Report: Basic Local Optimization Steps Boosted Google Visibility By 179 Percent

PinDigital agency and technology provider SIM Partners released a report (registration required) discussing how use of several basic Local SEO tactics can dramatically improve visibility on Google.

The study involved 315 US business locations. These are not independent, small businesses. SIM Partners typically works with national-local businesses that have national brands but local offices, hotels or stores. According to the report all the locations used bulk upload verification. However, the principles and tactics should be applicable to local SEO for SMBs as well.

The objective was to “boost the local rankings of priority keyword and city combinations.” According to SIM Partners, at the beginning of the study “only 26 percent of their combinations ranking [ranked] in any of the top seven positions, with only 8 percent of combinations ranked in the top two positions, prior to optimization.”

There were 4,149 keyword/city combinations examined or tracked in the study. After the tactics described in the report the firm said local rankings were improved dramatically:

After optimization, targeted combinations indexed in the top seven positions on the SERP increased 179%; top two positions increased 399%; third through fifth positions increased 97%; and targeted combinations not indexed in the top seven positions decreased 62% (from 74% of all targeted combinations to just 28%).

Local optimization

The firm employed the following local optimization tactics to accomplish these results:

  • Create custom business descriptions for each location
  • Add additional information including photos and videos to the listing Identify and remove duplicate listings on Google and other sites
  • Identify third-party sites that are respected by Google and within the appropriate vertical . . . Create and optimize third-party listings.
  • Continue modifying each listing to rank for both long and short tail search terms

The final tactic: “continue modifying . . . ” was really just a regular monitoring of listings/results and continuing application of the foregoing principles.

It’s also important to note that these results were achieved over a six-to-nine month time frame. That implicates setting client expectations accordingly.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google | Google: Maps & Local | Google: SEO | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Laura Phillips

    Google Local is so important these days, it’s great to see a real-world example.

  • L. van Eembergen

    Being local is important, but using it for a digital product in combination with locality is still a big challenge, wondering if they only looked at bricks-ventures which have an online present or also had a mix of types of clients.

  • Jacobmin

    Should you have a different URL per location, or is one website with a page per location OK?

  • romanUK

    I think you mix up URLs and TLDs (top level domains)

  • Adam Dorfman

    It depends on the type of multi-location business you have. In our experience using one page per location on a single TLD is generally more advantageous but there are some instances where unique TLDs per location can make sense as well.

  • Adam Dorfman

    It depends on the type of multi-location business you have. In our experience using one page per location on a single TLD is generally more advantageous but there are some instances where unique TLDs per location can make sense as well.

  • Jacobmin

    Advantageous for time management or rankings?

  • Mvubike

    Not sure what’s meant by:
    “Identify third-party sites that are respected by Google and within the appropriate vertical . . . Create and optimize third-party listings.”
    Does that mean add people that are high ranking G+ users within the given industry to my circles or….? What do you mean by listing?

  • Mvubike

    Not sure what’s meant by:
    “Identify third-party sites that are respected by Google and within the appropriate vertical . . . Create and optimize third-party listings.”
    Does that mean add people that are high ranking G+ users within the given industry to my circles or….? What do you mean by listing?

  • http://www.rankinstyle.com/ Jacques Bouchard

    This is great and all, but I don’t think that, as SEOs, we should be following keyword rankings so carefully anymore.

  • Adam Dorfman

    Both but in order for the TLD strategy to work the increase in time required is substantial.

  • Jacobmin

    just to make sure I understand, unique TLDs per location is the most time consuming, correct?

  • Adam Dorfman

    Correct.

  • Adam Dorfman

    We are speaking of links and citations in that section.

  • Adam Dorfman

    I couldn’t agree more that individual rankings are often a red herring when it comes to online performance metrics. That said, there is usually strong correlation between rankings and KPIs if enough relevant queries are monitored. This is why the study was designed at the scale which we did it.

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