Local SEO Strategy In 30-minutes or Less or Your Money Back!
Written by Ryan Knoll of Tidy Casa home cleaning and maid service in Phoenix, AZ.
I first noticed how good a job Domino’s Pizza was doing at Local SEO when I started doing research into the effect’s of the recent pigeon update. Of all the companies I reviewed during that time I believe Domino’s Pizza is the best company I have seen at local SEO. Here’s my argument for why you should model your local SEO strategy after this world renown Pizza Franchise.
Do a search for the keyword “pizza” just about anywhere in the United States and Domino’s Pizza is going to be at the top of the list. I find this fascinating… To start it’s one thing to get lucky and be able to take a ranking once and a while but when you’re dealing with over 10,000 corporate and franchise stores internationally (according to Wikipedia) we’re talking about a number of hurdles that most of us in the Local SEO space will never have to deal with. Which makes Domino’s success all the more impressive.
First off there is the issue of scale. When you’re dealing with that many locations were talking about an internal agency larger than 95% of the local SEO companies out there today. It’s impossible to operate at a scale like that without having a rigorous, scalable and structured method for optimizing each of these locations.
In the past we have looked at the three main factors that each location needs to have to rank including: On-site SEO, citations and an optimized Google Plus page. Domino’s has a very interesting way of tackling all three of these for each location. Below we outline their strategy, break them down to their smallest pieces and look under the hood at what’s going on in Domino’s Pizza SEO department.
Google Plus Page Overview
Domino’s has thousands of locations and from what I can tell they’re all setup the same way, so for this article I decided to stick with just one Domino’s location and break down everything that they’re doing for local SEO through the prism of that one location.
For no reason in particular I chose one of the Domino’s Pizza locations close to me here in Phoenix. Let’s start by extracting some raw data, then break it apart as much as we can from there.
Here is everything we’re able to pull from the Domino’s Google My Business for the location here in Downtown Phoenix. Here is a link to the Domino’s Pizza Location I’m referencing for the remainder of the article just in case anyone wants to fact check me: https://plus.google.com/105482462167781472612/about?hl=en&gl=us
Title: Domino’s Pizza
Address: 2819 N Central Ave Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 234-3030
- Pizza Delivery
- Pizza Restaurant
- Pizza Takeout
- Chicken Wings Restaurant
Description: Domino’s Pizza in Phoenix is your pizza restaurant for fast pizza delivery. We have coupons and specials on pizza, pasta, buffalo wings, & more! Order online now!
Pictures: 8 photos 7 photos of menu items and 1 of their logo.
Google Plus Page Analysis
There are a number of things on this page that isn’t out of the ordinary and you don’t really need me commenting on including the address, name and phone number so I’m going to skip over the boring stuff and just get to what’s fun.
UTM codes in URLs
As you can see from the URL Domino’s is using UTM data in the URL string to track how many clicks dominos.com is getting from their Google Maps listing.
http://www.dominos.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=localmaps While this tactic is a bit basic in the PPC world most SEOs I know completely miss this opportunity. What this shows to me is an attention to detail that most of us just plain miss!
For those unfamiliar with UTM codes as stated above they’re more typically used in PPC campaigns and help identity through Google Analytics the source of traffic. If you would like to generate your own UTM codes for tracking Google put together a nice tool to help set these up. You can find that tool here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867?hl=en
They have 8 photos on their Google Plus page. Oddly none of them are the main thumbnail or the header image, since both of these appears blank. Typically locations that are ranking well from my experience will have both of these filled out. Upon further digging all the photos seem to have no geo tagged meta data, which leads me to believe this might not be as important as people once thought it was.
From what we can see this location doesn’t have tons of reviews. Only 16 at the moment of this writing and they all seem to be natural. All reviews are from different accounts and left at different times over the past two years. I was a little suspicious that most of these accounts had only left 1 review on this specific Domino’s Pizza location however given half the reviews were very negative I have no reason to believe these were faked in anyway. If they were it was done very well.
All things considered I’m going to mark these reviews off as natural and well deserved. No manipulation here of any kind.
As stated above the categories are:
- Pizza Delivery
- Pizza Restaurant
- Pizza Takeout
- Chicken Wings Restaurant
Pro Tip: If you’re wondering how I was able to find these, you can pull them out of the source code of the Google Plus Page for the ones that aren’t shown. They’re just set as span tags with the CSS value of display:none.
There isn’t anything that exciting about their categories, the only reason I wanted to bring them up is because I wanted to make a point of how precise they are. A lot of the times I find “pizza” restaurants using categories like Italian restaurant, family restaurant or possibly just restaurant as categories.
Google recently posted an update to their quality guidelines in which they state to use as few categories as possible to describe what the business does. You can see those guidelines here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en. With that in mind I feel it’s becoming more and more important to pay attention to this when doing our Local SEO. No need to keyword stuff the categories people. Let’s keep it neat and precise. Using a sniper rifle approach instead of a shotgun.
