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How to Optimize Google My Business for Franchises: 7 Important Steps

Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Co-Founder & Head of Product
Learn how to optimize Google My Business for franchises with these 7 proven steps. Enhance your online presence and boost SEO. Start today!
How to Optimize Google My Business for Franchises: 7 Important Steps

As a franchise business owner, tapping into a wide customer base can often present itself as an uphill climb. With the number of similar businesses sprouting here, there, and everywhere, how can you, as a franchisor, make sure that your business is noticed and patronized by customers who are on the lookout for the products and/or services that you're offering? The answer lies in leveraging Google My Business (GMB), or now known as Google Business Profile (GBP) for your franchise.

In this article, we'll delve into how utilizing Google Business Profile can effortlessly direct traffic towards your business, answer customer inquiries, showcase each franchise's unique elements, and so much more. Now, let's jump into the captivating world of optimizing GMB or GBP for franchises.

A New Frontier: Grasping the Concepts of Local Listings and Google Business Profile

Before embarking on our journey, let's familiarize ourselves with some foundational terms that function as vital pillars in the digital landscape: "local listings" and "Google Business Profile."

Local listing definition:

A "local listing" is a digital business card of sorts. It appears wherever your business name, address, and phone number are visible online. When boots are on the ground, it's like your digital storefront: popping up when users search for your business, showing important data right at your customer's fingertips.

screenshot mcdonalds search hong kong
Sample of multiple franchise listings for one brand.

Compared to broad-reaching marketing campaigns, your local listing centers on customers within your immediate area or community, a vital consideration for franchise owners. The customers targeted through local listings are only a few clicks away from visiting your store and making purchases, underscoring the importance of having a robust online local presence. Therefore, it is essential to exhaust all available means, including optimizing your local listing, to effectively attract and convert them. To learn more about you can leverage the power of your local listing, read Google Maps Marketing: Unlock Your Business Potential with This Ultimate Guide

Google Business Profile definition:

As for the "Google Business Profile," formerly known as Google My Business or GMB, this serves as your franchise's digital persona across all Google products. Despite the fact that some businesses continue to underestimate the significance of creating a fully optimized Google Business profile, research indicates that companies that have invested in their presence across the Google platform have witnessed a substantial 25% increase in conversion rates, specifically from views to actions on Google Maps and Search.

screenshot mcdonalds hong kong google business profile
Google Reviews and Google Map geolocation for a GMB listing.

Think of your Google Business profile as your brand's online ambassador, responsible for sharing comprehensive information about your business, engaging with customers through reviews and photos, and promoting events and sales. Without Google My Business, you'll miss out on opportunities to reach new customers and establish a robust online presence. Read Google My Business Guide: How to Optimize Your Profile to learn more about the power of GMB.

1. Creating Google Business profile for each of your franchise locations

To kick off, here's the first step for franchise GMB optimization: setting up a Google Business Profile for each of your franchise locations. The diverse geographical locations of your franchises add unique elements to each of them. These varying elements likely affect your franchise's operations, such as business hours, amenities, particular products or services, and community engagement activities. Make sure to highlight these distinctions in your GBP listings for each location to provide your clientele with accurate and location-specific information.

Google Business Profile homepage
Getting started with Google Business.

Quick guide to Google My Business for franchise business login:

  1. Visit the GMB Dashboard: Begin by logging into your GMB account through the official Google My Business website and ensure you're using an account associated with your franchise.
  2. Search for Your Franchise: Locate your franchise's existing listing by searching for it by name; claim ownership if it's already listed or create a new listing if it's not.
  3. Provide Accurate Business Information: Ensure all essential franchise details, such as name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and a brief description, are accurate and up-to-date.
  4. Select the Appropriate Category: Choose a category that best represents your franchise business to help potential customers find you more easily.
  5. Verify Your Franchise: Confirm your authorization as an owner by selecting a verification method, such as a postcard, phone call, or email.


2. Ensuring consistency and relevance through regular updates

After populating the fields in your GBP listing for each franchise, don't rest on your laurels. Regular Google Business Profile updates are vital. This is where important business changes such as extended hours during holiday seasons, newly added services or products, or even temporary closures due to unforeseen events should reflect promptly. Regular updates to your GBP will help to avoid potential customers landing in front of a closed storefront, which can lead to a poor client experience reflecting negatively on your business reputation.

screenshot stk steakhouse midtown nyc google business
See the online traction generated by a local listing with regular Google updates.

Balancing the task of managing an online listing with your day-to-day business operations can be a challenging endeavor. Therefore, it is imperative for franchise owners to register additional users who can assist in maintaining an active and engaging online presence. The good news is that achieving this on Google Business is a straightforward process.

