Local SEO Case Study for a Multi-location Franchise Business in the Sports Medicine Industry
In this case study, we will analyze the Local SEO approach that brought dominating results in the Local Map Pack and Organic SERPs for our multi-location Franchise client. Bulk Onboarding/Implementation capabilities and how they took advantage of our Agency Partnership Program.
For about 6-7 months, we have seen how the results in Visibility Improvement have led to an average of 351% increase in phone calls across all locations. This has boosted the organic traffic, sales, and form fills for appointments, enabling the franchise to expand and open new locations in additional cities and states around the US and offer new services across these locations. This period has also made it possible for us to rotate between focus keywords and achieve dominating Visibility in Maps and SERPs for a broad range of highly-searched money terms for this multi-location franchise.
Highlights Of This Local SEO Case Study
- Niche: Sports Medicine
- Search volume total of focus keywords: 200K/month
- Average CPC for the target keyword: $17.97
- Population sizes of target locations vary between 250,000 to over 2 million
- Search Volume for Main Term: 41K/month
- Competition Level: High
- Achievement: GMB Ranking in Less than 7 Months
About the Industry
Franchise SEO is unique considering that different franchisees operate in different markets and locations. Understanding the industry and the local trends will foster a good Local SEO plan for franchise businesses.
Research on the market and industry of the client gave us an overview of what we were looking into.
According to a report by Global Market Insights, “Global market for sports medicine exceeded USD 5 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 6.4% from 2022 to 2030 driven by rising technological advancements and a range of product developments.”
The future demand for the client’s services and industry looks bright. But the question is, how will searchers find the services without SEO?
Global Market Insights also claims that “the North American market for sports medicine accounted for more than 35% revenue share in 2021 and is slated to exhibit lucrative growth considering the increasing number of medical centers and favorable reimbursement scenarios.”
In another study by Science Direct, roughly 80% of internet users search for something health-related online, which is a number on the rise, meaning that the next patient is actively looking for the services you as a business provide. And still, the question remains, will they find you without SEO?
About the Client
When the client/agency approached us with this franchise, rankings were nowhere to be found in the top 20 positions in the Maps Results for their desired keywords, and the SERPs were not looking much better either.
The goal was to increase the online visibility and, in turn, revenue for all locations.
Aside from the Local SEO efforts they planned to make, they had also been actively running Paid Ads. However, they were not overly pleased with their current results. And not being able to rely on cost-effective organic traffic wasn’t the situation they wanted to be in for the long haul.
The idea was to get started with a Local SEO Strategy for their, at the time, less than 100 locations. Due to marketing budget constraints at a corporate level, we went with our Basic GMB Monthly Plan and decided to check back on results after a quarter to determine how we would be moving forward with our partnership.
We now manage over 170 active locations, and the franchise is continuously growing, opening more locations, and expanding their services. The Agency’s offerings are also scaling to not only this franchise but others as well!
So, What Did We Do?
To quickly have the data available, on our first month, we ran our detailed Local SEO Audit to determine the exact issues that would help us compile the plan and strategy to move forward with.
We started by analyzing:
- Technical SEO/Website Issues
- On-Page SEO
- Backlink Graph
- NAP Consistency
- GMB Listing Issues
- Content Analysis
- Competitor Research
Challenges Found During Local SEO Audit
Through our audit, we found significant areas for improvement.
- The franchisees had their own domains
- The content was very thin across these domains, which meant more optimized content was needed for all franchisees
- Low Visibility
- Low Brand Authority
- Low Niche and Geo Relevance
- Lack of On-Page Optimization
- Possum Filter Issues for GMB Listings
- Low Number of Backlinks
- High Competition, especially in Densely populated areas
- Lack of GMB Optimization
- Technical SEO Issues
- Anchor Text Ratios
Some of the Franchise’s business locations:
Salt Lake City
What Competitor Research Showed Us
Upon conducting competitor research, we quickly assessed that we were facing strong, authoritative competition for the niche and our locations, which were already well-positioned in Maps and SERPs. The majority had been in business longer than our client had, were doing SEO, and showed to have extensive link graphs, citations, and site content, as well as a larger number of reviews, among other things.
