Why Franchise Websites Still Matter for Local Search in 2019

Why Franchise Websites (Still) Matter for Local Search in 2019

February 25, 2019 By

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.