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#1 sg1

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 04:11 PM

Can anyone point me to blogs or online resources that have chalk full of information on localized search strategies?

I think the potential for local search is big but it does seem to be taking a while for the mainstream to use tools that aid this.

#2 BillSlawski

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 04:35 PM

Greg Sterling writes a lot about local search on his blog:

http://gesterling.wordpress.com/

#3 sg1

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 04:44 PM

I found this one as well;
http://www.smallbusi...t/local-search/

Also, if there any good online case studies that SEO professionals have done on localized search strategies for clients, I'd be interested in reading up on that stuff too.

#4 BillSlawski

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 04:46 PM

Good one.

Matt mentions a couple more in his post 61 Things I’m Reading Now

http://localonliner.com/

http://verticalsearch.net/

#5 send2paul

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 04:47 PM

You may try Local Alerts - it's a beta local search engine. I've not tried it myself, (up until a second ago!), and it could prove useful depending on what it is you're looking for.

I've used the power of local search on optimising some of my websites. Using the local search term results that initially found my pages, and then optimising the pages, (if necessary), to make sure that those local searches always keep coming.

I have a few listings for one of my websites in the local search for Google.ca. The website is a directory type website which gives local info for the region in which my website is showing up for local search terms - outstripping the local websites in that region.

More power to local searches - that's what I say! :)

Paul

#6 sg1

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 05:06 PM

More power to local searches - that's what I say! smile.gif

Paul


I completely agree. Unfortunately, I don't think local search has gained enough momentum among the masses yet. I think the Google Coupons idea is kinda cool but it won't take off until the masses realize the full value of local search. As of right now, alot of people are still relying on the phone book. We gotta ban the phone book and force them over to the internet :)

Edited by sg1, 03 September 2006 - 05:07 PM.


#7 send2paul

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 05:16 PM

.... and d'you know what?

The White/Yellow pages are absolutley hopeless from an SEO point of view, but if you are building local directory websites, they are an excellent source of local info - which you can then optimise yourself in your own directory..... I do! :)

Paul

Edited by send2paul, 03 September 2006 - 05:16 PM.


#8 ukdaz

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 03:23 AM

My clients (from my SEO work) have generated business not only locally but also regionally, nationally and a few on a global basis - aren't people forgetting its the WORLD wide web for a reason?

Why restrict your markets to just local search when there is a whole world of potential new business out there?

From my own testing, local search is ok but it does not yet yield the results as successfully as a website that is optimized and promoted to a larger audience.

Daz

#9 sg1

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 07:59 PM

Bill-

Found this very insightful article on localized marketing strategies and how Word of mouth is impacting small businesses. Rarely, am I able to find great insight like this, but this one is a keeper. It was mentioned on Guy Kawasaki's blog today. Here is the article

Edited by sg1, 05 September 2006 - 08:00 PM.


#10 BillSlawski

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 08:45 PM

The SF Gate article is terrific. Thanks.

I saw and bookmarked Guy's post earlier today Online Reviews and Small Businesses, but hadn't gotten back to it, to read it. I'm glad that I read the news article first.

Greg Sterling also had a post today about reviews, which I also bookmarked - The Power and Importance of User Reviews, which is about a New York Times article on user reviews. It focuses more on reviews themselves, but is interesting.


Why restrict your markets to just local search when there is a whole world of potential new business out there?


That may depend upon the objectives for the site, the types of services or goods offered, the logistics involved in growth, and other factors. For instance, a law site might want to focus upon potential local clients within its jurisdiction, and have a secondary objective on a regional or national (or even global) scale. The primary focus may be their preferred audience.

#11 sg1

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 11:09 PM

I saw and bookmarked Guy's post earlier today Online Reviews and Small Businesses, but hadn't gotten back to it, to read it. I'm glad that I read the news article first.


Well- what really surprised me was how many customers some of these local businesses were getting from review sites like Yelp and such. Until now, I've never even heard of Yelp.

3 things I've learned is;
  • go get my clients to do an endorsement of me on said sites. Duh
  • take more advantage of local search sites and use it as a positioning strategy when local search starts to take off more
  • and I'm sure there is more, but I can't think of it at the moment because I'm still thining up more possibilities :unsure:

Edited by sg1, 05 September 2006 - 11:10 PM.


