What to Look for in WCAG Compliance Testing Services

You want an accessible website but you don’t know where to turn.

Have no fear–today’s post lays out some essential things every WCAG compliance testing company should offer.

Read on to learn what makes ClickTecs a WCAG compliance testing authority and what to look for in accessibility services.

WCAG Compliance Testing Experience

The explosion of website accessibility lawsuits over the past couple years has gotten lots of people talking about WCAG compliance testing–and rightly so. Spotting this panicked new demand, some web marketing companies rolled out WCAG compliance testing services overnight, hoping to capitalize.

Those are not the companies you want to partner with for your WCAG compliance testing. Choosing experienced providers with proven results is the only way to ensure you’re protected in this strange legal climate.

ClickTecs has been at the forefront of WCAG compliance testing services for years.

But don’t take our word for it–check out this video we posted more than 6 years ago highlighting the utility of one of our powerful website auditing tools.

This particular tool was designed to provide online competitive analysis for websites, and to quantify their performance in a number of key areas, such as content, marketing, technology, and (you guessed it) accessibility.

But that’s not the only tool in our arsenal. Our WCAG compliance testing process involves a number of W3-approved tools, along with a 300-point accessibility checklist developed by our accessibility specialists.

In other words, we’ve been doing this for awhile. The sensationalization of website accessibility as a result of exploitative lawsuits is a relatively new development, but ClickTecs has been leading the charge in WCAG compliance testing “back before it was cool.”

Cross-Platform Accessibility Testing Expertise

Getting your website in order is a good start, but it isn’t the only thing that will require testing. That’s like a restaurateur adding accessibility parking but not making their building wheelchair accessible. Business owners need to ensure all products, websites, documents, and mobile applications are accessible for people with disabilities.

ClickTecs is a one-stop shop for your digital accessibility needs. We specialize in franchise WCAG compliance testing, and have helped small, medium, and large businesses bring websites, documents, and ad campaigns up to code.

Plus, as co-creators of FranchiseSoft, the WCAG-compliant franchise management software used in multiple countries, the ClickTecs team has proven expertise in software and mobile application accessibility.

A Trusted Reputation and Strong WCAG Compliance Testing Endorsements

Who better to tell you about ClickTecs’ reputation and WCAG compliance testing than a valued client?

Gary Prenevost is a longtime ClickTecs service user and one of the top FranNet franchisees in North America with more than 17 years of experience. When asked what stood out about ClickTecs WCAG compliance testing services, Gary had this to say:

“Well, the first thing is the attentiveness,” he told ClickTecs in a testimonial. “If I have questions, the speed at which I’m getting the answers. I’m expecting two, three, four weeks, but it’s coming back in days. It’s really fast, and what I’ve asked them for is thorough. I’m able to make better decisions with the information that’s coming back, like with my website, which I thought was an adequate website.”

So would Mr. Prenevost recommend ClickTecs WCAG compliance testing services?

“Absolutely,” Prenevost smiles. “I’m suggesting that others enter the annual contract that I have. So I’m very happy.”

You can find more testimonials at https://www.youtube.com/user/clicktecs/videos.

Book a WCAG Compliance Testing Consultation with ClickTecs

Visit https://www.clicktecs.com for a no-cost, no-commitment conversation and find out how we can help make your business accessible to everyone.

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Virtualizing Your Franchise Development in 2018

If you’re not taking your franchise development online, you’re leaving money on the table.

Online Franchise Development Gets Big Results

According to the 2018 Annual Franchise Development Report, digital media is the number-one source of high-quality leads next to referrals.

Back in 2014, a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Economic Themes set out to highlight the importance of using modern information and communication technology (ICT) in the development of franchise systems. They concluded that there was a “statistically significant strong positive correlation between the use of the web site for linking franchisors and their franchisees and the number of franchise units” (Stefanović&Stanković, 2014, p. 409).

In other words, franchisors who took their franchise development online had better results than those who didn’t.

