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5 Local SEO Tips for Your “Happily Ever After”

By Stephanie Mahnken| 6 Min Read | July 25, 2022
5 Local SEO Tips

Read below for 5 local SEO tips you can learn from the online marketing efforts of Papa John’s.

Imagine that it’s 1984 and you have just earned your business degree. Your father, Mick, owns a tavern and has always instilled in you the importance of hard work. Unfortunately, his tavern is on the verge of bankruptcy and you realize that maybe, just maybe, you can help!

Your first job, prior to college, was at a local pizza restaurant and you got pretty good at making a superior-quality pizza. So, you swallow your pride and sell your most-prized possession. A gorgeous 1971 Z28 Camaro for $2,800.00.

Local SEO Tips

You use the money to buy used restaurant equipment and turn the broom closet at the back of the tavern into the perfect spot to make your pizza.

Fast-forward one year. Your pizzas are delicious; the locals love them: you are able to open your own space (close to the tavern, of course).

Business Local SEO

Do you know whose story I’m telling yet?

Fast-forward 15 more years to 2001, and now you are the first pizza chain to offer national online ordering. Fast-forward a further 7 years to 2008, and you have topped $1 billion in e-commerce sales and $1 million in mobile web orders.

Does “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.” Ring a bell? If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am telling the story of John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John’s.

Papa John's Local SEO

Why Is an Online Marketing Company Telling This Story?

Why is an online marketing company telling stories about a pizza chain?

Well, thank you for asking!

Tomorrow, Google will be joining us as we host an interactive digital marketing seminar in Louisville, KY. Before this event, we wanted to point out some of the online marketing wins of one of the major employers in the area. And who doesn’t LOVE pizza?

Headquartered in Jeffersontown (a suburb of Louisville), Papa John’s continues to be on the top of its game when it comes to technology and its website’s search engine optimization (SEO).

Local SEO Tips For Better Search Optimization

What Do Papa John’s Best Local SEO Tips Teach Us?

There are a number of key factors that should be considered when optimizing your website’s franchise location pages for local search engine optimization.

For the sake of this post, let’s take a look at the Papa John’s franchise located at 5709 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 40291.

1. Search Engine Friendly URLs

The first thing that Papa John’s did right for local search engine optimization was creating a dedicated page for each franchise location. In such a situation, the URLs should include the country, state, town, zip code, and street address.

While this may be a bit long for some types of franchises to duplicate, it certainly helps your customers and search engines determine where each franchise is located. Keep in mind that when your customers do a search for your products or services, Google usually knows where they are located and will serve results that it believes to be most relevant to that user. Including location information in the URL can boost your local SEO efforts.

2. Meta Titles for Local SEO

While meta titles cannot be seen on your site itself, they are one of the first things that visitors will see in search engine results. Meta titles are the bold headings above each search result. Below, you can see the meta title for the page that we are reviewing.

Local SEO Meta Title Optimization

The title includes the street address, brand name, city, state, and zip code. When optimizing for local SEO, keep in mind that you want to use the most relevant keywords for each page. You should also keep your title between 50 and 60 characters (although Google has been displaying up to 70 characters in the recent months). The more relevant your meta title is, the less likely Google will re-write it and the more likely it is to catch your customer’s attention!

3. Meta Descriptions for Local SEO

Like meta titles, meta descriptions are not visible on your site, but rather in the search engine results. You want to think of this as being the place to describe what the page is about while including relevant keywords ranging from 150 to 160 characters. Google will bold the words that match those in the user’s query.

Meta Descriptions for local SEO

We can see in the image above that Papa John’s included their top keyword “pizza” as well as the street address, city, and state in their meta description. They also let the searcher know that this page will give hours and contact information for the exact location being searched.

4. On-page Local Search Optimization

Let’s now take a look at some of the tactics that Papa John’s has used for on-page local search engine optimization.

local seo on page optimization

Each page on your website should have one heading or H1 tag that contains your top keywords and one that tells your visitors what the page is about. Since this is a franchise location page, it makes absolute sense to include the brand name (Papa John’s Pizza) and the city and state (Louisville, KY). Directly beneath that, the street address (5709 Bardstown Road) is tagged as an H2, as well as the second mention of the address beneath that.

Mobile searches are popular. So it’s a great idea to have the phone number prominently displayed and coded so that a user can click on it and instantly be connected with the store to place an order.

5. Local Citation Link Building Best Practices

As an agency that offers local SEO services, we can assure you that local citation link building must be one of your first off-site tactics. Once you have your location pages optimized, you’ll want to then ensure that you list your NAP (name, address & phone number) consistently across all areas of the local search ecosystem.

In general, the top citation sites are the same; however, Moz has published a super helpful list of citations by city that links to each directory in the order of importance for that area. If nothing more, you would want to ensure a proper listing in each of these sites.

Local seo citation sites

If you need to check the status of your local listings, Moz Local will show you where your listings are complete, incomplete, and inconsistent, as well as if you have any duplicate listings.

Moz Local report

Using these resources as a guide will help ensure that you have a good basis for local link building by displaying exactly what is missing to ensure a complete profile on each site.

A Great Story Always Ends “Happily Ever After!”

Just like John Schatter’s “happily ever after” of having the world’s third largest take-out and pizza delivery chain AND getting his 1971 Z28 Camaro back in 2009 . . .

2009 z28

. . . we hope that these local SEO tips from Papa John’s will help you optimize your company’s location pages and have a “happily ever after” of your own.

PS – this post from our friends at DesignRush have even more helpful trends to take advantage of as part of your efforts to improve SEO for franchises.

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