Authorized Google My Business representative registration:

  • Log In to Your GMB Account: Start by logging in using your franchise's GMB credentials.
  • Access the "Users" Section: Navigate to the "Users" section within your GMB dashboard for user management.
  • Invite an Authorized Representative: Click "Invite new users," enter their email, and assign them the appropriate role.
  • Confirmation and Acceptance: The invited representative should accept the invitation through the email link.
  • Collaboration and Management: The authorized representative can begin managing your GMB profile, making updates, responding to reviews, and enhancing your online presence.

3. Breathing life into your listings with high-quality photos

Humans are visual creatures, and appealing to this aspect of our human nature can boost your franchise's visibility. Photos showcasing your franchise locations, the interiors, unique aspects, top-selling items, or even your team can create a more immersive experience for potential customers. Additionally, it helps your regular clients recognize your franchise, building a sense of familiarity and loyalty. Regularly add new and high-quality images to maintain your customers' interest and engagement.

screenshot stk steakhouse nyc photos
A business that truly invested on their Google photos.

4. Attracting more patrons through reviews

Reviews are an indirect word-of-mouth marketing strategy. By encouraging your customers to leave a review, you're eliciting testimonials that future clients might find valuable when considering patronizing your franchise. However, amassing positive reviews for one of your franchises isn't enough. Encourage clients at each location to leave a review. This will paint a better picture of what the general client base can expect from different locations of your franchise group.

In-N-Out screenshot google reviews
A franchise of a popular brand actively collecting reviews for the Google Business listing.

How to use Google My Business for franchise for customer reviews?

To effectively use Google My Business (GMB) for customer reviews in a franchise, start by claiming and verifying all franchise locations individually on GMB. Regularly monitor customer reviews, responding professionally and promptly to both positive and negative feedback. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and avoid any unethical practices such as fake reviews. Actively engage with your audience through responses to reviews, fostering a sense of community and trust.

Leverage GMB insights for data-driven decisions, highlight positive reviews on your website and social media, and maintain a consistent level of service and quality across all franchise locations to ensure a positive online reputation and attract and retain customers. To learn more about the power of Google reviews, read Boost Credibility and Trust: Adding Google Reviews to Your Website.

5. Answering queries and responding to concerns

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, real-time responses are a must. Customers can post questions or reviews on your Google Business Profile, and promptly providing answers will elevate your clientele's trust. Additionally, responding to any concerns effectively will help you build a resilient brand reputation. One crucial bias to eliminate is favoring positive reviews. Regardless of tones or sentiments, every review warrants a response.

screenshot mcdonalds twitter response
A popular franchise brand responding to a negative review. Source: Juphy

Sounds challenging? Read The Importance of Responding to Reviews Individually to learn the importance of attending to each online review.

Why are customer reviews important for franchise businesses?

Customer reviews build trust and credibility for your franchise locations. Positive reviews can increase foot traffic and sales. By actively managing reviews and engaging with customers, you can enhance your brand reputation.

Seamlessly Manage Reviews with MARA's Review AI for franchise businesses

In the fast-paced business world, saving time whilst maintaining customer engagement is crucial. Enter MARA's AI Review Reply Assistant - an innovative tool that helps you craft personalized responses to customer reviews in seconds. Just hit "generate reply," and you'll receive a super personalized response proposal ready for deployment.

MARA provides a host of benefits that streamline your review management process. Notably, it saves time by quickly generating personalized responses, reducing the need for manual replies. The consistency in tone and messaging that MARA ensures will boost your professionalism and reputation management.

screenshot MARA AI response to food review
See how MARA generated an equally warm and engaging response to a delightful customer review.

Also, it's a cost-efficient solution, designed to integrate easily into your existing review management process. Plus, it's multilingual, perfect for businesses serving international clientele.

Ready to take your review management to the next level? Try MARA for free, and experience the convenience and efficiency it brings to managing customer reviews.

6. Handling Google Business profile for multiple locations: manage roles

You need to ensure that the baton of brand narrative doesn't drop despite the numerous moving parts in handling multiple franchise locations. Consider having a hierarchy of managers, site managers, and even delegating tasks to a trusted marketing agency for consistent brand image management across the franchise.

google search for footlocker
Sample search of a shoe outlet with numerous international franchise stores.

As a franchise owner, it is crucial to link all your franchise locations to your Google Business account. To gain insights into different strategies for efficiently managing listings across your franchises, read the article Google My Business Multiple Locations Guide: Strategies for Optimization.

7. The undeniable influence of SEO for franchises

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), combined with an effective Google Business Profile, can propel your franchise towards unparalleled growth. By targeting specific keywords, such as "Franchise GMB" or "Google My Business for Franchises," you'll attract traffic that's highly relevant to your business. Coupled with a well-maintained and regularly updated GBP, your franchise branches are sure to stand out in the online space.

screenshot google search best chinese food
Franchises beating big brands in a Google search.

Read How Ratings and Reviews Impact Search: A Comprehensive Guide for SEO to learn how to maximize the content online review websites such as Google Reviews.

Which fields should I fill in my Google Business Profile?

