When you Google something, what do you get? You get a search engine results page (SERP) that shows you 3-4 paid search ads at the top, a map with 3 local business listings below that (Google’s Local Pack), and then you finally get to the unpaid (organic) search results.
Organic results used to be the star of the SERPs, but over time, they have been pushed further and further down the page as Google started giving more prominence to its other search features.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that your franchise needs a more well-rounded online marketing strategy if it truly wants to compete. If your franchise has only been focusing on getting found in organic search results (through SEO), it’s probably time to broaden your horizons.
Look Beyond SEO & Diversify Your Strategy
Here at Scorpion, we recommend using a healthy combination of search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and local SEO/online reputation management to increase your franchise’s real estate on the SERP. Think about how much stronger of an impression you’ll leave on online searchers who see listings for one of your franchise not just once, but twice or three times on the page.
Also, consider this… even if you are completely mastering your SEO and your franchise website is #1 organic listing, there will still be several listings (up to 7) shown ahead of yours. Getting in the paid ads and the Local Pack listings at the top of the page will allow you to 1) get your franchise listing seen sooner, and 2) eliminate some of the competition.
Here’s what you need to know about each type of SERP placement:
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads: These paid search listings appear at the top and bottom of the SERP in Google. With the right PPC ads and budget, you can get your franchise website prominent placement on Page 1 of the search results, even if you aren’t organically ranking on this page. PPC ad are linked to keywords that you select, so your ads will only be shown to online users who are actually searching for terms relevant to your franchise. Another benefit of PPC advertising is that it can get you nearly instant results, whereas ranking organically through SEO is more of a long-term process.
Local search results (the Local Pack): These listings feature the top 3 local business listings based on the search relevance, distance from the desired location, and prominence of the business. The Local Pack results are shown with a Google map, and they showcase the business’ basic contact information, and sometimes even their star ratings and reviews. The best way to get into the Local Pack is to improve your online reputation and your local SEO ranking, such as by managing your local directory listings online, managing your reviews, optimizing for local search terms, and more.
Organic search results: Yes, the organic results have been pushed further down the page, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. They are still a major driver of website traffic, and they are in, a sense, a reflection of how relevant and trusted your website is in the search engine world. By following the best SEO practices, you can show search engines such as Google that your website is valuable to its users and worthy of higher placement in its organic search results. Unlike PPC, SEO takes time to produce results—but the results pay off in the end.
Why aim for a single appearance on SERP when your franchise can dominate the page and build greater trust with potential customers? Contact Scorpion if you would like to learn more about how our franchise marketing experts can boost your presence in search engines. We are an award-winning Internet marketing company that can help you drive more business to your franchisees!
For additional franchise marketing tips, download our free Online Reviews Survival Guide for franchises.