Take A Deep Dive into Local SEO

SEO Case Study: New website gets first Search traffic nine days after launch.

Indexed in three days
Ranking in seven days
Received first traffic in nine days
1,500% increase in impressions*
883% increase in visitors*
Pre-qualifies every visitor regardless of marketing channel

*First five months against next five months.

image of website traffic rankings

Introduction

Since starting Prime Web Design in 2017, we’ve had some really cool results for our local business clients - in different niches and industries around Texas.

I’m going to share with you how my team and I created a brand new website for our client that...

  • Google indexed just three days after launching
  • Started getting search impressions in seven days
  • Received the first visitor in nine days
  • Continues to see increases in traffic month over month
  • Pre-qualifies traffic, regardless of the source, into high-quality leads

Every business, industry and competitive landscape are different but there were a few key ingredients that accelerated this website quickly.

I’m going to walk you through the specific step-by-step process we used with our client.

Depending on your objectives and competition, the exact steps for your website may be different, but the framework we're using here could still apply.

Here’s a quick look at the growth so far.

79.07% increase in new users compared to the first two months.

google analytics screenshot

How It Started

Our client came to us with their branding and marketing plan already worked out.  They were in the health industry and offered cutting-edge services. 

Since their services are still gaining public recognition in San Antonio, the plan was to use local SEO, social media ads and strategic partnerships to drive traffic to the website.  Then let the website pre-qualify the visitors and turn them into leads and sales.

We needed the website to do the following:

  • Reflect the brand professionally.
  • Position the services in a compelling way.
  • Rank on search engines fast.
  • Support search ads and strategic partnerships
  • Pre-qualify visitors and get high-quality leads and sales.

The site launched on November 22nd and Google indexed it three days later on Nov 25th.

google search console screenshot

Humble beginnings.  Every website starts with the first impression.

Google found it, liked it and added it to their web servers.

That’s pretty cool.  Sometimes, I've seen Google take a couple weeks or a month before they index a new website.  That said, I like to think it’s because our team isn’t guessing when it comes to doing local SEO.

Within 60 days, the pages were ranking locally at #1 or #2 on the first page of Google for all main services keywords.

Altogether, 308 keywords were ranking and 99 of those are on the first page (top ten).

From the first quarter to second quarter we saw:

  • 225% increase in impressions (3,320 to 10,800)
  • 250% increase in clicks (33 to 115)

Here’s a look at the local search engine traffic over the long term.

Note: We filtered out brand name searches for all stats so it's only users searching for services not the company name.

screenshot of google search console

The traffic and visitors continue to increase naturally over time, with no additional SEO work done.

When we look at a comparison of the first five months against the next five months:

  • 1,500% increase in impressions
  • 883% increase in visitors
screenshot of google search console

OK, those are the results, now here’s exactly how we did it…

Marketing Alignment

1. Aligned with Client’s Vision

When it comes to launching a website, it’s best if you start with the end in mind.  Doing this will help you put the scope of the project into the right focus.

While it was important to know about things like what services were being offered and which services we wanted to focus, we needed to go deeper.

We set out to understand what the vision was for our client’s business.  Where they saw themselves down the road and who they wanted to help.

Since the website would be the first experience folks would have with their business, it was important that it reflected the vision in a real and meaningful way.

2. Identified Positioning & Problem

Positioning is the angle, process, niche or focus of your company.  When a local business tries to be everything to everyone right out of the gate, it’s harder to win.

We needed to understand why our client’s services were different.  It turns out they were the first to offer their combination of services under one roof and they were offering certain technologies that no one else in San Antonio offered.

That was pretty awesome.

The second piece was “The Problem”.   We wanted know who they thought their ideal customers would be.  What kinds of problems do their customers have that these services would solve.

Knowing this valuable information allowed us to formulate a map of the website, identify corresponding search terms and what kind of content we would want to create.

3. Aligned with Client’s Marketing

After working with lots of different local business owners across industries, I’ve found that one thing holds true when it comes to marketing…

The marketing is a reflection of the leader.

Not everyone wants to be a social media influencer or a YouTube star.  Our client was no different.

We found that they wanted to work on three marketing channels at the same time, which was smart.

  1. Get clients from search traffic
  2. Get clients from social ads
  3. Get clients from strategic partnerships

This made sense, because while we would get their pages ranking on Google quickly, the amount of business they would get from Search would still be in growth mode.  Since our client’s services are relatively new to San Antonio (less than 10 years), the amount of search traffic was still growing.

