The digital marketing agency that I work for- Collide Digital Marketing, recently had to move our office.
This move also involved cleaning up our local SEO footprint. While having an updated local footprint could help us rank for general terms, the most crucial thing is that it will provide accurate results for clients searching for us by name.
In this article, I’ll share with you a local SEO case study of our experience changing our own address in online directories. I will summarize the case study in three phases — Setup, Implementation, and Assessing Results.
So, let’s jump right in…
Phase 1 – Setup
We had already done our website audit and did not have any have any link penalties, so we were able to focus mostly on three things in Phase 1:
- Google My Business page audit
- Citation analysis
- Ongoing strategy
A major principle of local SEO is transparency and authenticity. This means we should be accurate with business names, avoid misleading business categories, and avoid virtual offices & phone numbers where no one actually works. We wanted to represent our company accurately, so I needed to get a sense of where we were before actually starting.
Getting Google My Business Together
Google My Business (GMB) is the first step when setting up a local audit. When setting up a Google My Business listing, there are lots of inputs. If you don’t have your account login information, then you need to find it before starting to create new pages or merging anything together.
Keep it Real With Our Business Name
Our marketing team wasn’t ready to sacrifice brand identity by changing the name, and we noticed we weren’t going to lose much search visibility because of this.
Google allows you to add as many descriptors to your business as you wish; however, the catch is that you must pick from the ones that are already in their listings. Google wants you to be more general than specific in the descriptors. So, keeping it real with the business name will be crucial.
We learned that presenting the website in an organized way is integral to the process, even after doing an audit. Consistency and structuring a website that has been live for years can be a tricky task.
Our goals with local SEO needed us to structure the name, address, and phone number (NAP) appropriately in the website’s schema. It’s crucial to ensure your NAP uses schema markup so that Google can identify your location information easily.
Phase 2 – Implementation
Not three months later, and we’re buckling up for phase 2 – implementing our move. We were ready to receive mail at our new office space. At the time, the office build-out was still a work in progress, and we were not going to be moving immediately. But because the post office would be delivering our mail there, it was time to change our address on our local citations.
Changes on Google My Business may take a couple of days to show up across the web, but that’s not a rule; ours were accepted right away. It happened so quickly that some visitors didn’t realize that we hadn’t actually moved yet and showed up to the new office today only to find a crew of construction workers. Lol!
We started the citation process by exporting a list of citations. We use a tracking tool to track updates in one location on a local file.
To avoid confusion, we set up a centralized email account to manage all listings and accounts. We opted for a password sharing service which was managed by our IT department. They manage access to certain accounts so that there is little or no long term security risk.
Now, editing citations is tricky due to the different requirements of each site. Fortunately, I kept track of access credentials for every citation account and used the central listing information (NAP, description, categories) that we started with on Google+ initially.
There’s a lot that happened in phase two that I may not put down on paper right now (otherwise, you’d be stuck on this blog post for quite some time). The implementation phase stretched on for nearly one year, and included update after update, numerous edits, and paying several fees.
The numerous fees involved in the implementation process was such a pain that it inspired us here at Collide Digital to develop a system of payment when you only have to pay once.
Phase 3 – Assessing the Impact
Assessing the impact was never going to be a walk in the park though, there were several issues that popped up in the process including;
- Review time
- Competitive audit
- Getting Google right
- SEO campaign (never ends)
The endless followup to stay on top of these processes are a huge drain on small business resources. We realized we didn’t have the capacity to do all of it, and sourced a helping hand.
After these three robust phases, our local presence is updated, but isn’t quite there yet. Local SEO is a journey, not a destination. As of today, we are still improving our own local SEO as we also help others build up from scratch.
Local SEO is an interesting trip, but it can also be a complex, time-consuming burden. Regardless of how easy or hard it is, it’s absolutely worth it.
I’ve found you really need to spend the most energy on the website if you want to be successful. If you find it too time-consuming, there are weirdos like us at Collide Digital who will be happy to help you grow.
I hope this case study has shed some light on local search solutions for your website and that you’ve learned one or two things from our chronicle here.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts and let’s get to the ground-breaking!