#12 sg1

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 11:19 PM

Why restrict your markets to just local search when there is a whole world of potential new business out there?

From my own testing, local search is ok but it does not yet yield the results as successfully as a website that is optimized and promoted to a larger audience.


Well, it depends on how you look at it. I'm not a full time SEO professional. Most of my work is web design. I haven't yet put in the logistical structure to start picking up SEO clients just yet.

Now having said this, I read this interesting article on the concierge business and how it is booming right now; there are more and more people launching their own concierge business. Because this is a localized business, search strategies can greatly benefit these people because it is still in its infant stage right now and there isn't much SEO competition compared to other localized businesses, ie; realtors, financial advisors, etc...

So even a person like me who does web design could probably take on clients like these and do SEO work because it's not as hard as other vertical markets are to do SEO. So in the process, I add more value to my clients than just the web designer next door who only knows web design, if even. And simultaneously, I get experience with learning how to do SEO clients and build up a portfolio with that service.

#13 earlpearl

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 08:28 AM

Glad to see the question, SQ, and happy to see those comments. I need to review those.

I do all my work on local seo and haven't found one great resource yet.

Various forums that cover local seo include SEW, Webmasterworld, and SEORefugee. The forum at smallbusinessbrief.com also covers local issues.

None of them do it thoroughly or consistently but if you keep scanning them you will find some excellent help.

One area that really helped me include Bill's patent comments on local seo issues. A great idea can also be found here

Dave

#14 marianne

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 12:00 PM

As my patent investigating co-conspirator bragadocchio will affirm, local search is definitely on the radar major search engines. On July 6 of this year, one of the big three filed a patent for <a href="http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/
nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html
&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=authoritative.TTL.&s2=document.TTL.&OS=TTL/
authoritative+AND+TTL/document&RS=TTL/authoritative+AND+TTL/document">Authorative Document Identification</a> that enhances local search through the assigment and identification of "tokens" [i.e. address, zip code, area code, etc] based on local values.

I'm also newly devoted full-time to SEO and make it a practice to include some local placement in all of my bids.
marianne

Edited by marianne, 06 September 2006 - 12:01 PM.


#15 BillSlawski

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 05:00 PM

That was some day for Google, Marianne.

They actually came out with seven patent applications specifically about local search, which were published on July 6th, 2006:
  • Generating and/or serving local area advertisements, such as advertisements for devices with call functionality (20060149624)
  • Authoritative document identification (20060149800)
  • Document segmentation based on visual gaps (20060149775)
  • Indexing documents according to geographical relevance (20060149774)
  • Classification of ambiguous geographic references (20060149742)
  • Location extraction (20060149734)
  • Local item extraction (20060149565)
I wrote some more about those here:

http://blog.searchen...g/060711-205551


Some additional patents and patent applications from Google on local search and geographic information in searches:

Methods and systems for endorsing local search results (20060004713)

Visually-oriented driving directions in digital mapping system (20050288859)

Method and apparatus for customizing travel directions (20060064241)

Digital mapping system (20050270311)

Methods and systems for improving a search ranking using location awareness (20050065916)

Search query categorization for business listings search (20040260677)

Address geocoding (6,934,634)

System for automatically integrating a digital map system (20050119824)

Assigning geographic location identifiers to web pages (20050182770)

#16 earlpearl

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 07:15 PM

SQ:

I know you mentioned webmasterworld in a different thread. Most of the time I'm there I'm looking at their commentary on local seo.

But it typically doesn't get me what I'm looking for, which are better ways to expand my web visibility for local seo.

What has worked best for me has been reviewing the literature on patents (Typically our friend, Bill).

Then test the patent language and terms and see if it is in practice. Has the SE implemented the aspects of that patent.

In some cases I've tested it on my own. In some cases I tested it a bit with Bill and/or others.

In some cases I've found that it works extraordinarily well. In some cases its not applicable to some local seo I do...but is for others.

By example, Google's LOCAL/Maps variation doesn't help much w/my main business but it works better for some sites that are more local than regional. That's just my read and experience on it. Other's may differ.

On the other hand a little over a year ago Bill published about G's implementation of Local address stuff for a local website.

Man that had a huge impact on local bus web sites...and they had implemented it months before they ever published about it...but its impact was a mystery to me (and at least some others) till Bill wrote about it.