In summary, your Google Business Profile is your digital map, guiding potential customers to your business. To capitalize on local searches, ensure the following fields are thoroughly filled out:

  • Business Name: Should match what's on your storefront.
  • Category: Choose a category that best describes your franchise.
  • Business Location: Make sure your address is accurate.
  • Service Area: Specify the areas you serve.
  • Hours: Display when you're open for business.
  • Special Hours: For holidays or special occasions.
  • Phone Number
  • Website
  • Appointment URL: If applicable.
  • Services: What services do you offer?
  • Attributes: Highlight what sets your business apart.
  • From the Business: A brief description.
  • Photos: Upload high-quality images.
  • Q&A: Encourage users to ask questions.
  • Reviews: Respond to all reviews, positive and negative.

Streamline your review management across listings through MARA.

Responding to online reviews can be a daunting task, especially if you’re dealing with multiple franchises, each with its own listing. Fortunately, MARA AI Review Assistant can help you streamline the process. This intuitive tool is designed to ease your Online Reputation Management process, making it more efficient, personalized, and time-saving. It offers the best and most personalized AI for responding to and analyzing your guest reviews.

Comprehensive Review Inbox

One of the key features of this tool is the Review Inbox, which consolidates the reviews of multiple listings into one convenient dashboard. Your review inbox makes responding to reviews as simple as hitting "Generate reply" and clicking "Send". The Review Inbox connects to multiple review sources, including Google,, and Tripadvisor, giving you a panoramic view of all your reviews. You can even configure review response automation: Why not allow MARA to automatically respond to simple reviews, like 5-star Google reviews with no text, ensuring you never miss a review? Daily notifications about new reviews keep you updated and in control.

MARA Review Inbox
A comprehensive Review Inbox for your Google listings.

Review Analytics for customer insights

While online reviews in the restaurant industry may be harsh, they are a gold mine of genuine customer insights. To help you understand and analyze the multitude of reviews, the Review Assistant also incorporates Review Analytics. This provides actionable, easy-to-understand insights tailored exclusively to your business. With MARA, you can quickly grasp the gist of all your reviews without needing to read each one. The analysis is so detailed that you can find out about specific issues like "water in the pool is too cold" or "lack of vegan breakfast options”. These insights help optimize guest experience without requiring you to be a data expert.

MARA Review Analytics
Summarized and synthesized customer insights from Google Reviews.

Group Analytics for multiple listings

Additionally, our group analytics overview can provide a quick evaluation of the performance of each location. Besides key metrics such as response rates, ratings, and the number of reviews, MARA also offers category scores based on advanced AI analytics. This analysis aids in swiftly identifying potential weaknesses, with a preview of detailed topics appearing when you hover over a category.

MARA Group Analytics
Running data analytics for your listings, all at once.

Personalized responses for your franchise

One of the most common challenges across businesses operating franchises is the decreasing customer relationship. Truth is, building (or rebuilding) rapport with your customers could start with a simple yet genuine action – personalizing your responses to their reviews. MARA's AI isn't just about efficiency; it's about personalization too.

The Brand Voice feature allows the AI to adapt to your tone, ensuring your responses sound authentically you. Plus, with Smart Snippets, you can "teach" the AI how to respond to recurring praises or complaints. Your AI then incorporates this information into its responses, but always with different words, providing more personalized, relevant replies. This review response assistant has quickly become a game-changer for over 2000 customers. Its promising capacity to elevate your overall rating, amplify response rates, glean insights from customer feedback, and economize both time and money, is the reason behind its growing popularity.

Final Thoughts

Running a franchise in a world driven by convenience and digital growth requires you to maintain a strong online presence. A well-optimized and well-managed Google Business Profile lets you do exactly that. With the appropriate software, not only can you streamline the process, but you can also personalize your responses and derive valuable insights from the reviews. So, why hesitate to give our AI Review Assistant, MARA, a try? It's completely free for testing, doesn't require a credit card, and can be fully operational in less than five minutes.

This article is part of our hero content "Mastering Google Reviews - A Complete Guide".

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Google My Business, and why is it essential for franchises?

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google. For franchises, it's essential because it helps you provide accurate and up-to-date information to customers, improves your online visibility, and enhances your local SEO.

How do I create a Google My Business listing for multiple franchise locations?

To create GMB listings for multiple locations, ensure you have individual profiles for each one. Provide accurate and specific information for each location, and keep them up to date. Google's guidelines can help you get started.

How do I claim my Google Business Profile?

To claim your Google Business Profile, visit the Google page for direct instructions on how to add or claim your business.

How do I optimize my Google Business Profile for multiple franchise locations?

For multiple locations, consider bulk uploading via the Google Business Profile interface. Be patient during the verification process.

Can I assign different roles to people managing my Google Business Profile?

Yes, you can assign roles like Owner, Manager, and Site Manager to people managing your GBP, ensuring consistent branding.

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