Oct 23rd 2023

Local SEO KPIs Every Franchise Should be Tracking and How to Measure Them

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In the complicated world of digital marketing, the term “SEO” rings familiar to most. But for franchises and multi-location businesses, the realm of SEO extends into a more nuanced landscape – that of local SEO. The difference might sound subtle, but its impact is substantial, especially when we talk about measuring success.

While local SEO might seem like just another sub-discipline, its KPIs diverge from traditional SEO metrics. The reason is embedded in the inherent nature of local businesses. A franchise in San Francisco would be less concerned about a user searching from New York, and more about how it ranks for queries in its immediate vicinity. The target here isn’t the vast global audience; it’s the neighbor, the local tourist, or the office worker looking for a lunch spot nearby.

Given the extreme changes in the digital marketing landscape over the past decade, the metrics we once deemed benchmarks have evolved. The user journey has become more complex, and so has the way we track it. In this extensive dive, we will not only explore the KPIs paramount to local SEO but also look at the methodologies that are rarely addressed in mainstream discussions. Our goal is to equip franchises with a deeper understanding of local SEO.

The Distinction: Local SEO KPIs vs. General SEO KPIs

The SEO sphere is vast, with numerous metrics, benchmarks, and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) vying for attention. However, when we dissect SEO into its broader and localized spectrums, the divergence becomes clear. The metrics that matter for an e-commerce giant selling globally might differ considerably from a franchise trying to attract the local populace. This distinction is not merely a superficial one but rests on the foundation of different user intents, behaviors, and conversion paths.

A recent article by Search Engine Journal delineated this contrast quite comprehensively, emphasizing the importance of tracking local SEO KPIs to show the worth of local search marketing endeavors. Before delving deeper into the world of local KPIs, let’s compare these two types of SEO to understand how Local SEO KPIs stand apart from general SEO metrics.

General SEO KPIs: The Broader Perspective

General SEO, often targeting a broader audience, emphasizes:

  • Organic Traffic: The total number of visitors coming from search engines.
  • Bounce Rate: Percentage of visitors who leave after viewing a single page.
  • Page Load Time: Speed at which your website loads, crucial for user experience.
  • Backlinks: Number and quality of other websites linking back to your site.

KPI’s that are Unique to Local SEO

As the SEJ article rightly points out, local SEO revolves around distinct parameters:

  • Website Clicks: Gauges the local audience’s interest and can be instrumental in driving relevant traffic, ultimately leading to site conversions.
  • Phone Calls: A direct measure of local engagement. How many users call your business after finding you online?
  • Direction Requests: An indication of physical store visits stemming from online discovery.
  • Local Listings: Ensuring your business details (like Google Business Profiles) are consistent across platforms, reflecting the credibility and reliability of your franchise.
  • Branded vs. Non-Branded Search Traffic: Differentiates between users who already know your brand and those discovering you through generic, non-branded searches.
  • Review and Rating Metrics: Gauges local customer satisfaction, trust, and areas of improvement.
  • Local Keyword Rankings: Tracks the franchise’s standing in local search results for key terms relevant to its business.

The merits of local KPIs don’t just end at distinguishing metrics. They play a pivotal role in sculpting the local SEO strategy itself. For instance, monitoring website clicks can shed light on the kind of local content resonating with the audience. Similarly, consistent local listings ensure a unified brand image across all online platforms, strengthening trust among local clientele. Delving into these key performance indicators can equip a franchise to not just stay afloat but truly get ahead in its local market.

Importance of Local KPIs for Franchises

For franchises, the significance of local KPIs cannot be overstated. These metrics:

  • Reflect the franchise’s reach and impact in its local market.
  • Inform adjustments to marketing strategies tailored for local preferences.
  • Offer insights into local competitors and market trends.
  • Help in efficient resource allocation, ensuring marketing spends yield optimal ROI.

Utilizing KPI Insights for Strategy Refinement

Merely monitoring KPIs isn’t enough. The real value lies in leveraging these insights for continual strategy refinement. For instance, a dip in phone calls might indicate a need to make contact details more prominent or to refine local ads to elicit direct engagement. 

Similarly, an uptick in non-branded search traffic could signal growing local awareness, presenting opportunities to capture a new segment of the local market.

Effective Tools and Platforms to Measure These KPIs

Local SEO is an ever-evolving landscape. To remain at the forefront, franchises must be equipped with the right tools and platforms that provide accurate, timely, and actionable insights into their local KPIs. These tools don’t merely offer data; they paint a holistic picture of a franchise’s local digital footprint, allowing for precise strategy calibration.