But this probably doesn’t come as a big surprise.

After all, there is a tremendous body of research providing clear evidence of the advantages of “going digital” in the business-to-business (B2B) market–for instance, we know that virtualizing your franchise development lets you:

  • Build relationships with thousands of potential customers in real time via email and web marketing, lead portal outreach, and social media recruiting (O’Brien, 2008).
  • Enhance marketing capabilities with comprehensive research tools and highly targeted virtual marketing channels (O’Brien, 2008).
  • Improve communication with suppliers, franchisees, shareholders, and candidates through efficient “search and information exchange” (Zettelmeyer, 2000).
  • Increase “connectivity and interactivity” to strengthen the ties of your franchise family and up system adherence (Dutta and Biren, 2001).
  • Keep your brand relevant with a website–Franson and DeSmith (2005) write that “for modern customers, the fact that the company does not have a website, is as shocking as when the get to the cash register in the store and realize that they can only pay in cash.”

But this research is a decade old–if you’re not online already, you’re already behind the eight ball (and if that’s the case, we can help).

What’s changed? How should digital franchise development look in 2018?

7 Online Franchise Development Essentials in 2018

  • A high-quality website. Your website is the #1 tool in your online franchise development arsenal. This is where you’ll be driving traffic, so it better be good! Beyond an intuitive, efficient site architecture and pleasing design, your site needs quality information and multimedia content highlighting your franchise opportunity. In 2018, accessibility and mobile-responsiveness are part and parcel of a quality website.
  • Social media optimization (SMO). Social media makes networking easier than ever, and many of the professionals you want to target will already have a profile on the site. In fact, some interested parties are probably already searching for information about your franchise. You should be searchable on all social media sites, but especially LinkedIn, which has been a fount for franchise candidates.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). If people can’t find your website or contact information, the marketing budget goes down the drain.
  • Pay per click marketing to get eyes on your opportunity fast while maintaining strict control of your budget and knowing where every penny goes.
  • Online reputation management (ORM) to keep your online reputation clear of slanderous reviews by competitors and be sure to attract like-minded individuals.
  • Mobile marketing to get your highly targeted ads in front of the biggest audience.
  • Franchise development software to make email campaigns, lead management, lead tracking, and onboarding easier than ever, and totally manageable from your mobile device.

Learn More About Online Franchise Development

Visit our website to book a free consultation or call our team now at 905-564-0020.

References

Dutta, S. and B. Biren.(2001).Business Transformation on the Internet: Results from the 2000 Study. European Management Journal, 19(5): 449-62.

Franson, B., and D. DeSmith (2005). Does the Internet Solve Franchisees’ Problems? Franchising World. Retrieved from http://www.franchise.org/Franchise-News-Detail.aspx?id= 40616.

O’Brien, K. (2008). “Grow your franchise with online marketing tools.” Franchising World. Retrieved from http://www.franchise.org/Franchise-News-Detail.aspx?id=41890  

Stefanović, S., &Stanković, M. (2014). The Role of ICT and the Internet in the Development of Franchise Systems. Economic Themes, 52(4), 409-435.

Zettelmeyer, F. (2000). Expanding to the Internet: Pricing and communications strategies when firms compete on multiple channels. Journal of Marketing Research, 37 (3): 292-309.  

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Greenhorns' Guide to Franchise SEO Services: What Am I Paying For?

So you’re new to franchise SEO services, and you’re a little skeptical. You could use a walkthrough.

But maybe you’re not ready to talk, or you’re just feeling overwhelmed.

No problem–we’ve prepared a greenhorn’s guide to franchise SEO services in which we explain the basics of franchise SEO, share helpful industry stats, and point you towards helpful starter resources.

Franchise SEO Services Help Clients Find Your Business

Not convinced about all this SEO stuff?

Greenhorn readers, consider what the following stats say about the value of franchise SEO services in 2018:

  • Search Engine Journal reports that SEO leads have an average close rate of 14.6%
  • 81% of people research a brand online before making an investment or purchase decision
  • In 2018, the average franchise allocates over 40% of their marketing budget to online advertising and SEO, and this is expected to grow for the foreseeable future.

