Local SEO Case Study - Three Deep on the Move
In case you aren't an avid follower of the Three Deep Marketing Blog, you may not know that our office has moved! This has been a very exciting time for the company as we've grown into a new space that feels more like home than our former domain.
As part of making the move, our team recognized the need to change our address where it appears online and that we should take this opportunity to get our local SEO presence into good shape overall for once. Since the company has been around for 10 years and this will be the third office location in our history, there have been a lot of company profiles setup on a lot of websites and that creates a bit of a mess when it comes to local SEO citations.
Local search has evolved a lot over the past few years and is an even more competitive part of organic search work. Search engines like Google want to give users on mobile devices results that are relevant to their locations, so accurate local listings are important.
To guide our efforts, our team followed the workflow outlined by Casey Meraz in his excellent work shared in more than one post the Moz Blog. This process includes templates to guide yourself and instructions for setting up profiles, auditing your website, and more.
For our company, local search isn't necessarily a core element of our sales funnel. Our customers come to us from around the country and aren't necessarily searching for Marketing Consultants in St. Paul. So while we have done local SEO work for many clients over the years, this seemed like a good chance to get some more practice and essentially back up our local SEO talk with some internal local SEO walk.
What Did We Do?
We had to get our company profiles aligned and accurate to the best of our ability. This is one of the fundamental issues and the most difficult issues of dealing with local SEO. There are tools to help you find listings, but getting access to them and changing the information correctly is another story entirely.
So we started by getting our own information straight and following the best practices outlined in Meraz's Google Sheet template available for anyone to view and make their own copy. This requires standardizing phrases and categories you want to associate with your brand in profiles across the internet. After getting that document filled out, the main areas we focused on include:
- Google My Business Audit
- Website Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) Verification
- Moz Local Setup
- Citation Updates
- Ongoing Strategy
- Competitive Analysis
The issue that was maddening in this effort was claiming ownership of old pages and dealing with duplicate listings across Google, Facebook, and other local citation sites like Manta and Foursquare. It was surprising to learn that some sites like Bing and Yahoo use and share local data sources and don't have internal services like Google does. I also didn't know about some Facebook location pages that were separate from main brand pages.
The process of merging location and brand pages is a lot of work when using Facebook and Google. In both cases, you must use their internal search box to search your brand name and see what comes up, then follow specific steps to align them into one page. This can mean finding more than one old location page, and merging old brand pages that are out of use, as well as merging the YouTube brand page that Google setup for every YouTube account a few years ago for some strange reason.
Moz Local is an affordable and helpful service that automates some of the location citation update process. It's not the fastest service, but it does update citations directly to the biggest data providers like Factual and Localeze so you can avoid the headaches yourself. The drawbacks are that after setting an account up, it will not allow you to manipulate the account information. Instead, it sticks to either a Google or Facebook listing and only makes updates when those sources change.
Google My Business was an animal unto itself, as it is the center of the Google listing universe. After merging everything, your main profile is the crux of Google+, YouTube, and Google Maps. It even gives you control down to dragging your location pin to the right side of the building on Google Maps so searchers will know to go in the correct door. The dashboard they provide gives some insights into your profile's views and clicks in searches, which is helpful in monitoring whether your listing is appearing the way you hope it does, in main searches.
All of these processes are more manual than I expected. A lot of them require submitting support tickets and then verifying your identity and ownership credentials over the phone with a robot or even a real person.
How Did it Go?
Updating our address was a three month process and would have been smoother if we had dedicated more time to managing citations manually, but hey, we have client work so what could we do? Our overall marketing has been doing a good job of getting users to the site by blogging and doing PR for our office move, but the organic traffic from our local area of Minnesota has improved since our local presence was updated so this must be going well!
There is still a lot of work to do here in cleaning up our citations and making our listings consistent across the net, but so far it seems we have a job well done.
If you have concerns about your own local presence and citation management or are in a business where local search is a core business driver, we would be happy to have a discussion and see if we can help!
We also have a handy resource to give you a better understanding of local SEO. The Anatomy of Local SEO eBook walks you through page-level elements to supercharge your visibility.
If you want even more details about how this process went, check out our post on YouMoz!