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An acupuncture business owner quadruples his revenue and grows web traffic by 2,900% by optimizing his local SEO

“Semrush changed the trajectory and success of my business, and I’m a lifelong user at this point.”
Teddy Levarda, Owner of Morningside Acupuncture & Licensed Acupuncturist

Business Challenge: Drive more local customers by increasing online presence

Teddy Levarda, a licensed acupuncturist, opened Morningside Acupuncture in May 2019. As an in-person practice in New York City, Morningside Acupuncture faced a lot of local competition. 

“New York City is pretty fragmented regarding how far people are willing to travel for services,” explained Levarda. “In a 10-block radius, there could be 10 to 50 acupuncturists, so it’s a really competitive city to be in for any kind of business.” 

Before Semrush, Levarda had no idea how his customers were finding him or who his competitors were, and he faced two significant challenges in growing his business: 

  1. How to attract local customers organically 
  2. How to outrank local competitors cost-effectively

“People want things now. If I put ‘acupuncture near me’ in Google Maps, and if I’m not in the top three results, they probably don’t know I exist. I want people to find me online, and then I want them to come in person,” Levarda said. 

Early on in his business, Levarda watched an SEO tutorial where the speaker used Semrush to understand web traffic and automate listing directories. Following the tutorial, Levarda signed up for a free trial. 

“For two weeks, I spent a few hours every night following the videos and looking stuff up on Semrush,” he said. 

He learned how powerful local SEO could be. He started using Semrush in November of 2020—and saw his business grow exponentially.

Morningside Acupuncture quadrupled its revenue from 2020 to 2021 and saw 2.5x the number of appointments thanks to organic web traffic. Most of its customers (50-75%) now come organically from Google.

“I don’t do any paid Google advertising, and I don’t spend any money advertising. I use Semrush to figure out how my business is doing locally—and it’s been explosive,” said Levarda. 

And 2023? Levarda has already seen his monthly revenue double from last year.

Let’s look at exactly what tools Levarda used that led to his massive business growth.

Solution: Use local search tools to organically attract and retain local clientele

In his first three months using the platform, Levarda utilized Listing Management, Review Management, Keyword Overview, and Map Rank Tracker (Heatmap). According to Levarda, “My traffic doubled or tripled in those three months.” 

Let’s explore how he used these tools and the steps he took to boost his online presence and gain clients.

1. List his business in the most authoritative directories—automatically

The first Semrush tool Levarda tapped into was Listing Management, which keeps your business’s online listings up-to-date, complete, and consistent across 70+ major business directories. 

Before using this tool, Levarda’s attempts to list Morningside Acupuncture manually in online business directories were frustrating and time-consuming. Levarda had to re-add the information with every update, taking time away from running his business. 

“Each of those [directories] could take 10 to 30 minutes depending on how much information you had to upload or update... It was tedious, annoying, and hard to keep track of all the passwords.” 

Meanwhile, with Semrush, he needed only half an hour to upload information and be instantly listed in the 70+ top directories in the United States.

A view of the Listing Management Dashboard, showing some of the business directories users can opt in or out of

And if he needs to make an update? He simply enters it once and it’s changed across every directory.

With consistent and accurate information across business listings, the likelihood of ranking high in local search increases.

2. Optimize his reviews strategy to prime local customers

Levarda knows the value of reviews for a local business. A customer is more likely to go to a company with 200 positive reviews than one with 20. 

Levarda used the Review Management feature within Listing Management to build a 5-star online presence (with 200+ reviews) while saving himself time. 

The Review Management feature allows businesses like Morningside Acupuncture to track 70+ of the most popular review platforms—all in one place.

“Before Semrush, I would just copy and paste stuff in a spreadsheet, and then I would count how many [reviews] I had that month because Google doesn’t do that … and it was a headache,” said Levarda. “Now, having reviews all in one place saves so much time.”

Seeing a summary helped Levarda hold himself accountable to keep building up his reviews, too. 

“It’s nice to have a chart that shows I got five reviews this month. There was one month I didn't get any. When I saw the chart in Listing Management, I knew I should ask for reviews,” he said.

The Review Management feature shows you the number of reviews you receive by month or week.

He also quickly learned that organic customers who read reviews were primed to be better, long-time clients, which is especially valuable since Morningside Acupuncture’s business model isn’t built on clients seeing him once, but on repeat visits and referrals.

A list of reviews within the Semrush Listing Management toolkit

3. Access hyper-local intel to outrank local competitors

Heatmap, a feature within Listing Management, showed Levarda the importance of his business visibility on Google and Google Maps. 

The Heatmap feature enables you to track up to 10 keywords on a hyper-local level, with your rankings displayed in a heatmap around your target area.

