Where you live defines your online interests a lot more than you might think at first. The best SEO practices, of course, take a huge lead from geographic location – it helps refine a market, making a niche area for a site to work in where it doesn’t have to compete with massive, multi-tentacled beasts like Amazon and Ebay.
The inclusion of news in web searches has become current since the social media platforms changed the way everyone used the web. Now our home pages are all targeted to where we live – and of course what we most want to know in the world is normally what is happening on our doorstep. From weather to traffic to news items directly related to our area, the web user is hungry for information that shapes his or her virtual world.
In the same way, the best SEO is done by creating information that shapes a user’s virtual world. So if you have a client whose site sells garden machinery, you can use the geography of that client to increase his or her hit rate on the major search engines. Target all of your optimizing towards the geographic location of the client’s business and you cut out the big competition, creating instead keywords you can pretty much own.
“Garden machinery Knebworth Hertfordshire”, for example, is a much more specific keyword than “garden machinery” – so you capture all the local searchers just as the news feeds catch-all the residents of a defined portion of the country. The best SEO, like the rest of the net, moved back to a “keep it local” ethos a long time ago.
Google refines this localism according to its view of the searcher. A searcher who is currently based in one place, for example, but seeks information about other places, is unlikely to care if Mrs. Smith’s cat was rescued from a tree this morning. But he or she may be very interested in the weather forecast for the next seven days. So Google uses the current geographic location of the searcher as well as the search terms to determine what news is relevant.
The best SEO practices are those which marry with what is known about the actions and algorithms of the search engines. So for example when we realize that town names are commonly used for searches looking for businesses or services, while country names or American state names get more play when people are looking for news, we also start to realize that business and service sites should optimize for specifically local keywords – while news sites need to pay more attention to a wider geographic area.
It’s a fundamental fact of search engine optimization that best SEO practices are always changing. To date the geographic location of a searcher and the geographic expression in search terms are two pretty robust ways of developing successful optimization campaigns.