Quite simply, if you aren’t investing in franchise SEO services, you’re letting leads slip away. Your company needs to be visible online in search results, with content and brand information presented in a way that appeals to targeted audiences and drives real business results–this is what franchise SEO services are all about!

Why are Some Franchise SEO Services so Cheap Compared to Others?

If you’re Googling franchise SEO services, you’ve undoubtedly seen claims (maybe even in ALL CAPS) from what Moz’s Kenneth Dreyer calls “the low-cost with 100% guaranteed results guy.” They’re the ones vowing to get you #1 search engine rankings and 30,000 unique site visits per month for dirt cheap, and in practically no time at all.

Here’s a shocker: they sometimes follow through. Kind of.

Though Google’s algorithm is getting more sophisticated (and thus, harder to fool) every day, there are still various blackhat methods that can get you huge traffic spikes and #1 rankings. Sometimes you end up ranking #1 in a search engine you’ve never heard of (maybe Guggle?). And sometimes your site just gets flooded with totally irrelevant “junk traffic.”

Either way, it’s not what you asked for, which was tangible business results.

Here’s the reality: franchise SEO services takes time, effort, and specialized skills. If somebody is offering you franchise SEO services at a rate that considerably undercuts the market standard, they’re almost definitely up to no good. And if they’re guaranteeing results in Google, that’s another warning sign.

What Am I Paying For?

Quality franchise SEO services should include:

  • Website Development. Your website is your business card, sales funnel, and first impression all wrapped into one. If your site’s design, load time, mobile-responsiveness, or architecture aren’t up to par, you’ll struggle being seen and getting results. Everything from the front-page content to backend tags needs to be tweaked and optimized.
  • Multimedia Content Creation. 47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a franchise before contacting a sales representative, according to a Demand Gen report.
  • Mobile Marketing. 54% of smartphone users regularly search for business hours on their phones, and 53% regularly search for directions, according to a Google report.
  • Local Search Optimization. Google “near me” searches have seen a 15-fold increase since 2013 according to SearchEngineWatch. Engaging local customers by appearing at the top of geo-targeted searches (i.e. those that include city names) is the surest way to generate sales for the vast majority of businesses.
  • Social Media Optimization. Social media is a great way to grow your digital footprint to stand out from the crowd and increase opportunities to interact with potential leads.
  • Powerful Reporting. Franchise SEO services ought to report their results to you on a regular basis, and also share user engagement metrics to help with marketing.

Talk to a Franchise SEO Services Consultant

Now that you’ve reviewed the fundamentals, you’ve probably got questions.

Call ClickTecs at 905-564-0020 or visit our website to pick the brains of some of our best and brightest, and learn what franchise SEO services can do for you.

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Best Practices for Franchise Development Companies in 2018

Franchising is a winner, and everybody knows it.

For the last six years, franchise sales and development in the US has shown significant growth, according to a Statista report. That same report estimated the total number of franchise establishments in operation in the US at around 745,290.

With franchise systems now more popular and successful than ever, competition in the online franchise development arena is fierce.

Today’s post is about how ClickTecs crushes the competition posed by other franchise development companies in 2018. Read on to learn why it makes sense to partner with our team.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Franchise Development

