Why Franchise Websites Still Matter for Local Search in 2019

Today’s post tackles some common misconceptions about the “changing” value of franchise websites in 2019. 

Do Franchise Websites Still Matter?

The simple answer is yes.

In 2019, your franchise website is your business card, booking service, sales funnel, directory listing, point of contact, networking hub, and “certificate of authenticity” for users in the Information Age.

Research by BrightLocal shows that 34% of consumers think that smart franchise websites lend brands credibility, while poor quality content does the opposite. Further, most local consumers expect local businesses to have websites. A follow-up survey found that 68% of consumers felt that having a franchise website – ideally one that is well designed – directly influenced their local purchase decisions. Moreover, only 27% were not bothered about whether a local business has a franchise website or not.

So why then are some online voices questioning the present and future value of franchise websites in regards to local search?

Franchise Websites and Local Search

Moz’sState of Local SEO: Insights for 2019 report contains a lot of interesting information about how franchise websites are being used for local search, some of which explain why some users are questioning the value of fundamental web assets.

For starters, we saw some explanations for certain franchise websites’ continued underperformance with local sales and SERP ranking. Specifically, the report highlighted:

  • 35% of marketers have no local link building strategies in place;
  • 17% of enterprise businesses have no full-time SEO on staff;
  • 31% of companies haven’t optimized their franchise websites for mobile.

Here lies one of the major misconceptions about franchise websites–that simply building your website is enough to get results. But like many things in life, you can’t expect more until you do more; you only get out what you put into your franchise website.

If you’re not satisfied with your franchise website performance, but you haven’t invested in link-building, SEO, and mobile-responsive content, it’s not because the value of franchise websites is on the decline. You’re just missing important steps. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution–let’s talk about it.

Another reason why some users have questioned the value of franchise website for local search performance has to do with Google’s vested interest in pushing Google My Business–and their recent expansion into the lead gen world.

Moz’sState of Local SEO report highlighted how 64% of marketers agree that “Google is becoming the new ‘homepage’ for local business.” When you Google local businesses, GMB listing are very prominent–your company name, rating, hours, address, and map location appear in a distinct window, above even the #1 SERP listing. Some customers use GMB results exclusively to make their purchase decisions, so competition is fierce for these spots.

But to suggest that the GMB listing will replace franchise websites is simply ludicrous. GMB listings don’t have the capacity to publish business updates, special promotions, info about upcoming events, and so on. Even the most basic pizza shop needs a website to host their menu and place online orders. And corporate-level franchise websites are critical for franchise development, since nobody in their right mind bases an investment decision on a 30-word GMB listing.

Moreover, your marketing content needs to drive users somewhere. Whatever people say about GMB listings being the “new homepage,” they’re certainly not using GMB listings as landing pages for marketing copy.

Google has a vested interest in keeping users engaged with their assets–their advertisers pay more the longer you stay on the SERP browsing GMB listings–but that doesn’t make franchise websites any less valuable.

Get More Out of your Franchise Website in 2019

Franchise websites are more important than ever. If yours is underperforming, it’s a reflection on your site–not the value of the asset as a whole. GMB listings are great, they’re not the end-all, be-all, despite what Google would like you to believe.

To learn more about how to improve franchise website performance, contact our team today.

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Managing Local SEO for Multiple Locations with ClickTecs

Today’s post is all about managing local search engine optimization (SEO) for multiple locations. Read on a greenhorn’s guide to local SEO, and how to avoid some common mistakes franchisors make when trying to optimize individual franchise locations for Google’s Local Search.

Local SEO 101

When you search for products and services, Google’s Local Search algorithm will automatically list nearby businesses at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). The listing includes an interactive Google map, contact info, picture, and rating out of 5 stars.

Google Local Search results are free and organic, and it’s not that hard to climb the ranks, provided you have the SEO skills. You can buy your way to the top, but your listing will include the green “Ad” icon, so users will know you paid to win.

For example, a search for “pizza near me” shows off Pizza Nova’s marketing budget:

Managing Local SEO for Multiple Locations

 

 

 

Typically, Google auto-displays the top-3 local options, as determined by the business’s proximity to the user, rating, and search relevance.

