A quality organic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is critical to most franchise systems’ ability to generate new business and brand awareness from the web. You shouldn’t need some sort of dubious statistic to illustrate the importance of organic search marketing, it should be common sense to anyone reading this article.
This article highlights a few quick tips on how a franchise system can set up their website in a way maximizes their franchisees’ ability to earn high placements in Google’s organic search results and map listings on lucrative search queries being performed by potential and current customers. Let’s get to it!
Each franchise location should have its own web page. We recommend setting up each location’s web page as a “subfolder page” of your corporate website instead of a “subdomain page.”
- For example Pest People (a make-believe franchise with over 100 units) has a website (www.pestpeople.com) and one location in Nashville. The URL of their Nashville location’s web page should be www.pestpeople.com/nashville rather than nashville.pestpeople.com.
By doing so, the location pages better harness the SEO power of the homepage; it trickles down to the location pages. Think of it like a pyramid of champagne glasses. The glass at the top (your homepage) receives a stream of “bubbly” in the form of new traffic and backlinks, and that “bubbly” trickles down into the glasses below (your franchisees’ location pages), increasing their level of value to the target audiences (search engines and potential customers), resulting in higher organic search rankings on lucrative keywords. Cheers!
Let’s say Pest People has 15 locations in the greater Nashville market, and one of those units is located in the Belle Meade neighborhood. Pest People should consider utilizing one market page and 15 location pages where:
- Their market page’s URL is www.pestpeople.com/nashville and contains information about all Nashville locations. The goal is to position this page highly on market-level non-branded keywords such as “pest control companies in Nashville” or “exterminators Nashville TN.”
- Their Belle Meade unit’s page’s URL is www.pestpeople.com/nashville/belle-meade and contains information unique to that local market. The goal is to position this location page highly on hyper-local non-branded keywords such as “pest control Belle Meade neighborhood” or “exterminators near me.”
This two-pronged approach can result in:
- Increased conversion rates: Users performing regional keyword searches now find a page with ALL the brand’s locations rather than just one or two. They visit this page and quickly find information about the brand and the location(s) that make the most sense for them to visit.
- Reduced franchisee competition and costs: Franchisees no longer spend money competing against each other for visibility on the same regional keywords. They share equal visibility on the same page and split that monthly SEO cost between each other.
- Optimized franchisee visibility: Franchisees get quality visibility on both regional keywords thanks to the market page and hyper-local keywords thanks to their location pages. This maximizes their ability to earn customers from Google’s organic search results.
- Higher organic rankings: it is easier rank a web page that provides quality information on 15 different locations on competitive, regional keywords than it is a web page highlighting one location. This is one reason why sites like Yelp and Home Advisor, sites that have information on multiple businesses in multiple industries, rank highly for non-branded regional keywords like “massages in Nashville” or “electricians Phoenix AZ.”
Here’s a visual to help you understand the website layout that we are recommending:
Each location’s web page should have two to four additional pages, each containing a minimum of 500 words, that display information related to such things as:
- The local area (neighborhoods, zip codes, areas you service, etc.).
- The brand’s products and services.
- Local career opportunities (if locations are typically in need of new hires).
- For example: The Pest People location in Belle Meade offers termite services. Their location page should have an additional page, full of unique content related to their respective termite control services, with the following URL: www.pestpeople.com/nashville/belle-meade/termite-control.
These additional pages help transform your franchisee’s location page into more of a microsite, one that contains multiple web pages of unique content about your business and how you service the local area. These robust microsites increase your brand’s chances of earning high organic rankings on more locally targeted keywords and provide your visitors with more information about why they should do business with you. To see this franchise SEO strategy in action, check out our case study with Massage Envy.
Here’s an updated visual of the recommended layout for your franchise system’s website: