Get the Help You Need with Local SEO for Franchises

Sarah BlocksidgeAuthor: Sarah Blocksidge
Updated on 04/11/2024

Here at Sixth City Marketing, our team has been doing search engine optimization for 30+ collective years. So, if you are looking for a reliable team to advise you on some of the best practices for SEO in the franchise industry, you can trust that we have custom and creative strategies that will get you more customers.

Whether you own a franchise of your own or are just getting started after buying a franchise of a major company, our handy guide to navigating the SEO world in 2024 can help.

And if you’re not looking for tips, but rather for our pricing, use the button below to contact our sales team.

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“I recently consulted with Sixth City Marketing to learn more about internet marketing – especially search engine optimization, social media marketing and pay per click marketing. I found their experience and knowledge in these areas can turn my ideas into revenue and explained the execution in ways I clearly understood.” – Eric Gulledge, Sherwin-Williams

2024 Guide to SEO for Franchises: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Organic Presence

We want to help you grow your business this year and beyond. Check out some of these frequently asked questions to learn more about search engine optimization and how to apply it to your current online marketing strategy:

Table of Contents

What Exactly Is SEO?

If you’re super new to digital marketing, you know that being found organically is a key strategy. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a form of online marketing that involves improving the overall quantity and quality of website traffic through search engines.

This can be done through a variety of tasks that are known to help improve your positioning on Google, Bing, and other search engines such as content optimization on your website, link building, and much more.

While there are many popular SEO tactics to choose from, like those listed above, the ones you should implement will depend on what type of franchise you are and what type of customers you focus on. For instance, a dental franchise will want to focus on ranking locally, while a national commercial cleaning franchise will want to have a national B2B approach.

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How Does SEO Apply to Franchises?

When you are managing and running multiple franchise locations, SEO – especially at a local level – can be crucial to helping your business. This is because your franchise locations will need that hyper-targeted local approach when it comes to being searched for by potential customers in their surrounding area. Alternatively, since you are dealing with multiple local stores, your SEO tactics will target large-scale change, as the goal is to convert more searchers to customers in the areas that you are targeting.

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What Is Local SEO and Why Is It Important?

Local SEO utilizes the same principles of normal search engine optimization, but instead of being concerned with a national focus, the practices performed as part of local SEO are geared toward specific regions. And when 46% of all searches on Google include area-specific intent, local SEO for your franchises is essential for overall growth.

Some examples of local SEO include optimizing Google Business Profile, writing landing pages for different locations and regions, getting rid of competitor spam on Google Maps, and more. The most important thing you can do as a local business is work your way up Google’s Local Map Pack and ensure your franchise locations are showing up here when people search for relevant terms.

grocery store near me

It is important that if you are a business that attracts mainly local customers, like a restaurant, gym, or home services company, your custom-made SEO strategy has different goals than other industries. With franchises, our team ultimately recommends taking a unique approach to each individual franchise location that you own and operate. Each one will require its own strategy given the variables on competition in each area.

Here are some additional statistics about local SEO that may help show you its value from Semrush:

franchise seo stats

  • In 2022 ‘Open now near me’ searches went up 400%
  • 60% of users contact businesses directly from local search results
  • 76% of users end up visiting a business within a day of doing a search
  • 46% of searchers are looking for local businesses

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What Terms Do I Need to Know to Do SEO?

To help you further understand the types of things you can implement into your franchise-based SEO strategies, here are a few terms worth knowing going forward:

  • Keywords – These are the words and phrases that users enter into the search engine. It is important to incorporate these words into your content, so you have the opportunity to rank for them when potential customers search keyword-heavy queries.
  • Metadata – This is the data that tells a search engine what your website is all about. When you are looking at the search results of a query, the metadata will include the title that you see, as well as the brief description listed below the title. For the best results, we recommend you optimize and include metadata for all of your pages.
  • Ranking factor – A variable or metric that search engines use when evaluating your website. When ranking for a specific franchise location, it is important to aim for ranking in Google’s Local Pack to generate a lot of organic traffic for your site.
  • Long-tail keywords – More specific keywords that include two or more words in a phrase. These keywords are more targeted and specific, so if you are able to incorporate them into the copy on your website, it will result in more qualified leads.
  • Alt text/title tag – The description of your image in your website’s HTML. Add alt text and title tags to images into the code, or “backend” of your webpage, to ensure that the search engine will read it, which can help contribute to your overall ranking.
  • Internal linking – This is the process of including links to other pages on your website, such as linking a relevant blog post from a product or service page.
  • Indexed page – A page that Google has crawled and stored in the search engine. The goal of uploading new, optimized pages to your website is to have Google index them and, ultimately, begin to rank them over time.
  • Link building – An off-page SEO tactic used to generate more inbound links to your website. The more linking domains that you acquire, the more authority Google will consider your site to have and rank you accordingly.
  • SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – This is the page that you are sent to after conducting a search query on Google, Bing, or any other search engine.
  • On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, Technical SEO, and Local SEO – These are the four main types of SEO.

