Many search engines starting to track web sites by geography – often by MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area). This is helpful if you are looking for a resources in a specific area or if you want to be found by researchers in a specific area.
Here are some of the search engines that are going local:
For searchers: You can get access to the local search features through a “local” or “advanced” tab on the search engines. Follow the instructions from there. (Google is working on profile based searching where you sign up and they return sites to you based on a profile you start and they complement with searches you make.)
For web site owners: Now is a good time to get listed with these local search resources because today it’s free – eventually they may charge. In most cases you can register through a link on the local search page. Just look for the “add your site” or related link.
Some search engines (such as Overture) sell keyword ads on their local pages. As an advertiser you can select the areas where you ad is shown. A searcher’s area is determined by her address and/or terms searched. I have tried this with less than impressive results – but I think it may catch on when a web site’s target market are found in particular areas.
Thanks to Jan in Wisconsin for her suggestion for this week’s Byte!