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Cookie Cutter Local SEO Doesn’t Work

Some people might think that SEO is easy – you figure out what works and you wash, rinse, and repeat on every site you work on. But, only if it was that easy – cookie-cutter SEO doesn’t work. We see time and time again that some strategies work very well in certain industries and markets and terribly in others. Here are just a few examples of some local SEO strategies.

Optimizing Service Area Pages

Service area pages work really well for some industries. For example,  electricians get a ton of activity from “electrician” keywords. Having service area pages allows you to expand the reach of that. They are also the top converting keywords.

Striking Distance 

For some sites, looking at what keywords are within “striking distance” (positions 2-9), and optimizing for those keywords, works well. This works when clients have a lot of great content but crappy SEO work.  We often find this can lead to better and faster results than adding new content. Here is an example of that:

Optimizing for Featured Snippets

We see optimizing for feature snippets works really well for criminal lawyers because lots of keywords don’t have local packs, but have featured snippets instead. So, optimizing to get that featured snippet works well. The negative to this strategy is the conversion rate is low so you need a ton of volume to deliver conversions.

Adding New Content

Sometimes when you add new content, it performs really well, and sometimes it doesn’t. The great thing about SEO is the longer that you work with an industry, and the more businesses you have in that industry, the better you’ll be able to track and know what types of content do well. We’ve been working really hard in the last year to make playbooks per industry so when we get a new client in that industry, we can start right away implementing strategies we know work well and aren’t being overused by other SEOs.

An example of a new page that started performing well right away.


  • There are many strategies in the local SEO world. One that works for one industry may not work for another. One that works for one site may not work for another.
  • If you are optimizing a new site, try one strategy – see how it does, then switch gears and try another. Determine which works the best. Create a playbook to use long-term.
  • Always measure the impact of the work you do.

Want more local SEO tips?
Check out our LocalU Event in NYC in September!.

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Joy Hawkins

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. It highlights the ineffectiveness of cookie-cutter SEO and emphasizes the importance of tailoring strategies to specific industries and markets. One successful strategy mentioned is optimizing service area pages, which can significantly benefit industries like electricians by increasing keyword reach and conversions.

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