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What Factors Matter Most When Ranking Locally?

There are numerous considerations when ranking on the local level, with one of the largest factors being, as stated previously, Google’s Local Map Pack. Within the map pack, which is powered through a company’s Google Business Profile, ranking factors that make up the profile and determine your chance of ranking include:

  • A fully optimized profile, which includes accurate NAP (name, address, and phone)
  • Your location in proximity to the searcher
  • Reviews on your profile from customers
  • Directory listings for your business
  • A plethora of inbound links and backlinks to your business

Along with a fully optimized GBP, it is important to host a website that reflects the information presented on your profile. This includes optimized landing pages that include the most up-to-date and helpful content, as well as webpages that are easily navigable, mobile-friendly, and load quickly, among other features.

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What SEO Tactics Work Best for Local Franchises?

Here are some additional franchise SEO tactics that we can implement into your campaigns:

  • Local listing optimization – Make sure your local listing is claimed and optimized. This is a crucial step to making sure your local customers know where they can find you. Additionally, ensure that your website’s landing pages are posted so potential customers have somewhere to go after they review your listing.
  • Content optimization – The content that is on your website should be friendly to the Google crawler. With this in mind, you should strategically place keywords, design a user-friendly page layout, and implement many other strategies to ensure you’re drawing customers in.
  • Link building – To increase your website authority and boost your website rankings, you can utilize many link-building tactics to make sure you’re ranking at the top of the search page.
  • Fighting spam – A key aspect of our process in doing SEO for franchises is making sure you clean up fake listings and remove spammers who may take customers away from you. If you see a spammy competitor within the Google listings, simply click on “Suggest an edit,” and report them for whatever offense they are committing. Google takes all suggestions into account before deciding to remove a listing, so be patient.
  • Data tracking – There is no way to measure your successes without the data to prove it. We recommend usingGoogle Analytics or HubSpot to look at form submissions, phone calls, traffic, and more.

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What Are Some Ways To Get More Google Reviews?

Getting good reviews for your business is a great way to influence customer decisions and boost your overall conversion rate. So beyond asking your consumer base to leave a review on your Google Business Profile (GBP), some other ways to increase your number of reviews include the following:

  • Use QR codes that open to the review area of your profile
  • Add your review CTA to your newsletter
  • Post on social media asking for reviews
  • Use pop-ups on your website

Alongside your outreach to get reviews on your GBP, or even other review platforms like Angie’s List, Yelp, Trustpilot, and more, providing exceptional service is one of the best ways to get reviews for your franchise.

In the case that a customer leaves a negative review, it’s important to respond promptly, as 53% of potential customers expect businesses to respond to these reviews within one week. Ignoring and even deleting negative reviews can affect the credibility of your business in the long run.

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How Am I Able To Make My Website More Helpful?

Depending on the industry of your franchise, there are plenty of ways to tailor your on-page content to be more helpful for your consumers. As helpful content has become a substantial ranking factor since its initial rollout in December of 2022, this emphasis on your website will help your franchise rank in the long run.

Just some tactics we recommend include:

Overall, helpful content on your franchise’s website should aim to provide your target audience with a better understanding of the work that your company offers, as well as information your consumer base may find informational.

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Absolutely! Internal linking is a great way to further boost your franchise’s online presence. In fact, a case study conducted by Zyppy SEO concluded that URLs with 40-44 internal links saw four times as many clicks as URLs with 0-4 internal links.

Though 40-44 is the optimal number of internal links on a page, adding too many links can make your page come across as spammy, so avoid oversaturating your content.

With that being said, some tips to keep in mind when internally linking include:

  • Link to pages that almost rank from high authority pages
  • Embed contextual links within your page’s copy
  • Link URLs to descriptive anchor text
  • Add internal links to newer pages on older posts
  • Fix or redirect any broken internal links
  • Aim to place internal links toward the top of your page

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What Other Ways Improve Conversions for My Local Franchise?

