Local SEO Case Study. How My Client Got Waves of New Customers.

Today I want to share an SEO case study in which I helped a client who runs a local small business (a self defense school) attain tons of new clients.

Basically what I did was, I optimized his website, his ads and gave him a few personal tips, which he used and as a result, many people within his business area were able to find him. 

As a result his business grew substantially and even today, there continues to be a substantial trickle of traffic and new clients coming in because his website’s SEO improved, and the business became more exposed to people looking for martial arts training in the area where the school is.

And thanks to him being happy, huge opportunities to work with other clients arose for me too, allowing me options to do SEO work for them.

In this case study, I will detail the exact things I did for this client, as well as offer personal tips you can use for your local business if you’re seeking to get online exposure, but in your specific area.

First, let me explain how it all came about…

I started training at this self defense school in 2009. After a few months of being a member there and enjoying the environment and what I was learning, I slowly began to get to know the head owner of it. We had several conversations for a reason I can’t remember, the topic of online marketing came up.

Being that I was already experienced and having success in SEO as well as using services like Adwords (Google Ads), I offered to give him a free consultation, which is one of the many great ways to get clients. He agreed, and I asked him for a day or two to take a look at his website (which he already had up for at least a year).

So I looked over his site…

And it didn’t take me long to analyze it and see that a number of huge mistakes were being made. In short, he could have been getting way more traffic than he already was.

Without going too in-depth into each problem…

Let me summarize the 3 main issues I saw on his website:

1) For starters, his school taught several different self defense arts, and there was only one page in which ALL of these arts were listed. Keep this in mind because I’ll explain how changing this part of the site resulted in his traffic stats increasing by well over 10 times! 

2) Then there was the part where he was advertising his website on Google Ads. Looking over his campaigns, his keywords, his targeting methods and how much he was spending, my hairs stood up, because in just about every single front, he was doing it wrong and overpaying substantially.

He could have been spending 90% less on ads and bringing in 10x more traffic from that as well (in addition to the free traffic from the first point).

3) Third, for one reason or another he had a YouTube video he made that was promoting his small business, which actually accumulated over 100,000 views!

I don’t recall how he did it, but the problem here was this video wasn’t linking anywhere and this was lost traffic, a lost, quality backlink that he could have been using to grow his website’s authority.

I’ll leave the other issues out of this case study, because frankly, they mean very little to these 3 and just by correcting the 3 I mentioned, the website grew in both organic and paid traffic by several times, ad costs were cut like crazy and as a result, the website started receiving a lot of traffic, which years later is still coming in at a healthy pace.

Here’s what I fixed:

1) For the first problem in which all the self defense arts were listed on one page, I told him to separate them all. In other words, dedicate one self defense art to one page and on it, write extensively on the art, and how his business, in his local area teaches it. The minimum word requirement I set was 400 words or more.

Within each page, I made it clear to provide bold headings of the art and the area it’s taught in. Why? Because for SEO, when someone in his area looks up the art, the results provided will be local and thus his page will show up.

This was repeated for every art. Now instead of having 1 page worth of content, he now had 5 or more, each with it’s own separate focus, and each ranking on Google for the specific art, in the specific area. Beautiful.

2) Second, I cleaned up his Google Ads by just pausing his entire existing campaign he set up. I didn’t erase it because I wanted to show him how my changes would compare to his and then to choose which one he wanted more.

Basically, I targeted VERY specific keywords pertaining to ONLY people looking for self defense training (in his area ONLY) and linked each ad I created to the appropriate page on his website. His costs went down substantially and his clicks rose significantly.

3) And finally, I told him to provide a simple link on YouTube video which got the 100,000 views back to his website. This also improved his SEO. And it was a good backlink.

Overall the results were huge, and it was all done through simple SEO methods that didn’t take look to update on his site. He still maintains his superiority over the competition today because of the things that were done YEARS ago.

Important SEO updates since this local case study happened:

Back when I fixed this site, there weren’t as many requirements for a local business to succeed in SEO as it is today.

So in this part of the case study, I want to include updates on what the business did (and what you should do as well if you run a local business) to keep growing the site’s traffic and success…

Just a quick note…the same changes I made on the site back then, I would still make today and they would still be JUST as important, it’s just that a few extra ingredients are needed in local SEO success today to further those results, and here they are:

Citations. 

If you run a local business, an absolute must today is setting up citations. These are networks and sites where your business is mentioned. The most important places I’d start with are: 

local seo case study

Once you do that, if possible, get existing customers to rate it high your business high (right on all of those sites if possible). Note, there is an update on Google+ you need to read.

