Thursday, February 4, 2016

Optimizing Online Presence for Franchises


According to the International Franchise Association’s industry report for 2016, franchises are projected to outperform the overall economy by a 5.1% gain against a projected U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increase of 3.1%. Franchises are multiplying at an alarming rate, and the dramatic increase is bringing to light the challenges associated with franchise marketing. Among the many challenges franchises are facing, the most daunting is the optimization of online presence for every market with a store front or office location.

When it comes to online marketing for your multi-location business, search engine optimization for franchises can turn into an intricate, tangled mess quickly. Tandem Interactive, franchise organic search specialists, have compiled a checklist that will successfully attract customers through search engine results, to your franchise and multiple location business. Keep in mind that as mobile and content marketing continues to progress and dominate, you will need to make sure that old-school SEO strategies are not holding you back.

1. Situate your Website.
Before you begin to feel overwhelmed analyzing all of the location webpages you have to deal with, you will first need to focus on the main pages of your website. These pages typically consist of the homepage, the “About Us” page, and your products and services pages. These pages are likely to be your most visited pages and will also show up higher in organic search engine results.

Take time to create insightful, unique, and engaging content for each of your main website pages, focusing on products and services since these are likely to be the same across locations. Tandem Interactive recommends that instead of building a specific services and product page for every single location you should instead have each location reference the same services pages. This will build more authority for the main location page while saving you time and hassle.

2. Online Footprint for your Brand.
Next will come the time to analyze the external sites that describe, feature, and promote your franchise. These external sites are a key differentiating factor in highly competitive industries and enterprises. You will need to take an in-depth look at your franchise’s off-site presence, ones that exist outside of your own website such as major social media channels. Make sure that your brand is registered with all of the major social media channels, that you are updating and posting on these sites regularly, and that your newsworthy events, products, and services are being covered by reputable online publications.

Back-links are basically other websites recommending your franchise’s products and services as a resource. You will need to consider the quality of the website’s recommendation and their own personal reputation as a credible source.

3. Location Pages for Franchises.
Now that we have covered your franchise’s brand as a whole, you will need to consider each individual location page. For location pages it is critical to provide Google with highly detailed and accurate information in regards to all of your physical locations. Make it easy by providing Google with a search bar, map, or simple list which is a great way to direct users and search engines in the right direction.

Google factors in many forms of location-specific information when the algorithm analyzes a query, the better your business is situated to tap into this trend, the more online leads you will get. Having unique location pages will allow Google to see the franchise locations should be viewed and shown in search results accordingly.

4. Franchise Locations’ Business Listings.
The most important component to multi-location online marketing is maintaining the consistency of all of the franchise location’s names, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP) on the web. If you hire an SEO marketing team, it will make reviewing and maintaining consistent NAP information considerably less of a hassle.

An SEO marketing team will submit location information to the major business directories, which will create a beneficial domino effect.  Many of these changes will snake their way through to lower level directories, which will take approximately 90 days to reflect.

5. Implement a Franchise-wide Market Strategy.
Many times, the individual owners of the franchise locations will unknowingly compete with your marketing efforts. To prevent this, implement a cohesive SEO marketing strategy to consolidate efforts. Set up a standard plan for all franchise locations to follow that clearly states what the franchises should and should not engage in.

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