Local SEO for Franchises and Chain Locations


Key Takeaways:

  •  Franchises and chain locations can maximize local rankings by uploading more photos, optimizing a Q&A section, and making use of their Google Business Profile. 
  • Harness the power of reviews and posts on a Google Business Profile to establish trust and expertise. 
  • Name, address, and phone number management are crucial to ensuring that customers can find and contact local businesses easily and accurately. 

As we begin to settle back into life pre-pandemic and many chain retailers report a continued increase in foot traffic, the significance of a strong local SEO strategy cannot be overstated. For chain businesses to continue to thrive in this new age of commerce, mastering the art and science of local SEO remains paramount. This article will cover everything you need to keep the local search strategy for your chain or franchise on lock. 

Optimizing rankings for chain and franchise business

When it comes to search engine optimization for local businesses authority, consistency, and trust is the name of the game. It isn’t enough to just have a sub-par website with a few photos, your address, and an old blog article from 5 years ago. 

In order to really dominate in local search for your chain or franchise business, you need to have a well-maintained site, tons of local business listings, and high-quality reviews. 

Let’s first start with what you need to do with your Google Business Profile to reach the top of your local searches. 

Google Business Profiles (GBPs)

Google Business Profiles, or GBP for short, are the profiles that appear in organic search. You may see them appear when searching for a brand term like “redefine marketing group” or in the “local 3-pack” that could appear for a search term like “digital marketing agency near Los Angeles.”

GBPs are essentially social media profiles for Google that host a ton of business information such as your address, phone number, reviews, photos, and more. Keeping this profile updated can go a long way and help your customers easily find your listing and help Google give you more favorable rankings. 

Upload more photos and videos

Customers are visual learners, and Google Business, by design, is a very visual platform. So, be sure to show customers every facet of your business. In photos or videos, show them what your menu looks like, what kind of food you serve, what the atmosphere is like, and what makes your business great!

For large chains with 100s of locations, it may be hard to do this. However, if you are lucky enough to be a smaller chain with under 20 locations, take photos and videos of each location.

Keep an eye on the Q&A section

The “Questions & Answers” section is a feature on GBPs that allows customers to ask questions and for business owners or community members to answer. This section allows customers searching for your business to get a quick answer for some of the most commonly asked questions about your business. Answering these questions as thoroughly as possible can give customers the answers they are looking for and encourage them to visit your business. \

This might include information about services or events, if you offer delivery or curbside pickup, if the location allows pets, etc. Think about phone calls or in-store questions these locations get frequently. For example, if you run a gift shop that offers wrapping services, the question “How much is the gift wrap service?” would be worth answering up front.  

Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!

According to a survey by Whitespark, a local SEO software company, respondents of the survey said “High numerical Google ratings” were the 6th highest ranking factor for local search. After a quick look at Google Search results, you will start to notice that this is true to some degree. 

Typically, the highest-ranking businesses are the ones that have the highest star ratings. So, as an SEO guru for a chain business, you should dedicate some resources to review solicitation. This can be as simple as posting “Leave us a review” signs throughout your business or encouraging employees to ask customers for reviews immediately after positive interactions. Or, if you prefer the software route, you can leverage tools like Birdeye to do all the review solicitation for you.

As much as it’s important to get reviews, it’s also important to respond to them. While responding to reviews may not have a direct impact on your organic rankings, having responses present on each review can show customers that you care. Deleting or replying combatively to reviews will not do your local SEO any favors. 

Additionally, if you are able to address all negative reviews and turn them into positive reviews, it may help increase your average rating. By increasing your average rating, you may have a better chance of ranking higher on organic search. 

Publishing Google Posts

If your Google Business Profile is your social media profile, then Google Posts are your social media posts or tweets! Maintaining an active stream of Google Posts can help with showing customers you are an active business and potentially help give Google more context about your business when you include keywords in your posts. In the aforementioned survey by Whitespark, SEOs who answered placed Google Post frequency at #132 in terms of impact on rankings in local search. 

Good news for chain and franchise businesses

Google understands your pain as a marketer for a business with multiple locations. So, they’ve made it easy for you to bulk edit and even bulk upload many of these fields above. This Google Business resource will give you everything you need to know about bulk verifying your locations and even bulk updating fields like your business name, address, phone numbers, and photos. 

Name, address, phone number (NAP) management

In Local SEO, information consistency is key, especially when it comes to optimizing multiple locations for search. Thankfully we have Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP for short) management software. Also known as listing management software, this tool provides business owners with an easy way to manage their business listing information across hundreds of local listing or review sites.

This can be a powerful tool for chain businesses as it can be incredibly difficult to keep tabs on the listing information for multiple locations. Furthermore, if you were to multiply the number of locations you have by the number of local listing sites you should be on, you can start to see how difficult that will become. Leveraging this tool to stimulate your local organic search presence is key because it will help you syndicate information across sites like Google Business, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, Yahoo, and much more. The more sites you appear on, the easier you are making it for consumers to locate your business. 

Citations and local link building

Citation building, or local link building, is a key pillar of all local SEO strategies. Citation building is the act of getting links to your site or your business information listed on local listing sites. Where NAP management is the practice of maintaining consistency on local listing sites, citation building is the practice of securing those links or listings for your business. This not only establishes a strong digital footprint but also reinforces your business’s legitimacy in the eyes of search engines and customers. 

For chain businesses operating across multiple locations, citation building can foster a cohesive online presence while driving organic traffic and improving search engine rankings. These strategies amplify brand recognition and customer trust, ultimately leading to increased footfall and revenue generation across each business outlet.

There are virtually an unlimited number of sites or directories where you can build citations on. Here are some opportunities to look out for: 

  • Directories for businesses in a particular industry
  • Directories for businesses that operate in a certain city or region
  • Business listings on Chamber of Commerce sites
  • Listing directories for business associations or professional networks
  • Sponsorship or vendor pages for events

These are all examples of citations you can build across each of your locations. It’s important to keep in mind that you should build citations on sites that are 100% relevant to your business or industry. 

Get to SEO’ing

As foot traffic for chain businesses increases post-pandemic, creating a robust local SEO strategy that can support all of your locations has become even more important. Google Business Profiles (GBPs) have become the hub for shoppers to learn about your business. GBPs emphasize the need for captivating imagery, active engagement in Q&A sections, and the accumulation of positive reviews. 

Similarly, syndicating your business information across a variety of local listing sites help bolster your business’s credibility and amplify visibility throughout the web. 

These strategies collectively empower multi-location businesses to not only navigate the digital landscape adeptly but also build customer trust, increase foot traffic, and revenue in a competitive local market.

Redefine your local SEO 

Brick-and-mortar businesses need a strong local web presence to ensure that customers are on the up and up about what’s in their neighborhoods. Strengthening local SEO can be a powerful driving force for traffic. If you’re ready to take your business’ local search, Google Business Profile, and local link building above and beyond, it’s time to get in contact with the local SEO experts at Redefine Marketing Group. 

Contact us today to explore everything we can do to push your business’ local presence and visibility to the next level. 

Author avatar
Jason Martinez
Jason is a Cal Poly Pomona Alum, extreme fan of marketing, and social media advocate. As a Brand Marketing Manager at Redefine Marketing Group, he is responsible for the development and execution of strategy for reputation management, link building, and social media marketing for both the agency and its clients.
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