When taking SEO advice it’s always important to think about the type of company you run and where you are in the process. There are some definitely SEO truths that work for every size and type of company—the importance of keywords, navigation and internal linking, SEO location pages, etc.—but other SEO tips can be very customizable.
If you have a franchise company in particular, the questions you ask about SEO are going to be a little bit different. You have more to worry about and you don’t always have quite as much freedom as if you owned your own business, but that doesn’t mean it’s more difficult. As long as you’re asking the right questions you’ll be on the right path.
5 SEO Considerations Specific to Franchise Companies
Below are some of the different questions (and then the answers) regarding SEO for a franchise company. You’ll usually be able to work with your national branch on SEO, but it’s important to understand the unique options you have so that you’re prepared and ready for everything:
Each franchise branch should generally not have their own website.
The first thing you need to consider is whether or not your franchise is going to have it’s own website or simply be mentioned on the brand’s main website. The answer to this question will drastically affect all of the questions below and all of your SEO tasks going forward.
In general, franchise branches usually do not have their own website unless there is only one or two locations and the audiences are drastically different. If you are offering very different products or services from location to location it may make sense to have your own website, and that’s something you can pitch to the national brand managers if you’re the first or second person to franchise. However you usually don’t run into this situation, and things run smoother and stay more consistent if you do not have your own website.
Consider microsites as landing pages.
Going off of the last point, your landing pages are going to be important and will also affect the decisions you make about SEO. According to a Search Engine Journal article, Unbounce discusses three different types of landing pages: Standalone pages, microsites, and internal website pages. For a franchise business, you may want to consider microsites (whereas if you’re starting your own company, you would probably be better off with either of the other two landing page options).
A microsite allows each branch of a franchise to have a small section of a larger website just to post content, deals, coupons, announcements, events, etc. that are specific to that franchise. This still doesn’t mean you have your own website, but you do have a little bit of control and you can work to rank those landing pages for keywords that are specific to your location. This also makes it easy for visitors to jump right back to the main site for basic information, so this is an excellent idea to pitch to the national branch if they aren’t using this technique already.
Have one social media account for the entire company, but consider having different segments for specific audiences.
Most of the main social networks today will allow you to segment your audiences based on certain information (such as location) so that you can offer only the most relevant content. Spending a lot of time on segmentation as opposed to having your own social media accounts is an excellent idea if you have a franchise. In general the national branch can contribute most of the social posts for the brand’s audience as a whole, which is great because it helps keep the brand consistent and it does not require you to split up your social community. However, you should consider having a Google+ circle, for example, of those who are in your area in case you have announcements, coupons, event launches, etc. that would be particularly relevant to them.
Always check your franchise’s existing SEO before buying.
Last but not least, understand that you will probably be walking into SEO work already finished if you’re buying a franchise. It’s a good idea to always check out the SEO of a brand to see if anything was done incorrectly or isn’t working properly, such as broken links, duplicate content, a disorganized design, etc. Before you do anything mentioned above, you have to make sure that the basics are in tact. Running a franchise is difficult, and it will only be made more difficult if the SEO of the brand is out of control. For this reason, you should complete an SEO audit, which you can learn more about here, before making a purchase or getting started with any other SEO tasks.
A Closing Reminder
Keeping mind that all other SEO questions still apply. Visit this article to learn more about the basics of SEO if you’re unfamiliar. The questions above are specific to franchise owners, but basic SEO methods and considerations are still crucial to success.
Do you have anything else you think we should add to the list above or any personal experiences to share? Let us know in the comment section below.