Franchise SEO Considerations

Today’s post highlights some franchise SEO considerations that need to be addressed before your website development is underway. Read on to learn what your site needs for franchise SEO to avoid paying for web development and site architecture problems down the road!

Franchise SEO Questions to Ask Yourself Before you Build

  • Who are we targeting? How large is your market? Is the audience waxing or waning? What demographics are you appealing to? How do your target users behave online?
  • How we do communicate our brand message and mission statement? Once you’ve identified your company’s value proposition, you’ll need to find the right way to express it. This means using terms that the people you defined in the previous question are already searching for.
  • Who are our competitors? If you’ve been in your industry long enough, you’re undoubtedly familiar with your market competitors, but we’re talking specifically about your digital competitors. Search for companies offering the same products and services and ask yourself: How they differentiate themselves? How strong is their brand? Are they beatable? Are site architecture features shared among industry leaders?

Once you’ve got an idea about your audience, brand message, and competition, it’s time to start building your site using franchise SEO best practices!

Building your Site with Franchise SEO Best Practices

  • Choose a SEO-friendly URL. Beyond incorporating a relevant keyword, your URL should not be too long, and should end with either the “.com” or “.ca” domain name extension (for Canadians). The perfect franchise SEO-friendly URL will do all these things while also giving readers a better idea about your business at a glance.
  • Limit your JavaScript’s. JavaScript’s don’t load particularly well on mobile devices, and they can cause crawling issues when used in excess. Franchise SEO is really about making your site easy for people and crawlers to navigate, and JavaScript complicates this. You don’t have to abandon it outright, but use it sparingly!
  • Accept no substitutes for responsive web design. Responsive web designs ensure your site looks great on every single screen, whether it’s being browsed on a laptop, desktop, mobile phone, or tablet. If the fact that the majority of web searches today happen on mobile devices doesn’t convince you that responsive web design rules, know that Google authorities have recommended it, and even implied that non-responsive sites will be penalized.
  • Always invest in quality hosting. One under-appreciated franchise SEO factor is page load time. Not only do mobile users tend to bounce off of sites that don’t load after 5 seconds, but Google will penalize sites with excessive wait times. In addition to investing in quality hosting, you can increase site load time by using smaller images, browser caching, minimizing JavaScript’s, and enabling compression where feasible.
  • Stay diligent with site-mapping. Creating Sitemaps has been an established web design best practice for some time, but it’s now extremely important for franchise SEO. This is true because sitemaps now inform crawlers of any site updates, which means proper site-mapping can get your webpage indexed faster than the competition.

These five web design best practices for franchise SEO should get you started, but there’s plenty more to learn on the road to optimization! Visit https://www.clicktecs.com to find more free franchise SEO resources – including a real and recent franchise SEO case study – or get in touch with a member of our team at 905-564-0020.

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Marketing for Franchises White Hat Link Building

When marketing for franchises, white-hat link-building strategies pay dividends every time. Unlike exploitative, spammy “black-hat” strategies that are constantly being sought out and penalized, white-hat link building is evergreen, which keeps your franchise site and brand protected and progressing at all times.

Today’s post reviews 3 of the top white-hat link building tactics. Read on to upgrade your link-building strategy and start getting better results while marketing for franchises.

Use mega-content pieces as link-building lightning rods.

One of the simplest and most effective white-hat link building tactics is to publish high-quality content that engages readers and motivates them to share what they’ve read. To that end, long-form informational content is a great choice. When marketing for franchises, this might be an “ultimate guide” or “expert round-up” style post that answers questions relevant to your product or service. Since these mega-sized articles cover a wide range of topics, synthesize tons of expert information, and answer so many questions simultaneously, they engage a broader audience, which increases your chances of getting a link.

Though this strategy is highly effective, it’s intuitiveness has made it somewhat overused. You can still build plenty of links with quality mega-content (especially if it’s particularly authoritative!), but be warned that it’s not the goldmine it once was.

Keep up the guest posting.

Guest posting is still a tremendous white-hat link building tactic, and it’s a win-win proposition: the host site gets a great piece of content, and you get a link. Moreover, you also get an opportunity to increase your exposure, diversify your readership, and network with other bloggers in your industry.

