Is There a Local Web?

March 31, 2008

I was intrigued by CenterNetworks’ reference to a Telegraph article on The UK’s Top 101 Most Useful Websites. A cursory non-scientific scan shows that maybe 17 of the 101 are UK-specific. The rest are equally useful on this side of the pond and elsewhere in the world (those Brits are fond of a site named ‘Google’, for example).

It’s not just a matter of the domain being a .com vs a .co.uk. Babycenter.co.uk differs very little from Babycenter.com, for example. And there are many US consumers of BBC content.

Sometimes location matters on the Web (craigslist), often it doesn’t (imdb.com).  Many sites live in-between those poles. If I’m using Google to find information about neck pain, location matters little. When I search for a physician to treat my neck pain, it becomes very important. I long for a search engine smart enough to know the difference.

Many have noted the difficulty of finding good local information on the Web. (Angie’s List has found a sweet niche filling that gap). As a bricks-and-mortar small business you can use this as competitive advantage. I know a veterinarian who has completely ditched his Yellow Pages listing in favor of search advertising.

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