Not a lot of companies really understand Local SEO and how to best address localized searching.  Today’s SEO Case Study involves Mellow Johnny’s Local SEO footprint here in Austin, Texas.

When developing a strategy for Local SEO, there are certain precautions every business needs to adhere to.  The biggest of these is consistency with NAP, which stands for Name, Address and Phone Number.  Whenever a business is listed on a website, the NAP should be the same across all listing services such as Google My Business, Yellow Pages, Yelp and others.  What often happens however is businesses or their marketing companies mistakenly enter incorrect listing information.  It could be as simple as variations in the business name to more complex address related issues.  These all contribute to inconsistent listings, which in turn can penalize and lower the Local SEO ranking for that business.

In the case of businesses that own multiple micro businesses within their establishment, such as places like Whole Foods, the same address is often used for all of them, creating what is known as duplicate citations.  Google My Business requires a unique address for each business and any conflict in addresses because of duplicates will penalize their Local SEO ranking.

SEO Case Study | Mellow Johnny’s | Google Search

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When performing a search for the terms “Austin Bike Shop”, the listing above displayed.  As you can see, no Adwords Ads where present, so the top listings pertained to local cycling businesses.  Below the local listings are organic listings.  Mellow Johnny’s is in a good spot, being 3rd in what is referred to as Google’s local 3-pack, essentially the top 3 local listings.

Now of course this only tells part of the story.  Obviously Mellow Johnny’s is a pretty popular destination, being partly owned by Lance Armstrong, so it’s no surprise that it would have a higher than normal ranking.

Where Local SEO really comes into play is understanding how Mellow Johnny’s could eventually outrank both Bicycle Sport Shop and University Cyclery by making sure their local citations don’t have listing errors such as inconsistencies, duplicates and missing information.

Search engines, especially Google, penalize business listings if they are inconsistent, have missing information or have multiple business names for the same address.

Inconsistent Business Listings
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When companies start listing their NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) on listing services, they will often use variations of their business name, address and phone number.

Above you can see Mellow Johnny’s has 3 different variations of its name being used.

  • Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop
  • Mellow Johnnys Bike Shop (Without the apostrophe)
  • Mello Johnny’s

When search engines encounter variations they penalize the business’s local citation authority, which in Mellow Johnny’s case, hurts their ability to rank locally.

To rectify the situation, Mellow Johnny’s or a Local SEO specialist such as Hang Ten SEO needs to access the problem citations and make them all consistent.  Depending on how many there are, the process may take a while to fix.  Unfortunately certain citations may take as long as 2 – 3 months before an actual change is committed and available.

Incomplete Listings

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Listings that are complete usually contain more information than just NAP, including things like business description, category information and images.

Listings that are incomplete may or may not effect citation authority, but it is almost always good to provide as much information as possible.  For Mellow Johnny’s there are quite a few listings that could use more photos and business information.  In many cases including more information helps with Click Through Rate (CTR) when a business is being searched for on the various listing services, such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Google My Business and so on.

Duplicate Listings

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Many companies don’t realize that they need to create unique addresses for each of their local businesses, even if the businesses are in the same physical location.  Google My Business and others require each business to have a single physical address.  In Mellow Johnny’s case, they have the bike shop (Mellow Johnny’s) and they have a coffee bar (Jaun Pelota Cafe).  In order to be compliant with Local SEO best practices, Mellow Johnny’s or Jaun Pelota Cafe, needs a different address.  It can be as easy as adding a suite number to the address.

For example:

Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop
400 Nueces St, Austin, TX 78701
(512) – 473-0222
http://mellowjohnnys.com

Jaun Pelota Cafe
400 Nueces St, Suite A, Austin, TX 78701
(512) – 473-0222
http://mellowjohnnys.com

By adding the “Suite A” to Jaun Pelota Cafe, it is now a unique business location in the eyes of Google and compliant for Local SEO purposes.

Bottom Line

For companies to be successful in Local SEO, making sure their citations are consistent, unique and complete will go a long way to helping boost their local presence and ranking.

Check out My Book

Local SEO – A Roadmap To Successful Local Ranking

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Other SEO Case Studies you might be interested in.

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