In April of this year, Google announced on their GoogleBlog that they had become more ‘local’. In a nutshell, this means that the search engine is now more aware of where you are, geographically, when you search. This is a great benefit for us as search users because it means when we search for a ‘haircut’ or ‘bakery’, that the search engine will return a list of locations that are physically near to me.
Google knows where you are searching from by matching your IP address to a local router registry. If you are using an iPhone or Blackberry, the nearest cellular tower or your GPS will deliver the information Google needs to give you localized results.
Let’s review a few ways you can take advantage of localization to help your online marketing:
1. For starters, we can let Google know where we are located in our blog content. Whenever you mention your home town, state or zip code on your blog, Google will index this information and cross reference it with the keywords you are using. Next time someone searches for a ‘haircut’ in ‘90210’, Google will include results that it can find with that specific information. So make sure you occasionally include your city, state, and especially zip code.
2. Another great way to take advantage of localization is to specifically modify your keywords with your city or state. If your keyword is ‘haircut’, start writing it as ‘Los Angeles haircut’. Clarify your location by occasionally writing ‘California haircut’, or get clever with ways to insert your zip code by writing a sentence like ‘find a haircut in the 90210 zip code area’. Notice in this sentence I have added a keyword phrase (find a haircut) and associated it with my zip code (90210) and clarified by actually writing the words ‘zip code’ in the sentence. Google will eat this up.
Occasionally I like to extend my local area of coverage by using the names of cities near me, or by including the name of my county or local landmarks; ‘Don’t forget to visit Disneyland while you’re in the Orange County area’.
3. Differentiation. One of biggest reasons you will want to include localization in your content is to differentiate yourself from other providers of your product or service. If you are writing about ‘haircuts’ as often as another blogger in New York City, there is little to differentiate your content from each other. Localization allows you to create unique content and to reduce the number of people you are competing with on the web. Rather than compete with haircut healthymanviagra shops across the nation, you now have the ability to reduce your competition to only those shops in your geographic region. And most of them haven’t caught on to localization, so now is the time to take advantage and lay down some tracks.
You may be saying to yourself: ‘That’s great, but I have a product that can be sold nationally or internationally. That’s great; you can still take advantage of localization. Think of it as a way to start and home and expand. What I mean is this: because localization is such a great way to differentiate your content from others not the web, you can start by localizing your content for your own city, and then progressively begin to include the names of places that you want to grow your market.
Don’t try to take the whole world at once; focus on specific areas of opportunity, for instance a specific metropolitan area or maybe a specific region if your product is popular to a particular culture. ‘Haircuts’ are pretty universal, but perhaps you sell snow machines and can leave Florida out of your geographic strategy. You get the picture.
So there you have it; a few tips on localization. Note that this is a relatively new opportunity, and not many people have caught on to this. Get started right away and start modifying those keywords with your local city and state.
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