Today’s post explains the true secret to researching franchise development strategies online: scrutiny!

Read on for some tips on how to critically examine franchise development materials you find online, courtesy of our franchise development consultant.

How to find better franchise development tips: Scrutinize your sources

Where is your current franchise development strategy coming from?

If you’re a franchise owner who’s simply following orders from the higher-ups, then so be it. But if you’re responsible for the decision-making and looking online for tips, you could be asking for trouble.

The internet is a tremendous source of information, but it’s also a veritable Wild West. Anyone can publish anything, claim anything. That’s why in 2019, internet research requires serious diligence.

But that’s easier said than done when you consider the sheer amount of information you have to sift through. A quick Google search for “franchise development tips” yields 35,400,000 results:

Franchise development tips

That’s 35 million results. Where do you even begin?

Sorting through this data hit-by-hit would take a tremendous amount of time. If you took 10 seconds to evaluate each result (which often isn’t long enough), you’d need about 98,333 hours–that’s about four thousand and ninety seven days working nonstop–to get the job done. And don’t forget that hundreds more results are added every day.

Fortunately, you don’t need to find a single needle in this massive haystack of search results. There are plenty of places you can find credible information. You just have to know who to trust.

But where do you turn in this era where faith in mass media is eroding and anyone can publish anything online (Lazer et al., 2018)?

One option is to go where the most eyes are pointing. Google invests a lot of effort into vetting content and ensuring that the best materials appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). Domain authority also factors into these results, which you can use as an informal “authority rating” for that company. Most results that appear on page one deserve to be there (okay, we’re kind of patting ourselves on the back):

Franchise development tips

For instance, if you’re looking for “franchise development tips,” check the top-10 SERP results. While you may not find the exact information you’re looking for in those 10 pieces of content, you will have 10 credible sources to dig into and continue your search. Follow these pages back to their host sites to assess the author’s credentials and find more authoritative content–or even contact them as remote franchise consultants.

Another option is to actively look for content published only by franchise development consultants. A significant portion of online franchise development tips are not–it’s just another channel through which SEOs hope to engage buyers, even if franchising isn’t their specialty.

At ClickTecs, we specialize in franchise marketing. Our team is made of franchise development consultants with current and former franchise experience, and we have consistently delivered great results for our clients. But don’t take our word for it: you can read about how our franchise development consultants perform under pressure in our testimonials and case studies.

Talk to a franchise development consultant

Visit http://www.clicktecs.com or call 905-564-0020 to cut out the research phase and speak directly with a franchise development consultant.

References

Lazer, D. M., Baum, M. A., Benkler, Y., Berinsky, A. J., Greenhill, K. M., Menczer, F., & Schudson, M. (2018). The science of fake news. Science, 359(6380), 1094-1096.

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SEO for Franchise Websites: 4 Simple Tips to Rank and Index Content Faster

With SEO for franchise websites, rank and index speed is a serious competitive advantage.

In some cases, getting your content read first is the difference between winning or losing a customer, such as when special promotions are being offered–it doesn’t matter how good your offer is if the customer already bought the item off your competitor, who published their special yesterday.

We want our content read as soon as it’s published. That means being able to find it in the search results as fast as possible. Unfortunately, many franchise websites aren’t set up in a way that allows their content to truly go live–i.e. be searchable and discoverable from a “neutral” off-site search engine, usually Google–from the moment they click Publish.

Ranking and indexing can be a long process. Some content takes weeks or even months to appear

There are some sneaky workarounds you can use if you can’t get your content ranked and indexed fast.

Relying on social media shares with direct links is one option. But like most others, this approach applies on you already having an established customer following that is active online and engaged with your platforms. And even companies with millions of social media followers are still limiting their audience by relying on social shares over efficient ranking and indexing–you’ll never have more followers than there are Google users, after all. Furthermore, Google searchers will be actively seeking the products, services, or information you’re promoting via content, whereas social media shares involve showing your content to “scrollers” without serious purchase intent.

Addressing your ranking and indexing problems is a much more effective approach. With that in mind, here’s 10 easy tips to rank and index your published content faster:

Leverage URL inspection/fetch and render tools.

Google provides us with some helpful tools to index content faster. Make sure you’re using them! The URL Inspection Tool is a good starting point. Think of this like the new Search Console, which was previously called Fetch and Render. With this tool, you can submit a URL (i.e. your newly published content) and tell Google to crawl it. It’s not instantaneous, but your URL is added to the “priority crawl queue,” which gets it looked much faster.

Put Sitemaps to good use.

Sitemaps are one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your URLs indexed. Make sure it’s been made available to Google–the Search Console Sitemap Report can help you there. Alternately, you can let Google know about your sitemaps by simply pinging them. It’s easy: type google.com/ping and then put in the sitemap with the URL. Take a reading break and do this now if you haven’t already!

Experiment with Google Indexing API.