Subsequently I tested it in a variety of ways. Wow, I found a killer application. Think I posted on it at seorefugee. It's sort of a sandbox buster. But really, I've tried to find others to test these things and get a bigger wider perspective on them...to see how applicable they work.

Anyways if you find the killer source of great information....let me (and others) know ;-)

#17 pleeker

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 11:15 AM

Hey guys - thanks for mentioning and linking to SBS. Very kind of you. :P

Unfortunately, I don't think local search has gained enough momentum among the masses yet. I think the Google Coupons idea is kinda cool but it won't take off until the masses realize the full value of local search. As of right now, alot of people are still relying on the phone book.

Good points, sg1 - numbers show that yellow pages usage is slowly diminishing, and I think that's going to continue. Much like newspapers, I don't think print yellow pages will ever disappear, but the web will continue to take more market share away over time.

I'm not sure the Google Coupon thing will amount to anything. Coupon usage is way down across the board compared to, say, 10 years ago. We're not a coupon-clipping society like our parents were. :)

I do think what Yahoo is doing will go a lot further toward pushing local search more mainstream -- integrating their maps system into Flickr, into Upcoming.org, etc. can only increase awareness. And Yahoo still offers better tools for users, and better advertising opportunities for businesses, than either Google or MSN.

Sites like Yelp and Merchant Circle and others also offer some intriguing opportunities, though I can't help but wonder if they'll eventually be bought out....

#18 JoeP

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 12:23 PM

Three of the many local search oriented blogs I read for general information and decent links.

http://andyvogel.com/blog1/

http://sierrawebmark...s.blogspot.com/

http://localonliner.com/

#19 Mary Bowling

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 02:23 PM

Insidious personalization of the SERPS, including localization, is taking place right now in ways that most people are not even aware of and Local Search Results are already being integrated somewhat into the regular SERPS. This is going to continue and progress, as evidenced by the Google Local Patent applications. The SE's want it to happen because it is often relevant - they just need to figure out how to tell when it is relevant and what results they should return.

For many industries, such as hotels, appearing for relevant geo-specific searches has always been critical and, in those niches, SEM's have become very good at optimizing for them. However, in Local Search, it is not your well-optimized website that is displayed to searchers. Instead, they see a business profile with factual information about you. Depending upon the platform, this may be simply your name, address and phone number or it may contain more details, like a map, the credit cards you take, the brands you carry, reviews of your services, etc.

You must be aware of all of those profiles out there about your business and try to keep the information accurate and up-to-date. Standardizing the information also has SEO benefits in some platforms, where an algorithm enters into the equation, like Google Maps (aka Google Local).

Local Search is incredibly amorphous - perhaps more so than the internet in general - and we're all going to have to figure it out as we go along. But for now, make sure you are optimizing your website for geographical terms and managing your online profiles.

Local Search is often a topic on the Blizzard Internet Marketing Newsletter blog at http://newsletter.bl...y/local-search/

#20 Black_Knight

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 03:30 PM

I tend to think that one of those areas where Yahoo is ahead of Google is in local search. Now, Yahoo haven't gotten at all to the same point here in the UK yet (typical of US biased search engines), but in the US, http://local.yahoo.com/ is looking quite good already, and it is still an early stage.

In fact I think Google may even be trailing Ask a bit in local search, despite Google earth, simply because Google's focus has always been so global that it requires a far more serious mental shift I think.

However, Google are probably the strongest at localising (to national and state levels) their default SERPs, without needing people to use a special local search tab or feature. It needs more granularity to be truly local, but it is certainly powerful at identifying results that are better suited to a particular country.

#21 sg1

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 09:48 PM

Man that had a huge impact on local bus web sites...and they had implemented it months before they ever published about it...but its impact was a mystery to me (and at least some others) till Bill wrote about it.

Subsequently I tested it in a variety of ways. Wow, I found a killer application. Think I posted on it at seorefugee. It's sort of a sandbox buster. But really, I've tried to find others to test these things and get a bigger wider perspective on them...to see how applicable they work.


Earl- do you plan on letting me in on what this killer app is? :)

I do think what Yahoo is doing will go a lot further toward pushing local search more mainstream -- integrating their maps system into Flickr, into Upcoming.org, etc. can only increase awareness. And Yahoo still offers better tools for users, and better advertising opportunities for businesses, than either Google or MSN.