  • Web development. Your website and digital footprint as a whole is a reflection of your business. Quality candidates are online-savvy, and they’ll expect any brands in consideration to have sophisticated web assets.In and of itself, a website is a multidisciplinary endeavor. A good website needs to take into account graphics, content, functionality, placement of elements, user accessibility needs, and more. Websites also need to be mobile-responsive so that you don’t exclude the millions of users who prefer mobile browsing.But a website isn’t enough on its own. To be competitive in today’s digital climate, you’ll need to expand your digital footprint by creating a number of other web assets, such as citations in online directories and quality backlinks.
  • Social media optimization and social media marketing. Social media assets are another big part of your digital footprint, and another thing that 81% of potential franchise owners will be researching before they get in touch, according to AdWeek research.Social media optimization and marketing become must-haves in the franchise development mix. ClickTecs covers everything from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to online forums.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). SEO plays a major role in online franchise development. If you can’t find your site fast using a Google search, leads never will. In the early stages, candidates are fickle, and most would rather flit to the next opportunity on their list than waste 15 minutes combing the SERP for your website. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but every day that passes without franchise SEO potentially costs you sales.
  • Local search optimization. Searches for business opportunities “near me” have increased 15-fold since 2013 according to SearchEngineWatch. That means potential franchise owners are looking for local business opportunities, and if your brand isn’t discoverable, that business goes elsewhere.As local search optimization experts, ClickTecs can help you identify and correct the “on page” and “off page” factors impeding your local franchise development efforts.
  • Pay per click advertising (PPC). PPC gets immediate targeted traffic for your franchise advertisements and can generate franchise sales within weeks. Admittedly, Google makes their AdWords program “beginner-friendly,” but expert users get more cost-efficient results.

Leveraging Franchise Experience for Powerful Franchise Development Results

It’s one thing to read about web marketing best practices, but quite another to apply them to the world of franchising in a way that produces real results. The stiffest competition will be those who can combine web-savvy marketing with franchise industry insight.

This is one of ClickTecs’ greatest competitive advantages. Not only do we have franchise experience from both sides of the franchise development equation; we’ve also developed franchise development software of our own.

We know what franchise owners want because we are franchise owners. Who better to push your franchise development past the competition than web marketing experts with franchises of their own?

Learn more about ClickTecs franchise development at https://www.clicktecs.com

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Troubleshooting Poor Franchise Local Marketing Performance

Are you stressing over your franchise local marketing performance?

Bad news–youshould be.

Franchise local marketing matters more than ever. According to a Brightlocal study, about 92% of consumers use the internet to find a local business nowadays. And that number is climbing, according to a recent Google report saying the number of searches that include the phrase “near me” have increased by 34-times since 2011, and nearly doubled since last year.

Put simply, if you’re neglecting your franchise local marketing, or feel your current provider isn’t delivering results, you’re losing leads.

Unfortunately, franchise local marketing isn’t as easy as the single-business counterpart. When done improperly, franchise local marketing can force different locations into competition with one another, so that your brand ends up either cannibalizing its sales, or frustrating leads by sending them to the wrong location.

But ClickTecs is here to help.

Today’s post breaks down some common (but critical) problems that could be holding back your franchise local marketing performance.

Top-3 Franchise Local Marketing Mistakes

  • Letting website issues undermine your franchise local marketing. The website is the center of your online marketing campaign, so it’s important that you get it right. Without this foundation in place, your entire franchise local marketing campaign will fizzle.So how do you do that?

    Our first tip is to create “location pages,” which are unique, well-optimized pages with specific content about every business in the franchise family. Do this for every single franchise unit–don’t rely on regional pages, which rarely deliver the specific information searchers will need.

    Compared to creating custom websites for every single franchise unit, location pages are a far superior choice. Multiple websites are expensive to design and maintain, and they end up competing with each other for SERP visibility. On the contrary, location pages allow your individual franchise owners to piggyback off your main website’s authority. And every location page functions as a strong piece of content that will drive people to your main site in turn.

    Treat your location pages like any other. Make sure they’re well-optimized, usable on the phone, fast-loading, and filled with high-quality, unique content. Don’t copy-paste from other location pages, swap out the city names, and think you’re in the clear–that does more harm than good.

