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A Successful Approach to Franchise SEO on a National Level

As a franchise owner, or even the owner of a business with multiple locations, you must realize that SEO brings its own particular challenges to your marketing campaigns.

The truth is that there are many more brands today than there ever have been and every single one of them is vying for this valuable online space. Furthermore, the corporate backing available from the franchise model is not very effective for local needs.

So, what is the local franchise owner to do? How can you increase your rankings?

There is actually a lot that can be done to improve ranking on a local level. In this article i will illustrate the top 5 factors that need attention when addressing franchise SEO.

A good portion of what I will be describing will be in the “content marketing” section. This is an important area for constant progress.

Then we will be discussing the problems with inaction that affects some companies. Or the lingering issues with previous failed attempts at an SEO campaign. You will need to get these straightened out posthaste.

You will want to upgrade your antiquated SEO techniques as well, so they don’t hold you back from the benefits of content and mobile marketing.

1. Important Website SEO Problems All Franchises Need to Be Aware Of

There was an interesting article in the July SEMRush which clearly defined some of the problems that a franchise will face in SEO campaigns.

It will be important to address these points early in the game to avoid them piling up and affecting rankings adversely in the future.

Following are some of the issues it mentioned.

-Duplicate Content

-Interlinking

-Domain Health and risks

The important thing to remember will be to have a fresh supply of unique content on each web page. This can’t be thinly stretched refurbished content meant to appear different. This is especially true for location sites. Treat each different location as a separate website all in itself. This means each one needs rich content and a unique description including images and videos.

When working on on-page SEO, do a backlink audit and clear out all “unnecessary interlinking” to make sure your website’s linking is up to standard.

If you are able, consider hiring an SEO specialist to have a look at the various websites and perform simple audit. This very idea was suggested in the SEMRush article, most SEO experts would recommend the same.

So…what would such an expert cost?

You will be looking at around $1500 to $2000 or even more for a professional SEO audit by a reputable company. This is if you have small site. Larger sites are more complex and tend to have a lot of backlink junk, this will increase the price somewhat.

Can some of this SEO auditing be DIY?

There is a good chance that with some introduction to the process a novice SEO adjuster can do a decent audit. Check out the 2014 MOZ link audit guide for some best practices.

2. Moving Forward with Mobile

Now that you’ve addressed some of the most pressing issues and organized your site, what next?

Mobile is next.

Search Engine Land posted a great page in February on better SEO practices and some of these included:

-Encouraging Customer Reviews

-Capturing Mobile Users

-Cleaning Up Directory Listings

Capturing mobile users is what it’s all about today and last October it was reported that there were more mobile searches performed than desktop searches. And more than half of these queries were coming in from smartphones and mobile platforms.

Another important tip posted by SEL mentioned localizing with purpose, this means that all of your pages should have specific SEO friendly URLs as well as unique H1 and H2 titles.

These factors are important to consider if you plan on increasing marketing efforts and making work on your SEO campaigns. Both of these aspects will improve your efforts in time.

3. Location Pages for Franchises

SEO on Business 2 Community’s blog posted a great guide for franchise SEO in June. these were five important tips it mentioned.

-Get the Branding right

-Address the online footprint of your brand.

-Optimize location pages.

-Calibrate business listings

-Balance other franchise locations

When It comes to location pages, it is essential to provide the Googlebot’s with accurate information on those location details. This is more important now than ever before, Google My Business pages and inevitability of a mobile search require that everything is on line as it is in the physical realm.

Google factors in all type of location specific information as they analyze their queries made from mobile devices. If a brand is especially good at facilitating this trend, they receive high relevance point from the Googlebot.

4. Business Listings for Franchises

Franchise business listings? We’re talking about the basics:

Name
Phone number
Address
Operating hours

These are the essential four that Google would like to see on every listing, why? Because this is what the customers really want to see. Many times, when a business name is entered into the search query box what they really want is the address or phone number.

Even still, a large amount of businesses today does not track or monitor their Name Address Phone Number in the directory listings. This is an important factor to getting ahead online, particularly for the franchise location.

You can also take your NAP listings to another level and gain some real traction in the SEO playing field. Follow this link to a post I made a few months back on SERP Stacking. You will find some helpful pointers on increasing your chances of showing up in multiple first page options.

5. Leveraging The Franchise Model For SEO

When it comes to SEO best practices you want to be sure you are not wasting your resources or pouring them into inconsequential endeavors. Why would you have a franchise location performa special social media campaign, if the one across town did the same one the day before?

Be sure to find ways to get the most out of your SEO efforts. By consolidating your efforts, you maximize the power of the network effect, which is natural to the franchise. By the same measure, you will want to ensure that there is some coordination between the marketing campaigns being held by the various locations. This will keep everyone from stepping on each other’s toes.