The goal of SEO is to increase organic traffic, which is unpaid traffic going to your franchise website. There are many pieces involved in an effective SEO strategy, but all point back to structuring your website, location sites and user experience to provide relevant and organized content that can be recognized by Google and other search engines so that your business will be served up when someone is doing a search for the services or products you provide.
Some SEO work is done on the front-end (meaning you or the user would be able to see it on your website), while other SEO work is done on the back-end by coders and developers. All of front-end and back-end strategies work together to improve SEO.
If you’re interested in implementing SEO to enhance franchise marketing on your website:
- Do a big picture review of your website to make sure that the structure and organization of your site is clear so that Google (and other search engines) can understand the purpose of each page and index each of them easily. It’s like making an outline for an essay that indicates hierarchy and relationship. Your site should also follow a similar format. Implement changes, such as listing headings in the correct order, that will help clarify the structure; if the whole site seems like it’s disorganized or out-of-date, it might be time for a new website.
- Look at your site from the user’s perspective to be sure that layout, navigation, etc. all point toward a clear path to purchase. Tweak language and design so that users can quickly find the information they need and respond to the desired call to action.
- Confirm that all plugins, apps, etc. are updated. Broken links and outdated content create a frustrating user experience, can increase bounce rate, and can even cause your site to be de-indexed by Google.
- Create quality backlinks to your site. The easiest way to do this is to make sure your website is included in local directory listings like Yelp, Yellow Pages and Foursquare. It is important to check that your franchise locations are listed consistently and correctly on each. Your NAP (name, address and phone) must be the same across all platforms.
- Establish a content calendar that includes a regularly scheduled blog related to your franchise industry or offerings. Google values websites that continually provide updated and relevant information to users.
- Examine each page of content individually. You need to make sure that content relates to page titles and that page titles related to user searches. You don’t want Google sending someone looking for something else to land on your page and then leave, increasing your bounce rate. Your goal is to provide accurate content and titles to help Google serve your site to those looking for what you offer.
It’s important to be careful with the speed with which you implement changes. If you make too many modifications at one time, you might run into issues with the way Google is indexing your site, causing your organic search results to decline. There is historical value with your current site, and it’s important to leverage that while making improvements. For example, you might begin adding additional pages before changing content on your homepage.
While SEO continues to evolve as search engines get “smarter” over time, the overarching approach you should take remains constant. Do all you can to create an engaging and successful user experience on your franchise website and microsites.