SEO for Franchise Websites

Page design is about more than catching the eye of your audience. In today’s post, we discuss how poorly-designed franchise websites may be hurting their SEO, and what you can do to fix it.

What kind of site design does Google prefer for franchise websites?

Site design” may refer to your franchise websites’ layout code or mobile configuration.

Is there an optimal mobile configuration for SEO?

We know that sites must be mobile-friendly, but does your choice of mobile configuration factor in?
Before we can fully answer this question, we should first review the three mobile configurations used for franchise websites:

  • Responsive design uses a system of grids, flexible imagery, and dynamic CSS style rules to rearrange franchise websites for best viewing and navigation on any device. Given their different sizes, franchise websites will need to look quite different on a desktop, mobile phone, or tablet, and responsive designs adjust automatically, without changing the URL structure or bottom-line contents in any way.
  • Adaptive design involves generating different versions of the same site depending on your viewing device, all of which can be accessed through a common URL.
  • Separate mobile sites are exactly what the name suggests. Rather than moving site components around, the franchisor creates a separate version on a mobile sub-domain. Though popular, this route does expose the franchise websites to SEO pitfalls like bad redirects, fragmented link presence, and more.

According to Google, responsive web design is king, which makes sense given their recent push to purge all duplicate and low-quality content. Google doesn’t want to waste resources crawling duplicate websites, and most franchise owners don’t want to double their website management workload either. For this reason, responsive design gets the “gold star,” but does that really factor into SEO?

Many in the web marketing sector have begun to speculate about whether or not responsive sites are getting direct rankings boosts over adaptive and duplicate mobile sites. The answer is unclear, though cutting out bad redirects and duplicate copy associated with your franchise website can only be a good thing.

What design code matters for SEO?

One thing we know for sure is that your site’s layout and use of certain design “codes” count as SEO ranking factors. Failing to design your site according to these user preferences and SEO best practices can spell trouble for your franchise website visibility:

  • Unique, descriptive title tags. Each page should have a clear, informative title tag that tell Google crawlers and readers what you’re offering.
  • Wayfinding headings tags. Headings tags help readers skim through your page to find the answers they need, and these context indicators also help Google identify quality, relevant content. Make good use of heading tags in your franchise websites design and try to incorporate long-form keywords when possible.
  • Helpful Meta tags. Meta titles and descriptions don’t really interest Google crawl-bots, but they’re still vital to your click-through ratings. These tells your readers at a glance whether or not your page is right for them.
  • High-speed load-ups. Though this has more to do with hosting than design, it’s still worth a mention. Clunky franchise websites stuffed with mega-sized images can really drag out load times, which will increase your bounce rate and attract Google penalties. Cleaning up your design can trim vital seconds off of your load-up, which can be all the difference for your franchise websites SEO.

Consider this article an introduction to franchise website design for SEO. If you’d like to learn more about this interesting and ever-changing facet of web marketing, visit https://clicktecs.com/website-design-and-website-development/ and book an end-to-end evaluation.

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Local SEO for Franchises

Local SEO for franchises is extremely important for generating business. Today’s post outlines 3 common mistakes people make with their local SEO strategies to help you make the most of your web assets.

Common Mistakes with Local SEO for Franchises

#1) Location page issues.

Your franchise website is the cornerstone of any online marketing strategy, so it’s important that you get the fundamentals right. Though Google is famous for it’s cryptic and even contradictory advice, there are some well-established criteria for ranking with location pages that you cannot ignore:

  • Add location pages. Your main franchise website should dedicate pages to individual locations. Ideally, each franchisee will have a unique page, though regional pages can work in a pinch. While mega “index pages” listing all franchisee locations are common, these are typically considered low-value by the user, who is usually looking for more than a contact number or email address.  The newest strategy here is to expand the location specific pages into location specific microsites that reside on sub-domains or sub-folders.  ClickTecs has built many of these for emerging and established franchisors with hundreds of locations.  Our builds account for duplication of content and localization of SEO tags so each location maximizes ranking for their relevant keywords within their territory.
  • Ensure your pages are discoverable. Some franchises make location pages available only through their built-in site search tools, but if Google can’t index your pages they will be seen much less.
  • Invest in original location pages. Quality content is key for any ranking goal, but people seem to forget that when it comes to location pages. Maybe it’s because big brands have to make so many?Many franchises are content to copy and paste their location page content, swapping out the contact information and calling it a day. While this will save time and effort early on, it looks bad to people and crawler bots alike. Too much duplicate content makes your brand seem lifeless and inactive, and also exposes you to Google penalties.

