When you own a service-based franchise, your website is crucial to your bottom line. Your website has the potential to bring in a lot of new business (provided you rank on page 1 of search engines like Google). And it can help you build a loyal base of return customers.
To reach the customers you want (both today and in the future), your website must have expert content and it must be user-friendly. When your website effectively appeals to your target customers, it’s more likely to rank at the top of organic (unpaid) search results.
If done right, your website can help you become the local, go-to business in your industry.
How to Attract the Right Customers and Improve Search Engine Rankings
To attract more customers to your franchise at the local level, connect with members of the community who may be looking for something more than just brand name recognition. Ideally, you want prospective customers to trust the strength and reliability of the brand and feel connected to your local franchise as a neighborhood business. You're the local expert and friendly face of the national brand.
If your website reflects the following, you're on the right track:
- Local keywords & SEO: To attract interested clientele, your website must contain content filled with keywords (incorporated naturally throughout the site) that bring in relevant traffic. Keywords and synonyms related to the services you offer should appear throughout your website: in your page titles, headers, meta tags, and in the body of your content.
- Persona / demographic topics & keywords: Create content (and use keywords) that will interest the types of people who land on your website, read your blog, etc. Cover topics your target audience likes or worries about, as they relate to your business. Things to consider: Are your customers mostly men or women? What's their age group and economic level? Create personas (they're similar to biographies) of typical customers, and then target your content to each of these personas.
- Quality problem-solving content: Once keywords attract the customers you want, you must keep their interest. You don’t want site visitors to be disappointed, and neither does Google. You must deliver on your keywords with great content. To do this, your content should provide solutions to your readers’ problems. These are your potential customers, so show them what you have to offer and make it clear that you have what it takes to help them.
- Unique content: Your content should be in line with the franchise brand, and it should also be unique to your website. Don’t duplicate content on other franchise sites in your industry. This is a guaranteed way to drop in search engine rankings! And when you’re not on page 1 of search results, it will be significantly more difficult for potential customers to find you online.
Are Your Repelling Customers and Search Engines?
You have to do a lot of things right to have an effective, Google-friendly website. And one “wrong” move could dramatically outweigh all the good you’ve done up to this point. If your website traffic is suffering, look for and eliminate these negatives:
- Missing links: You need a good link profile to please Google and get to the top of search rankings. Your links must make sense with your content – relevancy is key here. Don't try artificial link building techniques or services. Great content with proper SEO should "invite" people in your industry to link to you. Likewise, you should only link to authoritative content such as .gov, .edu, and other trustworthy, industry-related websites. Keep in mind that too many links on your site can be bad. Even if they’re relevant, an excessive number of links will look spammy and could distract readers from what you really want them to pay attention to.
- Ignoring mobility: Everyone is mobile now, using all sorts of tiny devices to research, visit your website and shop for services. Make sure your website uses responsive design that prioritizes content for mobile users and looks good on any device. If a user can’t access and easily navigate your site on a smart phone or tablet, you’ll surely lose out on potential customers.
- Stale content: New content keeps you relevant, while stale content makes you yesterday's news. In order to rank well on Google, you need to have a constant flow of fresh, newly published content. Part of Google's job as a good search engine is to catalog new content (by "crawling" through it to see what it is) so they know which searchers to show it to. If you always have something new, you’ll get more attention from Google and, ultimately, higher search rankings.
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About the Author
Jordan Wilson is the Senior VP of National Brands at Scorpion. For nearly a decade, he has worked with businesses of all sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to franchises at the local level. Professionally and personally, Jordan fosters the relationships he develops with his clients, always striving to exceed their goals and expectations. Jordan graduated from the University of Mobile where he played college soccer and won the National Championship in 2002. He is an avid traveler, and he loves a good Irish Pub, LSU Football, and spending time with his family.