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A Case Study of Winning in Local SEO

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A Case Study of Winning in Local SEO

Tim Capper
A Case Study of Winning in Local SEO

Every Local SEO project is different, which means you can’t run from an SEO checklist, fix the issues, and move onto the next client. In Local SEO you are dealing with two sets of algos, Organic and Maps; and maps can be fairly tricky because this runs out of multiple data sets and what Annabot (Maps bot) defines as a certain location.

This case study is for a local taxi company in quite a competitive market. With a of population 200,000, around 60 million tourists to the greater area, and two international airports within 30 miles.

The client came to me with a pretty decent organic ranking already for location-based queries. However, the site was not appearing in local pack for actual in city searches; this is a problem for a taxi business that mainly operates in a city.

Sorry, I can’t post the domain, but the taxi industry is very cut throat and with Uber encroaching this business needs every edge it has.

local-seo-case-study.png

Issues:

After analyzing the site, its current organic positions, and local pack positions (outside city radius), I decided on the following course of action.

  1. On-site Work.

  2. In city location content / guides.

  3. Airport location content / guides.

  4. Changing the NAP (what ?).

Don’t you normally look at NAP in local SEO first?.

Normally yes, but in this case, I was removing the area within the city from NAP (I will explain why when I get to this section). Because this can be seen as quite risky (NAP was perfect), I wanted to target every possible search query locally firstly and have the client ranking organically in case this went haywire, and also NAP changes can take a long time to be reflected.

As I said, no two local SEO projects are the same; I was sweating a little with this one. After all, this is someone's livelihood and 12 other drivers.

On-Site Work

The site was doing okay organically, but some fine-tuning was required.

  • Tel number in <title> - very helpful when users are looking for an instant number to call.

  • City on page / services.

  • Restructured top line nav bringing services to the beginning, especially when viewed in mobile.

  • Service area structured data with geoMidpoint in the City Centre and geoRadius matching Google Business Listing radius.

In City Location Content / Guides

As mentioned I wanted this business ranking organically for every possible search query within the city. Things like Station Taxis, Taxi Ranks, Parking, Wheelchair Friendly Parking, Restaurant Parking, Hotel Parking, literally any person that traveled into the city by car, bus or train could find a taxi in the area organically.

Remember they were not appearing in the local pack for these search queries when inside the city.

Content and guides included written content, we created downloadable Google maps (taxi rank guide has been viewed 170,000 times now), and we used video content from dashcams inside the cabs with shortcut tips around the city.

We also have a full “travel styled” content calendar in full swing targeting tourists, all 60 million of them :)

Airport Location Content / Guides

Although not in the city, two international airports are close by and with 60 million tourists a year, airport transfers are very profitable. The airport transfer pages just needed a little more relevant airport content to push it into the local pack which this time was not dependant on being in the city itself. Also, users tend to book in advance and have time to get quotes and search around, so this is not as time sensitive as calling a regular cab.

Content / guides for these pages included (for both airport locations): Main guide to airport, maps to all terminal parking areas (drop off / pick up) short stay and long stay, and detailed info for users wanting to go by train.

We also included off-site long-term airport parking companies and dropped them an email / tagged them in social when live on site. Never pass up an opportunity for a share or link.

Changing NAP

This was quite a unique situation in wanting to change all the address information. This particular business, although 2.5 miles from the city center is in the southern end of the city and roughly 50 meters away from the boundary where a new county begins.

So I corrected the PIN marker to the back side of the building which pushed the location onto a parallel road that did not run through to the next county (state for US readers). Playing with the PIN marker is only really possible with a Service Area Business and still within guidelines because it was on top of the building anyway, just another road.

The part that I wanted removed from the address, was the area: Street Address, Suburb, & City because this road in that area was at the end of this county and the beginning of a new county (state).

Thankfully this business had not fallen into the trap of creating hundreds of crappy directory links and had only used the main aggregators, so within a few days all addresses were reflecting the address change minus the suburb.

We then put all of these into a blog on site and published together with posts on G+ (did I mention G+ is a great way to have a link found quickly). After these changes, the business was appearing within the local pack for almost all main search queries within the city itself.

Job Done

Not quite, although stunning results, I fully expect some fluctuations over the next month, then we can refine and fine-tune pages accordingly. There is also a content plan in place to continue moving the site forward and target all those tourists.

I cannot stress how important it is to talk to the business and understand their needs, hence the back to front way I tackled this project. They could not afford to lose any calls, so we increased their visibility for all local queries to mitigate any loss of calls when we started the address correction.

My advice if you are in the same position, take the time to understand the client's location in maps and how Annabot perceives the city and county lines.

