Franchising World:

Most customers find businesses through search engines such as Google and Yahoo. A business that lands in a search engine’s top spot is likely to have more visitors to its Web site than one that lands a lower position. Many companies rely heavily on paid searches to achieve a desirable ranking. While certainly a valid tactic, managing these campaigns can be complex, time-consuming and expensive.

An alternative and one of the most effective ways to increase a franchisor’s search-engine ranking is to focus on the natural search results for the terms its customers use when looking for the business. This is referred to as search engine optimization. SEO involves making changes to a company’s Web site and building links to the site. There are many resources and firms that can help franchisors make changes to their Web sites to improve search results. While on-site optimization helps, one of the most effective ways to improve rankings is building links to a company’s Web site.

Many businesses, large and small, spend countless hours looking for sites that will link to them. They send e-mails (most of which are deleted as “spam”), search the Web for sites that offer link exchanges, make phone calls to request links, negotiate the terms of a link and so on. The end result tends to be low-quality, costly links that do little to improve search-engine ranking. The payoff is generally not worth the effort.

Leveraging Linking Power… Read full article.