5 Tips For Improving Franchise SEO Rankings

Franchise secretsIf you are a franchise owner, or even the owner of a multiple-location local business, search engine optimization has its own set of issues and challenges for your business.

The truth is that there are more brands than ever competing for search engine visibility.  Having corporate-backing from a franchise model doesn’t always help with local SEO.

What can you do to improve your rankings?

Plenty, and in this post I’ll outline 5 of the top ranking factors you need to be aware of when it comes to your franchise SEO efforts.

A lot of the work I will discuss wades into the realm of content marketing. That’s the area you want to focus on moving forward.

On the other hand, many sites are still dealing with problems of inaction, or lingering issues from past SEO campaigns.  You’ll need to address those immediately.

As mobile and content marketing continue to dominate, you need to make sure that old-school SEO tactics are not holding you back.

1. Website SEO Problems Franchises Need to Be Aware Of

In July, there was an SEMrush article that laid out the following problems SEO franchises run into.

You’ll want to “focus on and take caution of” these things.  Why? Because they could account for some of those nagging SEO issues that are weighing down your rankings.

Some of those franchise SEO problems include:

  • Duplicate Content
  • Interlinking
  • Domain Health and Risks

The bottom line is that you need original, useful content on each page rather than thin or duplicate content that is republished over and over again – especially on location pages. Consider each location page to be a mini-website for that location and fill it with rich content, such as a unique description, a video(s), and images.

Regarding on-page SEO, you need to “remove all unnecessary interlinking” and do a backlink audit to ensure your site is up to snuff.

If you have the resources, hiring an SEO expert to perform a comprehensive SEO audit is a good idea. That’s what the above SEMrush post suggests, and most in the SEO industry will tell you the same thing.

So…what does such an expert cost?

Typically you’re looking at a couple thousand dollars or more for a professional SEO audit…and that’s if you have a small site. Big sites, or those with lots of backlink clutter, will take more time and effort.

Can you do some of that auditing yourself?

I’m willing to bet you can. A good place to start for a DIY backlink audit would be this 2014 Moz link audit guide.

2. Moving Forward with Mobile

Now that you’ve cleaned up and addressed your site’s link issues, how else can you get ahead?

The answer is with mobile.

Last February, Search Engine Land (SEL) offered several tips for better SEO localization for franchises. These included:

  • Capturing Mobile Users
  • Encouraging Customer Reviews
  • Cleaning Up Directory Listings

More and more it’s about capturing mobile users. In October, it was reported that mobile searches surpassed desktop searches worldwide, with more than 50% of search queries coming from those platforms (tablets and smart phones).

Another tip the SEL post offers is to “localize with purpose,” meaning all your pages should have unique H1 and H2 titles as well as specific and SEO-friendly URLs.

These are great things to think about for your ongoing SEO and content marketing efforts.  Both will be needed to achieve and maintain organic search engine visibility in the future.

3. Location Pages for Franchises

In June, there was a wonderful guide for franchise SEO on Business 2 Community’s blog. It offered these five tips:

  • Get your site right
  • Address your brand’s online footprint
  • Optimize your location pages
  • Calibrate your business listings
  • Leverage other franchise locations

I’ll finish up discussing those last three bullet points.

For location pages, it’s critical that you provide Google with detailed, accurate information about all your physical locations. This is even more critical now with Google My Business pages and the overwhelming rise of mobile over desktop for search.

Google is factoring in all kinds of location-specific information when analyzing a query made from a mobile device. The better your business can tap into this trend, the more online leads you’ll get.

4. Business Listings for Franchises

When it comes to business listings we’re talking about the basics:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Operating hours

Those are the big four that Google wants to see consistently, and guess why? Your customers demand quick access to them.

Many times when they type in a business-specific word, like your name followed by a location, it’s a strong signal for your business address information.

Yet, many businesses do not track and monitor their NAP (Name Address Phone Number) listings.  This is especially important for franchise SEO, and a key factor to help businesses get ahead online.

You can take NAP listings a step further to gain more real estate in local SERPs (search engine results page).  Check out this post I did a few months ago on SERP Stacking and get some pointers on how to increase your company’s chances to show up several times on the first page of Google.

5. Leveraging The Franchise Model For SEO

When it comes performing SEO tactics, you want to make sure you’re not duplicating efforts or wasting resources.  Why have one franchise spend have a day on a social media campaign when another did the same thing the day before?

Think about ways to consolidate efforts to unlock the power of the network effect that is inherent in every franchise business.  

