One of the most effective strategies for franchise SEO to reach local customers and increase traffic to both a storefront and a website is by using local SEO.
To make the best use of local SEO for a franchise, it would be necessary to optimize a website so as to cause it to appear in search results for those searches which are based on a location, for example, “pizza shops in Buffalo, NY”.
The difference between standard search engine optimization (SEO) and local SEO is that the latter helps you to target customers who are seeking products or services in your immediate area.
Some of the strategies involved in local SEO include incorporating geographic keywords throughout your content, using meta-descriptions and title tags, including various location details on your website, and featuring reviews and testimonials which are specific to your location.
Franchise owners already enjoy all the benefits of having an established brand to support them, and when coupled with local SEO, it can be ideal for helping potential customers to find your specific business. Given the fact that franchises are normally established on the basis of a well-known brand, customers will already be comfortable with visiting any new location because they know what to expect.
But in order for that to work, they have to realize that a specific franchise is situated in their immediate neighborhood, so they can patronize that business and make a purchase. In short, local franchise SEO is an absolute must for reaching customers in your area and increasing your sales volume.
Here are some of the best strategies to use in order to be most effective with local SEO.
List your Locations in Google Maps
One of the best ways to locate any storefront in modern times is to search for it in Google. That’s because the search engine offers a map of options and provides users with GPS directions so they can quickly navigate to the specific location they want.
If your business locations don’t appear in Google Maps results, it will be essential that you get them registered in Google My Business.
It’s very easy to register for the service simply by going to their website and following some clear instructions. Once you have your account created, your business will be featured on Google Maps, and that will allow users to find all of your locations by using the search engine and also to have directions on how to get to your specific location.
List Franchise Locations in Yelp
Yelp happens to be one of the most trusted review sites used by consumers today, and many people use it to look for businesses and to decide which one will fit their needs best. Users frequently submit photos and reviews of these businesses, and that all goes into the decision-making process for any new potential customer.
It will generally also carry the business hours, some contact information, and a number of other details such as available products and services, and in the case of restaurants, menus might also be included.
You will definitely be missing out on some potential customers if you don’t list your franchises in Yelp, and many Internet searchers are already in your area looking for products and services that you might provide. If you have a Yelp page for each of your locations, that will allow users to evaluate each specific location and choose the one closest to them.
Reviewers will also be able to see exactly what it was that other customers found positive and negative about a specific location of your franchise, and they’ll also be able to see photos of your business, and possibly of the products and services you offer.
Use Location-based Keywords in your Content
Another great way to increase your visibility on local searches is to add location-based keywords on your website pages. As an example, if your franchise is a restaurant in Buffalo, NY, you should include phrases like “restaurant in Buffalo, NY”, or “Buffalo restaurants near me”.
It’s also a good idea to reference local landmarks and tourist destinations in your area. This will help gain visibility in search results for your business because shoppers will trust search engines when they’re looking to find some product or service in a short period of time. It is a known fact that nearly 80% of all local searches convert into actual sales.
Use Consistent Branding for Franchise SEO
Make sure to stick with established branding logos, colors, and other identifying characteristics, because if you don’t, you might easily confuse customers and hinder them from choosing your location.
Branding is very important because it helps reinforce the positive business characteristics of a specific brand in the minds of consumers. Wherever possible, make sure you reinforce the look and feel of your brand, so that potential customers will feel comfortable about choosing your specific location.
Encourage Customers to Provide Reviews
Online reviews can be extremely powerful in persuading potential customers to make a decision about a specific location. In fact, 84% of all consumers have as much faith in online reviews as they do in any kind of personal recommendation.
If your business doesn’t have any reviews posted, you’ll be missing out on a great opportunity to persuade potential customers to choose your location. If you’re completely lacking in any kind of reviews on your website, it might also cause potential customers to wonder why.
Reviews can go a long way toward giving local customers an opportunity to find out what others have thought of your products, services, and your specific location. Online reviews can also contribute heavily toward causing your business to rank higher on search engine result pages displayed to Internet users.
That’s why any successful franchise SEO strategy should always include some form of review management, one aspect of which will be to encourage customers to leave reviews.
Another important component of review management will be to reach out to customers who have left positive reviews and thank them and respond to any negative reviews in an effort to overcome issues a previous customer might have had with your products or services. Handling customer reviews effectively can be a very positive strategy for increasing your appeal to local customers.