Hey Matt- good to see you here. Did you do a search for something and found us talking about you? :)

I recall reading your post about using Flickr to market our business. While I thought it was creative, I do think it wasn't the most practical solution, but definitely out of the box thinking Having said that, has it reaped benefits for you?

Regardless, I do find your blog to be a valuable one on the small business SEO. Great stuff and creative thinking to say the least.

Edited by sg1, 08 September 2006 - 09:48 PM.


#22 BillSlawski

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 01:57 AM

I believe that Dave is talking about the breakdown of a patent that I described here:

http://www.cre8asite...showtopic=26893

It's not specifically about local search, but rather some ways that Google can understand better the locations of pages that it returns in response to queries that involve geographic location information.

Mary,

Welcome to the forums. Nice post - I agee with you on the effects of personalization. I'll add to that the impact of using user queries and user behavior to rerank results.

However, in Local Search, it is not your well-optimized website that is displayed to searchers. Instead, they see a business profile with factual information about you. Depending upon the platform, this may be simply your name, address and phone number or it may contain more details, like a map, the credit cards you take, the brands you carry, reviews of your services, etc.


I'm working on breaking down another Google patent application involving local search which addresses this point much more fully. I'll post something about it here when I'm done.

Matt,

Good to see you here, too.

I do think what Yahoo is doing will go a lot further toward pushing local search more mainstream -- integrating their maps system into Flickr, into Upcoming.org, etc. can only increase awareness. And Yahoo still offers better tools for users, and better advertising opportunities for businesses, than either Google or MSN.



I have a sneaking suspicion that Google will be trying to catch up when it comes to local search. There's so much in recent patent applications that they could do that even if they only adopt a small percentage of them, they will be doing some neat things. Google also has some pretty savvy folks working on local issues.

JoeP

Thanks for the links. A couple of new ones there for me.

However, Google are probably the strongest at localising (to national and state levels) their default SERPs, without needing people to use a special local search tab or feature. It needs more granularity to be truly local, but it is certainly powerful at identifying results that are better suited to a particular country.


I think you're spot on, Ammon. One of the patent applications that came out from Google in July was about serving local results in organic searches, and identifying when that was the appropriate thing to do.

Anyways if you find the killer source of great information....let me (and others) know ;-)



As I mentioned above, hopefully I'll have something good for you tomorrow. :)

#23 earlpearl

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 09:28 AM

First:

This is a great thread and thanks for the question SQ. It's pulling out lots of sources of information.

Secondly;

With reference to my comment, as Bill wrote, his review of the Google patent which described using addresses, phone numbers, partial addresses, etc. and establishing a "limit" on pages to link to the address information certainly changed the way Google ranked local sites.

I found that if you obtain a reasonably powerful bl with anchor text that includes business service and geo description that includes a portion of the address information a site can vault through Google's sandbox effect and rank high for that phrase.

By example take a business located in a multiple state area (I only looked at this from a US perspective and can't comment on it from an overseas perspective).

Say the business is Dog Walking Services and say the business is located in a New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia with the site showing appropriate address information for its New Jersey location. Say the business services the entire Philadelphia metro region and is trying to advertise/market for that region.

I found that one strong anchor text bl with language such as Dog Walking Services Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey gave the site immediate high Google rankings for Dog Walking Services New Jersey. The pages were buried in Google for Dog Walking Services Philadelphia and Dog Walking Services Pennsylvania for a long time.

It appeared that the combination of address information and strong anchor text bl overcame the sandbox effect for the jurisdiction/location where a portion of the language of the anchor text intersected with the address information.

Thirdly:

Ammon: My experience is that users rarely migrate from the main search box to any form of advanced search such as LOCAL. This might change over time, but I don't experience it currently.

In that regard the vast majority of qualified users find my site, and some others through long tail searches using a combination of geo terms and terms relating to the business; ie; dog walkers philadelphia suburbs, NJ dog walking business, dog walkers in Southern NJ, etc.

Regardless of enhancements in Y, MSN, or G Local/Maps, the huge majority of visitors come off these long tail combo phrases and similarly placed ppc ads that combine biz service and geo area.



But this thread is generating lots of great information. Thanks everyone.

