"In the United States, the franchise industry accounts for almost 40% of all retail sales," writes Dedric Polite at the HubSpot blog. "Unfortunately, many franchise companies with large networks of franchisees spread throughout the country are not taking advantage of on-page search-engine optimization best practices."

To help change that picture, Polite offers franchise owners this handy three-point primer for taking charge of your website SEO:

Optimize your page title. When search engines crawl a site, the page title is the first thing they see; a generic title like "Home" or "X Company" won't do you much good. Polite suggests creating a title that includes one or two of your top search terms. Using his formula, the page title "Leather Furniture Store Jacksonville | Leather Sofas Jacksonville" replaces the un-optimized "Rick's Leather Furniture" for a Jacksonville, Florida, retailer.

Optimize for geographically specific keywords. A Google search on "leather furniture" returned 18 million Web pages for Polite; the term "leather furniture Jacksonville," however, returned fewer than 300,000. "[I]nstead of competing with everyone in the country who is vying for that general keyword," he notes, "you are only competing against other local businesses in your geographic area."

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