Another way to improve leads and conversions for your franchise is to optimize and update your Google Business Profile custom services. Though not as impactful compared to pre-defined services that Google uses to define your business, adding custom services can give your profile the extra boost that you need to stand out against your competitors:

GBP services

For example, if you are a dentist looking to increase traffic to your website through the number of qualified calls and form submissions, adding custom services such as “teeth whitening” and “family dentistry” can not only help potential customers get a better understanding of your services but also give you the boost that your franchise needs to rank in the local pack. This includes just adding the custom service and leaving out the price and the description of the service if you prefer.

Pro tip: Adding emojis to your custom services is also a great way to emphasize your justifications and even be included in your map pack listing!

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How Are Organic and Paid Traffic Different?

Organic search results are unpaid results that appear on the user’s search results because it’s relevant to their search terms. On the other hand, paid search results refer to any ads that businesses pay for to appear higher within search engines. Check out our recent blog post about different traffic sources to learn more.

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Does Running Ads Hurt SEO?

Not at all. It is actually a common myth that running ads on Google will increase your SEO and rankings, but this is untrue. However, incorporating more than one digital marketing service can be beneficial for maximizing the possibility of being found through different search engines by new users.

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What Common Mistakes Do Franchises Make?

You Don’t Have Maps Listings for All Your Locations

Can your customers find all your locations on Google and Apple Maps? If you search “[your business] near me” do your listings show up? This is a crucial part of marketing your franchise through SEO.

Your Location Pages Use Duplicate Content

Did you know that Google and other search engine platforms are advanced enough to detect if you are using duplicate content across the pages on your website? Google wants all your content to be relevant and unique, so if you have duplicate content, it can negatively impact your campaign.

You Aren’t Collecting Reviews Online

As part of a local SEO campaign, we will encourage you to ask your customers to leave their feedback on your Google Business Profile. Our research has shown that the number of reviews you have, and your reviews’ ratings, can influence your rankings.

Your Business Uses Inconsistent Branding

One thing that is incredibly important not only in terms of reflecting your brand but also from an SEO standpoint, is consistency. You will want to ensure all your franchises are abiding by your branding standards in copy and more.

You Aren’t Using Local Schema

Schema is a type of structured code that you can add to your website to help search engines better understand the content on your site. There are various types of schema that can help franchises especially, such as Place, Restaurant, and LocalBusiness.

Your Website Is Outdated

By outdated, we mean your site is missing metadata, is not set up for HTTPS, loads slowly, and faces many other issues on the technical side of SEO that can all impact your rankings.

You Haven’t Cleaned Up Your Citations

Just as the yellow pages have been a key place to list your business to consumers for decades, there are various platforms online that operate in the same fashion. If any of your locations have changed addresses, phone numbers, or other important information, there might be citation sites online that need to be updated so customers can easily find you.

You Aren’t Building Outside Links

What some may not realize is that various aspects can come into play when determining a website’s strength. One of these is a solid backlink foundation, and to acquire that, you need a creative link-building strategy that plays into your business’s strengths. We have considerable experience doing just that.

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8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your SEO on Track

Since you now know that local SEO is vital to the success of your franchises, the perfect strategy can consist of multiple tasks to help you on both a local and large scale.

Before you get the ball rolling on an SEO campaign, check out this list of things you can do to get a head start:

  • Claim your Google Business Profile – Your Google Business Profile (GBP) is your franchise’s main listing that informs the public about your company and the services you offer. When you claim and optimize your GBP, ensure all information is correct and that all the requirements are filled out completely. Google will be able to track, index, and rank the information on your GBP, which could make you rank higher.

    Keep in mind that if you have multiple locations for your franchise, it is important to create a Google Business Profile for each location. Google will not value you “double dipping” with your profiles.

  • Create and optimize local pages – Like the GBPs, if you have locations in different cities, it is important to have individual pages on your website that reflect each physical location. With each individual page as well, it is essential to include the city in the title tag, as well as the accompanying H1 and H2 headers to help the overall relevancy of your landing page.
  • Internally link service pages on your website – To increase the overall equity of your site, internal linking is a simple, yet effective task that you can complete on your own. Unlike most link building work, internal linking is one of the only link-building tasks that does not require you to do outreach to outside companies to receive links.

    We recommend internal linking for your website because we know it works. Take it from NinjaOutreach, a company that was able to increase its organic traffic by 40% in three months through its own internal link-building efforts.

  • Do competitor research – If you do not know where to start when it comes to link building, simply research your competitors and determine what you can do to outrank them. To conduct in-depth competitor research for your link building efforts, our team has seen a lot of success using platforms such as Moz, Ahrefs, and even SpyFu.
  • Do a site speed test – To see what improvements can be made to create a faster load time for your website, your team can perform a site speed test. Ultimately, there are several things you can do to improve the overall speed of your website.

