Social Media Is Important, But So is Local Search
With all the hype about social media and speculation that mobile is where everything’s moving, it’s difficult to determine what is most important to your Internet marketing strategy.
The most important thing you can do is allow your audience to drive your decisions and not the latest and greatest technology. While many businesses may be pushing their brands and establishing themselves in social media, research by the Kelsey Group shows that over 57% of people online are performing local searches. And if you’re curious about where those people are clicking, a research study done by Cornell University showed that the top 3 Google results get 79% of all of the clicks.
So, how do you get to the top 3 in Google?
In order to achieve high local rankings for each of your franchise locations it is important for the search engines to know about each physical location and that each physical location is relevant and popular enough to make the top 3 spots in the search results.
Below are just a few key strategies any franchise can leverage to ensure the localized search results that will produce the most local leads.
Consider having a unique website for each franchisee, with its own domain name and the ability for the franchisee to update it. By giving the franchisee control of a portion of the website allows them to tell their story and is enough information to make that franchise location’s website unique from other franchisee’s websites and stand out from their local competitors.
Also consider having a separate domain name per franchise location. By having its own domain name you can use a ‘keyword rich’ name which will garner you greater search relevance for your top keywords and also allow you to create a ‘back link’ strategy by linking all of franchise location websites to each other. There are several ways of choosing how to optimize your domain name for local search, but doing so is important because Google puts a lot of weight on a domain name when deciding where a website should rank.
Another essential key to ensure high localized search engine rankings is optimizing the page contents of a website for product, brand and location. This means that on your franchise location’s website you should include location keywords into appropriate links, titles, meta-tags and images. Another great tip is to place the address of the franchise location at the top of every web page as it allows search engines to easily find that physical location and give your website higher location relevance because of it.
Off Site Localization
Lastly it helps to have other sites linking to your website and your physical location. Get your franchise locations reviewed in Yelp. Submit the franchise location to directories like Google Places, Yahoo Local and Superpages.com. The more websites linking to your website and physical location the better as those links will help increase your stature as a local business that is both relevant and popular.
These are just a few tips on how to improve your local search. It can be overwhelming when dealing with hundreds or even thousands of franchisees and websites, but a properly developed local websites program that brings in more leads and provides other value added services such as email messaging and social media, is bound to have an extremely high adoption rate amongst your franchisees.
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