Do you own a franchise? Running a franchise can have a lot of benefits, but using SEO principles to draw customers into your franchise location can be a little different than it might be if you owned a non-franchise business.
Of course, when you build a website to promote your franchise, you need to adhere to your brand’s logo, color scheme, and other requirements. But many corporate franchise offices offer microsites for local franchisees to promote their individual locations and crews. If you register your location correctly on Google Maps and in other online directories, make sure your website operates as it should, and provide plenty of valuable content, you should be able to attract new customers and strengthen your relationship with the old ones through the power of online search engine traffic.
Register Your Location in Google Maps
If your location isn’t coming up in Google Maps yet, it’s because you need to register for it using Google My Business. Just follow the simple instructions on the website, and your location and storefront will appear on Google Maps. If you own multiple franchise locations, you can do a Google My Business page for each of them.
List Your Locations in Online Directories
Google will pull name, address, and phone number (NAP) data for your business from different directories, like YellowPages.com, Yelp, and even your location’s social media profiles. Your task is to make sure that the NAP is consistent and correct across all directories in which your location appears. You should also list your location in directories where you don’t appear, and make social media business profiles for your location.
Make Sure Your Website Works Well
If you’re able to make your own website for your location, make sure that it loads fast and is easy to use. It should be HTTPS enabled. It should be mobile friendly and user friendly. Otherwise, visitors won’t stick around long enough to learn about your location or the services you offer.
Have Plenty of Valuable, Localized Content
Of course, if you’re required to use a microsite operated by your corporate office, you won’t have to worry about building and running your own website. But, you should still provide plenty of valuable content in the form of blog posts and articles, videos, service pages, and even podcast episodes.
Content marketing can be very effective SEO for franchisees. Google prioritizes content that offers something of value to users, so you want to populate your website’s blogs and social media with real content meant to answer questions, provide knowledge, and truly engage your customers in the online space. Real content will attract more new customers, who might come to your website for tips about flower arranging, and decide to choose your flower shop to purchase their flower arrangement instead.
Of course, you should also offer content directly related to your location on your website and social media feeds. Create employee profile pages on your website. Post photos of recent promotional events at your location. Showcase your regular customers. Make sure your website displays your company’s NAP and Google Maps location prominently. Make sure your content contains plenty of localized SEO keywords and long tail keywords.
Add Schema Markup to Your Website
Schema markup consists of adding specific microdata tags to your website’s HTML markup in order to boost its search ratings and alter the types of information visible in your search return listing. For example, you’ve probably noticed that when you search for a local business on Google, some of the results come back with a star rating right in the search listing. That star rating can be added using schema markup. You can also add important localized information that can improve your search ranking. You probably can’t handle adding schema markup to your website’s HTML code on your own, but it’s a part of the standard services most SEO companies offer, and it’s worth paying for.
When you own a franchise, you need to promote your location online within the limits of your brand guidelines. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put SEO to work for you to increase your location’s foot traffic, popularity, and revenues. Often, it’s just a matter of being active online and engaging with your customers in the virtual space.