Dave

#24 sg1

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 11:16 AM

I found that if you obtain a reasonably powerful bl with anchor text that includes business service and geo description that includes a portion of the address information a site can vault through Google's sandbox effect and rank high for that phrase.


Hmmm...so I guess one way to achieve this is to simply use a directory submission service where my site is submitted to about 200 2nd tier directories with the appropriate anchor text? Sounds easy enough

#25 earlpearl

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 11:40 AM

Hmmm...so I guess one way to achieve this is to simply use a directory submission service where my site is submitted to about 200 2nd tier directories with the appropriate anchor text? Sounds easy enough


SQ: I don't know if it would work that way. I generated a link from my "maybe authority site" to a new unoptimized site which had 0 bls. Very quickly the site was ranked #1 in G for the combination of bus phrase that represented the anchor text and the state in which the other site/biz was located....but the site was sandboxed for the two other geo descriptions with that same bus term.

The term wasn't competitive. The recipient site had #1 allinanchor rankings for the bus term w/ each individual geo description. The site ranked high immediately for the bus term and any of the geo regions in both Y and MSN.

I tested it w/ a link from a powerful source. Would it work otherwise I don't know. Try it and let us know :(

#26 BillSlawski

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 04:02 PM

On Thursday, Google came out with another patent application that focused upon some of the mechanics of Google Local Search, such as:

How information is taken from different sources, including commercial telecommunications data providers, enterprise web sites, and directory sites.

How structured and unstructured information from those different sources is extracted, and normalized so that it exists as structured data in the local search database.

How the facts from the different sources are clustered and weighed, including the value of proximity of addresses.

I wrote about it here:

Google’s Local Search Patent Application

It provided a few ideas on how to help Google Local get the right information, and perhaps weigh the facts from certain sites more heavily than from others.

One of the co-inventors is Daniel Egnor, who worked on a good number of the other patent applications that Googe recently came out with on geographical information and local search.

#27 pleeker

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 03:15 PM

I tend to think that one of those areas where Yahoo is ahead of Google is in local search.

Ammon, I don't even think it's close at this point. Google Local (Maps) has bad data, broken links, a poor man's "Save This Address" tool, and no user reviews in their own system. Yahoo has so many features and none of Google's problems. They're way out in front in Local.

Hey Matt- good to see you here. Did you do a search for something and found us talking about you?

Kinda ... just saw this thread popping up in my referrer logs a lot. :)

I recall reading your post about using Flickr to market our business. While I thought it was creative, I do think it wasn't the most practical solution, but definitely out of the box thinking Having said that, has it reaped benefits for you?

Not for me personally, no. I don't think an SEO/SEM guy could make it work that way. But I do see more and more businesses on Flickr.

Regardless, I do find your blog to be a valuable one on the small business SEO. Great stuff and creative thinking to say the least.

Thanks very kindly, sg1. Much appreciated.

Bill - good to see you, and great stuff on the patents (as usual). :)

#28 earlpearl

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 08:52 AM

SQ:

Did you try the suggestion I threw out, in either manner we discussed, and have you seen any G impact yet?

Dave

#29 sg1

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 05:04 PM

Earl- if you mean having a geo description in my all in anchor, I've already used that, especially when submitting to directories. Whether or not that is the sole reason for having me achieve good rankings, then I really don't know. Especially, since I took my site down and I'm going through a redesign as we speak.

btw- i noticed we both live in the greater DC area. nice to meet another Washingtonian :)

#30 A.N.Onym

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:11 AM

Btw, as for local search resources.

I'd cast another vote for Bill here. His site has quite a number of patent decipherings on local search and all are well worth the read. As is a thread about assigning geographical locations to pages referred to earlier.

Another one is earlpearl, wherever he pops up.

But in reality, though resources you can use, getting local is easy.

Simple associate your website with local information by a number of ways, be it footer full address, links from local directories with geo link text, etc.

The key here is to act (as with everything, I guess).

Now getting into Google Local may have additional moments, but that'd be a good start. Google Local isn't as effective as organic geo-targetted traffic for now and is worth for very niche and very localized businesses.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 04 October 2006 - 07:13 AM.


#31 earlpearl

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 11:06 AM

Thanks for the comments in the blog A. N.

I totally agree with you with regard to the value of Bill's commentary on patents.

It's gotta be helpful on far more than local though. I'd review his many comments on patents on all sorts of topics that may be critical for my web endeavors.

