More Locations, More Problems? Optimize Your Franchise SEO—Part 1
May 6th, 2015 by
Do you ever feel like your efforts to market your business with more than one location are ineffective? Do you live with the constant doubt about whether or not you did as much for one location as you did for another, or if your franchisees are doing something counterproductive that will painfully squander your efforts? You may also be wondering how to get users from all of your markets to find their corresponding local franchise business. How much is too much when it comes to overstuffed keywords for franchise SEO and duplicate web pages with franchise marketing?
You don’t need to be an industry professional to know that comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) requires a balance of more than a dozen simultaneously active elements. From consistently monitoring your targeted keywords to constantly generating new, compelling website content, maintaining high search engine rankings proves to be a multidimensional effort. It seems like all it takes is one surprise update or manual action from Google, and your entire SEO strategy can collapse like a house of cards. For multi-location businesses and franchises, this balancing act becomes even more complex, which is why Search Influence is here to help you not only maintain, but maximize the results of your Internet marketing and digital franchise efforts.
In this two-part series, you will receive a five-step guide that should answer all of your questions about multi-location or franchise SEO. This first piece will focus on building the corporate brand—a frequently forgotten necessity in effective franchise marketing for any business, regardless of the number of locations.
Build Your Brand
This may seem logical, but many times, webmasters and marketers get so caught up in the challenges that come with the individual locations that they forget they have a brand to promote. These recommendations have nothing to do with location-based information; however, they are just as significant to your franchise SEO and Internet marketing success.
1. Focus on the Main Pages
When I refer to the main pages, I am referring to the homepage, the “about us” page, your blog, and your products and services pages—in other words, any page that contains content that is applicable to the brand and its offerings.
These pages need to contain the best content on your site, as they will likely be the most visited. Depending on how many locations you have, you may want to include each location in the title tags of these pages, but I would avoid this practice if you have more than three, as title tags should not appear forced or spammy.
The blog, on the other hand, can be more versatile with regards to the content that you create. Your blog should be focused mainly on industry-specific topics, but it should also have a touch of personality. Things like showcasing your community involvement or a franchisee’s achievement are both great blog topics. Search engines love active blogs, because they show that you are keeping your site up to date by offering the latest and greatest industry knowledge in a timely fashion.
Having a mobile-friendly site is important to your franchise’s digital marketing efforts, especially with our heavy reliance on smartphones today. As Google rolled out one of its most significant algorithm updates in April 2015, your site could have been practically wiped off the map if it was not mobile-friendly, and the same is just as true today.
2. Off-Site Authority for Your Brand
Since Google’s more recent Penguin updates, the link building game has changed. Instead of worrying about getting links to your website and becoming keyword obsessed, we need to be thinking about building authority and a stronger overall presence for the brand.
The simplest way to do this is by creating social profiles for your brand. This is not to say that franchisees cannot or will not create their own individual pages, but you should own the brand and its voice by claiming and being active on the major social channels.
What are the major social channels, you ask? Google+, Facebook, and YouTube are all surefire winners here. But why Google+ and YouTube? One, they are both owned by Google, and you always want to make friends with the decision maker. Two, YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. By regularly posting content to these profiles, search engines will get a better sense of what you offer and, in turn, what you should be found for. Note: you will have to rely on your franchisees to help you verify their individual Google+ listings.
Listing your company in categorical directories can also help the cause of brand building. If there is a relevant directory for the product or service you offer, your business should be listed, along with all of the details of your offering. In this scenario, becoming a part of industry associations can have as much of a benefit online as off.
There is nothing that can beat real, newsworthy press. Whether it be a press release, a magazine article, or a blog post, when your brand is mentioned online, Google is going to recognize it and correlate the content around it to your website. A link back to the site in these cases can prove helpful as well.
Now that you have a better sense for basic brand building, stay tuned for part two of this blog series, which will explain how to manage the optimization of all of your individual locations. At Search Influence, we are best equipped to help you succeed with your franchise marketing plan and franchise SEO efforts. Contact us today with any inquiries regarding how we can guarantee a successful online marketing strategy for your company.