Digital 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%).
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.