The good thing, is that by getting their pages ranking now, sales would grow naturally over time as the popularity of their services grows in the area.

I call this Foundational SEO. 

The SEO was baked into their website on day one, so they were set up for long-term success.

Website Strategy

 

1. Keyword Research

So how do you translate your company’s “Positioning” and your customers “Problems” into getting traffic from Google?

By using a thing called Search Intent.

Search Intent is the real reason why a person searches for something.  The kinds of words used in the search terms, tells us what’s in the searcher’s head.

For example, when someone searches for “how to catch a snake” that’s Informational Search Intent.  They are not looking to buy right now, they just want information.

But suppose that same person gives snake catching a try but chickens out.  

Well, they start searching for “snake removal San Antonio”.  That’s Transactional Search Intent.  They are looking to make a purchase.

Understanding these differences helped us come up with the right list of keyword phrases for each service our client was offering.

2. Competitor Research & Analysis

With our list of keyword phrases in hand, we compiled a list of the top three competitors that were already ranking for each of the search terms.

We analyzed each competitor’s website and did a deep analysis of the specific pages that were already ranking for our keywords.

Local SEO is a lot like boxing.  There are winners and losers.  There are only 10 spots on the first page of Google.  If we wanted to win, we needed to know how strong our opponents were and their strengths & weaknesses.

If our client was going to go up against “heavyweight” websites, then we needed to know about that so we could work out the right plan.

 

two men boxing

We found out key things about the competition:

  • The age of the website
  • How many website pages it had
  • How the pages and blog posts (if any) were organized
  • How the ranking pages were structured
  • How many words, images and videos were on each of the ranking pages
  • The frequency range of the focus keyword(s), related keywords and contextual words

With the competitive research completed, we felt like we could get our client’s pages ranking fast, even though the entire site was brand-new and we were going up against websites that were 5-7 years ahead of us.

3. Map Out Site Architecture

Google is smart and dumb at the same time.  It’s a complex algorithm shrouded in mystery with hundreds of ranking factors built in, but it’s not very good at reading between the lines.

You have to tell Google what the purpose is for the website, for every page and how each page is related to the other pages.  

The site architecture lays the groundwork.

We worked out a logical and clean map of the site including how each page was connected.

Here’s what it looked like.

website sitemap

 

This kind of structure provides context for the website, so Google can accurately and confidently categorize it.

We grouped and linked the services pages together.

We also organized the site so future blog posts would link to the corresponding services page which will give those pages more trust and authority.

For example, let’s say you had a service page for “Raccoon Removal San Antonio”.

It would make sense to write a blog post that talks about how to find out if the trash pandas had invaded your castle.  

Something like “Five Ways To Tell If Raccoons Have Invaded Your Home”.  

Then link that post it to the raccoon removal services page.  That method helps with ranking the services page.  

Search engines use things called crawlers.  That…um…crawl your website…like a spider.

They go from page to page and link to link cataloging stuff like…

  • How the website is organized.
  • How every page is connected to every other page.
  • What the website means.
  • What each page means.

The easier and more logical you make it, the better chance you have at ranking.

A logical site architecture is a big part of how we got the website to rank so quickly.

2. Designed Website Pages

The most visited page of just about every website is the homepage.  So designing the homepage is where most of our design effort was spent.

With the homepage designed, we walked our client through each section, explained the purpose and how it would help with converting visitors into customers at a higher rate.

Once we had the homepage hammered out, we designed the remaining pages.  Those included the services, about and contact pages.

These are the core pages of any website and we wanted to make sure we had these dialed in properly.

Content Creation

 

1. Wrote Wording That Ranks & Converts

Branding, web design and web development are important components.  The content, specifically the wording, is the most important part. 

Why is the wording so important?

Because it’s the wording that ranks pages and converts visitors into customers.

We needed the content to do three things.

  • Rank the pages on Google.
  • Engage and pre-qualify visitors.
  • Turn pre-qualified visitors into customers.

Since we already completed our competitor research, we knew what we needed to do.

By the way, the most important words on your website are the headlines, so make sure those are dialed in.

newspaper clipping

2. Collected Images & Videos

The images and videos support and reinforce the messaging.  

They also contribute to organic rankings.

In this case we were able to acquire custom photographs and videos demonstrating the services.  Super powerful.

We then curated some professional, free-to-use, photos that looked great with the overall site and branding.

In a moment, I’ll share how to best store and display the images and videos.

Built Website & Programmed Local SEO

1. Built Foundational Website

If we wanted to get on Google’s radar quickly, then where and how it was built mattered.  

