Most of the time when someone is searching the internet for services or very large items (automobiles, and homes for example) they will specify a city or state in their search.
Alot of the search engines now have some sort of local search, or directory to help their visitors target their results. As a result the search engines need to figure out where a company provides it's services.
There are a few ways search engines do this.
Web directories are like the phone books of the internet, most are free for anyone to get listed on. A typical web directory will ask you to drill down to the lowest, most specific category level that defines your website. This keeps the directories clean, and easy to use.
What alot of people will do is go for the general categories such as "Business->Service->Maintenance->Computers" or something along those lines. What they forget to do is also put themselfs into the regional categories as well! Such as "United States->Virginia->Spotsylvania->Business->Service->Maintenance->Computers" this is MUCH more specific, and gives you additional coverage.
Keep in mind that Web Directories are indexed by search engines, and they know how to read them far more than they do each individual website. So the more information about your website in these directories the better.
Remember if you service specific regions of a state to look for those in the directories as well.
The most popular website directory that other search engines base their entries on is DMOZ . Both Yahoo and Google's directories are based directly off of the DMOZ directory.
Another place search engines will look for information on where you are located is on your own website, and most websites will list their address and service areas on their contact page. Believe it or not alot of websites will simply list that they are in a specific state, service a region, or a county. That's good to have, but be sure you provide as much information as possible. Think about it as if someone completely out of state is visiting your website, will they know what Northern Virginia consists of?
Most importantly, include where you are located. This not only helps your search ranking, but alot gives you visitors some ease that you actualy exist and have a real location they can look up.
You can go a step further with this and include a map of your location and the area that you service on your contact page.
Another key factor is obviously your actual website content. The key here is including location information, but not spaming it, or making a mention of the location that just does'nt seem to fit in with the content. For example if I mention that Defcon-5 is based out of Fredericksburg, VA that just does'nt quite fit and does'nt flow with the content. That is confusing to your site visitors, and search engines could mark the page as keyword spaming/stuffing.
Here are some suggestions for appropriate use of your address/location information in content:
Links coming into your website are a large factor as well. This is something everyone seems to forget, and works in many different ways.
Incoming links to your site indicates that people think your site is useful. So search engines value them more.
The important thing about incoming links is the text in the link itself, and then the text around the link. For example if you have a link going to your site for "Virginia Computer Repair" it would rank your site much higher for those keywords when someone searched for them. However if someone used the link text "These guys fixed my computer" you probably would'nt get as high of a return on that link as there is really only one keyword in that link that would boost your site in the search engines.
Search engines know this, so they also put a little more weight on the text around the link as well. So with our last example if it was in a sentence like this: "When I was out in Virginia my laptop broke These guys fixed my computer the same day so I could continue my trip". You would get a much better boost from it, not quite as much as the first example, but still a better boost than just the link by itself.
Putting your website into the various directories out there, and on other websites that are relavant to your line of business and location will boost your website higher in the rankings.
Finally we have the various mapping services that are now provided by the various search engines such as Google Maps. You can register on their website and actually give them the data directly on where you are located, what you do, your website address, and much more. This information now displays in the search results when Google, Live Search, and Yahoo see that you are searching for something in a specific area.
It only takes a few minutes of time to register on these sites and the service is free (usually).
Last Updated: 06/09/2008 02:04 AM