Once again nice job Domino’s.
Google Plus Page Summary
Overall they’re doing everything right and nothing is out of the ordinary. They have nice photos, a good number of reviews though most of them are negative and their categories are set correctly. On point without trying to stretch what they really do. Awesome job Domino’s! Now moving on to that beautiful website they created.
You will notice that while Domino’s is using the UTM codes as we mentioned above they’re re-directing to https://order.dominos.com/en/. What I want to point out about this site is that it’s incredibly user friendly. It takes you to exactly where you want to go with their “Order Now” call to action buttons and is responsive which let’s this website look great on both desktop, tablet and smartphone. Through my own research I have been finding that having a great mobile solution on your website is essential when trying to rank in local. Once again hats off to Domino’s.
Mobile Friendly Landing Pages for Each Location
It’s true that having a mobile friendly site makes a huge difference when it comes to ranking on Google Maps. My thought being quite simply Google Maps is more often used by mobile phone as opposed to desktop. In fact according to Statista.com Google Maps is the most used cell phone app in the world (Note this article is from August 2013 but I feel this should still be pretty accurate) http://www.statista.com/chart/1345/top-10-smartphone-apps-in-q2-2013/. With that said Google isn’t stupid and they want to deliver the best possible user experience. Sending someone to a site that’s not mobile friendly when they’re on their mobile phones just isn’t going to fly. Hench awesome mobile sites rank higher.
Running a test with Google’s own Mobile Friendly testing tool we see that this Domino’s page passes with flying colors. You can view the results for yourself here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/?url=https%3A%2F%2Forder.dominos.com%2Fen%2F
Another notch in Domino’s belt. Once again hitting it on all cylinders. Awesome!
We recently wrote in a post how important it is to include your NAP information (name, address and phone number information) on the site you’re linking to. SO WHERE IS IT ON THIS PAGE!? … This is the most interesting trick Domino’s has up it’s sleeve.
While the URL linked to directly by the Google My Business page is https://order.dominos.com/en/ the orders page. The real magic happens on a very clever pizza subdomain Domino’s has.
If you do a search in Google for “site:dominos.com “2819 N Central Ave Phoenix, AZ 85004″” (pardon the quotes in quotes but it will help you pull up the right result) you will find this special URL I’m referring to.
http://pizza.dominos.com/arizona/phoenix/85004/2819-n-central-ave/ Just stop … and take a second to appreciate the beauty here … now let’s break it down.
URL Structure: Even the URL is perfect, notice the structure. The subdomain is a keyword “Pizza”, the directories are the exact address for the location /state/city/zip-code/address/.
Schema: A review of Google Schema test seen here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets?q=http%3A%2F%2Fpizza.dominos.com%2Farizona%2Fphoenix%2F85004%2F2819-n-central-ave%2F reviels the this site is very well structed. Including schema for the telephone, address and latitude and longitude of the Domino’s pizza location in question.
Body Content: The body content seems to have a few words that are swapped out based on the location. In this case this location is in Phoenix and the copy is talking about Scottsdale a town adjacent to Phoenix. A review on CopyScape.com shows that while this site’s text is being taken by a few coupon sites and what appear to be some kind of content farm it’s original to this Domino’s location.
Looking at another Domin’s location a little further north we can see the copy is different: http://pizza.dominos.com/arizona/phoenix/85014/914-e-camelback-rd/ but actually very differnt. It would appear they’re using either a very advanced spinner or a team of really bored content writers to generate these pages.
With as many locations as they have and given the use of Scottsdale in both the Phoenix locations I looked at we can conclude they’re using a very advanced content spinner to create these page. This is getting a little grey hat but I’m going to give them an A plus here for creativity.
Over all these pages are masterfully done and I find it quite interesting that they were able to put the NAP information on a subdomain and see such great results. Quite a genius strategy for anyone if you have 1 location or 1,000.
Doing a Google search for “”914 E Camelback Rd Phoenix, AZ 85014″ dominos” reveals how many citations they have for that particular location. Note: this is never 100% accurate but it’s a good test to get a general feel. We can see in this search there are 27 sites containing citations for this location with 97 total citations. Most of these citations are on the same sites but what I would like to point out with how it would seem Domino’s is missing a lot of the typical Hot Frog and Monta directory sites that we’re used to seeing with a citation strategy.
They have a strong number of citations and all seem to be on very reputable sites such as yellowpages.com and Yelp. They also appear to be natural. Given the amount of other advertising Domino’s does this doesn’t come as huge a surprise that they naturally gain a lot of citations. Most of us don’t have this luxury but it’s good to note what directories they’re using and over all how many citations they have.
My main reason for writing this article is because I’m simply blown away with how awesome this is all put together. I have to say I’m a bit of a Domino’s SEO fan-boy. If SEO was a work of art this would be the Sistine Chapel. Not only because of how well it’s done but the sheer scale of it all and quite frankly it makes a great case study for how we should all be setting up and building our local campaigns.
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