    If you are looking for an efficient and effective way to check your website’s load time, Google Analytics (GA), Google Search Console (GSC), and Google PageSpeed Insights are some tools that can help you get started.

  • Reply to all reviews made online – To further engage with your customers, responding to reviews is an easy way to do so. Whether they are positive or negative reviews, it is important to acknowledge that you are listening to the needs of the people you serve.

    According to Search Engine Journal, 96% of potential customers will be looking specifically at negative reviews. So when responding to negative reviews, be sure to keep a professional tone, and, whatever you do, do not delete or restrict negative reviews, as potential customers might lose trust in your business if you are not honest about your reviews.

  • Manage your social media accounts – Increase your brand awareness and reach your target audience through various social media accounts, such as Instagram and Facebook. When creating content for social, it is important to experiment with the different mediums that the platforms offer. For example, Instagram reports that 50% of its users will visit a company or brand’s website after viewing one of its stories.

    With that in mind, make sure to get creative when it comes to shooting photos and videos, as well as when writing content to post on your platforms.

  • Find where your website includes duplicate content – As mentioned above, one of the biggest issues that franchises can deal with is the use of repeated content on their websites. Though it is a quick and simple solution to create and publish multiple location pages on your site, Google does not value duplicate content; therefore, your site will be less likely to be ranked highly.

The Sixth City Marketing Difference

Our team at Sixth City Marketing has years of experience working with clients on SEO campaigns for a wide array of industries.

Some of the things that set us apart from our competitors when it comes to franchise SEO include:

  • We are driven by results – Our strategies are designed with your goals as our focus.
  • We create customized approaches – There is nothing cookie-cutter about our approaches here. Everything is tailored to what you are looking to achieve.
  • We are data-driven – We use data-tracking software to measure our successes. Each month, we provide our clients with reports of data to see how our campaigns are progressing.
  • We are an in-house team – Because our team is in-house, we are dedicated to responding to each of your needs and providing you with the best quality services available.
  • We serve clients nationwide – While our headquarters is in Northeast Ohio, we can also help businesses coast to coast from upstate New York to California, and everywhere in between like Atlanta, Philly, and Boston

How Sixth City Shows Results

We show results of our franchise SEO campaigns through:

  • Increases in overall leads and sales
  • Positive changes in keyword positions
  • Improvements in user experience
  • Obtaining quality backlinks
  • Organic traffic improvement from search engines

By incorporating all of these metrics into a business’s marketing campaign, we are able to see what is working for our SEO services and what is not. By this, we are able to evaluate our performance and pivot our approach if needed. Here is just a small snippet of results we’ve gotten for our clients:

  • Monthly leads improved over 300%
  • Over 110% increase in visits per month
  • 90% increase in conversion rate

The Types of Franchises We Can Help

We’ve helped various franchises get results over the years, including but not limited to:

Other Digital Marketing Services We Provide

In addition to SEO for franchises, we are a full-service agency offering many other internet marketing services to take your efforts to the next level. Some of the other digital marketing services that we offer include:

  • Pay-per-click marketing – We run targeted ads through Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms to target a specific demographic.
  • Social media marketing – Our team will create content, schedule posts, monitor your accounts, and respond to all engagements to increase brand awareness.
  • Website design and development – If your website needs a sprucing up, we will design a new custom site for your business to ensure you’re converting visitors and bringing in new business.
  • Consulting and auditing – Our team will do a technical inspection and content analysis to provide you with strategy recommendations. We also use Google Analytics and Search Console Insights to give us essential information about your site and discover ways to improve it in the long run.
  • Email marketing – We will write monthly and quarterly newsletters, design custom emails, schedule and send emails, monitor your campaigns, and provide promotions to help drive customers to your website!
“Sixth City Marketing has been our SEO and PPC company for almost a year now. We have seen significant increases in search rankings, domain authority, site traffic, call volume and most importantly revenue. Not to mentioned they are fantastic to deal with. They are always bringing new creative ideas to us to continue this growth. They have taken the time to learn our business and industry which helps enhance our 9 sites. I would highly recommend.” – Albert Atkins, SERVPRO

Let Our Franchise SEO Experts Take Your Business to New Heights

If you are interested in generating revenue for your franchises online, but don’t know where to start, don’t worry! We’re ready to put our custom franchise SEO strategy to work for you. Get to know our team and what makes us different from other SEO agencies. We look forward to speaking with you.

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