As a local business operator concerned about our web site I found that his writings on patents were TOTALLY germane to changes in the SE's (most critically Google) as to rankings for our site with regard to local serps.

I'm sure he reveals all sorts of changes by the SE's through interpretations of various patents. In reviewing the writings and working with them I found things that seem to apply and things that may be part of a patent but may not be applied by a particular SE.

Just because it is in the patent does not mean the engine or company is currently applying that topic. You'll have to experiment to determine what applies and what doesn't.

But the information is a critical view into the mysterious algo's applied by the major SE's.

From a local perspective I'm a business guy with a business site that has become critical to our success. So the site is important. I've gone on to assist some other local businesses.

I tend to describe our success and traffic. I hope to hear from others how they are doing. I've checked into web activity with industry competitors from other markets.

From an experience perspective I'm a huge believer in capturing as many keywords as possible. I don't believe keyword research should stop. Heck add a new product or service and you have new keywords to add and work on. Change your prices, develop a special...and you have new keywords and opportunities.

I run through statistics in forums to try and get other practitioners to do the same so as to learn what is working and isn't working. I like to hear from the businesses or their webmasters. They define how well local search is doing.

The best example of it at this time is local real estate websites for brokerage firms or individual agents. The residential real estate industry in the US has thoroughly embraced the web and individual agencies and agents benefit from high serps in their respective markets.

How did that happen? The agents optimized or hired experts to optimize their sites for critical keywords that reflect the business and their respective geographies and it pays off in spades.

We will see how the rest of local businesses respond over time.

Dave

#32 A.N.Onym

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:17 PM

You are thanking me for commenting on my blog? Oh, hush :blink: You are welcome :D

I can't agree more with your comments on local search patent and their implementation and effect on local website SEO.

First of all, Bill's patent decryption was the first and only eye-opener for me regarding local search. Perhaps that's one I mostly linked to his sites in my topical post as well.

Though some patents may not be implemented, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep working on our sites for practices, described in the patents. They will be implemented sooner or later, and even if they aren't, current search engine algorithms will still give a slight bonus to the websites.

Btw, I too marvel at the power of the right keyword research. You can not only search for direct target keywords, but for synonyms, related keywords or keywords, related to the general theme of the product (laces for shoes, for instance).

Yes, it is still astonishing to me why not all local businesses haven't optimized their websites to a full extent. I guess it happens because business owners don't understand how the Internet works and what happens with websites when they go online (now that'd make a good fairy-tale, eh?).

Edited by A.N.Onym, 04 October 2006 - 07:28 PM.


#33 ohlocal_com

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:22 PM

Localized information service is an interesting topic and it is not an easy one.

We just launched a site for local search and I think it is related to this topic. I think our idea is different from traditional "search" and please allow us for a little self-promting :-)

Ohlocal.com is not really a local search site. But instead it is a local posting site. So businesses owner can use it to publish some real-time message to local customers.

We just started and do not be suprised that there is not too much content there. But you still can get the idea by visiting our site [url removed. I'll allow a 'little' promoting. Once is sufficient]

Your feedback and though will be appreciated.


Thank you!

<mod note: edited twice by two moderators for self promotion URLS.>>

Edited by cre8pc, 25 October 2006 - 09:22 PM.


#34 A.N.Onym

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 09:04 PM

If you read this thread and the links from it, you will be very well versed in local search optimization.

I don't see a problem with you being a local resource, but you need to make sure you to identify to which location you serve.

If you serve worldwide, I don't see how different you are from craigslist.

P.S. I'd suggest making your design fluid and more easy on the colors, apart from making it obvious what locations you serve.

#35 ohlocal_com

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 09:28 PM

A.N.Onym,

Thanks for your feedback.

Basically we focus on US zip code by zip code at this minute.

Craigslist is a great site and the difference we try to make is:
OhLocal is more for small local business to "notify" local people and we focus on the following as stated on our homepage
1) Local Business Grand Openning
2) Introducing New Products/Services
3) Promoting Products/Services Sales Event
4) Local Event Schedules
5) Local Jobs Opennings
6) Local Real Estate

From user's point of view, if I need to find these information, I need to go through many local newpaper and magazines. It is not easy for user to find(or search) these information in a simple way. I hope our service will make local people easier to find this information in one place.