  • Messing up your Google assets. Setting up and managing a Google My Business account is one of the most important aspects of multi-unit franchise local marketing. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult; Google made public a relatively clear set of guidelines. But that doesn’t mean it’s foolproof–in fact, it’s surprisingly easy to remove yourself from local search listings with overaggressive SEO tactics and a few simple mistakes. The most common problems have to do with marketers trying to crowbar keywords/city names into inappropriate places (make sure you use the exact business name!) or omitting useful details (include your website URL, phone number, address, and don’t forget photos and descriptive copy!). If you need more help with GMB or other Google assets, get in touch with the ClickTecs team–we’re certified Google partners!
  • Neglecting local content. Throwing out clear location signals is tricky when you have a dozen members in the same franchise family. That’s where local content comes to the rescue. We recommend loading location-specific content into “silos” within the crawlable architecture of your website. For example, adding a section for location-specific news feeds, social integration, and promotions creates endless opportunities to slip in location signals.

Supercharge your Franchise Local Marketing Performance

Get in touch with our franchise local marketing specialists, book a free consultation, and find out how we can help.

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What Users Expect From Your Franchise Website in 2018

Think your franchise website stacks up to the competition in 2018?

Today’s post challenges that assumption.

We’re spotlighting the top 4 features that users expect in 2018 to help you self-audit your franchise website.

And if you find your franchise website lacking, ClickTecs can help.

Read on to start your franchise website audit.

  • ADA Compliance.

    In the same way that brick-and-mortar businesses are obligated to make their product and services accessible to all customers, regardless of any physical limitation or disability, so too must your website be navigable by everyone.

    The stakes are high when it comes to ADA compliance. A number of business and franchise owners have been targeted by what industry experts are referring to as “drive-by lawsuits,” which are filed by lawyers preying on the uninformed. Thus, ADA compliance is essential in 2018, both to protect against any liability, and to avoid alienating any disabled users.

    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that has developed a set of accessibility standards to help guide web content producers’ ADA compliance, but simply studying their criteria isn’t enough. You still need to audit your web assets to spot any shortcomings, then implement the changes via web redesign and development.

    Don’t worry–ClickTecs can help. We are certified Google Partners and ADA compliance specialists who have helped numerous companies spot and solve ADA compliance problems fast. But if you’d rather try your hand at it first, these evaluation tools can help.

  • Fast Loading.

    Nobody wants to wait (and wait, and wait) for your website to load in 2018. If you’re not prioritizing prompt loading times, you’re losing leads. Many sites abide by the “15 second rule,” which assumes that users give your site a maximum of 15 seconds to load before bouncing off and looking for answers (or products, or services) elsewhere. But we feel it’s more like 5.

    You can use Pingdom or Pagespeed Insights by Google to check your website speed. To improve your load time, look for ways to compress big files (rich images and video are common culprits), clean up your site structure, and potential hosting problems. And if that all sounds like a foreign language, we can help.

  • Mobile Responsiveness.

    In 2017, the users using their mobile devices to get online grew from 57% to 63%, according to research by Stone Temple. That means the overwhelming majority–almost a full two-thirds–of your potential audience is looking at your website on their mobile device. And if your website isn’t mobile responsive, you might lose them all.

    With the variety of devices and screens currently on the market, adaptive web design is more challenging than ever. Building a responsive web design that dynamically changes in orientation to fit all screen sizes is the way of the future. Implementing a mobile design will improve the mobile user experience and decrease higher bounce rates hurting your organic ranking.

  • Diverse Content.

    Filling a website with quality written content is good, but it’s not enough to stand out in the Digital Age. Now more than ever, users expect engaging images and videos on-site. Certain people retain information better when they watch a video versus reading a paragraph, so it’s a good idea to offer options that engage all kinds of learners. Even something as simple as our video testimonials can be enough to grow your audience and send Google those favorable ranking signals.

You can find more franchise website tips on our blog at https://clicktecs.com/blog/

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Why Choose ClickTecks for Your ADA Compliance Testing?

 

You know you need ADA compliance testing, but you don’t know where to turn.

Google’s searches aren’t really helping–querying “ADA compliance testing” gets you 10,300,000 results in 0.58 seconds, but that doesn’t tell you anything about who to trust.

