Ranking a Service Area Business GMB Case Study: Local SEO for Multi-Location Company in ‘Spammy’ Niche

How We Achieved Map Pack Rankings for a Multi-Location SAB


Achieving top local rankings for companies with multiple locations presents different challenges. If these locations are near each other, potential filtering becomes an issue.

If you’re working with a multi-location company, there are specific strategies you must utilize. 

Our optimization transformed a messy, inconsistent brand into a state-dominating presence for money terms, even beating out .gov and .org sites in the SERPs. This client is now the top-ranking site state-wide for a variety of high-value terms and their individual GMB listings rank in the map pack for respective cities.

Here’s how we did it….

Optimizing Multiple GMB Listings

GMB listing optimization is included in all DFY GMB campaigns. The includes reviewing listing type, categories, description, and name. 

When we began working with the multi-location brand, they had a mix of legit and fake listings. Some were SAB and some were physical locations, which confused search engines – a brand should not have a mix of listing types. We worked with them to create consistency across listings and reverified where necessary. Once we knew the listings were consistent and following guidelines, we went to work optimizing. 


GMB Categories

When we began working with this client, they were not fully leveraging their GMB categories. During our competitive analysis, we identified the common subcategories among top-ranking listings, then implemented them on our client’s listings. 

The more relevant categories a listing has, the broader the relevance. GMB categories are one of the most important listing features as they’ve proven to impact rankings in our Mad Scientist tests. For this client we only had to add a couple categories as it’s a very specific niche. 


Watch for Filtering & Overlap

Our client has locations that are located close together. This is a common issue in multi-location SEO campaigns as listings can compete with each other that cause one to not be shown. To combat filtering, we went through each SAB listing and ensured there was no overlap of service areas. We did push the area right up to the line to maximize local relevance for the brand overall.


Citations & Brand Mentions

Strong local SEO and citations go hand in hand. Brand mentions and citations build prominence, which is one of the two big factors in local rankings.

Because this was a multi-location business, the citation audit and cleanup was vital to ensure NAP consistency across all locations and assets. Inconsistent NAP citations may seem like a basic detail, but it is the basics that create a solid foundation for rankings.

The audit also allowed us to see which locations were lacking in citations. While every location doesn’t need to have the exact same number of citations, we wanted to make sure we were spreading the love around. Conversely, we also had to consider the competition level of each location. Bridgeport, the biggest city in Connecticut, has higher competition than a more rural city, so more citations will be needed to compete.  

After we identified the inconsistent citations, we submitted updated information. Then, began building new citations – general business citations, as well as locally relevant and/or industry relevant citations. We found new citation opportunities through detailed competitor analysis that shows common citations among competitors. These are the gaps we began to fill. 

Our process is to build citations in tiers, starting with the most impactful citations first. Once we have created all our essential citations, we then work on secondary citations. Keep in mind, secondary citations alone won’t move the needle, but they do support increased brand visibility and authority. Generally, our next step would be niche citations, but we don’t have a citation package for this niche, so we moved on to our Custom Signals to find additional opportunities. 

Tiered Links to Citations

After we built the essential and secondary citations, we used tiered links to boost the power of our citations. This tiered linking approach increases authority of citations, which then passed through to our main site. We don’t use tiered links to link directly to our client’s site. 

Using tiered links also improves indexation of citations. Most of the client’s citations were indexed quickly because of this strategy, which propped up local rankings. We also included unique descriptions for each citation to increase indexation. 


Brand Building

To build and strengthen your brand online, we include multiple branding features in our GMB campaigns – brand foundation creation and brand boosting.

All of the above strategies combined to produce some pretty big increases. Here our some of the results of our local optimization year-over-year:

year over year improvement from web 2.0 ranker client

Local And Authoritative Website Features

To strengthen local relevance and prominence, you need to leverage all applicable website features. in our experience, the more information you can provide to Google, the better Don’t allow missed opportunities on client sites. Be sure to leverage all website features possible. For this campaign, we used:

  • Find Us Locally Section
  • County Pages
  • Local News
  • Relevant Points of Interest

Find Us Locally

The more trust signals you can include for a brand, the better off you are. On every location page we included a “Find Us Locally” to capitalize on trusted 3rd party reviews (signals). This strategy also highlights our 3rd party reviews, which Google uses as a local ranking factor. Below is a screenshot of the local review sites we used.

County Pages

We built local relevance for areas where the client didn’t have an address, but still served using county pages. The county page included:

  • 350-word intro using our supporting terms.
  • NAP for each client location in the county
  • Link to the location page
  • Industry-relevant points of Interest in the county
  • Keywords with local modifiers

We linked to each county page from the homepage of the site and included these in the main navigation. We also listed out every city on the homepage, linking to the cities with dedicated location pages. Cities without a location page were not linked. Here is an example of one county section on the homepage.

We created 7 county pages to cover the entire state. These county pages allowed us to expand our relevance and aided in dominating the local rankings state-wide. If you’re working with a brand that has multiple locations in a county, we recommend building county pages in addition to individual location pages.

Local News Posts

Including local news can broaden relevance by adding another layer of local content.
You want to find local news that is relevant to your niche. For our client, they are in the legal industry so we focused on news about the court houses, state laws, local committees, and different law updates and changes.

Relevant/Helpful Points of Interest

In addition to the local website features mentioned above, we also included relevant points of interest on each location page. Because this client is in the legal niche, we included the court house, Supreme court, court clerk office, and appellate court on respective pages. For each relevant point of interest we included:

  • Name
  • Image
  • Website
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Hours
  • Public Parking Info

Custom Tasks & Signals

In addition to our standard packages, we implemented custom tasks through our custom signals service.

Outlinks To Local/Niche/Authority Sources

These sources were included on county pages, as well as other areas of the site.

Patch Posts

We built local relevance around specific areas with Patch posts. This local hub allows you to post pictures, bog posts, events, news, and other relevant info.

Social Sharing

SEO For Multiple Locations

In every DFY SEO campaign, we review the brand with Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines. This is especially important in restricted niches, which this client is in. This initial analysis showed any potential trust issues that could hinder the client from ranking. 

Through our work, the client was able to open additional locations, nearly doubling their business since they came on board with us. We are continuing to work with this client to further expand their reach and dominate state-wide for a wider keyword variety. 

Your main goal should be to grow with your clients. Produce enough positive results that they

Not only will they be making more money, but they’ll have a bigger budget to invest back into their business (with your agency).