What Works in 2015 – A Local SEO Case Study

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Much has been written online about Local SEO and what it takes to achieve results. Sadly, much of the information is either outdated or incorrect. I have always found the best way to display information with relevant proof is via Case Study. So, that is what I plan to do.

We will cover the basics and then quickly move to more advanced topics. Initially the focus will be:

  • Keyword Selection
  • Domain Name Selection
  • Expired Domains – PR Domains
  • 301 vs no 301
  • Initial Links
  • Social Signals
  • Authority Links
  • PBN
  • Citations
  • Google My Business Optimization
  • Volume Links

Now, don’t get confused.  Just because a topic is on the list doesn’t mean I endorse it…as several of these techniques I don’t endorse but it wouldn’t be an exhaustive list without them.


So, to get started lets talk briefly about keyword selection.  You first stop should be the Google Keyword Planner.  While that tool was better in the past it still provides the most reliable information available.  When looking at keywords to target often there will be a clear winner.  A keyword that allows you to achieve meaningful results without losing your mind fighting off too much competition.  However, that will change depending on your skill level.  At this point we can rank a keyword with 100,000 searches per month inside of 45 days…but your mileage may vary.  A good rule of thumb is to focus on keywords at the 10,000 searches level.  That allows for fast progress and a worthwhile target.

There really is no shortcut for this process.  You may be tempted to use various services:

  • WordTracker
  • Market Samurai
  • SEMRush
  • etc

And while some have value I find it better going to the source.

Domain Names

Keyword or No Keyword – Exact Match or Not – Branded vs Keyword

There are a lot of options in this category…many more than in past years.  However, you now have two good choices and many bad choices which is one more good choice than we used to have.

  1. Expired Exact Match
  2. New Exact Match
  3. Expired Branded
  4. New Branded


  1. Branded
  2. NAP Citations
  3. Exact Match
  4. URL
  5. Random

Sources of Volume Links