Here are a few tips on guest blogging:

  • Use better keywords to find more opportunities. The faster you can find guest blogging opportunities the better. We recommend using the following phrases in conjunction with your target keywords to pinpoint guest blogging opportunities: “write for us,” “guest post,” “guest blog,” “guest writer,” “guest author,” and “guest guidelines.”
  • Understand your opportunities. Certain sites will be stricter in regards to anchor text than others. If a big site is limiting you to a link to the homepage in the bio section, accept that for what it is – the juice they’re passing on through that link is probably worth it. On other hand, if you’re working with a smaller site with fewer restrictions, make the most of if by injecting as many links as you can without getting spammy.
  • Include your own media. Too many guest bloggers rely solely on text and expect the host to provide the images, videos, and sources.

Convert mentions into links.

Bloggers may begin mentioning your website or brand in reviews or write-ups.

Many of these mentions are not actually links, but rather straightforward mentions of your site or brand name.

One of the time-efficient white-hat link building tactics involves reaching out to these bloggers and asking that mentions be turned into links. You can use tools like Mention, Hootsuite, and Social Mention to track down these opportunities instantly.

Learn more about link-building and marketing for franchises

These are some of many white-hat link building strategies we employed in a recent campaign that earned 5300 quality backlinks for a franchise over the course of a year. See the full case study here or visit our website to learn more about link-building and marketing for franchises.

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Forum Posting

Millions of people use forums every day. Born out of the old bulletin boards, today’s forums are great places to seek answers, stir up debate, and geek out about your favorite niche topics.  

Forum posting is popular, user-specific, and search-friendly, which is why it deserves a place in your kit of franchise marketing solutions.

This post shares some user tips for franchise owners looking to incorporate forum posting into their current advertising strategy. Read on for our forum posting primer and information on what to do next.

Forum Posting 101

  • Review the rules. Most forums use some kind of posting guidelines. These vary widely, from basic etiquette to exhaustive lists of prohibited topics, but they’re all useful. Before you strike up a conversation, take a moment to peruse the forum’s rules and FAQ section. This will let you get to know the audience you’re approaching and help you write a post that wins their hearts.

    More importantly, it’ll keep you from getting banned. Some forums won’t let you promote your business, post commercial messages, or even drop a link. While these forums can be helpful for general mentions, community engagement, and keyword/customer research, link-friendly forums are superior franchise marketing solutions.

    General etiquette is easy, and probably intuitive for you experienced business owners. Beyond the obvious, make sure to post in the proper subforums, refrain from asking the same questions or excessively “bumping” (where you post in an ongoing thread to refresh its place at the top of the feed), and of course.

  • Mind your tone! This might sound like obvious etiquette, but it deserves special mention. Tone of voice is easily misinterpreted in forum posts, and writing in general (who hasn’t had a text message to a friend misinterpreted once or twice?).

    And at their worst, forums can turn into battlegrounds where “flaming,” “trolling,” and arguments drown out meaningful content.

    While there’s little chance that you’ll be posting on those kinds of sites, it is best to “type on eggshells,” as though your audience were looking to take offense.

    Don’t polish the life out of your posts, but do go out of your way to express excitement, positivity, and appreciation. Remember: you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

  • Use the right forums. This has nothing to do with our previous point on posting in the proper subforum. Rather, this is about finding forums that fit your niche to maximize the return on your forum marketing campaign.

    Both franchisees and franchisors will have several popular forums dedicated to their niche topic. You can ask employees, suppliers, customers, and entrepreneurs about their favorite forums, or simply Google some industry-relevant keywords along with the word “forum.”

    Create a list of forums to use and bookmark them all for easy access. Narrow your focus down to 5-10. Look for established communities with at least 1000 members and 10,000 posts. Don’t waste your time on inactive forums; if there are fewer than 5 posts per day, cross it off your list. And avoid sites filled with spam posts at all costs.

  • Add value. Never drop a link and disappear! And don’t crowbar your links into unrelated conversations, either. The only time you should link to your site is when clicking through is valuable or helpful to the user.

    For example, dropping a link to a franchise brokerage webpage listing investment opportunities would be very helpful on an entrepreneurial forum thread asking for startup recommendations. But that same link would come across spammy in a general query about investing.
    Add value or be wear the Scarlet Letter of a spammer!

Just one piece of the puzzle

Forum posting is a great way to supplement your reputation management campaign. And it’s a useful tool to drive highly relevant traffic towards specific offers, pages, and promotions.

But it’s really just one piece of the puzzle. If you want to learn all the franchise marketing solutions needed to optimize your campaign, visit https://www.clicktecs.com.

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Franchise Advertising Tips

Even the best franchise advertising fails if your online reputation is tarnished.

Today’s post shares some online reputation management (ORM) tips from our franchise advertising experts!