While we could have built it in Wix or Squarespace for example, the obvious choice was WordPress.  

So that’s what we did. 

Why WordPress?  

Well… 

  • It’s the #1 website building platform in the world.  
  • It’s  open-sourced, so you don’t have to pay monthly fees to use it (i.e. Wix, Shopify, etc.)
  • It can be custom-designed and developed in countless ways.
  • Our client would have complete ownership of the website files and content.
  • It meets the needs of most local businesses.

We created the following pages:  

  • Home
  • All Services
  • Individual Services
  • About 
  • Contact

2. Sitewide SEO

Sitewide SEO includes the minimum expectations for modern websites.  

Search engines are looking for these things first.  Not having “the basics” at the core of your website will hurt your rankings, traffic and conversions.

 

Installed the Secured Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate

We installed the SSL Certificate, via the web hosting company, to ensure the website would load on every web browser.

The SSL certificate tells browsers and search engines that your website is safe and you’re not trying to steal information.

The easiest way to tell if a website has the certificate is if it starts with “https://“.  

If it starts with “http://“ it doesn’t have the certificate.  

That will have a negative effect on ranking pages and getting visitors.

Instead of visitors seeing your website, they could get the get “Attacker” errors screen.

 

Added Business and Contact Information

Another signal to rank is consistent business information on the website, social media and directory listings.

We call this having a consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone).

We added in the following info on the website footer and Contact page:

  • Exact business name
  • Full address
  • Phone Number
  • Hours of operation
  • Social media business page(s) links

After taking the website live, we also made sure the identical information was present on Google My Business, social media and all local business directory listings.

 

Made The Site Accessible for Everyone

Accessibility means allowing both hearing impaired and vision impaired users to manually manipulate the website settings for a personalized experience. 

It’s a relatively new element for websites.  We made sure accessibility was programmed in.

We also updated the Alt Tags for each image with a simple description, such as “man smiling at camera”.

A vision impaired visitor will have special software on their device that will speak out the description.

While this doesn’t appear to have any known impact on rankings, we think it’s the right thing to do.

3. Programmed On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO includes the technical things we do on each page to help it rank.

Here’s the thing…

Google doesn’t rank websites, it ranks the individual pages.

It’s looking to give search visitors the best possible answer to their question from a trusted source.

The more pages Google ranks over time for a website, the more authority and trustworthiness that website earns.  

Once a website reaches a certain level of perceived authority, the easier it is to rank future pages.  

That means for a brand new website like our client’s, the On-Page SEO is super important to ranking a new site.

There are three levels for a website when it comes to search engines:

  • Known
  • Trusted
  • Trusted Authority

While we were able to get our client to the Trusted level inside of 30 days, becoming a Trusted Authority takes much longer to achieve.  

“How long” you ask?

That depends on how your website stacks up to the existing competition.

For example, let’s say your website is brand-new and has 7 pages and zero blog posts.  

Meanwhile, your competition has been around 10 years, has 11 pages and 40 blog posts.  It’s going to take more time to build more pages/posts that compete with that website versus one that’s been around 5 years and only has 8 pages.

In our client’s case, we were going up against a competitor that had been around for 7 years and had 91 pages/blog posts.

We needed to get the On-Page stuff zeroed in.  I’m happy to say we got it done. 

Our client was ranking on the first page within 30 days (top ten spots) and climbed to #1 or #2 quickly.

Here's how did the on-page SEO…

 

Picked one keyword per service page

Remember way back at the beginning, we did some competitor analysis?  

Part of that was figuring out the specific keyword phrase we wanted and many words we needed to write for each page.

Based on our research we came up with:

  • Service #1: 882 words
  • Service #2: 790 words 
  • Service #3: 470 words
  • Service #4: 501 words

 

Wrote Content to Rank and Convert

We custom wrote the wording keeping in mind the total word count along with:

  • Number of times the keyword should be used.
  • Number of times keyword variations should be used.
  • Made sure it was relevant and engaging so the visitor takes action.

The frequency of the keyword and keyword variations are a big key to ranking.  Use them too much and Google thinks it’s spammy.  Use them too little and Google doesn’t think the page is relevant enough to rank.

We used science-based SEO analysis to make sure we struck the right balance.

 

Added the keyword to the url 

When building each page, we told Google what the page was about by building it into the URL.  

For example:

Instead of…https://www.yourwebsite.com/dog-food

we did something like…https://www.yourwebsite.com/organic-dog-food-san-antonio

For local search traffic, it's best to "localize" some of the page URL's.

