Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals Part 10


A recent study by comScore Networks (http://www.comscore.com/) discovered that 60% of consumers search for local content. Much of the local searches surround topics like restaurants and travel content, such as hotels and car rentals. If you are in a city for a conference and you are looking for a place to eat dinner, are you just going to run a search for your favourite type of food? No way. You’re going to look for your favourite kind of restaurant in relation to where you are.

Tips & Techniques

At the most basic level, search localization is simply when a searcher adds a geographic modifier to their query in order to get more accurate results from a search engine. If you want to buy a car, are looking for a great real estate agent, etc. then odds are you are going to want to do that some place in your area. Common modifiers include:
  • ZIP or Postal Code
  • Street
  • City or Town, along with descriptive words Northern, Central, East, West, and Southern
  • State or Province, entirely spelt out as well as the abbreviation
  • Country, entirely spelt out as well as the abbreviation
  • Area Code and/or Phone Number
  • Recognizable Landmarks and Destinations (e.g. right next door to…)
Search localization presents a good opportunity for companies optimizing their Web site to be search engine friendly simply because there are not that many people doing it just yet – many companies focus their efforts on generic, underperforming search terms because they do not know any better. Naturally, any company looking to speak to a local market should be considering search localization when optimizing their Web site. I may not care where the book I ordered comes from, but when I am looking for a house I want a real estate agent in the local area with knowledge of the area.

Optimizing your Web site to speak to the local market is no different from regular search optimization; it just requires a bit of creativity. The same optimization areas, such as page titles, page copy and meta tags are relevant to search localization. Here are some examples to get you started:

Include geographic keywords in Page Headers and Footers. For example, you could insert a copyright notice at the bottom of each page of your Web site that includes your location – “© 2004, Prince George Hotel, a Centennial Hotels Property. 1725 Market Street in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3R9. Hotel Reservations 1-800-565-1567 • tel 902-425-1986 • fax 902-429-6048”.

Include geographic related keywords in your Page titles. Instead of a “Fine Italian Dining – il Mercato Restaurant” you could have “Fine Italian Dining in Downtown Halifax – il Mercato Restaurant”.

Include geographic related keywords in your page copy. For example, a paragraph could include a statement such as “Come visit us on the Halifax waterfront, right next door to Historic Properties” to capture high profile local destinations. You could also have “…just south of Halifax in Peggy’s Cove” or “…10 minutes from Halifax”. In this case you are adding a modifier to include a nearby city to capitalize on that market that might not think to look for your exact location.

Include comprehensive geographic related information throughout your Web site on your Contact page, a Maps & Directions Page and in your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).|

You can use the same geographic modifiers in your paid search placement campaigns to zero in on local markets and increase your ROI. Yahoo!, Google, SuperPages.com and AskJeeves are all examples of search providers that offer some means of search localization. Make sure you speak to your local market!

In the next newsletter we will close on search engine optimization with a gallery of resources to help you plan, research and execute your search marketing initiatives.

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Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 1
http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue7.php

Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 2
http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue8.php

Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 3
http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue9.php

Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 4
http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue10.php

Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 5
http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue11.php

Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 6
http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue12.php

Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 7
http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue13.php

Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 8
http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue14.php

Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 9
http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue15.php


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