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Local websites for a national company
2010-09-16: I just wanted to record the way Unblocked Drains Scarborough had approached the problem of being a national company wanting local coverage.
A common way forward is for companies to provide a list of the places they serve, and I've seen that be a complete gazetteer of the UK, which doesn't seem right. Here's a description in the Google search results: "We also ship granite tiles to: Canterbury, Bath and North East Somerset, Sheffield, Tameside, Fife, Scarborough, Broadland, South Kesteven, East Lindsey" .. as an attempt to appear local that doesn't seem to work. That must affect the clickthrough rates from Google.
If you take a look at Unblocked Drains York you can see that this company has opted to adapt a core website according to location.
They've bought a different domain name for each area, which might get expensive. An alternative would be to create subdomains on a single domain name, so if he could get BlockedDrain.co.uk then he could create scarborough.blockeddrain.co.uk and york.blockeddrain.co.uk free of charge, Local-Drains.co.uk has done it that way, here's their York version.
If that location was stored in a database, he could watch his traffic and add any location he wanted within seconds.
And obviously the location is strewn throughout the text automatically.
It might be good to vary some of the other text too so Google didn't cotton on.
With his method, everyone gets their own email address, but with mine you could just use scarborough@blockeddrain.co.uk.
Anyway, I just liked the approach and wanted to note it.
Incidentally, I used to work with MapInfo where one of the problems they solved was how to equalise sales regions .. rather like I understand they are planning to equalise the parliamentary constituencies here in the UK. You could use whatever data you liked but, for instance, you could slice up the UK into chunks of 10,000 people. I suspect unblockeddrains won't be doing exactly that as basically it leads to towns being split between sales regions, confusion and resentment because it's too complicated, but they will need at least clearly to manage where those regions are, and MapInfo lets you do that. Well, it did when I worked with them.

By John Allsopp
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