    Instead, each location page should have a unique write-up, with specific hours of operation and a link to a map. If every location is running unique specials, be sure to have these listed.

#2) PAWN problems.

If you’ve done any research into local SEO for franchises, you know that citations (any time your business in mentioned or listed on a third-party website) are important. But since Google only rewards trustworthy location signals, citations only help if they have the right contact information. If not, you’re having “PAWN problems,” and probably getting penalized for it.

PAWN is an acronym we use for Phone number, Address, Website, and Name. Keeping your PAWN consistent in every mention and accurate for every location is crucial for your local visibility. Mixing up the address, failing to update new contact info, or otherwise falling victim to data inconsistency can cost your franchise customers and SEO progress. This is sometimes referred to as NAP consistency, but the Website URL is definitely worthy of a mention in an increasingly visualized market.

Though PAWN or NAP consistency issues may seem like an amateur mistake, it’s actually an easy trap to fall into for big brands. When you consider the tens, hundreds, or thousands of locations that make up a franchise family, then factor in the added complexity of acquisitions, re-branding, closings, and relocation, it’s easy to see how mistakes can happen.
This one is an easy fix with the NAP Dashboard that takes care of fixing all your listings to ensure all are consistent and maximizing their benefit to your local SEO.

#3) No local content.

Beyond dedicated location pages, local SEO for franchises benefits from specific and highly relevant local content. Examples of local content might include local testimonials, linking to nearby client pages, local news, and case studies. This kind of content simultaneously engages local audiences and bolsters location signals that get you ranked.

Want to keep the conversation going? Visit https://clicktecs.com/local-search-optimization/ to learn more about local SEO for franchises.

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Capturing Franchise Leads on LinkedIn

While Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all popular social media platforms, LinkedIn is a hub as far as franchise leads and sales are concerned. With over 450-million profiles registered and easy outreach tools for franchisors to take advantage of, LinkedIn is responsible for more than 40% of total social media-related franchise sales. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering LinkedIn’s business-centric branding, yet franchise owners continue to let conversion opportunities slip away all the time.

With this in mind, today’s post is designed to help you make the most of your brand’s LinkedIn presence. Read on to learn LinkedIn’s role in the purchase process, then review 8 no-nonsense tips to help you capture franchise leads.

First, let’s review the typical route people take when researching franchises to buy:

  • Once the entrepreneurial urge strikes, prospective owners will typically Google available opportunities. At this stage, somebody happening upon your LinkedIn profile could inspire a franchise lead (or raise a red flag, depending on how you’re managing your account!).
  • Finding a few franchises that match their personal criteria, they will start to read online reviews to gauge the company’s reputation. At this point, they might peruse social media mentions and blog posts to get a feel for the brand’s values and organizational culture.
  • Next, it’s off to the franchise recruitment site to do some research about start-up costs, market opportunities, and what else to expect. This is also where contact information is gathered, though not typically when it’s put to use.
  • Now, at the deciding moment before a conversion, LinkedIn usually comes into play. The researcher has your franchise on their shortlist, and their fingers are practically hovering over the dial pad for that initial consultation call…. But first, they’ll check the backgrounds, work histories, and public face of all franchise owners and executives. And if they don’t like what they see, your company gets crossed off.

