Having practiced SEO in Riverside for the last 6 years, my SEO techniques have become tailored to a region with 30+ city names (in the inland empire alone). When you add in Orange County and Los Angeles, I am used to running campaigns targeting dozens of regional terms. So what happens when you find a region with 1 city that has 1 million people, in a state with only 2? Albuquerque is just a region and as I have been exploring the cities rankings I am finding some interesting things.
Albuquerque Plumbing – A tale of two SEO’s
I was most surprised when I looked into Albuquerque Plumbing and some related key terms. I had been tipped off by someone familiar with the niche in the city, that I should look into the rankings. What I found was two websites outranking the local box. Although two natural listings above the local box is not surprising in its self, as far as I can tell, it is a classic case of two SEO’s making life difficult for each other. The two sites at the top have similar stats but the younger brother 4 year old, is beating out bit brother, 14 years old (boy what I would do with a local client with a 14 year old aged domain).
On-page ranking factors
Big bro seems to have focused all efforts on on-page optimization. With footer internal link building, and writing “seo copy” In fact the description for big bro is atrocious.
Plumbers Albuquerque TLC Plumbing Repair Heating Cooling Repair Service Albuquerque Best Plumbers Heating Servicae Technicians Cooling Repair Services Albuquerque.
Compare that heap of keyword loading to
Reasonable Rates. Quality Work. Fast Response Time. Get your plumbing or HVAC maintenance and emergencies taken care of right the first time at Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling!
Which plumber do you think would get a better click through rate?
So what else is making the difference?
The lil bro is linking to deep pages from the COPY of its home page, but look at the older site. They just wrote copy and didn’t link to ANY internal content. Instead the keyword loaded the footer with what appear to be rather spammy looking links! Remember SEO boys and girls, if it’s too ugly for your own site, it’s to ugly for google.
Albuquerque Plumbers Off-Site Breakdown
Younger Brother is a PR 3 while older is a PR 4. The Domain is a decade younger, and he has less inbound links (151 vs 176). Big brother even has twice as much content (1020 vs 607) AND a gov link. So why is younger brother winning?
Optimized Anchor text for Albuquerque Plumbing
Simply put, younger brother is optimizing for the keywords better. Although I will avoid going into detail as to HOW he is able to optimize for the terms, his inbound anchor text is making better use of keywords and less use of branded terms. Now the irony behind this is that this is a classic case of a better campaign beating out a lesser campaign (for a better website).
Is this kind of SEO “White Hat”?
Although 2007 Julian may disagree with me, both SEOs are perfectly fine in my opinion. Sure they are both building links, it’s just one is building links in a more optimized fashion. (and it appears the SEO may have a few more built up resources to leverage….. *cough*). That said, both sites are cleaner than 90% of ranking sites, and 100% of my personal projects.
So is the top ranking site (lil bro) doing a better job at marketing? This is were I would disagree. If you look a the first page for “Albuquerque Plumbing” Big Bro is running a Pay per click, (at likely 5 bucks a click, yes these local terms are competitive). Big Bro is also ranking in the local box (right below his second place natural listing). This means that of the first 6 positions (3 ads, 2 naturals and 1 local) big bro has 3 or 50%. This is great page coverage. And the statistics would back this up (alexa has big bro in the 2m. traffic mark while lil bro is closer to 7m).
Once a top ranking plumb always a top ranking plumber?
Not exactly. See, big brother is ranking with very little off page optimization. All it would take is a little bit of targeting link building to really ramp up the rankings. What kind of link building? Well that Ill let your imagination think of the various kinds, but any link building able to generate between a few hundred (or thousand) links would make it pretty easy to out rank lil bro.
All in all it is a pretty interesting niche to watch. As I am in Albuquerque more, I will be keeping an eye on the plumbing niche. Who knows what other niches I will find that have some local SEO competitions going on!
Random Tip… go to lil bro’s site, and check out the sidebar “Angies list awards”. Why would a website link with anchor rich text to an Angies listing…… Here is a hint, page one real estate.