What makes ORM nonnegotiable

Without ORM in place, your business is basically a sitting duck.
Disgruntled ex-employees, ruthless competitors, and angry customers will be free to say whatever they want about your brand.

These comments can rank in prospect searches for your company’s name (particularly the inflammatory ones people love to read and click on), which makes for an ugly first impression.

You may have a strong website and franchise advertising campaign, and that’s all very important. But people tend to trust what they read on social media and third-party review sites more than ad copy.

Most users don’t dig past page 1, so even a few bad reviews can really take their toll on your business.
ORM isn’t a fancy term for deceiving the public, manipulating reviews, or finding sneaky ways to advertise. It’s really about leveling the playing field in an internet climate where the balance is a little off.

When a single, unsubstantiated 1-star review can put a dent in your business, it’s obvious that we need to re-evaluate how we view (and filter) review platforms, but until that happens, ORM is a must-have for your business.

Fortunately, ORM has been a growing part of the franchise advertising world for a number of years, and much progress has been made.

At ClickTecs, we feel protecting brand image is a primary goal of franchise advertising. Though our full process is beyond the scope of this article, we can recommend a few basic tips to get you started.

Getting started with ORM

  • Shorten your customer service “response time.” Let’s begin with the basics. Word-of-mouth has never spread faster. Since mobile devices let people post damaging comments about your business seconds after negative experiences happen, speedy customer service is crucial. Do your best to offer the customer a solution to their problem ASAP so that they don’t feel public defamation is the only option.
  • Establish a presence on the major platforms. Register your company to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and all other relevant social media platforms. B2B and executive-level operations that franchisors may be running should emphasize LinkedIn. And don’t forget third-party review sites like Yelp.Use these accounts to respond publicly to any complaints. This is your chance to make amends or offer your side of the story. Whatever you do, it will encourage those who come across to think critically about the review they’re reading, and also show that your business responds to customer concerns.
  • Push positive content. Fight a deluge of negative mentions with a flood of positive content. Though people tend to trust third-party review sites and social media more than company content, actions still speak louder than words. Offering people valuable content will always improve your standing in the eyes of the customer, and may encourage others to question what they read online.
  • Engage your audience. Participate in social media discussions, make appearances on forums and review sites, and otherwise engage your online community. The more active you are online, the more likely it is that people will choose to contact you directly for answers, rather than besmirching your good name online!

Admittedly, there’s a lot more to it than this. But these tactics will certainly help. And if you want to learn more, get in touch with our team at https://clicktecs.com/online-reputation-management/.

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Build the Best Franchise Website

Building a checklist for the best franchise website is tough because the answer is always changing. Not only does Google constantly update its algorithm, but certain design trends fall in and out of style in ways that can dramatically affect critical user engagement statistics.

Rather than giving you a rigid, inflexible, and soon-to-be-irrelevant definition of what makes the best franchise website, we are going to spotlight two design trends that have performed exceptionally well with crawlers and users in 2017.

Read on to learn how to make your franchise website look great and perform even better!

The Emotional Interface: Designs that evoke (or convey) emotion.

A 2012 blog by Aaron Walter discussed the value of the “emotional interface design.” Websites designed in this way try to convey a sense of the franchise’s products, services, and spirit, which makes them more memorable and engaging, and contributes to the overall branding effort.

Emotional interface design gets users more invested in your site, which makes them more likely to:

  • Share content on social media or through SMS
  • Link to your site in blogs or social posts
  • Contribute content or participate in conversations on-site in forums or comments sections
  • Remain loyal over the long haul
  • Stay on-site longer, browsing additional pages

You can see how our web designers were influenced by the “emotional interface” in a recent franchise case study. This particular company emphasized their “Pleasant Remodeling Experience” as a chief selling point, so we designed the architecture with that spirit in mind. To that end, we used a very pleasing color palette of soothing pastel greens and blues, along with a no-nonsense design, and intuitive, easy-to-use navigation. When all these site design features come together, we created a calming, stress-free site experience that epitomized the “pleasant” experience the brand built itself around.

The SEO results were pretty great, too; a year-long SEO campaign garnered a 58% boost in organic traffic, along with over 70 keywords on Google’s first page.

Scroll-Triggered Features: Build interactive rewards for user engagement.

The best franchise websites tend not to overwhelm their visitors by bombarding them with offers, buttons, social links, and calls-to-action all at once. Instead, they use scroll-triggered features to “reward” users who have finished reading a particular section.

Scroll-triggered features not only boost page views and page view times; they encourage the user to give each new piece of content more focused attention than they would if they all appeared at once. With the right design, you can prime your site’s content delivery in a way that lets you pack more information, while also increasing the user’s engagement and retention.

