Just a few years ago, a website could create optimized pages for a different location and rank well for each search query. Take for instance a furniture site I worked on: the domain was the brand plus furniture, but the site contained about 150 pages optimized for different major U.S. cities. The site was ranking on page 1 in Google for most of these local queries until Panda hit. You can no longer dominate locally by trying to fake being a local business in different locations.  Now, you must decide whether targeting your local area makes the most sense for your business and the types of pages mentioned above should just be redirected back to your home page.

The New Website

The best time to make a decision about your market is before you purchase the domain.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is there enough business locally?  Is there too much big brand competition?
  2. Where is my service area? If you drive to provide service within a certain radius of your business, someone on the other side of the country is not in your service area.
  3. Will people search for my niche by location or expect to find it out-of-state? People looking for a restaurant are looking for a local location.

Considerations

  1. If your business offers a service, your company is more likely to work locally. Could you handle out-of-state inquiries? If not, why waste your time and energy battling the competition for customers you can’t provide service to?
  2. Is your product an unusual product that people can’t find locally? In that case, a local domain wouldn’t be right for you and you’d want to promote yourself nationally.
  3. Price: If you can’t afford a good keyword rich domain, the local domain is more likely to be available and at a lower cost.

Local Domain Advantages

  1. Easier to rank locally for your niche keywords
  2. Greater choice of available domain names to buy
  3. Domains containing your keywords and location are usually less expensive
  4. The customers you target are more likely to convert

Finding a Local Domain

The city your business resides in is an ideal keyword to start your search. If you add it to keywords that describe your business, you should be able to quickly assess whether a domain is available. If taken, broaden your list of keywords to include neighboring cities, towns and counties. Vary your business keyword list to include singular, plural and synonyms of appropriate descriptive terms. Using this list, check the .com results first and then go through .net, .info, .biz and .org. Weed out results with misspellings and hyphens. When you have a list of a few different domains, solicit opinions from others.  Once you get feedback, you’re ready to buy a url.

Theresa Happe works with www.BuyDomains.com where you can find available domain names for any local business website.

When To Use A Local Domain