Q and A: How do I target specific suburbs using SEO and PPC?

QuestionHi Kalena

My husband runs his own business. He is an electrician working in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia, doing mostly domestic electrical work.

We employ a pay per click agency as well as a web page optimiser until such time as I am confident to do it my self. We monitor each very carefully to try and find out what works for us.

I am running key word research and incorporating suitable keywords into my husband’s site. And now that I am actually going through the motions of putting this into practice, I am having trouble justifying these words, as I know his clients don’t use these words to find our service.

Both the optimiser and the PPC agency have come up with the same keywords I have, and when I typed these words into Google to see whom or what popped up, the results were mostly irrelevant to our products. Although I could see these words used in our sub pages e.g. “Install ceiling fan”, “down lights”, “switch board upgrade” etc, I don’t feel these keyword phrases are strong enough for our home page. We are not competing for these keywords, we are competing for the local area and the electrician service within our local area.

Our business is usually found by people typing in the word “electrician”, then the suburb or CBD, inner city etc. These are the words I would like to target. So my question is, how do you target specific suburbs in your city?



Hi Kim

Regarding the search terms such as “install ceiling fan”, “down lights”, “switch board upgrade”, these are excellent choices to target with SEO because they are likely to be less competitive and provided you optimize your pages carefully enough, you should be able to rank well for them, provided they are relevant to the service your husband offers. If they aren’t, there’s no point targeting them.

Regarding targeting terms such as “electrician [suburb]” – it’s going to be difficult to rank highly for such generic terms using SEO alone, so you might need PPC to win that war. Thankfully, Google AdWords enables you to set up location based advertising.

You can choose a particular geographic area, a range of suburbs, a particular city etc. You can even have your ads shown only to persons located in a specific number of city blocks – via customized (latitude and longitude) targeting! You can specify this when you create a new AdWords account. With location-based targeting, the suburb name appears below your ad to make it more relevant.

Another great way to target a specific market is to use dynamic keyword insertion, where a particular keyword is inserted into your ads automatically based on a search query or searcher location.

So you could have your AdGroup target individual suburbs such as “electrician North Sydney”, or the city as a whole such as “electrician Sydney” etc. Your ad could say something like:

Electrician {Keyword: Suburb}
Emergency electrician available
24 hours / 7 days a week.

Then if a searcher enters “electrician North Ryde” or “electrician Strathfield”, your ad will come up and show the relevant suburb in the headline. Powerful stuff!

I recommend you read up on dynamic keyword insertion and give it a whirl in your AdWords account.



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Students From 49 Countries Enroll at Search Engine College

SEC-smiley-150x178We’re pretty excited at Search Engine College this week, because we are getting VERY close to having students enrolled from 50 different countries around the world.

The College reached the 49 country milestone this week when a new student from Bulgaria enrolled online. We thought this was newsworthy enough to warrant a press release over at PRWeb.

Since its inception in 2004, Search Engine College has set new industry standards for education and training in the field of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing and we are very proud to have produced over 1,000 happy graduates.

Here’s a list of countries where we have enrolled students to date:

Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
Hong Kong (China)
New Zealand
South Africa
Sri Lanka
The Netherlands
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
West Africa

What country do you think will be #50? Please comment with your best guess.


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Latest NFPs to Receive Free Search Marketing Training

SEC-smiley-150x178Last year, Search Engine College launched a free search engine marketing training initiative for charities and not-for-profit organizations worldwide.

In a nutshell, we’re offering 25 charities per year the opportunity to learn search marketing skills at no cost, to help them make the most of their limited marketing budgets.

Our three latest recipients of free search marketing courses are:

1) Mental Health Education and Resource Centre (NZ)- provides a free mental health library for everyone in Christchurch and the South Island of New Zealand.

2) Babyloss (UK) – provides information and support online for anyone affected by the death of a baby during pregnancy, at birth, or shortly afterwards. Babyloss hold an annual Awareness Campaign each October, joining forces with four UK charities to plan remembrance events, distribute ribbon pins, and to raise awareness of pregnancy loss and infant loss amongst the general public and within the health sector.

3) Usable Websites (UK) – creates and hosts free websites for other charitable organisations throughout the United Kingdom. A number of their beneficiaries are eager to increase their search engine rankings and staff from Usable Websites will take Search Engine College training so they can offer advice on this subject.

Those are three very worthy not-for-profits and we are delighted to be able to offer their staff a free course.

If you know of a charity or not-for-profit that might benefit from a pro-bono course, please encourage them to get in touch and spread the word by linking to this post.



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Twitter to Become Your Online GPS

This week Twitter announced a new feature for twitter.com and mobile.twitter.com called Twitter Places.

The idea is to allow users to tag their Tweets with their specific location, acting like an online GPS of sorts. The geo-location data is made possible with the help of Twitter partners TomTom (manufacturer of in-car GPS navigation systems) and Localeze (a search marketing firm specializing in local search).

Apart from tweeting your own location, the new feature allows you to click a Twitter Place within a Tweet to see recent Tweets from a particular location. Users of geo-social networking services Foursquare and Gowalla will be excited, because the new feature now integrates with these services. If you click on a registered Twitter Place, not only will you see standard tweets from that location, but you’ll also see recent check-ins from Foursquare and Gowalla.

The timing of Twitter’s new feature launch deliberately coincided with the kick off of the World Cup, to encourage people to tweet from and view tweets from World Cup stadiums in South Africa. From the official blog post about the launch:

“When turning to Twitter to keep up with the current game, it helps to know where a Tweet is coming from – is that person watching the game on TV or is he actually in the stadium? To help answer that question, we’re excited to announce Twitter Places”

Unfortunately, Twitter engineers did not account for the popularity of such a feature during a major sporting event and demand actually crashed their own servers for a few hours this week. More about that in another post.

Twitter Places is designed to work with the existing “Tweet with your location” functionality. Instructions for activating Twitter Places using the location function can be found in Twitter’s Help Center.

The new feature will be rolling out to users in 65 countries this week. You’ll know the feature is activated in your country when you see the “Add your location” link below the Tweet box when you’re logged in at Twitter.com

Pedestrian Hit By Car Blames Google Maps, Sues Google

A female pedestrian has filed suit against Google (PDF link) after she was hit by a car in Utah while following Google Maps directions on her mobile phone.

The Californian woman, Lauren Rosenberg, was following directions to Park City Utah on Google Maps, that eventually led her to a four lane street without a sidewalk on her side. Although it was pitch black, Ms Rosenberg believed she could reach the snow-packed sidewalk on the other side of the street and tried to cross. Before she even reached the median, she was struck by a speeding car and received multiple fractures, requiring her hospitalization and weeks of intensive rehabilitation.

Ms Rosenberg is suing Google for the cost of her medical bills (totalling over $100K), plus loss of earnings and punitive damages. She is also suing the driver of the car that hit her. Ms Rosenberg and her lawyer Allen Young allege that the search giant failed to supply adequate warnings to pedestrians and instead supplied unsafe walking directions.

It’s unclear yet what sort of case Ms Rosenberg will have against Google, but it’s interesting to note that Google’s walking directions are still in BETA and pedestrian warnings are apparently not visible on cell phones or PDAs, only on the desktop versions of Google Maps.