How to Exploit Regional Demographics in SEM and SEO
Browsing Google with my nifty SEO extension for firefox (thankyou Aaron Wall!), I decided to look at where searchers were when they typed in a client's keyword. I did it for curiosity, but two potentially great applications immediately came to mind.
First, in writing the copy of SEM ads and in designing landing pages, it might be worthwhile to name-drop the searcher's locality. For example, if most of the people searching for parrots lived in Florida, Texas and the Carolinas, your SEM ad copy could include "Texan looking for a parrot?" or "Want Toucan Sam to brighten your Florida condo?" I support this idea based on my experience talking to groups. When you ask if 'someone' can do 'task A', people tend to assume someone else will do it, and the result is that it doesn't get done. But if you say "John, will you please take care of 'A', John will usually do A. So this might prove useful to increasing response rates and making your offer seem more targeted. Note: Google (not sure about Yahoo and MSN, but I think so) enables geo-targeting of your SEM efforts, so you can avoid having your Florida ads shown to Texans.
The second use of regional data is in getting links from the appropriate link neighbourhoods. It's common knowledge that Google and others return different results depending on a user's location. Therefore, it might be an idea worth considering to target a few of your local markets in your keyword strategy. Additionally, you can look for links 'up the feeding chain.' This idea is derived from a post by someone at SEOMoz (Orion? Egol?). Though I can't recall the post just now, a great technique suggested by one of the Mozzarelas was to go get your potential client's attention on sites up and down the marketing chain. For instance, a car parts manufacturer might get links or place ads on a custom-car garage or on a. This takes the concept one-step further and suggests that you find links on sites relating to clients' regions. Potentially this might improve rankings in region-specific SERPs.
Another twist is to reverse engineer the regional data you have and look for other topics of interest in that region. If you're a shoe-store in Washington DC, perhaps you get some links from politics websites? Or if you're a shoe-store in Toronto, you could try for links from boring, colourless websites... Ok, ok, I'm sorry, boring, colourless and soulless. (Can you tell I'm a Montreal SEO?.)
Danny Sullivan Moves to Search Engine Land from Search Engine Watch
Search Engine maverick Danny Sullivan today made the move from Search Engine Watch to Search Engine Land. Search Engine Watch and Danny couldn't come to an agreement on a contract. Danny posted in the SEW forums about his move to Search Engine Land. There's also a post on the blog.
To date, of the main SEO blogs I read only the roundtable discusses Danny's move to Search Engine land.
Google has just bought JotSpot, a wiki hosting service similar to BlogSpot/Blogger.com. According to an email JotSpot sent to its members, Google will be providing free wikis/websites to anyone who desires one.
There are several implications of the Jotspot buyout for Google's business and the effects on SEO will also be significant. To begin with, in the same way that Google's standard blogger templates are search engine optimized, it can be expected that its JotSpot templates will be optimized. This means that it will be possible to deduce wiki SEO best practices from careful analysis of these templates.
Second, Google's purchase of JotSpot has an impact on keyword research and keyword selection. As many savvy SEOs know, a little controversy can generate a lot of backlinks and interest. By monitoring which pages on a wiki are most prone to editing, to flagging as controversial etc., SEOs can get an idea what topics can likely serve as link bait.
Third, just as it did when it purchased Blogspot, Google will certainly make Adsense integration easy for its JotSpot customers. This means that it will be possible to buy a greater volume of ads via Adsense's content network. The greater supply should also help to control costs to a certain extent. Indeed, some SEOs are turning to MSN's adcenter for the comparatively cheap rates; this move should help stop that drain. (The interest of search engine marketing/advertising to search engine optimization consultants is that SEM helps determine which keywords convert best, saving time and energy in the keyword selection process.)