Regional Listings and the Future of Search

In a recent interview (to be published later) my colleague asked me in which categories we see surprisingly few submissions. Though there are commercial categories through which I would anticipate higher volume (simply a matter of eyeballs), I am most surprised by the lack of sites that are submitted directly to the Regional branch of the directory.

Now, some of you may drill down a bit, and notice a diminishing color coded rectangular area, and conclude that the “value” of the listing diminishes in-step. The more savvy amongst you will look past the green bar, and see that the value lies with the local relevancy of the listing, and not solely within the PR. Of course a touch of green may help you sleep a little better at night, but the real magic lies within the relevancy.

Those of us with experience in the online travel space have long known the value of focusing on locality. Of course in the travel industry, your efforts are dictated by the highest volume cities, which forces you to view your marketing efforts in a regional manner. Back in 2000, we learned pretty quickly that you are much better served with top ten listings over a broad range of cities that with high listings for top level keywords.

Fast forward to late 2005, and the importance of local relevancy has increased exponentially. Time has proven that people like to search locally. Yahoo has continued to expand on the Yahoo Local offering – the convergence of their technologies has produced some pretty cool stuff. Newcomers are entering the market with what seems to be some pretty cool products – the folks at seem to be on the right track for a kick-ass geo search. And of course, Google continues to show a propensity towards giving their local results even more real estate. In fact, there is currently a fantastic thread that Webwork started at webmasterworld entitled How to make $100,000 or more a year by focusing on Local Search (sorry supporters only).

So, if you are a webmaster taking the long view or maybe looking to skin the cat yet another way, you may begin to see where I am going with this. As the engines continue to push forward with their local results, what better way to tell said engines that your site has a specific geographical location than to be listed in a human edited directory, and placed in a category that is geographic in nature. To spell it out, if you are a lawyer in Kansas City, I would suggest submitting to the following types of categories in quality directories:

Of course you should submit your site to local listings, and guides and directories that are regional in nature. Some poking around online should yield some pretty fruitful results. So in the words of an activist much smarter than I, “Think globally, act locally”.

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