Naturally, everybody wants into the top 3–with exceptional visibility and features that go above and beyond the usual SERP listings, it’s a very valuable position. Users can navigate to a full list of nearby businesses by clicking the “More Places” button, but they tend to trust the top results here, in the same way that people rarely navigate beyond the first SERP.

Local SEO is all about getting your brand name into that coveted top-3 position to increase the visibility of your brick-and-mortar business. Local SEO involves lots of research, creating citations, building reviews, managing the online reputation, leveraging social media networks, engaging local audiences, and creating rock-solid, locally relevant content.

Managing Local SEO for Multiple Locations

If you have a recognized brand, you probably expect that your website and business listing will appear in these local searches. Even more so for franchises that have dedicated national marketing budgets.

But that’s not always the case. The franchisor’s website shows up in the SERP, but that doesn’t help single-unit owners trying to attract local business. Many aren’t even listed in Google Local Search, let alone the top-3.

And with 92% of consumers using the internet to find a local business in 2014, according to a BrightLocal study, that’s a big problem.

So how do you approach managing local SEO for multiple locations?

It’s a complicated subject that’s best discussed in real-time. You can contact our team for a free consultation where we can address your specific questions about managing local SEO for multiple locations. But in the meantime, these are some common problems:

  • Your website might have issues. Your website is the center of your online marketing universe, and even minor issues there can hurt your ranking power. Like most things in life, managing local SEO for multiple locations requires a strong foundation. You need to get the basics right, and we can help you do it.
  • No location pages dedicated to individual units. Some franchisors cram them all into a single “directory” page, which is a critical error.
  • Duplicate content used for multiple location pages. Repurposing content is okay, but fresh is best.
  • Non-discoverable location pages (i.e. those only available from a search or branch finder, and which cannot be navigated to from the homepage). Google won’t be able to crawl and index non-discoverable pages.
  • Poor location page quality. For example, failing to include locally relevant information, business address and hours, links to other parts of your site, testimonials, maps, and so on.

To book a free consultation, call 905-564-0020.

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Is Your Website a Liability? Meeting ADA Compliant Website Guidelines for 2019

Is your website a legal liability? Are you alienating potential customers without even knowing it?

Today’s post highlights the importance of ADA compliant website guideline adherence in 2019, and explains how business owners can make sure they’re protected from accessibility lawsuits.

The Case of Beyonce.com

Any Beyonce fans out there?

If so, you might have heard that Beyonce is currently being sued for failing to provide an ADA compliant website experience.

Mary Conner filed a civil suit against Parkwood Entertainment, which operates Beyonce.com, on January 3rd in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Conner, who’s legally blind, claimed to be a lifelong fan of Beyonce, which made it all the more heartbreaking when she landed on Beyonce.com only to encounter numerous barriers limiting her access to the information, multimedia, goods, and services offered on-site.

Conner went to Beyonce.com to read up on her favorite artist, and to purchase a Christmas-themed “Holidayonce” pullover hoodie. But neither were possible because “the defendant has chosen to rely on an exclusively visual interface,” which makes it basically impossible for the visually impaired to navigate.

Conner’s lawsuit includes a long list of features that puts Beyonce.com in violation of ADA compliant website guidelines, including:

  • No alternative or “alt” text or graphics
  • Inaccessible drop-down menus
  • Inaccessible navigation links
  • Inadequate prompting and labeling
  • Denial of keyboard-only access
  • Empty links that contain no text
  • Redundant links where adjacent links go to the same URL
  • Inability to complete purchases/transactions without a mouse

Conner’s counsel seeks a permanent injunction requiring Parkwood Entertainment to alter its discriminatory policies, practices, and procedures in order to bring the site up to date with current ADA compliant website guidelines. Conner also seeks attorney fees and compensatory damages at an undisclosed amount.

What does this case mean for your business?

First, it underscores the importance of adhering to ADA compliant website guidelines in 2019. Failing to do so can completely alienate huge portions of your audience, and literally cost you sales. In this case, Conner was a lifelong fan who saw Beyonce’s music as something that she could enjoy as much as anybody else. But Beyonce’s non-compliant website felt like a slap in the face–the virtual equivalent of refusing a wheelchair user access to your restaurant. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t put your customers through that–or anyone, for that matter.

But speaking of customers, this case shows how failing to meet ADA compliant website guidelines costs sales. Conner visited Beyonce.com to buy a product, but was unable to. Rather than giving Beyonce money, Conner will likely end up taking a substantial amount.

