As the growth of local search continues, companies who serve large regions by remote service, warehouses, or otherwise should not feel disadvantaged from an obscure physical address. These companies can naturally optimize across a region by discovering how searches for niche areas occur within a larger region. Because so many searches are now localized a long tail of local phrases are emerging within major metropolitan areas. By drilling down for the names of towns, neighborhoods, municipalities, counties, and zip codes that receive search volume businesses serving larger regions can take the long tail approach to incremental increases in local search traffic.

Take for example Jacksonville FL, the largest city in the U.S. by definition of land area. Jacksonville has many micro regions and some very far apart from one another. Considering its likely people in such a large region may search not just by "Jacksonville," but more so by their immediate area, for a business operating across Jacksonville the greater number of long tail localized searches equals more opportunities to create a top ranking and boost website traffic.

Regional Keyword Research

The trick is to identify how many towns, zip codes, townships, counties, and so on get a high volume of search traffic throughout a region. Then, match these phrases with the ones used to describe a company's services. Here are a few tips for identifying niche regions:

  1. Use Wikipedia to find out what counties are within Jacksonville.
  2. Search the county names on Wikipedia to discover additional towns, and municipalities.
  3. Run a search on Google for "Jacksonville Zip Codes."
  4. Run a search for "Jacksonville" on any map website and slowly zoom in, noting the names of towns.
  5. For state wide optimization search "List of Cities Florida" on Wikipedia.

The result of these steps should deliver a long list of notable areas within a region. The next step is to plug that list into a keyword research tool, and find out what areas are searched the most.

Adapting to a SEM Campaign

The final step is to integrate the smaller region names into your search marketing campaign. This could be done either with a paid search campaign, or by building out landing pages well optimized for the regional terms like, "Neptune Beach Home Theater Installation."

It's probably best to first beta test the tactic for a few areas and then measures the effectiveness. As for landing pages, the content could basically describe a company's availability in the area, or go into more detail possibly including some localized customer reviews, pictures, and local news as it relates to products and services offered.


Super niche localized traffic doesn't just apply to small businesses servicing small areas. If you're a company serving larger regions local seo can be a means to improve sales in a specific neighborhood, building up website traffic incrementally across multiple areas.

November 5, 2009

Jeff is the founder of Catch Search Marketing. Catch offers local businesses free guides to help improve their online marketing knowledge, including a local search marketing training course. Jeff has delivered SEO results for major consumer oriented websites all the way down to local businesses, he has spoken about SEO at Higher Ed Heroes.

Away from the laptop Jeff enjoys anything mountain oriented, and a constant itch for music. .


Good article, didn't know I was actually doing the right thing except drilling down to the details of the local search. Just the state and city is enough for me in my SEM campaign thanks for that info, never thought of that.

Hey Jeff,

Great article my man! You really hit the nail on the head with this one. Localized search will become a major factor in the way business promote their products or services online. I don't think many people understand how this works but your article sheds a little light on the subject matter.

I was attending a local seminar a few months back and the guest speaker was talking about how PPC and local search was to much to handle and that they should stay away and instead register their websites with local directores instead. Although registering with local directories is a good idea you should never shy away from local search and search engines. I felt like standing up and telling him what I though about his idea. The reson was because the seminar was hosted by a local directory and he was hired to speak on their behalf .

At any rate, thank you for the article and keep up the good work!

Judah Swagerty
Internet marketing / Entrepreneur Success & Life Strategies Coach

Hi Jeff,

I was thinking about trying to micro-target some neighborhoods to develop traffic and business for my tutoring company. It makes a lot of sense to optimize for local communities and neighborhoods to keep driving time to a minimum. I'm going super niche.



Nice article about using long tail phrases of local searches. I already have an idea about regional keyword research that is, identifying location and pin code and associating the keyword with it and going with SEO campaign. The new tip which I learnt here is adapting to SEM campaign. This turned me on to read this article. Thanks for sharing this useful information.

Great article Jeff!
This is a great way to approach the whole "area of service" issue that many service based small businesses face. Great tips - thank you.

I'm still at a loss regarding local search. Thanks to your article, I'll try to change my tactics a bit.


Nice article! Very detailed approach that should help people build out much more successful localized search campaigns.

The issue that I see might crop up as you scale up to larger advertisers with tremendous numbers of localized listings across the nation (think BofA) is applying them at scale. Instead of pulling all of those data points out of sources like Wikipedia, you can access available data sources like Where On Earth or UrbanMapping. We've built a platform that allows you to take in geo databases like those and automates the process of comparing them with Google's keyword tools to determine which of the words have volume to build into a campaign.

Love to see as a follow-up blog your approach to building out and optimizing creatives that map to the adgroups you've created!

Thanks for giving great press on these advanced geo based SEM strategies!

-Chris Gale

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Search Engine Guide > Jeff Howard > Going Down The Long Tail of Local Search