Local SEO Guide for Franchises

Edge Team
January 18, 2024
min read
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The power of local SEO (search engine optimization) for franchises cannot be overstated in today’s online marketing environment. As a franchise owner or operator of a customer-facing business, you rely on all-important foot traffic to stay competitive. This is true whether you run a gym, spa, or salon franchise. Your online presence is crucial for attracting that critical foot traffic.

Put simply, you need to ensure local potential customers are aware of your business offering.

And how do people find their local businesses? We intuitively know the answer already because many of us do the same thing—we head to Google.

The upshot? You need to do everything you can to ensure your business shows up in local search engine results for various search queries related to your business/industry. For example, you’ll likely want to appear in the search results for keywords such as “gym near me” or “best yoga studio in X.”

This is the fundamental purpose of local SEO. 

This guide delves into the nuances of local SEO and how Edge’s innovative solutions can play a critical role in your franchise SEO strategy. 

Understanding franchise SEO

Local SEO for franchise businesses is more than just getting your business on the map; it’s about making your services known and accessible to local searchers. This visibility stems from a series of strategic moves, including prioritizing locally relevant keywords and optimizing your Google My Business Profile. It also relies on content creation that resonates with your local community.

For franchise owners, this means translating the quality of your offline services into a compelling online presence.

Let’s just reiterate those key components of local SEO for franchises:

  1. Google My Business optimization - For franchises, each location needs a distinct Google My Business listing. Accurate and complete listings ensure that potential customers receive the correct information, such as address, hours, and services. Regular updates and interactions, such as responding to reviews and posting updates, further enhance the listing’s effectiveness.
  2. Location-specific keywords - Using target keywords specific to each franchise’s location in website content and metadata like title tags and schema markup can significantly boost visibility in local search results. This strategy helps in appearing in searches specific to the area where the franchise operates.
  3. Local link building - Building links with local businesses, directories, and community portals strengthens a franchise’s local SEO. These links act as endorsements, enhancing the franchise’s credibility and visibility in local search results.
  4. Online reviews management - Managing online reviews is crucial for local SEO. Positive reviews not only improve a franchise’s search ranking but also bolster its reputation. Actively encouraging customers to leave reviews and responding to them, both positive and negative, demonstrates engagement and commitment to customer service.

SEO challenges for franchises

Franchise owners face distinctive SEO challenges due to the nature of franchising. Each franchise’s individual location, while part of a larger brand, needs to establish its own local online presence to attract locals in that area. 

However, franchisees often share similar content across multiple websites, which leads to the issue of duplicate content. This duplication is problematic because search engines like Google prioritize unique, original content in their rankings.

Having similar content across various franchise websites can lead to decreased visibility in search results, as search engines may not index or prioritize multiple pages with identical content. Balancing the need for brand consistency with the requirement for unique, local content is thus a critical task for franchise owners.

This balance ensures each business location maintains the brand’s identity while also standing out in local search results.

Practical tips for franchise local SEO efforts

Over and above the key components addressed above, let’s briefly run through further practical, actionable tips for franchise local SEO. 

  1. Find local keywords - Start with identifying keywords that are relevant to your local customers. Tools like Google’s autocomplete feature can provide valuable insights into what your local customers are searching for.
  2. Localize your website content - Include specific details about your location, like an embedded Google Map, local testimonials, and images of your team throughout your web pages. This personalizes your franchise’s online presence and will naturally help you hit those location-based keywords, too. 
  3. Optimize your Google Business Profile - A well-optimized Google Business Profile is essential for search engine visibility. It’s not just about listing your business; it’s about actively managing and updating your profile to engage with customer reviews. Ensure your business listing has the correct contact details, business hours, and other key information to ensure its usefulness for users. 
  4. List your business in local business directories - Ensure your business is listed in relevant local directories to enhance searchability. You want to give local customers every opportunity to encounter your business. This not only improves your visibility but also strengthens your local SEO (as Google tracks your appearance in these directories).
  5. Improve technical SEO - One for the developers on your team. A technically sound website is crucial for SEO. This includes mobile-friendliness, fast loading times, and easy navigation—all crucial ranking factors when Google is assessing how well your website performs for users. 
  6. Monitor and remove duplicate content - As we’ve mentioned, this is a key one to address for franchise owners, in particular, who are maintaining an online presence for several physical locations. Use tools to check for and remove duplicate content, ensuring each franchise location has unique, quality content that resonates with locals. 
  7. Create E-A-A-T content - Develop content that showcases your experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, key ranking factors laid out in Google’s latest updates for SEO professionals. The new focus on E-E-A-T essentially supports and solidifies an old SEO truism: focus on writing content that offers sincere value to the reader. This builds credibility and trust with your audience, and Google recognizes it, too.
  8. Build local backlinks - Focus on acquiring backlinks from reputable local sources to boost your SEO. Combining these local backlinks with planned-out internal links within your website structure shows Google you are a locally relevant business in each of your individual franchise locations. 

Edge’s role in enhancing local SEO for franchises

Edge is a tool offering plenty of benefits to its users: greater employee recognition and engagement, automated customer Google review collection, and simplified reputation management, to name a few. 

Seen from a different perspective, Edge is also a partner in your Franchise SEO campaigns in several key ways:

Automated Google reviews management

Edge integrates with numerous Point of Sale systems, enabling franchises to automate the collection of Google reviews. This feature is particularly beneficial for local SEO, as we’ve explored, as Google reviews are a significant factor in local search rankings. By streamlining the review collection process, Edge helps franchises build a robust online presence that resonates with local search algorithms.

Employee engagement and review generation

The platform incentivizes employees to deliver exceptional customer service, which in turn encourages positive online reviews. Since local SEO greatly values customer reviews, especially for businesses like franchises where local reputation is crucial, this feature helps franchises improve their local search visibility.

Online reputation management

Edge allows franchises to monitor and respond to online reviews effectively. Timely responses to reviews, both positive and negative, are essential for maintaining a positive online reputation, which influences local SEO rankings. This tool ensures franchises can manage their online presence efficiently.

Sales competitions for engagement

By creating sales competitions, Edge fosters a competitive and collaborative environment among employees. This can lead to improved service quality and customer satisfaction, encouraging positive reviews, which are again a cornerstone of a strong local SEO strategy.

Enhancing customer retention

Edge aids in engaging with all customers, including dissatisfied ones, by addressing their concerns promptly. This approach helps turn negative experiences into positive ones, potentially converting unhappy customers into loyal patrons. For local SEO, such consistent customer engagement and retention are vital as they contribute to a steady stream of positive reviews and customer interactions.

In essence, Edge’s platform is designed to boost the local SEO of franchises by focusing on key areas such as automated review management, employee engagement, and effective online reputation management. These features collectively help franchises enhance their visibility in local search results, a crucial aspect of attracting and retaining local customers.

Final thoughts

Optimizing your local SEO is an ongoing process and a strategic move that can significantly impact your franchise’s long-term success. With Edge, you can take control of your online presence, turn online searches into real-world visits, and see tangible growth in your business. Try Edge today and experience the transformation in your online visibility through customer engagement.

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