You can see scroll-triggered features in action on our homepage at https://www.clicktecs.com. As you begin to scroll, a general “About us” section is replaced by an itemized service listing that sweeps in from the margins. If you continue to scroll, a slider bar of testimonials appears, before a dynamic, shifting list of featured clients is displayed. This sequence allows us to engage general searchers, then present service details to those who are interesting in partnering up, before finally presenting testimonials and featured clients to give that final push for a conversion.

This multi-leveled, “narrative”-style approach allows us to focus the user’s attention on selling points, and give them a sense of progress to keep them engaged throughout. This in turn results in better SEO outcomes, since user engagement metrics are being valued more than ever in 2018.

Learn more about how to build the best franchise website for your brand at https://www.clicktecs.com.

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Local Marketing Pitfalls

Looking back at some of 2017’s greatest successes, today’s post shares 7 franchise local marketing pitfalls that we helped our clients avoid. Read on to learn how to achieve a powerful position in your geo-industry!

Preliminary considerations for franchise local marketing

Franchise local marketing optimization is an ongoing effort, but it starts long before your doors are open for business. These are some pre-opening mistakes that can impact your long-term local marketing capabilities:

  • Vague, unsearchable name. Consumers need to be able to find your company by Googling your business name. Though it’s possible for a franchise local marketing business called “Local Marketing” to build enough authority to rank on the first page for that keyword, it would take years of focused effort to beat the general definitions and strategic guides that this phrase is associated with. Steer clear of indistinct or overused phrases in your brand name for an instant local marketing advantage.
  • Using filter-sensitive locations. In an effort to avoid repetition and redundancy, Google tends to filter out local results with duplicate addresses. This can be bad news for business owners whose offices are located in the same building as competitors, as the filter could block out your local listing. If you have the luxury of choosing where your company sets up at this juncture, avoid filter-sensitive spots.
  • Unclear value proposition. Can you sum up the value your company offers the community in a few words? If not, you can’t expect your customers to do the same, which will make searches and keywords difficult to predict and target. Figure out what makes your company valuable in the geo-industry; maybe you’re the only business of its kind in the area, or the only one to offer a particular service.

Website considerations for franchise local marketing

This section focuses on web design errors that you need to avoid for franchise local marketing purposes:

  • One-dimensional URL. If your company offers multiple services (or plans to expand in the future), be sure to avoid using a limiting URL that spotlights only a single aspect of your brand. At ClickTecs, we specialize in franchise local marketing, but we wouldn’t want to handcuff ourselves with “franchiselocalmarketing.com.” Choose your domain name with the big picture in mind, or pay the price in local search results down the line!
  • Strange domain name extensions. Nowadays business owners have plenty of eccentric domain name extension options, but we recommend you avoid them all. The “.com” extension is still the most trusted option, though “.ca” will be useful for franchise local marketing in Canada.
  • Limiting template-style sites. Template-style websites are great as a quick fix, but they’re definitely not ideal for franchise local marketing, which depends so heavily on steady, long-form organic content output. Template website builders sacrifice flexibility and local SEO power for ease of use by imposing page or word count limits on users. Custom web development is always the better option for the long run.
  • Missing contact information. Some franchise local marketing mistakes are simply unforgivable, and this is one of them! At minimum, your name, address, and phone number need to appear on every single page of your website. Some people prefer it in the masthead; others like it in the footer. Additionally, you should have a prominent Contact Page link featured in the main navigation menu. Rigorously audit your website for absent or erroneous contact information if you want to stand a chance in the local search rankings!

Learn more about franchise local marketing from our team at https://www.clicktecs.com – get free information from our blog or give us a call at 905-564-0020.

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Franchise SEO

In today’s post, we share 5 quick website tweaks that improve franchise SEO fast.

#1: Create fresh content.

Let’s get this one out of the way first because it’s the most obvious, important, and commonly neglected tip we give.

Creating fresh content that is clear, valuable, and unique is the number-one thing you can do to improve the ranking of your website.

And besides being valuable, your content should be relevant to your business, without simply parroting product information and promotions.

A window cleaning franchise might share a few tips on squeegeeing; a franchise brokerage might share some investment research tips; and a franchise SEO company might write an article about on-site ranking tips!

Some content should also be written with search engines in mind. Even pages containing only product descriptions provide excellent opportunities to distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other companies using duplicate descriptive content. Keep it fresh and push yourself to rewrite any stock lines.

#2: Be diligent with meta descriptions.

Building off the last point, every page on your site should have a unique meta description. Most websites use the first 150 characters of content as default descriptors for articles. But even the best opening lines usually don’t summarize the contents as well as a custom description could. And they almost never include contact numbers!

Approach your meta descriptions as though you’re writing ad copy. Every word needs to count towards enticing the user to click.

#3: Polish up your page URLs.

The best page URLs accomplish three things.

First, they’re short. Why force the user to type more than they have to? Short URLs work best for all advertising, from banner ads to business cards. Space is limited, so get to the point.

Second, they’re descriptive. Nobody wants to visit your “.com/gjdhq-127” link. It’s uninviting and even menacing in this era of Trojans and malware. The URL should be treated like a mini page title that tells the reader what to expect.

Finally, page URLs need to be stuffed with keywords. This not only helps the page you tweak, but also turns any internal linking into another keyword mention freebie!

#4: Use smart internal links.

Adding effective internal links is a handy franchise SEO tactic to boost your search engine ranking. This not only increases user engagement by creating a more immersive, “rabbit hole” experience, but also creates helpful keyword-building opportunities that help your site rank.

#5: Speed up your site’s loading time.

Google’s imperative is to link users with the best resources, and slow page load time is considered a major inconvenience. If your page takes more than 6 seconds to load, you’re likely losing valuable opportunities as impatient users bounce off your site before seeing what you have to offer.

So how can you speed up your site’s load time?

First, try compressing your images and removing any video that doesn’t add to the experience. Data-rich images and streaming videos can cripple page load speed, especially on mobile devices.

Depending on who built your site, you may need to consider switching hosting. Our web design team can help with that.

Find more franchise SEO tips

There’s plenty more to say on this topic, and we’ve covered plenty of it in our free franchise SEO blog. Check it out or speak with the team directly at https://www.clicktecs.com.

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Websites For Franchises

Today’s post spotlights 4 common mistakes we see with websites for franchises. Whether you’re a single unit owner or executive-level franchisor, this list can help your site convert!

4 Things to Avoid with Websites for Franchises

1- Overusing PDF primers. Offering free information packets for download as PDF files is very helpful for converting prospective franchisees into leads with a real interest in buying, but it shouldn’t be the end-all be-all of your website.

If that PDF file is the only place to find the valuable information it contains, you’re losing a lot of potential viewers.

Most users hate when their browsing gets interrupted by a PDF file. It breaks their flow, forces them to cycle through 2-3 different apps or functions, and moves them off-site into a viewer.

Adding insult to injury, most PDFs open with impossibly small font, forcing us to zoom in.

Why run users through these hoops when they’re already on-site?

PDF downloads can be a good metric to measure the performance of a particular landing page or ad campaign. And they’re great for files the user will want to print and distribute, such as manuals or registration forms. But they shouldn’t be the only place to find your cornerstone content.

2- Failing to change the color of visited links. Any SEO expert will tell you that a good sitemap, navigation, and usability can make or break websites for franchises. And yet hundreds of websites for franchises are still guilty of failing to change the color of visited links.

Having fresh links appear blue and used links appear purple, for example, is key for effective site navigation. This simple tweak makes a huge difference to the user, who will suddenly have a much better grasp of their location and destination on-site.

Websites for franchises that don’t implement this color-coding tactic disorient their users. Revisiting the same pages over and over then bouncing off-site suddenly are telltale signs of user disorientation that need to be addressed if your brand message is ever going to get across.

3- Outdated information. We see websites for franchises cluttered up with outdated information every day. When we ask why, the most common answer we get is that the franchisor isn’t web-savvy enough to hop on and change things manually. But that’s no longer a valid excuse – you now have the option of working with user-friendly templates or simply hiring a web design team (ahem!). Whatever you choose is better than the alternative: losing clicks, credibility, and clients.

Even sites with “evergreen” content and information should make an effort to signal that there’s still a pulse every once in awhile. This could be as simple as a post wishing your readers a relaxing weekend, or as comprehensive as a franchise-wide seasonal promotion. Any kind of new content adds new life.

4- Too many colors and fonts. Web design gives you thousands of font and color options, but that doesn’t mean you need to use them all. Practice restraint! Modern users appreciate sleek design and consistency. Keep your palette small and stay uniform with your typeface. Use this aspect of your design as another opportunity to reinforce your visual branding.

Want to learn more about what makes the best websites for franchises? Browse case studies and hundreds of free blogs like this at https://www.clicktecs.com, or book a free consultation with a member of our team at 905 564 0020.

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