I’m no local search expert, but I do have a view on it.
In the UK, local search is garbage. Apart from Yell.co.uk – yellow pages online – There is no consistent local search system available.
Most of this is due to the fact that a lot of small business in the UK do not have websites. The UK lags behind our American cousins in this respect.
Knowing how easy it is – for me – to throw up a website and do an hour of seo makes it extremely frustrating when people come to me to enquire why their website does not even rank for their own domain name.
I run into a lot of skepticism about websites and new technology in the UK and especially Cornwall. It’s seen by some as just another scam to milk them of their money.
My local butcher, Fine Fettle in Truro, laughed in my face when I asked him if he had a website. He does the best Guiness and leek sausage, but responded “Oh no, we’re not into technology here”. Sigh!
To me that’s like saying, “we’re not really into making money”.
I could list a thousand ways a high quality butcher, who sells locally sourced products and a lot of organic meat could benefit from having a website. It’s high class stuff and with the trend in healthy eating it’s a great business to be in. But the readers of this blog are probably already sold on the “you have to be on the web”, idea.
So lets explore local search.
It would be so easy to dominate his local area. When anyone types in “Cornish Butcher”, he should be number one.
His products are of high quality and uniquely sourced. A lot comes from his own farm, he has seen the way the livestock has been raised, he knows what they have been fed and he can tell you exactly the age of the livestock at slaughter. The point is, he has stories to tell. And stories are one of the most powerful things in marketing. He absolutely knows his meat.
You cannot say that for Tesco, Sainsbury or any other UK supermarket.
He has an angle he can use with the local press, who would totally link to his website from the stories they have already published on him. But he has no website to link to.
Also, his suppliers could link to him, local vertical directories would link, local charities who he supplies with the Christmas dinner would link and on and on.
Digg would link to him.
Yes, that’s what I said. Digg would link to him.
I know I could get a story, linking to my local butchers website – if he had one – on the front page of Digg.
First, set up a website and install a blog under a domain name that has conotations of health concsious meat.
Second, seed the blog with stories of healthy uses of meat, where meat comes from etc.
Third, write “101 reasons corporate meat is scary”. The story lists all the horror stories of mass meat production – go read “Fast Food Nation” for background stories on what corporations get up to with our food.
Fourth, sit back and wait. If it does not get dugg, try another angle aimed at the mindset of the digger.
OK, so now you are saying what is the point of a bunch of Nintendo playing – Microsoft hating – Linux loving, bunch of spotty kids descending on your site in their tens of thousands?
It’s a story for the local paper. I’ve never seen this angle mentioned before, but I bet I could get a local paper to run a story on the fact that the local, quality butcher, has been mentioned on the front page of a multi-million pound, San Fransisco based, technology website which is read by millions.
It would be a big story locally and could be spun bigger. “How a local butcher went international in 24 hours”. It’s the local boy done good angle. People love a story like that occuring in their backyard. We know it’s just Digg, but the local population see it as being this wonderful, glittering thing they don’t quite understand but feel it might be important.
We all know his website would atract a ton of links. Organic, enviromental, anti corporate websites would link, possibly authority sites within his sector. I bet he would be on the way to ranking for terms like “organic uk butcher”, he would definately dominate his local market.
We are in a situation where social online media has not reached to the general population yet.
You have to get creative, think out of the box. Step out of the SEO bubble you live in and look at the world around you.
Take a different perspective.