Let’s face it. A real estate agent in Omaha does not, generally, benefit their business by getting hits from around the world – or nation for that matter. Likewise Montgomery County Plumbing and Electrical probably doesn’t care too much about hits from Fairbanks or Denmark. The question arises, however, “what does it hurt to have hits from around the world to my local site?”
Take off your hat that says it’s cool to have a lot of visitors and think like a robot. Well, actually, think like an indexing engine like the one at Google. Remember, no matter what you learn about SEO or who is talking to you about SEO all of the indexing is performed by a program. That program evaluates every link based on a few key components which include content, relevance to the search term, number of inbound links, number of outbound links, what sites the inbound links come from, and how relevant the inbound link is (which reminds me to write a post about themed links and bounce rates).
One factor even some SEM and SEO “professionals” fail to consider is geographic relevance of the address on the website to the searchers geolocation and the geographic relevance of the sites linking to the target site … your site. In other words is your site close to the searcher, at least as close as the search engine can determine, and are the sites you link to and which link to you also in the general vicinity of the searcher?
Google isn’t too groovy on handing out a guidebook detailing the inner workings of their indexing engine but through a process of elimination the SEO world (the real one, not the one portrayed on the internet by out of work landscapers and small time public speakers) we have a pretty good estimation of what works and what does not. We know, for example, having links to your page in FFA pages is bad for page rank and a bad page rank does affect SERP. We also know, because we play with proxy servers at different locations throughout the world, Google prefers local on words like plumbing, home for sale and barbecue. We know this because Google gives us local results and a map.
You already know about “long tail search terms” and you know about Google maps. You now know about linking local and using local keywords so here’s your experiment: Use long tail search terms, put your business on Google maps, claim your Google Places, use local keywords, link to relevant local sites in user friendly methods and watch your SERP increase.