Lately I’ve been speaking with SEM experts about what small business owners should do to increase their online visibility. While opinions vary, most experts agree about the importance of ranking high on Google’s various organic search results.
Listening to them explain what a local business can hope to achieve, I found that the language was hardly ever about being the “only winner” in a category, but rather being in the “leading group of search results”. This is consistent with the reality of search, where we are used to seeing multiple results in each page. Being “among” the 10-pack is often considered a great achievement, not to mention having your website or profile page appear in the first search results page (i.e. along 9 other links). In other words, in every category within a given market, there are usually a handful of winners who enjoy a good deal of online visibility.
And then, during a chat with Will Scott from Search Influence, I ran a Google search for “New Orleans Chiropractor” which brought up this page:
What I found striking about these results were several things:
- There was just one “one box” result (not a 10 or 3 pack), dominated by a Dr. Dubois.
- Above the one box, there was no typical “Local business results for…” link that usually takes the user to a list of other chiropractors.
- The first organic search result below the one box belongs to the same Dr. Dubois.
- The following (indented) link is from a page on Dr. Dubois’ site.
- While the next link (already mostly below the fold) directs to a different chiropractor (Dr. Thompson), a quick investigation shows that he and Dr. Dubois share the same phone number and are probably affiliated.
- Most of the remaining links on the first page are directory sites, but even there, Dr. Dubois managed to dominate a couple (e.g. on InsiderPages).
While this is no LA, I should note that there is no shortage of New Orleans chiropractors in Google’s database – you can find hundreds of them if you run the same query on Google Maps:
There is no need to expound the benefits of such an overarching domination of the search results. Consumers using these keywords on Google would be hard pressed to find other chiropractors in New Orleans, and the impact on both Dr. Dubois’ business as well as on his competitors is probably significant.
As far as I can tell, Will’s work in this case was a mix of some good old fashioned SEO and a not too competitive landscape. But the end result shows just how much this industry can do for those SMBs who are ready to take advantage of the opportunities presented by local online search.
(I should note that I am not affiliated with Will or with Search Influence in any way.)
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.