We’re here to help. Think of today’s post as a cover letter that explains why ClickTecs is a great choice for franchises and small-to-medium sized businesses’ ADA compliance testing. No sales pitches–just facts.

So read on to learn about the certifications, franchise experience, reputation, and breadth of marketing solutions that makes ClickTecs a great choice for your ADA compliance testing.

ClickTecs’ ADA Compliance Testing is Proven Fast and Effective

At ClickTecs, we are certified ADA compliance testing specialists. Using an exclusive ADA compliance testing checklist with more than 300 points, we quickly audit our clients’ web assets, then provide detailed tactical fixes that put their design and development on-track.

To date, we have assisted a number of businesses with their ADA compliance testing, and definitely helped at least a few avoid the predatory lawsuits that remain a major problem in our industry.

ClickTecs are Certified Google Partners

What does it mean to be a Google partner? And why is it a good idea to work with one for your ADA compliance testing?

For starters, Google Partners program is for advertising agencies, digital marketing professionals, and other online consultants who manage Google Ads accounts.

Agencies who qualify for Google Partner status get a number of internal benefits, including:

  • Exclusive product training and certifications;
  • Sales training;
  • Community membership and product updates;
  • Executive business training;
  • Phone, chat, and email support for faster problem-solving;
  • Client event support;
  • Special promotional offers, and much more.

Working with a Google Partner is a good idea because your digital marketing campaigns and web assets naturally benefit from these education, support, and growth perks. Google Partnerships are also trusted quality indicators in the web marketing and ADA compliance testing world.

But there’s more. Google Partners have mastered advanced AdWords features, such as negative keywords, site links inside of ads, ad extensions, phrase match keywords, split testing, broad match modified keywords, ad scheduling, and more. Since AdWords campaigns need to be ADA compliant, too, ClickTecs’ Google Partner status ensures your marketing stays up to date with current technical requirements and ad format criteria.

Google Partners also get early access to Google’s beta features, which can give your company a leg up on the competition and improve your ADA compliance testing outcomes by putting powerful new tools in your hands first. Google has developed a number of accessibility-focused products and features, such as the Accessibility Scanner, screen readers and keyboard shortcut extensions, and captions/subtitles tools. Though not enough to cover your ADA compliant testing requirements on their own, these tools definitely come in handy–and Google Partners like ClickTecs get access to these new rollouts before the general public (and competitors without Partner status).

ClickTecs has Extensive Franchise Experience

We specialize in helping franchise owners navigate the shift from offline to online marketing, with a core focus on SEO, SMO, PPC, ORM, mobile marketing, and ADA compliance testing. We’re proud of the work we do, and proud of what our customers have to say in their reviews and testimonials.

ClickTecs is a proud member of both the International Franchise Association (IFA) Supplier Forum, and the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA), and our team consists of both current and former franchise owners.

Book your ADA Compliance Testing with Our Franchise Specialists

Call 905-564-0020 or use our contact form to book your free consultation online.

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Best (and Worst) SEO Strategies for Franchises in 2018

Today’s post breaks down 3 of the best and worst SEO strategies for franchises in 2018. Read on to make sure your current SEO campaign isn’t doing more harm than good!

The worst SEO strategies for franchises in 2018

  • Keyword Stuffing. Back in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, one of the most effective ways to quickly rank a page was through “keyword stuffing,” which is exactly what it sounds like–crowbarring keywords into content (whether it belonged there or not) to ramp up your overall keyword density. It was a real tactic that produced real results, so SEOs spent much of their stuffing keywords into posts and tags and locations and even the names of businesses and domains! They would dead keywords to death, too, targeting every single variations they could think of. For example, a blog targeting “SEO strategies for franchises” would also mention “SEO strategy for franchises,” and “SEO strategies for a franchise,” and so on and so forth, ad nauseum. But those days are long gone.
  • Duplicating Content. Copying and pasting content is particularly common in the franchise world. Often, franchise owners will create numerous “location pages” for their franchise at once, using the same content minus the swapped city names. But all the positives associated with rapidly adding content to your main site pale in comparison to the penalties your site gets for duplicating content. Don’t do it!
  • Blog Spam. SEOs have known the value of blog comment sections as spaces for audience engagement and brand building for some time. A decade ago, and even in some cases today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a blog with a “clean” comments section. Spammers love sticking links there in hopes of drawing more eyes to their website.Nowadays, blog spam is thoroughly policed. Google has designed its algorithm to punish websites that use irrelevant linking practices, and most web builders now provide built-in tools to block and erase spam.