The Indexing API allows any site owner to instantly notify Google about the addition or removal of any new pages. Google uses this information to schedule a fresh crawl, which can improve the quality of your traffic. This tool is meant primarily to be used specifically by sites with “job posting or livestream structured data,” but many companies have had great success employing it for SEO for franchise websites.

Avoid “orphaned” pages.

Orphaned pages are those which lack incoming links from your site’s main pages. Linking to new content from important pages like the homepage, blog, or resources page tells Google you have something new to crawl and also lends the new publication a bit of main-page authority.

Learn more SEO for franchise websites

Visit http://www.clicktecs.com or call 905-564-0020 to speak with a rank-and-indexing expert, or dive even deeper into SEO shop talk!

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Franchise Digital Marketing: Top Tips to Boost eCommerce Conversion Rates

If e-commerce plays a part in your business, today’s post is for you. Our franchise digital marketing team has put together some great tips for increasing your online sales. Let’s dive right in!

Setting smart conversion goals for your franchise digital marketing

Everyone wants to generally increase their conversion rate, but it’s important to set specific goals. Striving for a specific sales number or conversion percentage allows you to better allocate resources, measure the rate of progress, and motivate your franchise digital marketing team. This milestone approach also gives you greater control of your franchise digital marketing budget.

In addition to being specific, conversion goals should be smart. Setting your monthly sales goal at $10,000,000 is specific, but it’s not smart. There’s nothing wrong with ambition, but rapid, astronomical jumps in sales and conversion rate aren’t realistic. Setting the bar high is a good thing, but unreachable goals might crush team morale.

So, what’s a good eCommerce conversion rate to shoot for?

The Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly is a good starting point. They provide regularly updated benchmarks on conversion rates for large e-commerce brands.

From this data, we know that the average conversion rate for franchises and other big brands is between 2 percent and 4 percent.

Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t on this level yet. Big brands take time to establish these numbers.

Alternately, you may already be at 2-4%, and that’s good. But your big brand doesn’t want to be just average, right?

Ultimately, only you can decide what sales goal is best for your business. But remember: be specific, keep it attainable, but be ambitious! A 1-2% conversion rate increase is possible for almost anyone, especially with the tips shared below.

Top tips to triple e-commerce conversion goals

Make sure your franchise digital marketing team is implementing these conversion-boosting tips:

Fix your analytics and focus on pre-purchase events.

Analytics give real insight into how people use your franchise website. When used properly, they’ll show you obvious areas of improvement that need to be addressed in your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy.
Many business owners aren’t tracking everything they should be. Specifically, they fail to find out which events are leading up to purchases. For instance, are your customers entering into your purchase page through specific categories, product lists, or information pages? Pinpointing these events can tell you which high-performance pieces of content to juice with advertising, as well as which ones require improvement. Talk to our franchise digital marketing team to learn more about event tracking.

Implement qualitative data tools.

You can ballpark based off best practices and get fair results, but you won’t really know what your customers are up to unless you see it. Using qualitative data tools (Hotjar, CrazyEgg, etc.) gives you real insight into customer behavior and lets you create heat maps, customer session recordings, user polls, conversion funnels, and more.

Display customer service information prominently.

Customer service is key with e-commerce due to the “digital divide” inherent to this purchase model. Customers don’t benefit from face-to-face service when buying online, but displaying your contact information is the next best thing. Make your phone number highly visible in the header, footers, and during the checkout process.

Optimize for mobile.

According to OuterBox, 77% of Americans use a smartphone. 79% of smartphone users have bought something online using their mobile device in the last 6 months. And almost 40% of all e-commerce purchases made during the 2018 holiday season were made on mobile. Clearly, there’s value in mobile optimization as part of your CRO strategy. This subject is too big to roll into a single tip, but we’ve got plenty of mobile optimization resources on-site that you can check out for free.

Learn more CRO tips for your franchise digital marketing

Visit http://www.clicktecs.com to book a free consultation with a member of our team or browse dozens of CRO tips.

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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Local SEO for Franchises

Today’s post ranks 3 website tactics used to improve local SEO for franchises. Read on to learn how your current strategy stacks up, and whether there’s room to improve your local SEO results!

The Ugly: Listing pages

Listing pages are a very common–and deeply flawed–approach to local SEO for franchises.

In this scenario, the franchisor is doing a lot of things right. They have a powerful, well-designed main site for their franchise brand, and they maintain active pages on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They’ve even got a blog pumping out regular, high-quality content.

And yet, while the brand has a great online presence, they’re not doing much for the individual franchisees who are trying to compete for local traffic. In this scenario, all they’ve got are listing pages, which consist of generic copy, local contact information, and maybe a Google map listing.

Here is a perfect example of the listing pages approach and its limitations. Notice that there is no specific information about individual Wimpy’s Diners locations–just contact info and a map listing. You can’t read about location-specific promotions, news, or menu exclusives. It’s all pretty dreary for the user, and there’s not a lot of local ranking power on display here.