This will help it rank better in Google when customers look up your business and/or the subject relating to your business in your area. I would suggest emailing them and asking them to just give your business a rating, then providing a link to the citation site where your business is listed.

The more good reviews you get, the better it looks overall for other customers who would see and consider your business.

If you would like to see/hear about more case studies I’ve done for clients/myself or have your personal questions on how to recreate this success with your local business, let me know 🙂

6 thoughts on “Local SEO Case Study. How My Client Got Waves of New Customers.”

  1. Hey Vitaliy!

    Great post. SEO is really a very important aspect of content marketing, and shouldn’t be left to luck. The advice you’ve given was great really. 

    Two questions:

    1. Would you use many different keywords or phrases in your SEO?

    2. What would you advise somebody who hasn’t used Google Ads yet? What are the best practices?

    Thanks!

    Marios

    • Hi Marios, let me just say that what you said about SEO and content marketing is actually reversed. It’s the content one creates that makes the SEO a success. Just wanted to mention that 🙂

      Now for the things you asked:

      1. This is a very broad question. Are we talking about my whole site or a particular page? 

      I personally optimize my pages individually to specifically discuss a particular keyword and it’s subject and optimize the SEO of that page so that keyword can get ranked as high as possible. 

      I then repeat the same thing for other pages, but with their own, different keywords. These mini optimizations across all my pages actually end up picking up the SEO of the site as a whole.

      If you need an example, you are welcome to look at ANY of my posts on this site. You will see each one talks about a DIFFERENT type of SEO topic and the content is optimized to ONLY revolve around the keyword subject.

      2. Don’t do Google ads until you have excess money to spend, experience (huge) and understand things about SEO, keywords and specific, niche topics. These particular things will help you more intelligently navigate Google Adwords and not end up wasting a lot of money.

      One very smart approach (it takes time) is to create a website, optimize it’s pages with SEO, have them rank high, see how they are performing (Are they making sales?) and then to use those profitable pages and funnel more traffic from Google Ads to them.

      For example, if we take the local SEO case study here, let’s suppose the martial arts school was teaching a specific art in New York City, martial art A. 

      If I had a page on the client’s site that was optimized to appear on Google’s first page for Martial Art A schools in NYC and it was getting traffic and leads, I would head over to Google Ads, create a campaign and ONLY target keywords that are literally the same thing (Martial Art A schools in NYC), make sure the ad linked directly to that page, bid VERY little on it, and ONLY make sure that geographically, that it only targeted areas in NYC and close to it. 

      That would be an intelligent way to expand it. This is of course an approach I’d recommend to a beginner, because it’s safer. I could at my stage predict and see this ahead of time and set up campaigns on Google Adwords without waiting for the corresponding SEO pages to rise in rank, but that is something you should only do if you’re very skilled.

  2. Sounds pretty darn impressive and like a very quick turn around! Hopefully you got a few lessons for free for all of your hard work! 🙂

    Out of curiosity, have you ever done similar audits of local businesses without being asked and then contacted them directly to provide your expertise? This seems like a great way to engage with potential clients and then you could use the martial arts studio as a reference for how great of a job you did!

    • I certainly thought about it and I personally know people who use this approach to get clients Craig, but no I haven’t done it because I don’t really enjoy that type of work (for now). It’s definitely a good strategy so if you consider doing local marketing, use this technique, it does work.

  3. Hey Vitaliy! I love these simple tips for improving the searchability of your site. I’ve been hesitant to put money into Google Adwords because I haven’t taken the time to properly train myself on the techniques for getting the most out of that investment. I really liked your tip on targeting specific keywords. 

    As I am not a local business, at this point I don’t really have a locality to target. Do you have any suggestions for a platform that might replace Google+ when it’s gone?

    • Tucker hi, there are plenty of alternatives even though Google+ is gone for people who run businesses or those who don’t and still want to market an online business:

      Google Maps, Adwords Express, Google Ads itself, FB ads, FB fan page, FB business pages, Instagram, Instagram business pages, are all alternatives (not necessarily replacements) that you can use. 

      If you were trying to help a local business rank, I’d use ALL the Google services I just listed to do that, and then move into FB and finally, Instagram.

      If you don’t own a local business or aren’t helping one trying to rank (let’s say you have your own site), then you can also use these same services to market your site, depending on what it’s about.

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