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How SEO can open doors for franchisees

How SEO can open doors for franchisees

A franchisee who runs just one of what might be a network of hundreds or thousands of branches all over the UK, or even the world, might fall into the trap of thinking that there is little point in trying to establish an online presence for his or her individual enterprise – especially if it’s part of a nationally or globally known brand. This way of thinking could not be more wrong; the internet, while encompassing the entire world, is heavily used by people trying to find out what’s going on locally.

Internet advertising network Chitika revealed last October that 43% of all searches via Google were carried out with a “local intent”, meaning the user either included a geographic location (e.g. “doctors in Liverpool”) or that the results produced by Google were influenced by the location of the searcher. On mobile devices, where GPS co-ordinates generally carry a greater weight, Chitika found that more than half of Google searches were location based.

Google, while expanding nationally, is increasingly trying to get to know its users’ own back yards. This represents a goldmine of opportunities for franchisees who are looking to make themselves the first choice of locals looking for their particular service.

Marking your territory

As far as online presence goes, the ultimate aim of any business should be to rank #1 on Google’s search page for its service in its location. This isn’t rocket science; if you are a florist in Ellesmere Port, you want your website to be the first one people see when they Google “florists in Ellesmere Port” – especially since Google’s top result gets over a third of total clicks.

Landing pages are one excellent way to achieve this, as they are usually designed specifically to bring people who search for an industry and a location to a website. A content marketing or SEO company can help franchisees create these, as well as provide industry related news from the area, while ensuring that all content is well-written, interesting and optimised for search engines. Once the franchisee has briefed an SEO expert on what the company offers and which areas it caters to, the job can be taken completely out of the franchisee’s hands, if this is what they want.

Maximising the mobile market

Smartphones have brought with them a whole new era of information access on the go and, with it, a fresh market of customers with money in their pockets who want to go exactly where Google tells them to.

In 2013, people regularly visit towns and cities without planning out their day beforehand. Imagine the potential to bring in business for a restaurant, pub or café that ranks highly for people Googling what to do on their day out. With searchers already planning to spend money, conversion rates in such fields are notably high.

Franchisees should also not forget to keep close contact with their franchisor, meaning that their SEO campaigns can benefit from both the franchisee’s local knowledge and the franchisor’s business acumen that saw him/her able to develop the franchise in the first place.

John Murray

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