As we move toward more and more localized target markets, the focus shifts from global presence to local brand recognition. Why would you care if the website gets tons of traffic from all over the world, when your real target audience is within a 100miles radius from your workshop. Below is a success story of a local car restoration and bedliner shop in Ft Myers, Florida, who’s website ranks #1, #2, #3 and #4 on location-based searches. Read on.
The Local SEO Requirements
The workshop is Palm Beach Customs, and among their main services for the time being is bedlining services for the Ft Myers FL area. As a new local business, it was crucial for them to rank as high as possible for search phrases containing bedliner, Fort Myers, and some adjectives like best, high quality, reliable, color consistent etc.
At the start of the website’s life, back in January 2012, John Russo, the owner of this shop (who knows a thing or two about SEO) wanted to know what kind of strategies we’ll be using to build the SEO profile of his site, and also wanted to know if the site will be ranking high just in time when the shop gets through with all the legalities the state of Florida requires for such a business.
We couldn’t give an exact estimate of where the site will rank in 2 months, but we did settle that the best way to go about SEO on the long run is to develop a solid Content Marketing Strategy and publish texts at least once a week, which was more a budget-limitation than an SEO suggestion.
How the Content Marketing for Local SEO unraveled.
The first step was keyword research, then we built the keyword list for local SEO, weaved it in the site’s structure, and started SEO copywiting. Each text targeted 1-2 long tail keywords and was written to match the high-school readability level. We also kept in mind web text formatting best practices such as bulleted F-shaped lists, as well as using the H-tags, bold and italic formatting where needed.
We made sure to have all the SEO for Images elements, all the needed meta-elements, and made sure keywords are both in the URL and Title. We also did some social media sharing on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook, to get the ball rolling. The extra mile was to create compelling metadescriptions to improve the click-through rate (CTR).
The Result of this local SEO campaign?
After two months of playing out the Content Marketing Strategy, we did notice a steady growth of people who are coming to the site through search, and the site also got some social media activity, although this is not (yet) the main focus.
The largest competitor for bedliner services in Ft Myers was a local site of the largest sprayon bedliner manufacturer in USA. This was a formidable opponent, and we didn’t expect to get so close to them in such a short time, but… the soon realized the power of solid web content for local SEO.
How we tested
John Russo got the ball rolling when he did a search on a long tail keyword and got very good results, that he enthusiastically shared over one of our regular (almost daily) Skype chats. It was good to hear his enthusiasm, but, we did agree that it may be a result of personalized search, so in order to get reliable ranking data, we used Yoast’s UnPersonalized Search plugin for Firefox. This plugin does a very good job of giving unbiased search results, and as such is proclaimed to be “perhaps the most elegant and simple of solutions” by on SEOmoz. (It’s labeled as intermediate-to-advanced SEO, but it’s a good read.) We also did a search over a proxy server, to double check the findings, and the verdict was that Yoast’s search mask gives back genuine ranking results.
Here are screenshots of a dozen searches, and each time the site was dominant, holding positions 1-4, out of 100.000 up to 400.000 search results.
Granted, this may not be the case everywhere and for everyone, but using Yoast’s plugin to do the research, we’re confident enough to state that solid content development with optimized texts for local SEO and having all the on-site SEO elements does produce outstandin granking results.
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