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Local Search  by Wolf

There is a trend today by the Search Engines to attempt to classify sites by the locality which the site serves. This is particularly true for commercial sites since the largest group of sites would be small businesses serving a defined local market.

If promoting your site to your local market is critical to your site's success, what are some of the things you should consider in order to show up well in local searches?

Although it may seem obvious, make sure that your contact page or your home page includes your complete address. Street, City, Province / State, Country (is that London England or London Ontario?).

Does your page title and content include references to you region? For example this page includes the words "Calgary" & "website promotion & marketing" in the title tag. Look at the very top of your browser and you should see them ( on IE it is usually white lettering on a blue background above all the browser menu choices). By including these words earlier in this paragraph, there is a natural match between the title tag and the content. Search engines use the title tag to get a hint of what the page is about and then will "score" the page with these keywords in mind. (by the way a title tag is a bit of html code that should be included in every page. It looks like this: <title> Calgary website promotion & marketing -local search</title>)

Warning! Don't overdo it. Most SEO (search engine optimization) experts feel that keyword repitition should fall between 5 to 10% of the word count. Limiting your repetition makes good sense in that if you were to keep repeating the city you are in, let's say two dozen times, then it would make your page look like spam.

It is important to try and get links from other local sites that are either local directories or authority sites for your locale. For example if we were trying to get noticed for the city of Calgary, Alberta Canada, we would look for well known calgary sites and request links from them. We would also try to get a dmoz listing for the Calgary region.

Is your site hosted locally? Search Engines have a pretty good idea of where most hosting companies are located. For example our current IP address range is a "Canadian" range and we do target major Canadian cities on our web sites. This does not mean we cannot host US or international sites, it is just another one of many indicators as to locality. We still get search engine traffic from around the world.

Does your domain name include an accurate address for your business? It should, otherwise the mismatch may contribute to a search engine thinking your site is spam.

Does your domain name include your locality? Some people feel this is important. In our opinion it would be a very minor factor if one at all.

We hope to find you locally!

Wolf is one of the partners of Chinook Webs and is actively involved in search engine topics.


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