I’ve been doing SEO for over 10 years, and in this case study, I’m going to share a proven, repeatable process that I’ve used over and over again to rank high-traffic keywords in any niche.

I’m going to show you exactly how I got my GBP listing to #1 on Google, outrank the competition, and increase organic traffic by 200% in just 3 months!

Here’s what you’ll learn:

How to find high-traffic, low-competition keywords that can be ranked easily with very little effort (there are some great free tools out there to help you do this)

The 3-step process that I use to get my GBP listings to rank #1 in Google (this is the same process I used on all of my other sites too)

How much time it takes to get results from this strategy.

A little background…

I wanted to run a test and see how quickly I could rank a website from scratch, in an area that already has established competition with reviews and credibility.

I started with a simple idea, a landscaping business in an area not too far from me.

Landscaping is a common small local business and very competitive, so I figured it’d be the perfect challenge.

Step 1: Research

I started by researching what other landscaping companies were doing, not just in my area, but in other areas and states as well.

This was easy because there’s no shortage of landscaping companies out there; they’re everywhere! But there were some things that stood out to me:

The majority of them had been around for years and hadn’t changed much at all (except for their prices).

They didn’t seem to have any kind of online presence at all (if you don’t have an online presence these days, you’re basically dead in the water).

Many didn’t even have websites or social media pages! It was as though they had no idea how important this stuff is when running a business today.

I started digging into other high-competition areas, places like Atlanta, Los Angeles and the like. I wanted to see what successful businesses in these difficult areas were doing.

What categories were they using on their GBP listings? What keywords were the targeting? What kind of backlinks did they have? What kind of content, if any, were they creating?

For me, I knew what keyword I wanted to target. “Landscaping Laredo TX”. Laredo is a smaller town. There isn’t tons and tons of competition, but the businesses there are very well established.

How did I conduct my research?

I particularly used Ahrefs to conduct my research.

AHRefs is a powerful tool that allows you to not only view the number of people searching for a particular keyword but dive into your competitors’ sites and see what other keywords they’re ranking for and what backlinks they have.

It’s a great way to find out how much traffic each of your competitors is getting for specific keywords, and how much money each of them are currently making from their websites.

What I also did was use Google Keyword Planner to get an idea of how many people were searching for a particular keyword or phrase over a period of time — this can be useful if you’re trying to find out whether there is enough demand for something before spending time creating content around it.

Finally, I used SEMrush which gives you information about all the websites that are ranking on Google within your niche. It’s also great for finding out how much traffic these sites are getting and how much money they’re making from their websites — again another useful piece of information when deciding whether or not it’s worth investing in this keyword.

  • AhRefs Cost: $99/mo
  • SemRush: $120/mo
  • Google Keyword Planner: Free
  • Free/Cheaper Alternatives: UberSuggest – Keywords Everywhere – AnswerThePublic

Step 2: Content Creation

As of right now, my “business” didn’t even have a website. So the first step was to create one. I put together a basic WordPress website using Elementor.

I was able to get my website up and running in just a few hours. I also added a contact form, which allows people to fill out their information and request a quote.

The next step was to start adding content to the site.

The next step was to start adding content to the site.

Articles today are longer, better researched, and formatted for user experience. Today, Google’s first-page search results average close to 2,000 words in length.

When creating content, there’s one mentality everyone should adopt:

“I want to create the best piece of content on this topic — period.”

The goal is not only to help your visitors find what they need quickly but also to educate them along the way.

The more your readers learn about a topic, the more likely it will be that they return for more information.

So I knew that not only did my content need to be on the longer side (my competition in this case had maybe 100 words tops on their home page) – It needed to be the best possible content it could be.

I’m not going to say I wrote the greatest content ever put to digital paper… but I made sure it got the point across and was more than just 100 words.

The end result was that my home page hovered around 1000 words.

And that’s exactly what I wanted.

A lot of people will tell you that it’s not necessary to have a long sales page or that any sales pages are too long… but in my experience, they’re wrong.

It’s all about building trust, understanding and providing value.

That said, I didn’t want to make this thing a 2500 word behemoth. That’s what the blog is for.

Step 3: On-Page SEO

It used to be that on-page SEO had a much stronger influence on rankings than off-page factors like backlinks. However, studies have shown that this is no longer true. Instead, it seems like Google’s algorithms place more emphasis on backlinks than ever before.

But while backlinks seem to have a much higher correlation with rankings these days, on-page SEO should not be ignored.

Backlinks can take months/years (and a lot of resources) to build. Meanwhile, key on-page elements can be analyzed and optimized in a matter of minutes.

When it comes to ranking in Google, you need to know what you’re up against.

By analyzing your competitors’ websites, you can gain valuable insights into their strategies and tactics.

This means that you can figure out what they are doing right (and wrong) and then apply those lessons to your own efforts.

I always like to look at the on-page SEO for each competing search result. Specifically, I like to see how they are using exact match keywords in the:

  • Title tag
  • URL
  • Heading tags (H1, H2 and H3)
  • Meta descriptions (to help improve CTR)

I also like to check:

  • Site Speed
  • Content Quality
  • User Experience

When checking for content quality, I keep an eye on:

  • Content length
  • Multi media (images, video, infographics, gifs)
  • Secondary keywords
  • UX (readability)
  • Format (list post, expert roundup, interview, case study, how-to etc..)
  • How up-to-date is it
  • Social media optimization

How to do it?

If you’re using a website platform like WordPress (which I was), you can use plugins like:

  • YoastSEO
  • RankMath
  • All-In-One-SEO

To make it easier to take care of your on-page SEO.

The Results

Normally I’d want to throw in a number of blog articles and some backlink outreach, maybe even build some citations…

But I was curious if I could beat the competition just like this.

An optimized GBP listing and a beefed-up website.

The results?

Within 3 months I was ranking #1 In the map pack for “Landscaping Laredo TX”.

The GBP listing had over 414 discovery searches and 253 calls.

Keep in mind, this was just one keyword, with a business that had no prior presence online, no website, no reviews, nothing.

The website & listing have since been taken down. I don’t run a landscaping business and had no reason to be competing with actual local businesses out there trying to make a living. I just wanted to see if It could be done.

But as you can see, with a little work and research, you can get results quickly.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at: [email protected] or drop a comment!