Effective search engine optimization can be challenging for any business—but franchise companies face unique challenges. Not only do franchise businesses have to contend with the usual complexities of an ever-changing search engine landscape, but they often have to achieve rankings for multiple websites, all of which are likely to exist in the same domain.
What’s the answer? Localization is the only way to go, yet it brings some challenges of its own. To understand how to rank your franchise sites on the Web, it’s important to step back and look at how localization really works.
Content is King
There’s no place to begin but with the website content itself. An old SEO adage says that “content is king,” and so it is. But what does having effective content look like? For our purposes today, the most important thing to note is that search engines sharply penalize duplicate content. So different franchisors within the company cannot use the very same Web content for their sites.
It’s important to furnish franchisors with a common template but with distinct content—content that includes 100 percent unique written copy and exclusive images.
>Meanwhile, it is important to ensure that each individual franchiser’s page is localized. That’s an altogether more complex undertaking than one might imagine. It used to be that localization just meant including unique contact information on a page, linking it to a particular city or area code. There’s more to it than that, and in fact localization works best when it gets down to the specific neighborhood or community.
To effectively localize a site or a landing page, it’s best to create H1 tags, H2 tags, and URLS that reflect the specific business locality—even if you’re dealing with pages that all share the same domain. Another important point is to include the local address, phone number, and hours of operation on each individual page.
Connecting with Users
What’s most important, though, is simply providing a user experience that lends itself to easy connection. Start with mobile optimization. Given how many people search for local businesses on their mobile devices, mobile optimization is integral to localized SEO.
Another piece of the puzzle is social media. Each local franchise should have its own, unique social media profiles—with local hours of operation and contact information attached. Merely having profiles is not enough, though; encouraging user participation is also important.
On a similar note, it helps to have reviews posted to online review sites, including Yelp, Facebook, and Google itself. Google looks favorably on local businesses that have real consumer feedback, so asking customers to leave their reviews can be a powerful SEO strategy.
Ultimately, optimizing a franchise-based business for search engine success requires a multi-faceted and data oriented approach. It’s why enlisting the services of an enterprise SEO company or an experienced SEO expert with franchise SEO experience is so imperative. Find an SEO agency that offers local solutions to scale, and ask about the best strategies for optimizing your individual franchise locations.