How Franchise Businesses Can Evolve Search Marketing

If you’re not setting aside 30 minutes each day to scale your franchise’s search marketing and local SEO, you’re falling behind your competition. Rest assured that they are watching your marketing and developing strategies to drive some of your traffic away.

Four factors impact your franchise’s local SEO more than anything else:

If your franchise feeds these four areas every month, it will have higher online rankings and visibility.

Improving local SEO by verifying accurate data across the web

In every franchise, someone is responsible for keeping business information up-to-date and accurate on platforms like Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Yelp. For a small business with just one location, it’s not difficult to maintain a spreadsheet that lists all the sites where business-related information is posted, but when franchises expand to 20, 50, or 1,000 locations, things can quickly get complicated.

When you maintain accurate and consistent data on your franchise’s online presence, it improves local SEO and allows for higher search rankings. You can hire data managers for $50,000 per year, or use an online platform. These platforms have partnerships and direct API links with Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Maps and other major navigation engines.

Some of these tools that manage data for large franchises and multi-location brands include:

These tools improve your visibility on Google by helping you publish and maintain a large amount of location-specific data. Most offer a location page product so franchisees can have a specific home page for each location. All you have to do is tell the platform what you want on each location page and how you want them formatted.

Smaller franchises with fewer than 20 locations should investigate affordable data management platforms such as:

Improving local SEO by posting helpful content on your franchise website

The content you include on your website provides valuable information to your customers. At the same time, it helps Google learn what the content of your website has to offer.

Customers who are familiar with your franchise search by name, but find it by searching for the product or service offered by other customers. For example, let’s say 800 people search for “best cheese shop in Portland” every month. If your cheese shop is at the top of the results, you have a better chance of attracting those customers.

People use all kinds of keywords and key phrases to search for your franchise. With thousands of potential variations, it’s worth investing time and energy into providing content with keywords based on the services or products your franchise offers. Add more relevant and helpful content to your pages, and you can expect to appear in more searches. Enhance each of your franchise location pages with referral links and local content.

Our team has conducted a study to identify the local homepage hubs that play a role in high rankings. We analyzed over 300 landing pages to understand why some ranked higher than others. After analyzing the top brands, we found that they are the ones that data searchers pay the most attention to.

We find that franchises that personalize each homepage with hyper-local content have a 107% competitive advantage. This means that each franchise’s home page is differentiated by its location-specific content. Our findings indicate:

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Improving local SEO by earning mentions for your franchise on other sites

When your franchise is mentioned in popular online local sites and directories, you will rank higher on Google Maps and in local queries. You can create free online listings for your franchise on sites like Facebook and Google My Business.

After you’ve exhausted your free online listings, you can get your franchise mentioned in local directories, industry directories, nearby business websites, news and blogs.

Asking local businesses for referral links is great, and you can partner with them by hosting events. These relationships often lead to links and referral traffic that generate the online visibility your franchise needs.

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Improving local SEO through ratings and reviews

Negative reviews and low star ratings directly affect your franchise’s search marketing. Search engines stop showing businesses with low ratings because their goal is to show people the listings they want to see. To rank on Google Maps, your franchise must maintain higher ratings than local competitors.

Your franchise can maximize this aspect of SEO by providing superior service and actively soliciting feedback from all customers. Ask customers to leave reviews on your website and also on platforms like Yelp, Facebook and Foursquare.

Many management platforms collect customer feedback in daily emails. Responding to every review ensures that customers will have a good experience with your franchise, despite the occasional random negative review.

As a bonus, you can turn your best reviews into content for your homepage without much work. Posting user-generated content such as reviews increases your webpage’s relevance and keywords.

Scaling your search marketing is an ongoing process. Work on SEO like you would work on a garden. Plant seeds by posting helpful content on your page. Fertilize by partnering with local businesses and earning referral links and mentions of your franchise on other sites. Eliminate inaccurate and outdated information online. Finally, nurture your online reputation with a steady flow of positive reviews and ratings.

Establish online KPIs to assess the accuracy of your data, the value of your content, the visibility of your business online, and the quality of your online reputation. Organize monthly meetings to discuss these KPIs with stakeholders. Compare your progress with that of your competitors in the areas of data management, landing pages, data visibility, and online reputation.

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