The trouble with running a hyperlocally focused website.
One man's thoughts on running an online service geared to the local population.
- Jul 13
Hello again. Ken, webmaster of naplesplushere.
I run a website for the Collier County, Florida area - for Naples and the surrounding areas.
It's a big website, but its focus is very narrow - the community that I live, work and play in. I work very hard at freely marketing local area businesses, providing a one-stop shop for news, jobs, things for sale, web. It's like an old fashioned Bulletin Board.
But how do you get the word out about a very local website out to members of your community?
Typically, the best way to get it 'out there' is letting Google find you. Optimize your site for Google. That's usually the best way.
But Google changes the rules frequently, and you don't always know what the new rules are. Over the past month, I've noticed business pages that previously were doing quite well are suddenly invisible and for thousands of these local businesses, my website is the ONLY exposure they are getting online.
But how do you tell Google, "Hey, I'm important to the local community"?
It's difficult for a local website to "get found" at the moment, because there seems to be a shift on Google to giving priority to the GIANT websites which give listings for the whole United States, broken up into state/city listings.
The trouble is: The giant websites do not care as much about your local commuity as local websites do. That's why I created naplesplus - for the local community to make use of. Google needs to wake up!
There is also Twitter, Facebook, Myspace (which has been losing ground), Yelp, Superpages - all kinds of ways to "get found".
I've been doing my part. On every major service, I try to contribute to the local effort, bringing a local presence to those gigantor sites.
I just hope Google starts doing its part to help local webmasters. We try hard and they should reward our neighborhood efforts.
We don't care about people in India seeing us. Or England... or China. Just our area.