From the Spotlight Digital Platform:

A Local SEO Case Study

Read below to see how a local locksmith company used Spotlight Digital's Local SEO services to get more phone calls, direction requests, and website traffic.

Let's Start with the Good Stuff

We know what you want to see – the numbers. Through Spotlight Digital’s Local Search Engine Optimization platform, this client was able to achieve a record breaking 521 phone calls in three months from Google Maps during the height of COVID-19 in Texas. This was accompanied by 105 Direction Requests and 212 Website Visits.

These are great results for a business in a medium-sized college town during summer break in the middle of a pandemic. However, we had some challenges to overcome…

Google My Business results for a locksmith using local SEO with Spotlight Digital
April 12, 2020 - July 12, 2020

Now Here’s the Bad Stuff...

The challenging part about tracking results with this client at the beginning of their services in early 2019 was that their website was hosted on another platform, limiting our access to seeing how users behaved on-site. 

This meant that we:

  • Couldn’t access Google Analytics
  • Couldn’t make website changes
  • Did not own the site domain (neither did the shop owners)

About 9 months into using our service, we received a call from the locksmith shop owner informing us that they had canceled their website with that hosting platform; we had limited time to get a new website up and running.

local search engine optimization with a digital map pin

A Blank Slate

planning the structure and site architecture for a local business

Because of their cancelation with the other hosting platform, all content, backlinks, and domain authority were lost. Since the locksmith did not own their domain, we were unable to create a 301 Redirect to the new domain we purchased on behalf of the client.

This meant we had to create content, design a website, and restart our SEO efforts on a fresh site.

The Process

Spotlight Digital created a custom process for this client that we would follow to get their new site back on track and better than before. Here are some of the main aspects we focused on…

First, a New Website

Our client needed a new website – fast. We purchased a new, SEO-friendly domain (no, that doesn’t include using the keyword and city in the domain!) that was the brand name of the company. Previously, with the old hosting company, their website was on a .biz domain, but now we had them on a branded .com domain – so official!

There were a few things we knew we needed to include on the new site right off the bat:

  • Google Analytics & Search Console Setup
  • Core Pages (Home, Services, About, Contact)
  • Mobile Responsiveness
  • Clear Calls to Action
  • Location Embeds
  • Name, Address, Phone in Footer
  • Search Optimized Content
designing a website in wordpress

Building the Site

building a website for a local business

We’ve already mentioned earlier that our client’s original website got shut down by their old hosting company. That company would not transfer the domain or site files to us, so we had to start from scratch on a fresh domain.

To do this, we purchased a branded domain. Yes, branded. We did not buy a domain that was formatted as “servicecitystate.com.” At the end of the day, we want to make sure that our client’s website is as user-friendly as possible. Having a branded domain is a lot more accessible and user-friendly than just having a domain that’s purely keyword targeted.

After purchasing the domain, the next step was to plan the website’s structure and general content needs.

Site Structure

Obviously, we needed to make sure we had all top-level pages built ASAP, those being:

  • Home
  • Service
  • About Us
  • Contact
  • Blog

Beyond that, we would continue to add new content on the website by building out the Service page section and consistently blogging.

Here’s an example of how we planned the site structure…

a team building a website

Content Optimization

As important as content is for a local website, you can’t forget to make sure that the content is optimized for search AND user experience.

What does this mean? It means that your content needs to be unique, helpful, and make sense for humans while ALSO making sense to search engines.

To achieve this, we use a combination of keyword research and common sense. Yup, no super fancy formulae for on-page optimization other than it provides value, addresses the query or queries we are targeting, and has some strong Call-to-Actions on the page.

Now, there definitely are some other aspects to on-site optimization that search engines consider such as schema markup, page speed, and mobile usability, but when it comes to the content itself, just make sure it’s actually good!


An easy way to tell people what your website is about and who you are is with metadata. The main forms of metadata we are looking at when it comes to local SEO are called Title Tag and Meta Description

The Title Tag is the title for a page that is displayed in search. So if we go and search “locksmith in Seattle,” you’ll see the search results. We’ve highlighted where you see the Title Tags here:

title tags when searching for a locksmith in local area
meta descriptions when searching for a local business

You may also notice that if you actually visit the site, the Title Tag is displayed on the browser tab itself, alongside a favicon.

Second, Meta Descriptions are a way you can briefly describe what each page on your website is about. Let’s look back at the search query, “locksmith in Seattle.” We’ve highlighted where you can see the Meta Description.

By optimizing both of these, you can tell search engines more about a page, but most importantly, it let’s you tell the USER what your page is about. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are a great way to increase Click Through Rate and have immediate calls to action.

Citation Cleanup

Citation Cleanup and buildout is the first step in most of our Local SEO campaigns. Citations in Local SEO are places online where your business’s Name, Address, and Phone Number are listed on the web. For example, on Facebook, when you put your company’s info into the “About” section of its page and list your company’s name, address, and phone number, you have just created a citation!