During this phase, we also uncovered the areas and components to focus on that would allow capitalizing on quick wins while at the same time investing in long-term success.
The Local SEO Strategy/Plan
Considering the issues found during our Local Audit, we started mapping out the Action Plan and Execution. The first thing we wanted to set into place was fixing the Technical SEO Issues encountered.
As mentioned, our client had individual domains for all franchisees/locations and very thin content throughout all of these domains. Fixing the issues meant having one dynamic root domain and individual location pages for every franchisee. This way, every franchisee had rights to the location pages while benefiting from the authority and relevance passed over from the root domain.
At the same time, we worked on solutions to eliminate the issue of duplicate content.
Next, we went on with Keyword Research and On-Page optimization for all location pages. We focused on highly relevant and searched transactional intent keywords. These terms are perfect if the searcher wants to set an appointment and know more about the services offered.
This process also provided direction for
- Content Silos
- Internal Linking
Then, we fixed On-Page elements like
- Title Tag
- Heading Structure
- Meta Description
- Image Optimization
- Adding Keyword Variations,
- Optimized Content
We know that not optimizing, at least the location pages that the GMB listings are connected to is fundamentally flawed.
To make location pages geo-relevant, we also worked on adding Website features such as:
- Find Us Locally Section
- Local News
- Relevant Points of Interest
- Outlinks to Local/Niche/Authority Sources
If you’d like to get more granular in understanding what would make an excellent location page, check out this Location Page Audit Checklist For Local SEO that outlines every element and detail in an easy-to-understand format.
Having fixed the issues mentioned above, we then moved on with the GMB Listing Optimization itself. We worked on things such as
- Category updates
- GMB Site Optimization and Content
- Adding GMB Services
- GMB Description Optimization
- Creating and Publishing GMB Posts
- Reviews and Q&As
We streamlined categories and secondary categories across all locations that would cover the franchisees’ areas of expertise.
After fixing the above, we started working on Brand Authority and Link Acquisition to cover Off-Page SEO. This involved:
- Press Releases
- Do-Follow News Releases
- Local & News Link Building
- Business Profile Creation
- Niche & Local Citations
- Maps Citations
- GPS Listings
- Social Citations
- Supporting Citations
- Tiered Links for Stacked Signal Creation
- Brand Foundation, and Brand Signal Building
- Custom Signals on parity with Competition
- Geo and Niche Relevant Networks
- Patch Listings and Articles
- Patch Featured Events
Reverse engineering competition’s backlink graphs meant working on link acquisition that the Google algorithm favored, in turn, increasing prominence and relevance for our client.
Plus, having an excellent anchor analysis in place, the link graph started to look as natural as it should.
Bear in mind that this is not one location or just a handful that are getting optimized simultaneously. Our team’s capacity and SOPs allow for Bulk Onboarding as well as the implementation of these complex audits and strategies alike. To reiterate, we have seen great results in short periods of time for this franchise for over 100 listings using strategies that we lay out here. Keep reading as we showcase those results in screenshots and ranking proof, direct from GBP insights, Local Viking GEOgrids(our GMB API ranking tool), and our local keyword rank tracker.
Then, for the second quarter, we decided to expand the radius coverage on locations and keywords, targeting larger cities for other smaller locations and rotating and switching between focus keywords once we had them ranked.
As a result, we scored excellent positioning in the Local Map Pack and Organic results for our localized keywords. The results gathered through our approach have proven us correct.
The Results We Achieved
Currently, the franchisees have outranked their highly authoritative competitors in SERPs and Map Pack results.
