strategy is to develop a website for your franchise business. This website is a separate entity from the franchisor’s website and its purpose is to engage with your local customers. As you may already know, your website must be well-designed and highly functional in order for it to appeal to your local consumers.
That includes your website having to be fast, responsive, user-friendly, secure and so on. What’s more, your website must provide detailed information regarding your offers, promotions, products, and services, so that your customers can get properly informed. Not only that but your website must be properly optimized. You can achieve that with on-page SEO.
For instance, the purpose of on-page SEO is to make your website, as well as any content on your pages both search engine and consumer-friendly. Activities, such as optimizing title tags, metadata, URLs will help both users and search engines understand the content and the context of your website, as well as boost your local rankings.
The key element of any SEO activity is the keywords. Keywords are phrases or words that help match your content with user intent on search engines and search results. They are also the key component for your rankings. In other words, keywords help the newly-founded franchises stand out on the local market.
That’s why it’s important to research relevant keywords your local customers are using and optimize your content to rank for those keywords. That way, any other SEO effort or strategy will become more seamless. What’s more, some keywords might have too much traffic or search volume and are more difficult to compete for. In that case, consider opting for long-tail keywords that are best suited for your franchise business.
Develop a content strategy
Content is one of the most crucial elements for your local SEO and its one of the most important ranking factors for search engines, such as Google. Developing the right type of content that will be educational, informative and entertaining for your local audience will do wonders for your rankings. Also don’t hesitate to publish your content on relevant sources, such as other websites or blogs, as well as leverage social media networks and local PR.
That way, you’re not just delivering value to your customers through relevant content but you’re also becoming a valuable asset to the local community. It’s no secret that franchisors oftentimes include practices where their franchisees give back to the community. Those practices are not just beneficial for the local exposure but are also able to improve your franchise’s reputation tenfold.
Source: The UPS Store
Leverage local business listings
Another key component of a successful local SEO strategy is leveraging local business listings. That involves providing relevant business information to listing directories. For instance, you must provide your company’s physical address, phone number, email, website info, working hours, pricing and so on. What’s more, for more visibility you should consider listing with Google My Business listing directory as well.
Moreover, it’s important to sync information on all listing directories you’ve provided company info on, in order to improve local rankings. Furthermore, posting visual content, such as videos or images, as well as other types of content for local directories is also a good way to boost your rankings and your exposure on the local market.
Leverage positive reviews
Customer reviews are one of the most important ranking signals for local SEO. The fact of the matter is that 91% of consumers online read reviews these days. What’s more, 84% of consumers trust these reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. That’s why search engines do not ignore reviews from customers when evaluating rankings for local businesses. Simply put, the more positive reviews you have the better your rankings will be.
But that’s not all. Search engines, such as Google evaluate the reviews themselves as well. They check key factors when it comes to reviews, such as volume, content, diversity, velocity, numerical or star rating and even the reviewers themselves. Therefore, it’s not just about how many reviews you have but also about who wrote the review, how often you get them and what people are saying about your franchise.
Even though franchises are supported by their franchisor through various activities that even include developed marketing strategies, it’s still up to the franchise owners to establish a strong presence on the local market. Local SEO can greatly help you out in achieving that but only if you use it the right way and if you implement the right strategies.
Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she's a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more people and help them on their business journey.