In my daily interactions with franchise owners, one of the most common questions I get is: “What can I personally do to improve my franchise’s SEO standings?”
Well, it’s pretty easy, actually. The answer is getting online reviews. Particularly Google reviews.
Think about the logic for a moment. What do you think most people type into Google search when they’re looking for a carpet cleaner in your area? Usually some variation of “carpet cleaning (insert city, state)”. So it makes logical sense that if your franchise is well-recognized in your area as a good carpet cleaner, you have a good chance of showing up in Google search just based on your reviews.
Click on the picture above. You see the three listings at the top? Now, all of us know that the only reason they’re out-ranking the Chem-Dry listing is because they’ve got more reviews (they’re obviously not better). Google’s algorithm is designed such that it gives preference to listings that are deemed more “legitimate” because of the reviews.
Now, the great thing about Google reviews is that they play a much stronger role in your SEO rankings than other review sites (such as Yelp.com, YP.com, etc.). They’re also fairly accessible. For instance, can you imagine how many more people have a Google account as compared to a Yelp account? No contest.
I’m not saying that Yelp and YP.com aren’t good places to get reviews. They are, but they have limitations on “weight” when it comes to how much they influence your ranking in search results. Millions of consumers use sites like these to get “shop around” for service providers. Other sources may be Angie’s List, Customer Lobby, Thumbtack (though it’s a little different), Screaming Tree, and LOADS of others. It’s definitely useful to have listings with these websites and directories, but none of them have the clout that Google does for advancing your ranking.
So what do you need to do?
First, set up a Google business page.
Second, make sure that your website has a proper link to your Google business page. (It’s easy to do from your Gateway. Click on “Webmaster.” Go to “Custom Settings”, select the website you want to add to, scroll down and expand the “Social Media” section. In the field under “Google Plus Listing” paste in the URL for your page. Click “Submit” down at the bottom and the change will go into effect with the next update cycle – within 24 hours.)
Third, request reviews. You can do that in a couple ways.
- E-mail the customer (assuming you’ve collected their email address like you should) thanking them for the opportunity to come and clean their home. Include a link to your Google page and request they take a moment to leave a review.
- As you’re packing up after a job, have your customer access your Google page (either through your website, or by looking you up on Google), and have them leave you a review on their mobile device*.
- Use Review Tracker from onTrack (coming soon!).
- Get creative. However you can convince people to go to your Google page and get a review from them will improve your chances of showing up in the next search.
*The advantage to having them leave a review from a mobile device is that they’re likely already logged into their Google account. AND, since it’s on a mobile device, Google recognizes that as a review that’s more likely to be “real.” Plus, it triangulates their location so that when someone nearby looks up carpet cleaning, you’re more likely to show up.
When you get your company listed and good reviews coming in (because, let’s face it, you’re all going to get 5-star reviews, right?), you’ll soon find Chem-Dry DOMINATING your territory and leaving those “other guys” in the dust.