original article from entireweb.com newsletter
What is a regional web site?
A regional web page is one that focuses in on a specific area such as a city, county, state, country or area of the world. You do not have to have a regional web site to add a regional component to your site. There are two types of sites I am going to talk about. First is the regional site itself and then a web site with a regional section in it. If you already have a web site and want to expand the content and the audience then adding the regional section is a great option for you.
Building a regional web site.
Regional web sites are becoming more popular. Five years ago if you built a site about the community you live in there was a good chance you were one of only one or two sites to do so. Obviously if you were only one of two web sites for a community then you were at the top of any search for information about that community. It is not as easy now. This is still the case for many smaller towns and counties. But there is much more competition for larger more populated areas. Don’t just rule out larger areas because if done right then you can still do great in these areas as well.
The first thing to do is decide on the area you want to build a page about. A good place to start is where you live or your favorite vacation spots. This is a good choice because you are already familiar with the area. I will share two things the site will need. The first is more important and the second will bring in more traffic.
Next you need to list the things that make the community you chose unique. It is especially good to find the lesser-known unique things about your community. This can include historical places, unique places and fun places. It can even include the best places to kiss. It can have reviews of local restaurants and business, a history of the community, little know facts about the community and any other things that make your community unique and special.
This is important because most community sites are just a group of links pages about the area. This is part of doing it right. When your page is unique and full of quality content it is easier to get good quality links to your site. Many people forget about this and concentrate on make pages about the key words that people search for. When this happens you end up with a site that nobody wants to link to and nobody wants to spend time looking at the different pages of your web site. Quality is always at the top of the agenda. The goal of any web site should be to be the best web site on the internet about your particular topic. You decide which is better: To have 1000 visitors who visit your site a day, who average looking at 2 pages, or 300 visitors a day who average 10. In the long run when you have hundred of well-ranked sites linked to you then you will get the thousands of visitors who visit many pages on your site.
After you have the above and have a quality site for your community then it is time to start looking at keywords. This is what brings people to your site. A good tool for finding out what people are searching for is Overtures Keyword Selector Tool.
Type in the name of the community in the search box and click the arrow. It will give you a list of how many times that a term has been searched for in Overture the previous month. I will also list all the phrases that were searched for using that term. This way you know what people are looking for when they search for something in your community. Now you can take the information in this book and apply it to making pages based on these keywords. Remember that with every page you build quality is the key. You want your site to be better than any other site about your community. For an example of how to use this tool try this link.
As an example if people are searching for museums in your community do not just make a link page to the museums web sites. Rather list every museum in the area and add a paragraph or two for each. You can also make a page about every museum and have an index page called museums in your community that link to all the museum pages you have built. If you have 10 museums in your community people will visit most or all of the museum pages. Be sure to add a short description on the museums in your community page.
Adding a regional section to your web site
This is an idea that has become very popular in the last few years. As the internet continues to grow it is becoming harder to be at the top of the search engines for the most popular terms. So one of the things you can do is to make regional pages for your products or information. I stumbled on this by accident years ago. As I have mentioned I have a very large arthritis web site. As a service to my visitors I decided to add a section to the web site that listed had a page in for every state that listed arthritis resources in that state. It quickly became one of the most popular sections of my site especially in the search engines.
This can be done for any product or service that is not specific to a community. For example I knew a guy who was representative for a Satellite TV system company. He could sell a system anywhere in the country. Once he made the sale the company arranged for the system to be installed. So he built a page for Satellite TV for every city in America. He did this because he found out that many people were searching for Satellite TVs in their communities. He had about pages for over 500 different cities.
This worked well for a while, but he had a problem. Basically every page in his site was the same. The only difference was the name of the city and state. The search engines now frown on this. He tried to fix this by adding unique information about each city. He finally gave up on this and redid the site under a new domain name. Once a search engine punishes you it is hard to get back in their good graces.
So if you are going to do this for a product or service you need to make every page unique. As mentioned above, quality always is important and you can no longer cheat the search engines. So do not take the easy way. Take the time to make every page one that the search engines and your visitors will be proud of.
This can also be done as a service. One of the most popular sites on the internet is topix.net. They have the largest news network that includes news for almost every city and town in America. This can be done for almost any service from adoption to zoos. Some subjects have way too much competition and companies that are spending too much money for you to compete with. Regional travel and legal sites are examples of these. Even though there is a ton of competition for some types of regional sites there are still literally thousands of different topics and services that do not have too much competition.
About the Author: Rusty Ford is editor at http://arthritis-symptom.com/