And another thing about traditional local search is that how can a person search something she/he does not even know that something is existing? So we belive in these cases, posting is making more sense.

Not sure if this makes sense to you :-)


Thanks,
OhLocal_com

Edited by ohlocal_com, 25 October 2006 - 09:28 PM.


#36 A.N.Onym

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 09:38 PM

The only means of navigation on your site is through entering a zip code, and the search field is not in the left area of the screen.

If it were the only field, it'd be a no brainer to use it, but not this time.

If you want to make it easier for the people to understand what you offer, you have to offer other navigation (countries, states,counties,cities,villages).

For your site to be successful locally, you need to get the local people, who need services and information to your site. I don't think they are searching for local ads. Though you may get some traffic to your listings, if you do specify locations.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 25 October 2006 - 09:39 PM.


#37 kestrel

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 11:34 AM

Hi All,

Sorry if i'm missing the point here but aren't we just trying to optimise for another keyword? Where the keyword is your geo location...

So if you want to be picked up for "Web Design in Norwich" then you need those keywords in your backlinks and in your content?

Then on my site I mention a few nice places to stay and eat if you're coming to me for a meeting and I link to a few local resources.

Or is there something else to it?

Please excuse my ignorance, just not getting this one.

Kes

#38 A.N.Onym

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:24 PM

Well, you may certainly view it as optimizing for another set of keywords. Bluntly speaking, this alone should drive you some traffic, if you haven't optimized for them earlier.

But the key in local search engine optimization lies in associating your website with your location (if you are a local business). Keywords, links from local websites only help with that.

To be optimized locally, you also need a country-specific domain extension and a local hosting (optional, but beneficial).

This way, you have much more chances of getting to the localized versions of the search engines.

Another issue with local optimization is helping the search engines understand the location of your site (make the location-association obvious). To do this, you not only need to include your town/state in the footer, but you'd rather have full address with the phone there - and links from pages that have same town/state address (location).

By the way. All this local optimization is very helpful for the humans and should be viewed from this point of view. You not only integrate your business with local related businesses and entities, you also get a large portion of targeted traffic and links this way. If you are a local business, building word of mouth online for a local area can be pretty effective (because it can also spread offline, not just online - universities, schools, for instance).

So no, local optimization isn't just about the keywords.

#39 kestrel

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 03:26 AM

Hi A.N.Onym,

I made the assumption that, when optimising for another keyword, part of that process would be to get relevant sites to link to you.

And the majority of relevant sites that are relevant to my location are, by default, local businesses as typically they are the sites that feature my geo targeted keyword.

I'm not going to spend much effort getting a link back from businesses in Edinburgh as the sites are unlikely to mention Norwich, UK. If they are relevant to one of my services then sure, but I won't expect to gain any localized value as the site doesn't mention my location, just as i wouldn't expect to gain any value for keywordX if they don't menton keywordX.

And if i want to get a UK hosted site ranked well in google.com then I'd better get plenty of US hosted/relevant sites to link to me. (maybe i should target businesses in Norwich Connecticut too!)

So I still don't see how this differs to everyday SEO... A keyword is a keyword is a keyword.

Why would you expect to be picked up for your location/keyword if you don't optimise for your location/keyword? And why would any site mention your location if it wasn't a local business? (generally speaking)

What I have noticed are the drop downs appearing at the top of the SERP's for searchs like Jobs in Norfolk.

I've only noticed this recently and would love to know how to be included. Is this what localised search can do for you? Are there additional filters being applied to searchs involving locations and to be included then you need to perform additional tasks in your SEO strategy?

I also submitted to google maps. They are going to be sending me something in the post to confirm my details and hopefully I will appear at the top in the Local Results section. Has anyone had any success with this? Is this what some are trying to be included in?

Excuse my bluntness I probably should have read more of the articles that have been posted :)

Edited by kestrel, 27 October 2006 - 03:28 AM.


#40 earlpearl

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 11:56 AM

BTW SQ:

I dropped the link from my strong site to a business affiliated with us. They were screwing with some of our customers.

The site we linked to was the one that vaulted to #1 serps in all 3 engines with the one powerful link.

We dropped the link around a week ago. The site is still ranked first in all three engines for this non-competitive phrase. I'm wondering how long the site will be there.

Dave



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