The best SEO strategies for franchises in 2018

  • Focusing on the user’s query. In 2018, we know that keyword matching still matters, but real results come from solving the searcher’s query. Google, Bing and other search engines have evolved to help users find the best possible answers for their queries. Accordingly, the best SEO strategies for franchises in 2018 revolve around providing the best possible answer.Easier said than done, of course. Quality answers are made with one part market research (e.g. knowing what question is being asked by your target audience), one part high-quality writing (e.g. presenting your answers in an engaging and accessible manner), and one part web design (e.g. giving your crafted answer the best platform possible, so it can be read quickly and easily on any device).
  • Selective Keyword Placement. As we mentioned above, the days of keyword stuffing are over. While it’s still important to place keywords in the title element and body content of your page, crowbarring keywords into every tag is actually counterproductive. You’ll turn off your readers and get hit with penalties from Google’s anti-spam algorithm. That said, if you’re looking for a few more places to sprinkle in your keywords without coming across as a spammer, look to your headline tags, meta descriptions, and alt image attribute.
  • Earning Quality Links. Blog spam is no longer a viable SEO strategy for franchises, but the underlying idea–networking with other websites to attract their audiences to your page–is still solid. The difference between quality “whitehat” links and low-quality “blackhat” spam often boils down to relevance. If your link is useful to the blog’s readership, and can be introduced is a way that comes across as natural, there might be value in sharing. But contacting the website owner directly to offer a “content swap” or a free blog post is even better than unsolicited linking, because it’s mutually beneficial, and because a well-written blog post is inherently more engaging than a tiny blog comment.

Learn all the best SEO strategies for franchises by visiting our blog or booking a free consultation online.

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Tackling Local SEO for Multiple Locations in 2018

Local SEO for multiple locations might seem like a big challenge for franchises, but it’s easily overcome with the right tactics. Today’s post shares 4 tips to optimize local SEO for multiple locations in 2018.

  • Research and Reverse-Engineer the Competition. As with any form of digital marketing, it’s important that you understand the market and assess your competition when tackling local SEO for multiple locations. Simply identifying what the competition is doing and replicating their tactics is a good way to get started, but eventually you’ll need to dive deeper and learn “the why behind the what” if you hope to surpass them.
  • Build Subdomains and Subfolders from a Single Domain. If your business or franchise has multiple locations in operation, you may be tempted to create distinct domains for each. After all, hosting several separate websites would eliminate any confusion for the consumer, right?Granted, creating separate domains does make it easier to distinguish between locations in theory. But this tactic falls flat in practice.

    When you create separate domains for each location, you end up competing with yourself in terms of marketing and SEO. All your efforts get diluted; each domain is indexed separately, so your hard-earned links and perfectly crafted content only serve one site.

    For the best of both worlds, use subdomains and subfolders from a single domain. In doing so, you can create geographically targeted content for individual locations that boosts your overall site authority and search visibility.

  • Create Location-Specific Content. Building from the last point, creating location-specific content, such as unique contact pages, blogs/news sections, and testimonial pages, is crucial for optimizing local SEO for multiple locations. At the very least, commit to creating one “location page” that include the location’s name, address, and phone number (NAP), alongside an embedded Google Map and any other location-specific content you desire. This is far superior to the old approach that used a single “master landing page” to list all location information. 

