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SEO and Zip Codes

 8:49 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)


Looking for some input or maybe past experience, info is really appreciated!

I have an e-commerce site focused on providing information about local businesses in a large metropolitan area that has multiple zip codes and neighborhood names. What I want to do is not only use the neighborhood names, but also the corresponding zip codes.

What my question is, has anyone ever used zip codes, not as keywords, but to target neighborhoods?

As in the keyword, "[zip code] pizza shop," or something similar instead of, "[neighborhood] pizza shop."

And if so, do you think using the keyword in the META description would be worth while (multiple zip code in the description)? Another thought was to insert the zip codes into the footer of the page but I figured that would be flagged as spam.

Again, any input is appreciated!



 9:33 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do a quick search on Google using ZIP Code and business type. Depending on your search, you'll most likely see a lot of titles in the SERPs that include the ZIP Code.

Personally, I almost never use a ZIP Code when searching. However, a 5-digit Zip Code can be a lot easier to type than Albuquerque (I'll admit I even had to go to Google to lookup the spelling) or some other long or difficult to spell city name.

That said, on location-specific pages (like business listings), I have added the ZIP Code to the title and other places on the page, as long as it wasn't too spammy.


 10:29 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure how relevant this is to somewhere the size of the USA but over here in Blighty, I and several people I chatted too will often type an area (phone) code. IE: "pizza delivery 01234".


 11:23 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have used post codes and telephone area codes in several projects especially where people use these things in their searches. Google attempts to assign geographical relevance to certain types of pages, and these are some of the signals they might use.

almighty monkey

 4:07 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've got a couple of American clients focusing on local results - They tend to get traffic from area code searches if anything.

British clients tend to be more the first half of the postcode, for anyone that's wondering ("Eg; Shop NW1")

Town names get more searches than either, in my experience.


 4:28 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I often use postal area codes for London and see other people doing so in my site stats. But this is very much a London thing in the UK.

Robert Charlton

 10:12 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'd certainly include all such information (ie, zip code, area code, placename, etc) on any page you're locally targeting, to pick up long tail searches that include these terms. The [keyword zipcode] query gets revised in Google, though, so... for Google, at least... what I say about zipcode inclusion may or may not be moot.

Whether you want to sort information and build target pages for neighborhoods, suburbs, or sparsely populated pages, gets into a number of very complicated issues concerning priorities vs population distribution in the US.

In general, on a national site, you'll find that, if geo terms are included in a search, it's mostly just metro area names that are searched. On local brick and mortar type searches, or in more sparsely populated rural areas, the variety of placename searches is likely to increase, but the numbers are very small. Search stats for prioritization are extremely hard to come by. As you note, zip codes and neighborhoods don't necessarily comform to each other. Even doing target-radius database queries (for visitors once on a site) gets complex, because the geographic lat-lon center may not correspond to the population distribution center point.

To agree with comments above, I too almost never use zip codes in searches.

And if so, do you think using the keyword in the META description would be worth while (multiple zip code in the description)?

A keyword in a meta description won't affect ranking. It may affect clickthrough if it's included in a search and you've sufficiently optimized your page to attract it.

Organically optimizing a site for multiple large suburbs in a metro area can be difficult, as you often run out of reasons to build separate pages. I haven't tried it for neighborhoods. Difficulty would depend on the popularity of the neighborhood name.

I just ran some local [keyword zipcode] test searches for sites I know that have placename optimization and don't mention zipcode, with my default location in Google changed to a place far away. Google's query-cop rewrites the query to [keyword placename], and a search "tip" at the bottom of the page confirms...

Tip: These results include the word "cityname". Show results that include only "12345".

It's not likely that such query rewriting would be neighborhood specific for organic serps. It might be for Place Pages. You'd have to try it in your metro area.

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