More threads by HoosierBuff

Dec 12, 2013
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HI all,

I thought I would share this recent test result I did, because my results were unexpected.

I have a 40 location health clinic in a major city. They have location pages for each of their locations. Up until last month all of the URLS in GMB pointed to the home page of the site.

On 1/19/18 I switched half of the URLs so that they would point directly to the location pages.

I have tracked a few keywords to see the impact there, I also looked at GMB insights to see any impact:

1. Rank Tracking: this data seems mixed - improving for some terms, and decreasing for others.

2. GMB insights: For the test group (with the URL's pointing to the exact location page) There is an unmistakable decrease (certainly statistically significant) in just about every category of GMB insight data- Decrease in total views, decrease in discovery and direct search, and a decrease in map views.

3. Appointments are up for the test group (which is great, but, I thought I would see more traffic)

My thoughts: I'm surprised by the decrease in traffic - as the conventional wisdom generally says to send people to the location pages. What I'm curious about is the optimization and content of the location pages - and if they are the cause. I'm wondering if we spend a bit more time optimizing these pages would this change the results.

anyone else have any ideas?
Surely the more interesting result is that appointments are up for the test group. By which I presume you mean the half that you sent direct to the exact location page.
Traffic is nothing - results are everything.

So the machine is delivering more appointments and presumably more sales resulting from those appointments with less traffic - which must mean that what the visitors are seeing is more relevant to them.

If you are getting more business results from the traffic to exact location pages then I would concentrate on optimising that funnel - and switch all the others over as soon as you are confident that you are dealing with an established trend and not some aberration.
I too like that the test group resulted in more appointments. Sounds like it was better conversion.

I think it makes sense that the homepage is a better or at least equal ranking factor considering it will always be the best ranking page on your website.

However, I would build some links to the location pages, starting with the most lucrative locations first, working my way down. That will up your traffic and will take advantage of your conversion. Win-win.
I would like to see the actual data variables such as duration of test, time of year, actual traffic number differences. We have a 75 location client and a 13 location client that we are doing this with so would like to compare notes. I've debated the same thing but have opted to go with the location pages from a relevancy standpoint which probably contributed to the conversion increase but hard to say without seeing the numbers.

We aslo change the citation listings to link to the location page which will boost the backlink profile of those pages as well.

PM me if you want to connect offline to see if we can come up with definable answer.
Hope you two are able to pow wow. Please share some of your findings here after you do and I'll push out to social.
Thanks for sharing! It is interesting that GMB insights showed a dip in performance. However, the ultimate goal is conversions. So, this definitely looks like a win.

How long did you run this test before evaluating results?

Did you make specific correlations between rankings when the URL was changed to the location pages?

We have a dental practice with 25+ locations and for each GMB we link to the location page for that practice, we haven't flipped this strategy like what you have done, but may be worth a test. However, we focus on conversions more so than overall visits, searches, etc.

Client wants new patients more than anything!
It would be interesting to see your results. Our test took about a month, but the results were fairly strong so I was ok with ending it then - normally I'd want to go a bit longer, but the appointments increase was so real, we had to move on. (I'm tempted to try it again and re-confirm it).

The rankings I feel less confident about, I think I need to have a few more keywords in there to be sure, and there are more variables there. Suffice to say, there definitely had to be some change in keyword rank due to the decline in searches.

The one thing I would suggest that also worked for us would be to have a link to a "make an appointment page" if you don't already. That was definitely good for more appointments.
I just updated this test .. . i ran it again. I put half the locations linking to the home page, and half to a location page (40 pages).

Again - the same results as the first time. A big drop in traffic for the pages that were linked to the location pages. . . like 40% or so. We also looked at appointment data, but, it was really hard to figure out - but, didn't see any major change in total appointments made before or after the switch.

My takeaway from two tests: For this site at least, link to the home page, not the location page.
There are a lot of variables that we don't know about from your test, so it's hard to verify that the results are valid. That said, I'd probably recommend the following.

1. Check against the different CTA elements on each page.
2. Incorporate the ones that people interacted with from your location pages into your homepage.
3. Set your GMB links to the homepage.

Might be able to maximize traffic and conversions this way if there were better CTAs on the location pages. Hope that's helpful!
I, too, tried a similar experiment about 2 months ago for a client. We were unable to crack a competitive local pack for legal services, we were at #4. We dropped 5 positions to #9 in local when we moved to the home page. Now, that we've moved it back to location page, we are vacillating between position 6 and 8.

We wish we would have never tried the "test" - - of course, it was done with the client's consent. Anyone else see a dip after such a landing page switch in G Local? We left it up with home page URL for about 1 month. Home page is very strong, as compared to local landing page, e.g. 20 point difference in DA.

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