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The product and business aren't local by nature. There's a bit of competion out there in general, but I don't know that anyone is targeting cities so much. How can I get this web site to come up for folks in Seattle? Problem: It's not the kind of "widget" that people would search for "widgets seattle". Does this even make sense to try?
It's a good idea but I'm not sure the best way to implement such a strategy other that adding content that mentions the areas in question. He doesn't want to get into Google Ads or PPC because the particular terms are so expensive.
I guess this goes back to the question, does Google for instance, serve up results in regions based on regional content; meaning without the region name actually as part of the search term.
Any ideas at all are appreciated.
I have a site for widget sellers, I found by writing some pages, historical info etc for said place then internally linking to the appropriate sellers gave them a great boost with location based searches.
Ultimately Google is all about on topic incoming links, the more you have the higher up you go
if the question you pose is whether you can rank for widget without optimizing for a geo-qualifier, specifically for users within a particular city not using the geo in their search, using the traditional G and Y search facilities, the answer is no.
as ogletree points out, this is a tremendous advatage to geo-targeted ppc. and as phantombookman points out, traditional on and off site optimization can help you on widget + city searches.
small consolation, however, as i realize you already know this. this is my suggestion:
1- it can't hurt to optimize for product and product + geo, so do both. keep your address prominently listed on each page, in this way seattle users may be disposed to purchase because of your locality even when found without geo qualifiers and it will help with the geo seo and pure local search engines. consider optimization that includes state, city, city+state, and abreviation derivations.
2- convince your client that ppc can be effective because ads show within specified geo's even a specified radius.
3- consider the IYPs. the iyps are still search, and in this case you can sponsor a product category and in all cases, users are prompted to fill in their location, something you suggest the user is not otherwise predisposed to do for searches for your product
4-take a look at how you rank within the pure local search products. check the major data sources for the accuracy of your data
5-run some searches for your products on a geo and product basis and determine if you can link in/to some of the authorities that show up in the first few pages of result sets.
6-speak to your target city clients explicitly on the site. maybe even offering coupons or specials for users within a geo
6-talk to the client about how search engines work and why you must consider alternatives
the central issue is that you yourself suggest the user is not buying based on locality, so what is the incentive for the traditional engines to provide geo based results without an explicit geo qualifier? there is none. and when there is, the engines want you and the user to utilize the pure local search tools or use a geo qualifier. but maybe personalized/behavior search will change things in the future:) good luck to you.
The customer (website) wants/needs to target people outside the searchers local area because the searcher can get a better deal tax wise if they purchase from an out-of-area vendor.
Sort of a "Buy your (whatever) from (whoever) and save on taxes" kind of thing.
Now how do you get that listing to rank better for searchers from tax-disadvantaged areas?
If you get can get advertising on related region guides / industry directories for your client, you may go a long way towards getting regionally targeted traffic.