In general, you want to have more consistent citations than your competitors.

This means your citations should be:

  • Correct
  • High Quality
  • Higher in Number

With this locksmith client, we began by checking their “core citation” profile on Moz Local. Moz Local checks to see if your local business is listed in some very important places. When we ran the Moz Local scan, we noticed some missing profiles as well as duplicate data and inconsistencies.

moz local score for a local business before using local search engine optimization
Note: Moz Local looks a bit different since we took this screenshot.
search results from searching for nap citation listings

Immediately, we began to create missing profiles, remove duplicate listings, and correct data inconsistencies on core citations.

Then, we began to build out extra citations, running competitor analyses to find out what places our locksmith’s competitors were listed online that our client was not.

If you’d like to find out what tools and processes we used to find our competitor’s citations, you can download our Local SEO Checklist.

Backlink Acquisition

Backlink acquisition is an integral part to any search engine optimization campaign, even local. There are many ways to acquire links as a local business; with this locksmith, we focused on guest posting on websites with relevant content or in the same or similar niche as our client.

For example, we scored a high authority backlink from an online home security store, writing an article about what steps to take to keep your possessions secure while moving, referencing different ways to lock away things, when you should change your locks and keys, etc.

On top of this, citations provide backlinks as well – some are dofollow while some are also nofollow; either way, it’s an easy way to get a “double whammy” in your linkbuilding efforts.

a graphic depicting the process behind backlink outreach

Review Responses

review responses in online reputation management

Responding to reviews, especially on Google My Business is vital for your local SEO strategy. Review count, velocity, and response rate/time is heavily weighed when it comes to displaying local search results on Google.

With this client, we made sure to respond to both positive and negative reviews within 24 hours of the review being posted. This shows Google that you’re active and care about your online image – and at the end of the day, Google wants to reward people for using their products.


One of the most challenging aspects of running a website and keeping it optimized for local search is creating, optimizing, and maintaining a blog.

We know you’ve heard so many people tell you to “start a blog,” but we are here to tell you the more practical reason as to why…

Search engines love seeing websites add fresh, new, and original content. It shows them that your site is active, cared for, and providing ongoing value to the people who find it.

Also, it gives you the opportunity to get found through more specific keywords in your industry or locale.

With our clients, we write and post two kinds of blogs: industry and local.

blog writing service for local search engine optimization

Industry blogs typically cover a topic related to the service the client provides. In the case of our locksmith client, an example blog could be “What to Do When You Lose the Key to Your House.” Of course, do keyword research to get content ideas and target things that are actually being searched for.

Local blogs will usually go over some information about the area our client is in. So going back to the “locksmith in Seattle” search query, if you were a locksmith in that area, local blogs could be something like “Top 7 Bed and Breakfasts in Seattle, WA.”

While industry blogs are straightforward, the purpose of local blogs are twofold:

  1. They show search engines you are involved in your area/community
  2. Local blogs/resource pages can be great for earning backlinks

With every blog, we make sure to optimize any images with proper titles and alt tags, we optimize the Metadata for both search friendliness and with the goal to improve CTR (click through rate), and most importantly, we make sure the content is useful.

Ranking Results...Kinda

At Spotlight Digital, we don’t focus on rankings. That sounds blasphemous, we know, but here’s why…

Every time somebody makes a search on Google, they are showed different results than the next guy who searches. If you average rank 4 in search for a given keyword, that doesn’t mean you’re in the 4th search position for every search of that keyword; it just means that’s the average of all of the different positions your site is in when served to a search user.

Beyond the regular results, the biggest part of local search engine optimization is being shown in the Maps 3-Pack. This is the Google Maps “3-Pack”: 

using a search engine to find local services

Where you’re shown in the Map Pack heavily relies on your location in relation to the location of the person placing the search.

Now, if you and a competitor are both close or equidistant from the user placing a local search, the company with the best optimization and user experience should take priority in search.

Spotlight Digital focuses on getting more eyeballs on your website and business in search, not vanity metrics such as what rank you are for an obscure keyword only five people in the world search for.

The results speak for themselves:

google my business results from 2020 local seo campaign
Datastudio Local SEO report for this locksmith client, Apr. 1 to Jul. 1
website traffic results from local seo service
Datastudio Local SEO report for this locksmith client, Apr. 1 to Jul. 1
google search console results from a local seo campaign
Datastudio Local SEO report for this locksmith client, Apr. 1 to Jul. 1

Now it’s Your Turn!

We hope this case study showed you how powerful local search engine optimization can be for your business! Of course, we didn’t outline every single thing we did for this client, but everything you see here are the meat and potatoes of the strategy Spotlight Digital used for this company.

To get a free, no strings attached, one-on-one custom Local SEO Audit from Spotlight Digital, fill out the form below (to the right on desktop)!

Once we get your request, we will reach out with your audit results and run you through some ways you can get better results from your local search engine optimization efforts.