    For best results, use content that creates natural opportunities to slip in geographical data. The names of cities, states, provinces, or even specific streets and local businesses are all great bits of info to juice your local ranking power.

    So how do you slip these in naturally, so that your local name-drops are useful and welcomed, rather than spammy and annoying? You have tons of options: write a blog about local weather conditions; share a few pictures from a local trade show, store event, or town landmark; post video testimonials and reviews from local regulars, and mention where they’re from; or simply piggyback off of local news that you think your audience will find relevant and interesting.

  • Claim your Google My Business Listing. Setting up your GMB listing is essential for local SEO for multiple locations. GMB allows users to manually add additional locations (again, think subdomain) to the parent business listing, so that the name, address, phone number, hours, URL, and reviews are visible on Google’s SERP. Be sure to follow Google’s guidelines for best results. And if you have more than 10 locations, look into Google’s bulk location management overview.

Learn More About Local SEO for Multiple Locations

ClickTecs specializes in web marketing and digital advertising solutions for franchises. And as current and former franchise owners, we know all about the challenges of local SEO for multiple locations.

If you want to talk more about local SEO for multiple franchises, contact us online, or call 905-564-0020.

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ADA Compliance Website Woes: Why You Needs An Audit ASAP

Today’s post could save your business tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Read on to learn about the legalities of ADA website compliance, and how to protect yourself from predatory lawyers.

ADA Compliance Website Woes Continue in 2018

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was originally created to ensure that all members of the public had the equal levels of access and protection against discrimination.

Sounds like a commendable initiative, right? So what’s with all the ADA compliance website woes?

Well, there’s a problem–or rather, a loophole that predatory individuals are exploiting to sue businesses like yours. The Department of Justice, which is responsible for regulations under the ADA, has not formally issues requirements that businesses must meet to achieve website compliance.

On Wednesday, September 5th 2018, six Senators wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions with concerns shared by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) regarding ADA ambiguity:

“Right now it is not clear the ADA applies to websites. This leaves businesses and property owners unsure what standards, if any, govern their online services,” the letter reads. “To date, the Department [of Justice] has not issued guidance or regulations to provide clarity, and conflicting court opinions have created even more confusion.”

The letter was signed by Senators Charles Grassley, Michael Rounds, Thom Tillis, Mike Crapo, John Cornyn, and Joni Ernst. And it wasn’t the first letter Sessions received; similar concerns were expressed previously by 103 members of Congress in June, and then again by 19 state attorneys general in July.

Unsurprisingly, these murky legal waters have left the door wide open for a flood of “drive-by lawsuits” being made against business owners whose websites are purportedly inaccessible. Without clear rules or precedent, lawsuits have been handled inconsistently throughout the country, and many businesses were coerced into pricey settlements.

And while most litigation trends follow a bell curve–activity peaks early, then drops off as companies button-up their practices and invest in compliance audits–website lawsuits have been pretty steady over the past few years, according to Angelo Spinola, a shareholder at an employment legal firm Littler Mendelson.

In September of this year, Home Health Care News reported that New York City officials had fined and investigated dozens of NYC homecare agencies for website violations. Since last July, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) alone targeted 42 businesses.

Another report from NY Daily News told the story of a Brooklyn lawyer who filed 411 lawsuits in Manhattan Federal Court targeting a huge array of businesses–casinos, retirement homes, racetracks, breweries, you name it–with ambiguous ADA violations.

“It’s profit-seeking attorneys abusing the legal system and using handicapped people as a front,” says Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Albany-based Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.

Is ADA Compliance Website Testing Available?

Yes–and it might be the only way to protect yourself from “profit-seeking” attorneys while the ADA requirements shape up.

Until ADA regulations are formalized, business owners have turned to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG3) that were created by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

ClickTecs’ ADA compliance website testing checklist includes more than 300 items informed by these guidelines. We spot problems and implement fixes fast to protect you from predatory lawsuits. We also remediate sites that have been flagged as noncompliant. Learn more at https://www.clicktecs.com

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