“I found Heatmap useful for two main things,” said Levarda. “One was to track my progress with specific keywords to see who’s finding me on the internet or if I’m doing well with certain keywords.”

The Heatmap tool transitioned to Map Rank Tracker, an advanced successor with enhanced precision and flexibility.

The Heatmap feature shows your ranking on Google Maps among local searches for up to 10 keywords.

“And two, I’m using that in sync with the traditional Semrush tools about keywords, and that’s giving me ideas, so I use it a lot to plan what I will do next.”

For example, Levarda found people looking up acupuncture for sciatica, so he started tracking that keyword in his heatmap and saw that many people were finding him this way. He developed content around it to try to generate even more traffic from those searchers. (More on keywords in a moment.) 

The Heatmap feature shows how you’re ranking for specific keywords in your area.

“Another reason why I like the Heatmap so much is that I didn’t even know who my competitors were in certain areas,” explained Levarda.

Not only does Heatmap enable Levarda to know who his nearby competitors are, but it also gives him a strategy to better compete against them online

“How else would I easily know who my competitors are in a given area for a search word?” asked Levarda. “I wouldn’t, so I can’t even put a number on how many hours that saves, but I can say it’s one of the most powerful pieces of information I’ve gained.”

Lastly, Levarda uses Heatmap to explore how far his ranking goes within his area of New York City. Heatmap shows him that within a five-block radius in Manhattan, Morningside Acupuncture ranks #1. If he expands the area 10 more blocks, his business ranks #5. And if he goes five blocks farther, he’s not ranked at all. 

4. Analyze keywords to strategically boost online presence

Next, Levarda elevated Morningside Acupuncture’s digital reach by leveraging Keyword Overview, an easy way to analyze all your keywords quickly, from search volume to cost-per-click to keyword difficulty.

Levarda uses his keyword research to inform his blog, review requests, and social media. 

“I don’t just write stuff to write stuff,” he said. “I write stuff because I want to get someone to come and see us in person, so I’ve learned what keywords I should write content for.”

For example, he’s now working on “myofascial release,” a muscle release technique you can do with acupuncture.

“I made a services page for [myofascial release], and I made a blog post for it as well,” said Levarda. “Then I added that to my Heatmap category, and now I’m starting to ask when people write reviews to use those two words in some of the reviews because I know that helps bump you up in the rankings.” 

Over the next few months, he plans to monitor his new keyword in Heatmap to see how he performs.

Keyword Overview shows monthly volume and keyword difficulty for a selected keyword.

Levarda also monitors reviews to see what words customers are using most frequently. Then he checks them in Keyword Overview. The tool provides additional keyword ideas for new content.

5. Grow business and SEO acumen with continued education

Levarda hasn’t slowed down his efforts to grow his business. He’s even expanding his knowledge by taking free classes and following tutorials in the Semrush Academy

“I literally do what it says and then my business grows,” said Levarda. 

The “How to Outrank Your Competition in Local Search” course from the Semrush Academy

Levarda credits Semrush with teaching him how to market, which is invaluable to business owners like himself who might not have the budget or the need to hire marketing personnel or an agency.

I effectively have a full marketing team with Semrush,” Levarda said, “and that’s pretty cool as a standalone person.” 

Key Takeaways: Use Semrush local SEO tools to help grow web traffic—and business

In less than three years, Morningside Acupuncture went from 1,000 in organic web traffic each month to between 20,000 and 30,000—using Semrush. (That’s +2,900%!) 

As a new business, Morningside Acupuncture was expected to grow, but Levarda is confident it would not have been sustainable had he not used these avenues to reach local customers. 

What Levarda experienced, you can, too.

  • Save time and be seen by listing your company—once. Levarda saved 80% of his time listing Morningside Acupuncture across 70+ directories using the Listing Management tool. As he said, "You just type in your information, and then it's done.”
  • Boost your customer retention rate. With Review Management, Morningside Acupuncture organically brought in more quality customers, translating into a higher retention rate and average value per customer. (Plus, Levarda initially aimed for 100 reviews but has already surpassed 200 5-star ratings by using the tool to optimize his reviews strategy.)
  • Gain customers by rerouting them from your competitors. Levarda created a content strategy around the Map Rank Tracker (Heatmap) feature to outperform his competitors, using hyper-local data on keywords. In turn, he drove customers away from competitors and toward his thriving business. 
  • Grow your SEO—without SEO experience. Levarda had no SEO experience but was committed to building organic traffic as he grew his business. Using the Semrush Academy, trial and error, and leaning on the account team for questions, Levarda grew his business’s web traffic exponentially—without a background in SEO.

“All small businesses should learn how to use a tool like this,” said Levarda, who only spends about a few hours a week on the platform. Semrush’s local search tools are easy to use and can help drive profit—for any local business owner.  

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