 

Added the keyword to the page title.

Every website page and blog post has a title.  It’s the second signal to Google about the page’s purpose.

Many times, we see websites where the URL and page title don’t match.  

Big mistake, but an easy fix.

We added the focus keyword in the title section of each page.

 

Every image was optimized.

How you name an image sends a signal to Google about the purpose of the image.

In this case, we renamed every image file with either the keyword or a variation of that page.

Again, overdoing it can be seen as spammy, under doing it can hurt your rankings.

 

Every video was optimized.

How we optimized videos was different from the images.

With images, it’s best to store them in the website files and code directly on the page.

With video, it’s better to host them on a third-party, like YouTube, and embed them on the page.

For our client’s situation, we did the following:

  • Youtube account was named and branded consistently.
  • Video titles matched the focus keyword.
  • Embedded the video links in the pages.

Google owns YouTube, so linking it to the website through the steps above sends another trustworthy signal to the algorithm.

4. Built Blog Center

From the beginning our client let us know that they were interested in writing blog posts down the road.  That's a great idea.  This is where massive search traffic comes from.

We built the blog structure, blog page template and blog categories to match their services.

While ranking for the core services keywords is important, there are lots of other informational intent keyword phrases that our client can go after to build traffic.

Blogging is one of the key methods that larger companies use to suck up lots of search traffic.

Not everyone is ready to buy today, in fact maybe only 2-5% of all search traffic are “ready to buy.”

Our client was set up to write blog posts that can grow even more future traffic.

5. Created Google Assets & Speed Tested

 

We needed to make sure the site met Google’s standards.  We tested it with the following tools.

Google Mobile Friendly-Test: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Google Page Speed Insights: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Third-Party Speed Test: https://gtmetrix.com/

We got the green light.

screen shot of website speed test

Creating and integrating Google services is another key trust signal.  

It also allows our client to see their traffic, where it’s coming from and how it performs relative to their marketing efforts.

 

Created Google Account

Once the site was live, we created the Google account and a Gmail account.  We’ve found over the years that it’s easier to create a specific email for the Google assets and then invite users to own and manage it.

 

Created Google Analytics

We created the Google Analytics within the Google account and integrated it into the website header code.  This connects the activities on the website with the analytics.

 

Created Google Search Console

Analytics tracks all interactions with the website no matter the source (search, social, ads, etc.), Search Console tracks the specific activity when someone finds you on Google Search.

We created the Search Console service, linked and integrated.

 

Created Google My Business

A Google My Business Listing (GMB) is what shows up in the maps when someone is looking for a local solution.

We created the GMB listing and completed all possible fields in the listing.  The more the better.  We also geotagged images to our client’s address and add those to the listing for some extra SEO power.

 

Added to Directory Listings

This is the final local SEO signal.

There are tons of directory listings on the internet that our client needed to be added to. 

We added our client, with the exact Name, Address, Phone (NAP) information to the top 70 directory listings that were relevant to their locale and industry.

Results

I’m happy to report, that after about 60 days, our client was...

  • Ranking #1 or #2 on Google for all of their main services keywords.
  • Ranking for 313 keyword variations (not including their brand name)
  • Ranking on the first page for 99 of those keywords (top ten).  

First quarter compared to second quarter:

  • 225% increase in impressions
  • 250% increase in visitors

First five months compared to second five months:

  • 1,500% increase in impressions
  • 883% increase in visitors

Overall, traffic continues to grow naturally with no additional effort.

We were able to achieve these results within a couple months, against competitors' websites that had been around 5-7 years, without writing long-from blog posts.

From strategy to launch, it took about 60 days.

While every business and industry is different, in this case study, you saw the framework we used to get results.  

You can use this method to launch your own high-ranking and high-converting website for your local business.

If you need our help, schedule some quality time below.


Let's find out if we're a good fit.

Are you a local business that wants...

  • A high-quality website that strengthens your brand?
  • More pre-qualified leads and sales from your website traffic?
  • More website traffic and leads from Google?
  • A foundational website you can use for all your marketing campaigns?

Some of the industries we've worked in...

Aesthetics Spa, Auto Parts Suppliers, Civil Engineering, Events Planning, Farm Raised Meats, Home Remodeling, Human Resources, Landscaping, Legal Services, Pet Supplies, Pre-School Education, Print and Graphics, Oil and Gas, Real Estate, Security Systems, Security Providers

The industries we do not work in...

Politics, Religion, Social Movements, Pharmaceuticals, Ingestibles (ie: vitamins, CBD), Gambling, Alcohol.