As a franchise business owner, you are responsible for the online presence of your business as well as that of all of your multiple locations.
After all, if the local search engine optimization (SEO) of one of your franchise locations suffers, you suffer- no matter how many locations you own.
Just look at the numbers. 88% of those who use local search to find a business, contact them within a day, resulting in the local business being contacted within a day- so if franchisees are not taking advantage of this, they are most certainly missing out on potential customers.
That means customers aren’t just searching to find information, they’re searching because they’re ready to buy.
So, what do your local SEO efforts need to be to ensure that you’re searchable on Yelp, Bing, and especially Google search results? We’re glad you asked because today we’ve compiled a list of our own tried and true local SEO strategies that we utilize for our clients as a digital marketing agency. But first, we’re going to offer a quick refresher on local SEO and why it’s important.
Let’s dive right in!
Local SEO: A Primer
What is Local SEO?
For businesses that own physical storefronts in multiple locations, local SEO is the process of improving your searchability and ranking for customers in a specific geographic region.
For example, “digital marketing agencies in the San Francisco Bay area” would be an example of a long-tail local SEO keyword that we might use to attract clients in our area.
Our ultimate goal in this instance of local search engine optimization would be to get indexed on the first page of search results for folks searching for a digital marketing agency in the Bay area.
What is the Difference Between Local SEO and Traditional SEO?
In short, it’s the search intent. Essentially, a search with local intent will likely search for the name of a product or service + the location.
For example, “digital marketing services + San Francisco, CA.” This tells the search engine that the user has a local search intent. Additionally, the SERPs (search engine result pages) will all be local agencies that fit the criteria.
Conversely, traditional SEO services seek to present your product or service to a target audience regardless of the searcher’s location, by highlighting certain aspects of your business.
For example, for us, some of our SEO keywords include content marketing, marketing automation, marketing operations, and sales enablement, and relevant content around those topics.
In addition to search rankings, traditional SEO also covers your site structure, your content, and even your social media presence.
It’s essential to make sure you’re ranking for both local franchise SEO and traditional SEO, by making your content relevant to specific high-volume searches, to achieve maximum impact in your SEO strategy.
Local SEO Importance
For multiple-location businesses, local SEO is a great way to market your business in key, target locations in order to generate demand and site traffic.
Nearly 50% of all Google searches are looking for a local business and nearly 80% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase. Furthermore, searches that include the phrases “near me” or “close by” increased by over 900% from 2018-2020.
In today’s age of technological convenience, consumers have come to expect immediate answers to their needs, whenever their needs arise. Moreover, it’s clear from the statistics we’ve shared, that consumers are increasingly interested in products and services that are near them.
The Challenges With Local SEO for Multiple Locations
Local search engine optimization can have it’s challenges, particularly the management of a target market, reputation, online presence, and even social media profiles for every location you manage.
To keep all of your franchise locations competitive, it’s important to provide a hyper-local user experience to the target audience in each of your locations.
Additionally, it’s absolutely imperative to ensure that all of your contact information, i.e. each business name, address, phone number, etc is kept up to date or your digital marketing strategy and ranking factors will be for naught.
Now that you know what local SEO is, how it differs from traditional SEO, and why it’s important, here are a few tips to help you franchise owners scale their local SEO strategy.
Solve Local SEO Challenges with These 5 Tips
1. Utilize Location-Based Landing Pages
Instead of trying to cram all of your information on the homepage, build out separate pages for each of your business locations so that you have a better chance of ranking for local searches.
Make sure to follow these guidelines for each location-related page:
- Perform keyword research. This will help you to understand the search queries being conducted and how you can capture user intent on your pages. Analyze volume, keyword difficulty, competition, and cost per click. Helpful tools include Google Keyword Planner, Moz, and Ahrefs.
- Perform SERP research. It’s important to understand user intent and how your target audience is conducting their search queries. Are they looking for a particular product or service (i.e. digital marketing service)? Are they looking for a specific, related topic (i.e. SEO services)? It’s important to understand whether the searcher is looking to make a transaction or to learn more about a topic as well as what kind of content is being returned for searches.
- Perform a competitive analysis. This will help you prioritize which content and opportunities to tackle first. Should you start with landing pages, building relevant content, or tackle your link building strategy first? This will depend on your research, onsite and offsite SEO for your competitors as well as backlink research to identify the opportunities where you can have the biggest bang for your buck.
- Create an intuitive URL site structure. Your site should be easily searchable with a logical organization for your pages. This makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site as well as for visitors to navigate and find the information they need.
2. Optimize Each Web Page for Local SEO.
If you want to be able to drive traffic from search engines to your site, and improve their chances of purchasing from you, you need to utilize both SEO and CRO (conversion rate optimization) for every page on your website, including content pages such as blog posts.
Onsite SEO and CRO Checklist
- Utilize your keyword research in your title tags, headers, image tags, and metadata (this includes your location tags).
- Create separate pages for each service/product and location.
- Include your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on the website.
- Utilize internal linking to other relevant content on your site (this is especially beneficial for blog posts).
- Optimize page loading speed.
- Optimize your site for use on mobile devices.
- Create an SEO optimized sitemap for your website.
- Include optimized content based on keyword mapping to your funnel but avoid keyword stuffing.
- Include CTAs (call-to-action) to ensure that you capture as many leads as possible through your content.
- Speaking of those CTAs, utilize exciting text and buttons to drive conversions.
- When using forms, be sure to make your forms simple and request the least amount of information possible.
3. Create And Optimize Google My Business profiles for each location.
Utilize Google My Business to help potential customers find your business by allowing Google to vet your listing as an authentic local business that it can serve in results for local queries. You can optimize how your business appears in Google Search and Google Maps with GMB.
You can also use the bulk location management feature to manage 20 or more locations as well as to add new locations to your listings.
4. Create Local Business Listings for Each of your Franchise Locations.
Another great tip is to optimize a business listing in local directories. Not only will this allow you to cast a wider net with local target audiences, but it will also boost your SEO visibility as well.
Again, it’s imperative to ensure that your business’ NAP is kept up to date across all of your touchpoints on the web. This will ensure your google ranking continues to grow and isn’t hindered with out of date, incorrect contact information.
Even minor differences, like abbreviating street in one listing and writing it out in another, can cause harm to your local rankings.
5. Encourage Your Happy Customers to Submit Local Reviews.
What’s the first thing you do before purchasing a product online? If you answered, “Check the reviews” then you’re like nearly 90% of customers who read business reviews before selecting a business to engage with.
Need help getting your customers to leave reviews? Here are a few tips that can help you:
- Ask customers immediately after they pay your business a compliment.
- Offer an incentive.
- Respond to reviews. This helps others to see you care about your clients and you are willing to work with those that leave negative reviews.
- Google reviews specifically, help your GMB listings to attract more target customers.
Need Help Getting Started?
We hope that these guidelines have been informative and helpful for you as you build your local SEO strategy.
However, if the information seems a bit overwhelming, or just don’t have the internal muscle to execute these strategies effectively, consider partnering with a reputable digital marketing agency like Interrupt Media to help you launch your strategy.
If you’d like to learn more about how we conduct local SEO campaigns and how we can partner with you, reach out to us today and we’ll set up a time to chat more about what that would look like for your business.