More and more people are turning away from localized print media, and towards online searches, to find what they need. This includes the major search engines, of course, but also online yellow pages and directories.
This means that the SEO work that you do for your site needs to be increasingly more localized. Let’s say a customer wants a local source for craft supplies. “Craft supplies” as a Google search, yields 19 million hits scattered all over the world. The customer would certainly refine their search to their local area. “Craft supply stores Portland Maine” brings it down to 21 thousand. More importantly, the first few pages are filled with local names and addresses, plus a map.
Therefore, it is important to localize your keyword choices. This gives you a much better chance of landing nearer the top of the results list.
More and more searches are zip code specific. Using the above example “Craft supply stores 04101” comes down to 6 thousand hits, mostly all local.
You may have both an ecommerce and a local brick-and-mortar presence. In this case you have to walk a fine line between the two. A good way to solve this problem is to use different pages and include a site map. In this way you can use location specific keywords, like your zip code, on one page and general ecommerce specific terms like “We ship anywhere”, for example, on the other. The search engines will note and credit your site map for all relevant words but you haven’t had to jam too many keywords onto one page.
In addition, many people use internet searches to find information, not just goods and services. Let’s say our craft supply customer first needs some help and then will later need a product source. There are two good ways to attack this problem, speaking SEO wise. First, offer help on your site. An FAQ section or perhaps even a chat room would bring the traffic to you if your site were search engine optimized to get this type of traffic.
Another way to benefit would be to try to establish as many links as possible with the purely informational sites. Post articles and contribute to blogs and forums that are, in this case, “craft supply stores Portland Maine” specific. Conceptually, this is much like using local classified ads were in the old days. It’s a link.
The internet is both global and local in its scope. You need to be both too if you are to maximize your site’s success. I call it “Glocal”… and the ‘G’ does not stand for Google in this case 😉