Franchise Owner’s Guide to Local SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | July 07, 2015

One of the challenges of owning a business franchise is the intense need to focus on local SEO. Any business that has a physical location has a need to implement local SEO strategies into their comprehensive digital marketing strategy. This fact is magnified when it comes to franchise owners. Due to the fact that franchise owners are participating in a process that involves numerous business owners who are using the same brand, they often find themselves competing with others who own the same franchise license as they do. Local SEO provides the avenue through which a franchise owner can effectively promote their specific location, while optimizing on the corporate branding campaign.

Any business that gets, at least, some of its business from walk-in traffic in a brick and mortar location will need to utilize local franchise SEO techniques. Any business that has a physical address from which they do business has to actively promote that specific location. This can be challenging for franchisees, who often have sites that are centralized within the corporate site.

One challenge that many franchise owners face is that they don’t understand local SEO, and why they need it. Because local SEO remains shrouded in mystery, owners look at it as some insurmountable obstacle, and they never engage it. This can prove to be a fatal flaw if it is not corrected.

Understanding How Local SEO Differs from Traditional SEO

There are a number of elements, such as on-page factions, indexing, linking, social marketing and more, which are associated with national SEO strategies that inherently impact local SEO as well; however, there are some elements that are specific to local SEO. Basically, local SEO encompasses the steps that must be taken in order to isolate and promote the actual physical location of the business, which will engage a more specific and targeted audience. These are the people that will actually come into the business and spend.

Localized On-site Optimization

When localizing SEO efforts, things such as ensuring that the name, address, zip code and phone number are on the site are immensely important. It is not only important to ensure that this information is on the site, but it needs to be on every page. It is also a good idea to use the city and state in the title tags, content and meta descriptions. Another element that is unique to creating a local SEO strategy is the inclusion of a Keyhole Markup Language file on the site. These simple steps, though they seem somewhat redundant, can have a substantial impact on local SEO results.

Give Considerable Attention to the Greatest Factors

There are three factors that every franchise owner should give considerable attention. The first factor on the list is the number of citations on the Google Places listing. The more citations that a site has, the more powerful the page ranking will be. The next factor is the number of reviews that the site has. Lastly, the level of positivity associated with the reviews. Obviously, having a high level of negative reviews will not produce positive results, so it is important to constantly monitor customer reviews, so that any issues that may arise can be dealt with in an expeditious manner. Research reveals that positive reviews will trump citations, making it an immensely valuable practice to persuade customers to leave a review on the site.

It is also important for franchise owners to consider the proximity of their location in relationship to the city’s center. Obviously, a location that is closer to the city’s center will have greater exposure. When a location is away from the center of the city, this has to be considered, and the content on the site has to create a desire so strong that people will be willing to make the trip to use the services or products of the business.