Indeed, there really aren’t any local benefits to this approach, unless the user is specifically searching for “[your brand name] + [your local city].” That’ll bring up your listing page, but that’s how a loyal customer searches for contact information. Why pay money advertising to audiences you’ve already got? You’re trying to engage local users who don’t know your brand, those who are just searching for local products and services.

Really the only benefit is that the franchisor saves time and effort. But at what cost?

The Bad: Single location pages under the national umbrella

Imagine the same brand from the first scenario, only now they’ve created regional pages dedicated to specific locations, rather than lumping all contact info into a single listing.

This is definitely a step in the right direction. Dedicated pages leave more room for contact details, multimedia, and location-specific information, which is more engaging for users and crawl-bots alike. Users enjoy the enhanced relevancy that dedicated pages offer. The location pages stand out better in local searches, and act as landing pages that draw users onto the polished main site.

However, you must accept the drawbacks to this approach. Navigating back and forth from local pages to main site pages can be confusing, and many leads are lost as a result. A single page may also not be enough to contain all the engaging localized features you plan to include.

The Good: Local mini-sites using subfolders

The logical next step is to dedicate local mini-sites to each location using subfolders. This gives each franchise the ability to really showcase their location and feature all of the engaging localized features they want. Set up pages dedicated to specific services, portfolios, videos, and more. By creating more pages, you make more opportunities to send local signals and build site authority, both of which help your site compete in local search rankings.

What’s the downside? Time and effort, of course. Creating unique and dedicated sites for each location is a big undertaking. But it definitely pays off–our case studies say so.

ClickTecs brings you the best local SEO for franchises

What if you could get all the benefits of local mini-sites–or even individual dedicated sites for each franchisee–without all the time and effort?

Call 905-564-0020 to learn how our team can make it happen.

We are experts in local SEO for franchises and we love nothing more than talking about it, so get in touch today via phone or book online for a free walkthrough.

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Pay to Win: Optimizing PPC for Franchises with ClickTecs

Today’s post is all about PPC for franchises. Read on to learn whether SERP visibility is really a “pay to win” game, and how ClickTecs can help you design your PPC for franchises in ways that synergize with your exist online campaigns for better results.

Is search engine ranking a “pay to win” game?

The short and unsatisfying answer is “yes and no.”

We say “no” because you can get results without paying a cent. On its own, organic search engine optimization (SEO) can be enough to secure the #1 spot for keywords with low and mid-level competition. It takes time, though–lots of it–and you need to be producing content at a very high standard, but it’s totally possible.

We can also say “no” because PPC for franchises won’t work very well without a complementary organic SEO plan in place. You may get some immediate traffic and even enjoy a sales spike for a few weeks, but neither will last unless you’re constantly “feeding the meter.”

That said, you can pay your way to the top of the SERP. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo will happily sell you listings, with your rank determined by the amount you’re willing to bid. PPC advertising also sets your website apart from the natural search results, which can improve visibility.

Ultimately, PPC for franchises is a powerful tool that offers you greater speed, flexibility, and reach. But like organic SEO, it’s not optimal on its own. PPC gives you powerful short-term results, while organic SEO is more of a slow burn that takes time to build but can benefit your business for years after getting established. Individually, both work well, but together, they truly shine.

So can you pay your way to the top with nothing more to your plan than PPC for franchises? Sure, but not for long, and not for cheap. And can you do it for free? Sure, if the competition is low enough, but it won’t be fast or easy.

The superior approach takes advantage of the best of both worlds. Coordinating these two campaigns in a way that creates synergy isn’t easy, but ClickTecs can help.

Optimizing your PPC for franchises with ClickTecs: A beginner’s guide

To maximize the performance of your PPC campaign (which, again, should be run in conjunction with organic SEO efforts), we recommend the following process:

  • Start by analyzing the market and competition. Identify local competitors that currently outrank you for targeted keywords. Make a note of search terms and monthly search volumes to help decide where to focus your budget. Higher search volumes yield higher traffic, but also typically attract more competition.
  • Create data-driven ads. Once you’ve chosen keywords to target based on search volume, relevancy, and competition, create copy for high-performing ads. Consider split-testing ad copy to see what performs best. Don’t hesitate to reverse-engineer ads that work well for the competition.
  • Track your campaign results. Track your average positions, click-through rate, cost per click, and results (leads, calls, sales, revenue, etc).
  • Manage your campaign. Successful PPC for franchises is about flexibility and smart adjustments. Constantly be on the lookout to tweak bids for each campaign. Monitor keyword search queries, adjust bidding depending on performance, keep an eye out for new long-tail keyword opportunities, and keep hunting for optimization opportunities.
  • Consider services beyond paid search campaigns. If you’re looking to branch into more PPC for franchises, consider landing page optimization, display ad campaigns, remarketing, LinkedIn advertising and other paid social media.

Obviously the art of PPC for franchises is beyond the scope of a single article, but this simple process should guide your learning and campaign management.

To learn more about PPC for franchises, and how to create synergistic organic SEO campaigns to take your results to the next level, visit our website.

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