Meeting ADA Compliant Website Guidelines in 2019

Even with the best intentions, it can be tough to make sure your web assets meet ADA compliant website guidelines.

Overhauling your site’s backend isn’t an intuitive task for most people, even if you get your hands on a high-quality checklist. Plus, to make matters worse, the checklist evolves over time, and you are responsible for keeping up to date.

For most business owners, the best option is to call in the professionals. ClickTecs is a digital marketing agency that specializes in ADA compliance. Using a 300+ point checklist created in-house using W3C/ADA guidelines, we have helped numerous business owners protect themselves from lawsuits and reduce liabilities. Members of our team are standing by to quickly audit your website, plan tactical fixes, and implement the changes you need to comply with these important accessibility regulations.

To learn more about our ADA compliant website guidelines, visit https://www.clicktecs.com

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Beginner’s Guide to Optimizing Question Queries for Franchise Development

Especially with the growth of voice search, more and more users are querying with complete questions, rather than Googling a jumble of keywords.

For example, a franchise development prospect might query: “What are the best franchises to buy?”

Accordingly, today’s post is all about how researching and optimizing for these “question queries” can boost your franchise development.

Why Bother with Question Queries for Franchise Development?

  • Endless creative content ideation. Great ideas are the heartwood of quality content and ad campaigns, both of which are critical for your franchise development in 2019. Fresh, inspired content is inherently more engaging than rehashed information, and usually makes for less competition compared to those well-worn ideas that everyone tries.
    Of course, creating fresh, inspired content is easier said than done. But perhaps not, if you’re paying attention to the questions your audience is asking. You don’t need to “think outside the box” if you can peer inside the minds of your audience; in fact, niche question research might be the #1 most powerful source of content inspiration. Gearing your content towards providing answers for queries being made by your target audience is a surefire route to successful franchise development.
  • Questions are highly engaging. When you ask questions, you naturally trigger an “answering reflex” in the human brain. Piquing the interest of your audience in this way is a great idea. Sprinkling questions into your landing pages and social media feed makes these assets much more compelling, getting more eyes on content driving franchise development.
  • Question research leverages the power of voice search. Franchise development teams are now starting to realize that voice search matters. A BrightLocal study found that 58% of consumers used voice search to find local business information within the last year, and that 46% of voice search users seek local businesses daily.

    Unlike traditional typed queries, voice searches tend to be phrased as complete questions. Thus, rather than typing “best franchise development strategies,” a voice search user would ask aloud, “What are the best franchise development strategies?” Conducting question research allows you to pinpoint queries and optimize for voice search to get a leg-up on the competition in 2019.

  • Question optimization increases organic search visibility. In addition to the ways mentioned already, question optimization makes your content eligible for “featured snippets” and Google’s “People Also Ask” results, which exponentially increases how far your franchise development content can reach.  

Getting Started with Question Research

Where do you look for question queries to incorporate into your franchise development content?

These two free and easy resources should get you started:

  • People Also Ask.

Google “People Also Ask” feature suggests related questions to a given query. To access this information, simply input a query that relates to your franchise development.

For instance, when you search for “what franchise should I buy?”, you’ll see the following questions in the “People Also Ask” box:

  • What is the best franchise to buy?
  • How much money do you make owning a franchise?
  • Which franchises are most profitable?
  • What’s the cheapest franchise to open?

Content geared towards answering these questions, which Google is telling us are popular, will yield better results than “scattershot” content that simply lists off random selling points.

  • Google Suggest

Google Suggest is the name for the auto-complete feature you may have experienced while typing into the Google search bar. Suggestions are made based on how other users query, which means we can safely assume all Google Suggest results have a solid search volume and demand.

From the Google homepage, start typing in a query related to franchise development. “Best franchise” is a good place to start. But don’t press enter to complete your search–instead, look at the suggestions being offered in the search bar. These Google Suggest results tell you what audiences are asking, and can form the basis of your franchise development content to attract more eyes and generate more leads.

Learn More About Optimizing Franchise Development with Question Query Research

Get in touch with our team at https://www.clicktecs.com/contact-us to start a free consultation and dig deeper into the art of researching, monitoring, and optimizing for user question queries to attract better candidates in 2019.

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