Why Choose Specialized Tools for Local SEO

Opting for specialized local SEO tools is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Here’s why:

  • They provide granular insights tailored to local searches.
  • Most of these tools are designed with multi-location businesses in mind.
  • They offer automation features that streamline repetitive tasks like local listing checks

Top Tools for Measuring Local SEO KPIs

Google My Business: At the heart of local SEO, this platform provides insights into how customers find your business, the actions they take, and much more.

SEMrush: Apart from its wide suite of general SEO tools, SEMrush offers localized keyword tracking and competitor analysis.

Local Falcon: Designed specifically for local SEO, it helps in monitoring map pack rankings in a given radius around a business.

Moz Local: Ensures consistent local listings across platforms and provides insights into performance metrics.

WhiteSpark’s Local Rank Tracker: Offers detailed local search rankings for specific cities or regions.

CallRail: For franchises that prioritize phone calls, this tool tracks call sources and provides detailed analytics on customer phone engagement.

Integrating Insights from Multiple Platforms

While having multiple tools can be advantageous, integrating insights from various platforms is crucial. An integrated dashboard or a comprehensive tool can consolidate data, providing a unified view of local performance. This holistic approach eliminates data silos, facilitating informed decision-making.

Translating KPIs into Actionable Strategies

In the realm of local SEO, raw numbers and metrics alone won’t suffice. It’s the interpretation and application of these KPIs that determine the success of a franchise’s local search marketing endeavors. It’s one thing to understand your KPIs; it’s another to turn them into actionable strategies that drive tangible results.

Recognizing the Value in the Numbers

Before jumping to any conclusions based on KPIs, it’s imperative to comprehend what these numbers represent in the real world:

Are rising direction requests indicative of an effective local presence, or are they just a byproduct of an increase in local population or events?

Does a surge in phone calls correlate to a recently launched promotional campaign?

Understanding the context is key to deriving genuine insights from the data.

Prioritizing KPIs Based on Business Goals

Not all KPIs carry equal significance. Franchises should align their KPIs with their overarching business objectives:

If the goal is brand awareness, then metrics like branded versus non-branded search traffic might take precedence.

If conversion is the primary aim, monitoring website clicks and the subsequent actions of those visitors becomes paramount.

Fine-Tuning Based on KPI Feedback

KPIs serve as a feedback mechanism. Based on the data:

  • Refine local SEO content strategies to address keywords that aren’t performing as expected.
  • Reassess and optimize local listings if they aren’t driving the desired foot traffic.
  • Reallocate budget and resources to platforms and strategies that show the most promise.

Integrating Local Insights with Broader Marketing Strategies

Local SEO shouldn’t operate in isolation. Integrate its insights into broader marketing strategies:

If a local event or promotion drives significant local traffic, consider scaling it at a national level.

Utilize positive local reviews in broader promotional materials or testimonials.

The Symbiotic Relationship Between KPIs and Local SEO Success

In the intricate landscape of local SEO, franchises find themselves in the ever-demanding task of navigating multiple pathways, each leading to different outcomes. One may lead to brand visibility, another to customer engagement, and yet another to tangible conversions. In the midst of all of this, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) serve as both a compass and a litmus test, ensuring not just direction but also validation of the strategy.

The Vital Role of KPIs

KPIs are not just metrics to flaunt in board meetings or annual reports. For franchises and multi-location enterprises, they represent the pulse of their local presence. Every click, call, direction request, or search query is a testament to the fact that the brand resonates, one way or another, with the local populace. But more importantly:

  • KPIs provide clarity amidst ambiguity, allowing franchises to decipher what’s working and what’s not.
  • They bridge the gap between subjective assumptions and objective realities.

Local SEO: Beyond Just Rankings

While the ultimate goal of SEO, local or otherwise, may seem to be achieving top rankings on search engines, the reality is more nuanced. Local SEO is about building and nurturing a relationship with the local audience, understanding their needs, and addressing them effectively. KPIs ensure that this relationship is not just perceived but quantified.

Driving Success With Local SEO

At its core, the relationship between KPIs and local SEO success is reciprocal:

  • Successful local SEO strategies lead to improved KPIs.
  • In turn, insightful KPIs guide franchises towards refining their local SEO strategies.

This cyclical feedback loop ensures constant evolution and adaptation, keeping franchises ahead in the local digital realm.

As we conclude this exploration into the world of KPIs and their symbiotic relationship with local SEO, it’s crucial for franchises to remember that while KPIs provide direction, it’s the actionable strategies derived from them that drive success. 

In an ever-changing digital landscape, it’s not enough to just measure – franchises must measure right and act upon it. For those who master this balance, the local digital realm is ripe with opportunities and success stories waiting to be written.