Geo, Regional, Local Domains – Why They’re Getting Hotter

An interesting thing has happened over the past couple of years. Many more offline businesses are now looking at online marketing, not simply having a presence online.

Part of this came about thanks to Groupon and other daily deals sites. They’ve shown the power of the internet to drive traffic – not just to websites online, but driving to local businesses found online.

As one of our recent articles stated, it’s not enough to simply be online – you have to stand out. There are a few fundamental ways to do that – high quality branding, solid promotional efforts, or SEO.

One thing many businesses have turned to are geo domains. A dentist’s practice might be named Bob Cobb Dentistry, but to appeal to web searchers in their local area (let’s say San Diego), they might get SanDiegoDentist.com or SanDiegoDentalWork.com.

There are actually a few different things geo domains can accomplish:

1. Local SEO

Exact match domains slay the search engines and have improved in performance over 2011. So it’s a natural fit to get a geo domain to target local customers, as it can be an exact match for a lucrative term that may bring a steady stream of highly targeted customers.

2. Ad revenue via local directory

In some cases, a geo domain that’s a plural may be better suited as a directory for the local practice. Even if you are a local business of that type, you can still feature yourself on such a directory and also get ad revenue from other companies/professionals in your area.

Additionally, a broader region domain such as a US state or a country would likely benefit more as a directory unless you have a physical presence throughout the region.

3. Branding

Many companies that are strictly local use their locale in their branding to great effect. Not only does your name (and domain) bring in targeted search traffic, but you would subconsciously convey some added authority and relevance. SanDiegoDryCleaners.com would clearly be relevant to anyone in the San Diego area needing dry cleaning, and the name suggests that they are the one and only San Diego Dry Cleaners.

Having the city in your local business name can also attract those local customers that have a passion for their city. Having the city in the name further signifies you are a local company, and that may help you win business for people wanting to support their local economy.

4. Local deals

While Groupon and Living Social have gotten the beat on the daily deal market, more and more local presences are starting to form and take some market share. The larger deal sites have little motivation other than their own profits while local daily deal outfits can get mutual benefit from businesses that sign up. That can lead to better terms offered by those local daily deal outfits, which may be necessary given most smaller businesses haven’t been too pleased with Groupon outcomes.

5. Local reviews

On eCommerce, reviews aren’t quite as important – they are to a certain extent, but major sites like Amazon pretty well own the space. For local companies, reviews can be absolutely crucial, and many local customers will look up reviews before becoming a customer. Geo domains can be a hub for local reviews of particular kinds of businesses and effectively be the go-to-site before going to a local business.

6. Tourism

Who would you trust more – someone who is omnipresent, not all that attached to a particular locale, or someone who is there and knows the ins and outs of the area? Geo domains can appeal on a local level even to people outside the locale who may be visiting for business or pleasure.

There are certainly many other uses for geo domains and in general, the cat’s been out of the bag for some time on the values of them in the domain world. That said, the offline business world is starting to wake up to the benefits of geo domains, so it appears they’re destined to continue their rise in value and popularity.

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