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:

new orleans chiro

What I found striking about these results were several things:

  1. There was just one “one box” result (not a 10 or 3 pack), dominated by a Dr. Dubois.
  2. Above the one box, there was no typical “Local business results for…” link that usually takes the user to a list of other chiropractors.
  3. The first organic search result below the one box belongs to the same Dr. Dubois.
  4. The following (indented) link is from a page on Dr. Dubois’ site.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

new orleads chiro - 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.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Small Is Beautiful

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About The Author: is CEO at Palore, a provider of local businesses' advertising data and information on their online activity. He also blogs at The Palore Blog. This column is researched and written by the marketing department at Palore, which is led by Hanan.

Connect with the author via: Email



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  • http://www.searchinfluence.com/blog/ Will Scott

    Hey Hanan,

    It was great talking with you the other day. Thanks for featuring this.

    While not every client / site / domain can be so dominant in maps, we quite often find that by using traditional search engine optimization techniques we can take multiple page 1 spots by proxy (I like to call the technique Barnacle SEO).

    With smaller budget clients we often find value in making someone else’s site rank (e.g. InsiderPages, Kudzu, MerchantCircle) because with small local business the most important thing is that the phone rings and the door swings.

    Thanks again,
    Will

  • http://catchsearchmarketing.com JeffMHoward

    I think so much of Google algo right now is dependent on the domain name. Local business really should consider picking up new domains to make the SEO a lot easier. This is a .net too.

    Even if you have a limited number of links or content that domain will carry you.

    For small business that want to perform their own SEO my company offers local search training, plus Q&A. http://catchsearchmarketing.com

  • James Ryan

    The real reason for the resulting one box is the name of the business and not the SEO. Search “dodge orlando” in Google – Orlando Dodge is one box even though Google should know you’re looking for a choice of area Dodge dealers.

  • http://www.searchinfluence.com/blog/ Will Scott

    Jeff and James,

    You’re both right to a great extent. That said, there are plenty of examples where an exact domain name match doesn’t drive this behavior.

    For example:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=san+francisco+chiropractor (.net, not on map – down the page)
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=newport+beach+plastic+surgery (.com, #1 organic and in the map, but not dominant)

    So, there’s something else at work. My presumption is that it is a combination of Google’s preference for domain name matches + some level of perceived authority per the Local Search Ranking Factors.

    So James, while I agree with you that it’s a factor, it’s not the only factor or every instance of spot-on [city]+[brand OR service] would achieve the same impact.

    Thanks for taking the time to weigh in. I’d love to solve this riddle. If I do, I’ll wait a few months before I share ;-)

    Will

  • James Ryan

    I didn’t say that a listing’s title field with a city + brand would generate a one box in every case where it mirrored the search term. But it was the reason for New Orleans Chiropractor and that can be proven.

  • http://www.videoseoshop.com timtevlin

    Thx Hanan and I agree heartily that Local Organic domination on Google is a strategic objective that makes great sense, and will prove to generate more business for those who go after it aggressively than those who don’t. A new add-on to achieving local organic links is the effectiveness of Video SEO, whereby keyword-optimized videos about a local business are posted across a number of powerful third-party video-hosting websites such as YouTube and Metacafe. Working like a charm for my clients! I’m also seeing local businesses that blog consistently starting to gain solid local organic links. thx again

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com nickstamoulis

    This is very true, true local search domination happens, when your business/website ranks in Maps, Organic and PPC listings, this is excellent for market penetration locally…

  • http://www.smallbusinessonline.net NeilS

    Local organic domination is, unfortunately, the best-kept secret of internet marketing, imo. Many small local businesses could be doing so much better if they put a bit of money into using an expert on local seo. The success story of the New Orleans chiropractor is laudable, but hardly unique. I have a catering client, for example, in a wealthy Fairfield County, CT town. For a competitive terms, such as “wedding caterer, Anytown, CT” he recently enjoyed no less that four spots on page one of Google, including a high slot in the ten pack, followed by # 1 on the organic serps for his home page; # 2 on the organic serps for his inside page about wedding catering; # 4 for his latest blog post discussing wedding catering, and # 7 for his company Facebook page. Now that’s what I call domination!

 

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