Overall average Local SEO metric and KPI increases considering all 100+ locations:
- Views on Search increase +408%
- Views on Maps increase +227%
- Driving Directions Requests increase +260%
- Phone Calls increase by +351%
- Visits on the Website increase by +362%
- Posts Views on Search increase +1019%
- Actions CTA on Posts increase +100%
- Direct Queries increase +230%
- Indirect Queries increase +366%
- Chain Queries increase +356%
There are locations where these increased percentages are double the average presented above.
However, to keep this case study concise, we will show KPIs, GeoGrids, for only a couple of major locations, which portray more or less the overall results across all locations. The only difference is that the mid-size locations would be progressing with the strategy sooner. And to illustrate that, you will find the Images Titled ‘Mid-Size Locations’ below.
To maintain anonymity for the client, we will not expose the business’s name and target keywords on these images. Still, the images below show you the exact keyword at three periods in densely-populated areas.
Image 1 is baseline geo-grid Visibility that covers a smaller radius with a 1 km grid scale. Image 2 shows the same keyword after 1-3 months, while the last and third Image shows the keyword visibility at a larger radius with a 2.5 km grid scale after the next 3-4 months.
As seen in the images above, we have increased the radius of the geo-grid and expect to move to a 5 km grid scale starting in October to expand the coverage in Maps results.
More or less, the same trend is seen throughout all locations, apart from having many locations where the 5 km geo-grid scale has already been implemented for several focus keywords.
Rank Tracker Results
In this rank tracker image above, we have keywords and variations, with ‘near me’, and location geo-modifiers, showing our client’s good positions in SERPs for near-me terms, known to have the highest search volumes in Local Search.
Mid-Size Locations Results
With continuous efforts, we have managed to outrank our top competitors for our focus keywords and gain first positions in Maps results within a great timeframe.
For franchisees located slightly further than the central target areas, we have worked on establishing the relevance and prominence as well as visibility for both surrounding and central areas in order.
The visibility improvement has directly influenced the increase in the number of calls, visits to the website, driving directions, and consultation requests filled for the franchisees.
As the franchise is growing and starting to plan on releasing new services, we are working together in conducting keyword research for the right audience and planning the strategy to implement soon.
We will be continuously monitoring and reporting the progress to keep improving engagement, measure the overall campaign performance, and more easily detect patterns, as well as set goals and plans to make decisions.
To recap, creating holistic campaigns that tackle all segments at approximately the same time and understanding your client’s line of service and competition will allow you to scale while creating consistent implementation schedules with benchmarks of 60-90 days. Finding an outsource that can handle this kind of bulk operation and/or building out a team are the ONLY options for Franchise SEO. Luckily for this agency, Web20Ranker had the SOPs and the teams to back them up.
Another key factor contributing to the success of these, now 170 and growing, Local SEO campaigns is consistent communication with the teams involved as well as the end client/franchisees. Maintaining a standard of weekly calls to cover various wins, reports, audits, and strategies with the client/s is the right approach, especially for campaigns of this size. It has also helped build a great rapport and become an extended team working together to increase ROI and expand services on both sides.
Identifying the important KPIs and implementing consistent reporting is paramount for keeping corporate and franchisees happy. Being able to convey reporting concisely is also important, and this kind of one-to-one support is paramount to keeping a corporate entity in the loop. We were able to offer Agency Partner Liaison/s to this agency for additional assistance with client-facing attention included. We jump on calls to answer questions from the franchisees on behalf of our agency client. We are proud to be able to offer that kind of guidance and support to our Agency Partnership Program members. Helping agencies grow and allowing them to tap the resources we have curated over the many years we have been in the SEO space is what we thrive on.
Get Results Like these for Your Clients…
Create the best opportunities to rank your clients – check out our Monthly GMB Services. For the best support and assistance, as well as potential savings in bulk campaign needs, see the Agency Partnership Program. Consider also reaching out to us at Web 2.0 Ranker or email us at [email protected] to learn more.