Scary stuff. But don’t worry: the following 8 tips are designed to help! If you’re ignoring these best practices – or making any of the following common mistakes – you may be jeopardizing franchise leads:

  1. Reverse-engineer the competition. Part of your LinkedIn strategy should be dedicated to analyzing the competition. This doesn’t take any fancy software, just a critical eye. Observe the pictures, updates, conduct, and profile descriptions of top performers, then think about ways to use them for yourself.
  2. No half-measures. If you’re going to have a LinkedIn profile, you might as well make the most of it. Fill out all applicable sections, including any past charity work under the “Volunteer & Causes” section. It’s not often in life that you get a green light to talk up your accomplishments, plus you never know what might resonate with a potential buyer!
  3. Develop a showcase page. This page should focus entirely on the details of your franchise opportunity.
  4. Update regularly. The best pages publish relevant and informative content on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean you have to create brilliance out of thin air – sharing great posts is fine!
  5. Encourage sharing within your franchise family. Posts get more visibility and authority when they’re sharing and liked by multiple people, so encourage your franchise family to join the conversation in a mutually beneficial way. Ghost-town profile pages scare away franchise leads fast.
  6. Know your prospects. Every franchise attracts a different kind of person. Familiarizing yourself with this personality type will help you design posts that resonate with your clients on an emotional level.
  7. Reach out. Waiting for the prospect to make the move can be a huge mistake. Sometimes reaching out to an ideal franchisee is all it takes to start a great business relationship. Plus, even if they don’t want in, they might know somebody who does!
  8. Study the numbers. Review your metrics at every opportunity, and consider setting up conversion goals in your Analytics account to track specific LinkedIn leads.

Got questions? Ask away, or get more social media management tips from our franchise marketing team, by visiting https://www.clicktecs.com

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PPC for franchise

Pay-per-click or PPC for franchises is a great way to get your brand message in front of potential franchisees without needing to print a forest’s worth of flyers, brochures, or newspaper ads. Today, we talk best practices and common mistakes franchise owners make when leveraging this marketing asset.

ALWAYS take advantage of the negative keyword field.

Negative keyword fields allow you to ramp up the relevance of your campaign by filtering out unwanted searchers. For example, if you’re looking for big-time investors to get on board with your franchise, you might want to omit words like “cheap,” “affordable,” and “low-cost.” These searchers won’t have the money or interest required to work with you, so why pay to have your ad placed in front of them?

NEVER ignore the power of localized keywords.

Incorporating local city names into your keyword phrases is a proven method for optimizing PPC for franchises. Most consumers prefer to deal with local businesses, and these individuals will be drawn to PPC ads that mention their hometown.

Choosing localized keywords also cuts your competition down significantly, pitting you only against those businesses in your area rather than taking on the whole world.

All in all, localized keywords means higher conversions for lower bid prices, which sums up why they must be included in PPC for franchises.

DO use long-form keyword strings; DON’T use generic phrases.

Choosing generic keywords is a major issue we see with PPC for franchises. Though it might sound like hyperbole, choosing generic keywords will fundamentally set your campaign up to fail.

People gravitate to generic keywords thinking that they’ll be searched more often, thereby increasing their odds of being seen. While it’s true that generic keywords are searched often, this line of thinking fails to take into the account either the fact that they are tremendously competitive. Moreover, generic keywords are rarely relevant to the kind of searchers you’re trying to attract.

To give you an example, a senior care franchise targeting the phrase “senior care” would face fierce competition that would cost time, money, and effort to beat. Not only are they competing with other senior care franchises, but they’re now competing with every mention of senior care in every single context! That means beating basic definitions of senior care, discussions of shifting age demographics, senior care tips, senior care service contact information, and every other iteration of the phrase you can imagine, which (surprise!) can get very expensive. On average, you can expect to pay around ten times more for generic keywords than you would for long-tail keyword strings.

Now let’s imagine this franchise somehow managed to beat “senior care” keyword competitors. Their ad pops up by anyone who searches this phrase, and gets tons of visibility. Great, right?

Wrong! Ranking for generic keywords can actually hurt you in the long run. Not only do they cost too much, but they attract a huge volume of “garbage traffic” that wants nothing to do with your franchise site – take those same people searching for basic senior care definitions, for example. These users bounce off right away, and when Google notices this user behaviour happening at a high volume, they’ll start to penalize you.

In reality, the value of PPC for franchises is only truly achieved when it attracts interested consumers. In other words, while big-budget PPC campaigns with generic keywords might get a lot of display time on browsers, they won’t necessarily get a lot of conversions.

In short, long-tail keyword strings are always best. Dive deeper into this subject at https://clicktecs.com/pay-per-click/.

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