Local SEO for brick and mortar businesses like auto body repair shops is extremely important. Ranking high for location-specific key-phrases is of even greater importance since geo-specific searches tend to have a higher dollar value. Ranking high for geo-specific long tail keyphrases is a lot easier if the website is powered by WordPress, that uses Dual Taxonomy.
We are working on building a SEO-friendly website for High Tone Auto Body, from Basalt, CO. This is a new website, and from the very beginning the owners wanted to have a website that will help them get more clients. We built the site with this requirement in mind, and below is a short explanation of how WordPress-powered websites can be optimized for local search.
WordPress Tags as On-Site SEO Tool
While the site navigation is build with Categories, we also use Tags for the web pages. Tags are navigation aid elements that WordPress has, so each web page (eg, “Detailing inside and out” page) has a category where it’s listed (Car Cosmetics-Detailing) and is marked with several tags, one being “dead bugs removal”.
Marking web pages with tags is useful on two levels:
- User-Friendly: The website has Dual Taxonomy, which means visitors can navigate the site through the main navigation menu (which is tied to Categories and sub-categories), OR they can choose to navigate through the site using Tags, which are similar to keywords.
Tags help inter-connecting the webpages on the site so visitors can see related web pages to the one they’re reading (eg Detailing inside and out), and by clicking the “dead bugs removal” tag they can see all the other pages that are marked as talking about how High Tone Auto Body can help in dead bugs removal from vehicles.
- SEO-Friendly: Using tags is immensely important for SEO. If somebody googles “dead bugs removal basalt”, a website that has web pages internally linked with these keywords will rank higher than websites that only mention the same keywords in the text alone. Tags allow for this keyword-rich internal linking.
High Ranking for Local Search Within 1 Month
As this is a new domain (registered in March 2012), and the Detailing/Bug Removal texts are published in June 2012, ranking high in Local Search is quite an achievement. The aim was to pick the low hanging fruits here, keywords that are descriptive and further in the conversion funnel.
Below is a screenshot of a Google search for the “Dead bugs removal basalt” phrase. The search is done using an IP masking site to eliminate any personalized results, as well as Yoast’s Depersonalized Search plugin for Firefox.
As you can see on the screenshot, the top four positions are taken by High Tone Auto Body (the site we built for our Basalt, CO. clients), even though the search phrase is not found in the URL, Title or Meta Description of each of the ranked pages. However, you will notice that in the first two positions, the Tag is taken into consideration for the text snippet.
Dollar Value of Content Marketing and On-Site SEO
Let’s go through the math real quick and establish the value of good on-site SEO using good content and proper use of tags.
The first link on the Google Search Results Page gets about 95% visits from all the searchers. If the same website is listed on positions 2 and 3, the website gets close to 98% of all searchers.
Since this is a very specific and local keyphrase the search volume is not very large. Basalt, CO. is a small town of about 3000 citizens (Roaring Fork Valley population around 30.000, which is the wider target). But for a car repair and cosmetics workshop with finite potential to serve clients per work day, we don’t need tens of thousands of searches. For a town of 3000, its highly unlikely to even get 1000 searches. Based on incoming traffic from this keyphrase, there are about 30-40 daily searches for “dead bugs removal basalt”, and since the site ranks so well for this phrase, it’s more than enough to keep the wash bay busy.
Now, if the owners opted to go with Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertizing and purchase these 30 visits, they would need to pay on average $2 for each click (based on average values from Google AdWords for related terms), or $1.800 per month. As texts have a SEO value of about 2 years, the overall value of this web page with all the SEO settings and content (text) would be 1.800 x 24 months = $43.200.
Granted, a local repair shop should never consider spending so much on a single keyphrase, nor can we charge that much for a single text, but in a business world where every action has a specific dollar value, well optimized text and site structure for Local Search can go a long, very long way, both in real marketing dollars savings, as well as in attracting clients.
Local SEO Summary
What you can take out from this short analysis:
- WordPress as a web platform is very SEO friendly thanks to its ability to provide navigation aids through Categories and Tags
- Tags are great for on-site SEO for long-tail keywords and for inter-linking web pages with keyword-rich internal links
- Content Marketing makes a lot more dollar sense than any form of online paid advertizing