To the extent possible, make sure your franchise locations are talking with one another so you’re not doing the same thing over and over, or stepping on each others’ toes.


There are many ways for franchise businesses to improve their search engine rankings.  Simple changes to your website and a commitment to content marketing will help your franchise get ahead online. Also, giving Google crystal clear information about your business listings is key to any successful franchise SEO campaign.

If you’re struggling with search engine penalties or off-page SEO in general, you might want to start by checking out your site’s backlink profile.  Don’t forget about localized content that targets mobile users.  Regarding franchise businesses, mobile search is where the action is.  In fact, make sure your site is mobile-friendly right now:


Change comes from within, and you don’t have to sit still while the competition outranks you online.  At the end of the day, all SEO – including franchise SEO – is about applying the basics and having the discipline and commitment to execute the right SEO and content marketing tactics week in and week out.

Phil SingletonPhil Singleton owns and operates Kansas City Web Design, where he and his team provide custom WordPress and Magento web development, and Kansas City SEO, where he provides search engine optimization services to companies with hundreds of thousands in revenues to hundreds of millions.  To get more SEO and Internet marketing tips and advice, and learn more about Phil’s book writing adventures, follow him on Google+.

7 Steps to Optimize Your Blog Posts Like a Pro

I’m a content manager; my background is in public relations with a little bit of marketing strategy and graphic design. I’m sitting here thinking, “What do I know about online optimization!?” I’m not a web design guru; I’m no software engineer or web developer.

And then it occurs to me, if I can get the basics done, like keyword research, I can easily optimize those blog posts I write by using a simple tool that is built into our WordPress dashboard, Yoast. I’m sure there are other SEO plugins that do similar things, but Yoast is the one I know so Yoast is the way it goes.

Now that you know my secret tool, here is a step-by-step guide to optimizing your blog posts:

Step 1:

Identify the keywords you’d like to optimize for. This process starts with a basic idea of what your organization (or your client’s) covers, and then you can dig down into the specific relevant phrases that people are using to search for your organization’s product or services.

Step 2:

Pick a focus. Don’t try to optimize one post for all of the keywords you’ve identified. Pick a few that correlate and make sense and then delegate the rest into groups of similar terms as well (those can be for your next post, and then the one after that.)

Step 3:

Write your post. Try to use the exact phrases that you’ve identified in your keyword search, without sounding forced. You don’t want optimizing your blog post to make it unreadable. For example, did you notice I have used a version of the word “optimize” four times already?

Step 4:

Proofread. This isn’t really necessary to optimize your blog post, but a personal preference that you ensure what you’re publishing makes sense. (Thanks!)

Step 5:

Tell the web what your post is! This is where Yoast comes in.

  1. Enter your focus keyword into the spot that says “Focus keyword.” This is the specific keyword or phrase that you used the most throughout the post.
  2. Write your SEO title. You might have an awesomely clever title, but if it doesn’t say what your post is about, your SEO won’t be as strong for your blog post. Use this space to write a title that is enticing and clear, and preferably that includes the focus keyword. This is what will show up in search results when someone does an online search for your keyword.
  3. Develop the meta description. This should have your focus keyword in it, and be in complete sentences. Typically, I like to copy a sentence or two that includes my keyword straight from the post. This is what will show up under your SEO title to give online searchers more information about your post. It should be short, sweet and to the point.

Step 6:

yoast seoMake sure you get the “green light” on your SEO check provided by Yoast. If you don’t, go back and identify the places that can be improved.
The plug-in will show you if your keyword is being used in each of these places for maximum optimization:

  • Article heading
  • Page Title
  • Page URL
  • Content
  • Meta Description

If you’ve included your keyword in all of these places, you’ll get an SEO green light.

Green light means go!

Step 7:

Publish and share!


Here are some bonus tips to ensure your blog post is optimized to its max potential:

  • Use your target keyword more than once.
  • Incorporate your target keyword into your URL.
  • Include an image that has your target keyword in the “alt text.”
  • Pin that image as the “featured image.”
  • Link to other blog posts on your site and/or link to other influencers’ content (they will get a pingback to notify them that their content is being shared).
  • Apply relevant tags and categories to your post.
  • If you can, use your target keyword in a heading somewhere in your post.

So I’m not an SEO expert or web development guru, but with a little research and help from a plug-in, I can optimize my blog posts with the big guns. Do you have any other tips or best practices to share for optimizing posts?

IMG_2750Kala Linck is the Community and Content Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. You can find her blogging her travels and tweeting about marketing, coffee, and cats @tadasunshine.

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