How To Conduct SEO Audits For Franchise Websites
If you’ve never audited your franchise website, you’re almost certainly costing yourself sales—or, at the very least, a few ranks on the SERP. Today’s post shares 4 tips and plenty of free tools to help you conduct a franchise website SEO audit.
Read on or call 905-564-0020 to speak directly with a franchise website SEO audit specialist.
1. Is Your Franchise Website Design Up To Date?
Software doesn’t spoil, but most franchise website designs do have a kind of “expiration date.” Nobody is going to be impressed by a franchise website designed in 1995—in fact, that Geocities aesthetic and dated site architecture will repel visitors and Google crawlers alike.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to invest in a franchise website redesign every 4 to 5 years. But this is more a guideline than a hard rule, as sometimes a few significant design updates will be enough to keep your site fresh for a few extra years.
When evaluating your franchise website design, start with the following:
- Seek and destroy intrusive pop-ups, ads, and overlays. Pop-ups don’t always deserve the death sentence—exit pop-ups and cookie warnings, for example, exist to improve the customer experience.
But there’s nothing worse than being bombarded by unwanted pop-ups as soon as you land on a page. Before you even have a chance to gauge whether the site’s content answers your question or meets your needs, you’re accosted by aggressive advertisements that block out significant portions of the screen. If you’re lucky, the user will see this as a mere annoyance, but aggressive pop-ups are also frequently perceived as threats to web security!
We know they aren’t viruses, but our usual modus operandi is still to hit the “BACK” button as soon as the pop-ups begin their assault. And we’re not alone in this—plenty of research has shown that heavy-handed pop-up campaigns tend to backfire, even when they offer valuable discount codes or coupons to users with strong purchase intent.
Intrusive pop-ups, ads, and overlays are bad for your franchise website’s SEO, for several reasons. First, aggressive pop-ups encourage “pogo-sticking,” which refers to the act of smashing “BACK” as soon as you land on a page laden with pop-ups, and this leads to low site dwell time, which Google is known to penalize. It also hurts mobile SEO, as Google has publicly stated that they penalize any mobile “pages that show intrusive interstitials.”
Do yourself a favor, and seek-and-destroy all intrusive pop-ups, ads, and overlays.
- Eliminate illegible text. If users cannot read your content, they’ll likely start “pogo-sticking” once again, and your premium copy will never get a chance to win over readers. To improve readability, increase dwell time, and reduce your website bounce rate, make sure to:
- Use a large, legible font. 12-14pt is a good starting place, but even that may be too small for some viewers. Sans-serif fonts are reportedly easier on the eyes, but anything readable works—just do yourself a favor and steer clear of comic sans!
- Use white space to your advantage. Don’t worry: your website doesn’t actually need to have a white background. But your text does need some breathing room. The more space uncovered by text, the more inviting and approachable the content. Avoid dense blocks of copy at all costs.
- Use contrast. Black-on-white, white-on-blue, and white-on-red are ideal, but a simple Google search for “color contrast for better readability” yields millions of resources you can use to create eye-catching, legible combinations.
2. Is Your Navigation Bar Up To Par?
Users and Google crawlers both depend on tidy, functional navigation bars to peruse your site. If your navigation bars aren’t up to par, expect middling SEO results at best.
Pull up your franchise website and take a close look at your navigation bar. Now ask yourself:
- Is my navigation bar clear and easy to use?
- Do submenus add value or make certain areas of the menu hard to click?
- Does my navigation bar contain any non-essential links? Is it cluttered?
- How easy is it to navigate to the contact page and reach out if I have questions?
If you’re not ready for a professional SEO audit on your franchise website, and you need help assessing your navigation bar without bias, it can be useful to recruit fresh eyes in the form of friends and family members.
If your navigation bar falls short in any of these areas, it’s probably time for a redesign.
3. Is Your Franchise Website Mobile-friendly?
In 2020, as much as 30-50% of your site traffic is now coming from mobile devices. Accordingly, if your site isn’t fully functional, properly sized, and easy to scroll on any device, you’re potentially alienating half of your audience.
You can check your franchise website’s mobile friendliness using a variety of free online tools, such as Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool. Simply enter the franchise website URL (we recommend using the homepage), click Submit, and get your free “mobile-friendliness report.”
If your franchise website isn’t mobile friendly, don’t despair: ClickTecs offers urgent mobile redesign and optimization services so you can address this critical SEO issue straight away.
4. Does Your Franchise Website Load Fast?
In a rare glimpse into how their algorithm weighs different performance stats, Google identified franchise website load speed as a primary ranking factor way back in 2010. And according to newer Google research, more than half (53%) of mobile visitors will leave your franchise website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Franchise website load speed is easy to test—just pull up your website and count, or check out Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool—but it’s complicated to fix. Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool will give you a few recommendations to get you started, and our team can do the rest!
Professional SEO Audits For Franchise Websites — Call ClickTecs
Whether you need a professional SEO audit, or you’ve already identified problems with your franchise website that need to be fixed, ClickTecs franchise website specialists are standing by to help. Call 905-564-0020 or fill out the form on the ClickTecs contact page to book a free franchise website consultation and get a same-day service quote.