Check your business listings now

See if you are represented in the most authoritative directories

Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com

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Tim Capper is the Director of Search at Online Ownership, with 10yrs experience in SEO and SEM. Having owned and operated a restaurant and hotel in the UK’s Lake District, Tim has naturally gravitated towards SEO within the travel market, both nationally and globally. Now Tim is a Google Top Contributor and a moderator in the SEO Questions community on Google+.
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Devncp
Semrush tools are really good but for now, I don't seem to get enough data for New Zealand database. I wonder when that is going to get an update. great article though.
Rajeev Dave
Hi Tim

Great Article, I will try to sheet view to improve the User Experience for strong Local SEO business and very unique situation.

Thanks for sharing!
Tim Capper
Rajeev Dave
Hi Rajeev

Glad you enjoyed it and gave you some ideas.
Rajeev Dave
Hi Tim

Great Article, I will try to sheet view to improve the User Experience for strong Local SEO business and very unique situation.

Thanks for sharing!
Hello Tim,

I have more than 1K GMB listing. I want to improve action insights because in last 3 months their is not changes in actions on my businesses. So exactly what should to do to improve the action on local business.
Tim Capper
Jitendra
Hi Jitendra

So when you say actions, you mean >> call you, visit website etc.

Before I offer suggestions, I will say that GMB insights are quite inaccurate and all your URL's should have unique UTM tracking on them + if you want accurate data on calls then use call tracking numbers.

That being said. you can help increase actions with:
1) Great Images
2) Relevant and useful posts

I realise that there is no bulk upload of Google Posts at the minute for bulk management accounts (you did not say if it was one brand or not), however GMB is working on a bulk upload of Google Posts via API

You should think of a Google Business Listing as a window to the business - provide useful and relevant information for users to make an informed decision and take action.

Track Google posts also with UTM tracking in order to see what works best with potential customers.
Michael Zima
Hi Tim, Great article and hacking the pin. I realized this for our listing here in Mallorca and it was showing a car park. Not very flattering if you ask me.

What are insights on G+ and linking content there? Of course, we automate this—but the engagement is not there unless you are active in the communities.

Please elaborate.
Tim Capper
Michael Zima
Hi Michael

The reason for moving the PIN in the above case was because a new county (state) started a few yards down the road. The PIN was still within the building just moved to the opposite side where the adjoining road did not lead into a different county.

A G+ post is craweld by Googlebot like any webpage, so if you want a citation found faster by Google, this is a great way for them to do it, plus its linked to the business.

**From October last year GMB no longer creates a G+ page for a business listing and if you have not been active on your G+ page they are removing these**

I would not go and create a G+ Brand page for the business unless you intend to use it, there is nothing worse for a user then finding a ghost town of social media site. If you don't have a G+ page and don't want to create one then you can always create a blog post with all your citations listed, once Googlebot has crawled the blog page and links to the citations you can remove it, thats another way to have your citations found.

In regards to your PIN showing a car park, I would adjust your PIN slightly ( tip - switch to satellite) and position in front of the offices, this should switch the street view image.

Another thing you can also try is the street view app. Create your own street view and submit the location via the app. This will stitch it into the current street view and provide a better image to users.
Michael Zima
Tim Capper
Thanks, Tim. I will try the street view and help improve the user experience.
Aman Dhaliwal
Hello Tim
I am in the same industry, just started building a website. Hopefully, i will use the information from your blog and see how it goes.
Tim Capper
Aman Dhaliwal
Hi Aman

I also have an ebook on SEMrush about getting into the local pack + other on site optimisation techniques for local businesses.

https://www.semrush.com/ebooks/get-into-the-local-pack/

**It is currently being updated also with citation tracking**
Aman Dhaliwal
Tim Capper
Thanks a lot, Tim,
I have got the book, I'll implement the changes on my website [link removed by moderator]
If there are any more recommendations do let me know. Thanks a lot
Matt Tutt
Great info Tim, appreciate you sharing that!
I'm curious to know whether you could legitimately target the "taxi near me" type searches through a page on the website - or maybe the GMB listing already generates decent traffic based on that term (only when the searcher is within your clients location)?
Tim Capper
Matt Tutt
If you reinforce their location though relevant content, their GMB listing will start being displayed for near me queries, but of course that does depend on if they are actually near me, especially in a mobile setting
Sanjay
Thanks Tim for this great Article
Tim Capper
Sanjay
Glad you enjoyed it Sanjay. A very unique situation, but handy for future reference in case something similar occurs
Brilliant Job. A very simple case study for strong Local SEO, Everyone knows that SEO is playing an important role in online business. My company also offering SEO services in Canada and around, Feroz Technologies have a strong and motivated team for SEO Purpose. I'm going to follow your guide and share with my team members also.
Antalya Nakliye
good article
Tim Capper
Antalya Nakliye
Thank You Antalya
Tim Capper
Cheers Stu
The domain name is left in on the screenshot
Alex Tsygankov
Stu
Thank you so much, fixed it.