Although a business website is by its very nature a virtual entity that has no fixed geographic location, website design needs to factor in the location of your business, but also of your customers to ensure it reaches the right people.
First and foremost, what is the purpose of your website?
Sometimes the very nature of your website makes the location it targets, key. For a tradesman who works within a certain radius, or a high street shop, it is important that customers in your area are able to find your website, but also not particularly useful if you are getting enquiries from the far side of the country.
Some businesses however, may not work only within a particular region, for eCommerce websites or for those offering online and remote services, the question becomes less so about where your customers are, and more about who your target audience is.
Why does it matter?
You and I would be able to visit a website, and likely be able to work out if this site is useful to us, if it suits out needs, and if we are within their operational area. Humans have the ability to use common sense to answer these questions. Except, we rely on machines in order to help us find information, and these Search Engines are not blessed with the same common sense that we are.
Google needs to be able to work out for itself what the purpose of a website is so it can list it when we perform a search for a word or phrase. When it comes to location focused businesses, Google needs to know where the business is based, so it can advertise it to local customers.
How does Google know where I am?
When you perform a search on Google, it collects a lot of information about you, and uses this to improve the accuracy of results. This could include using your past search history to guestimate on what you may be looking for, but also using data such as the location of your device. This means that when performing a search for a business, you’ll likely get results in your area, unless you’ve specified a specific location.
To know which sites to showcase, Google needs to do a similar exercise when it analyses a business website. Through well planned out content and behind the scenes data, Google will be able gather information on which areas a company covers. Also, you could create a free listing on Google My Business to create a profile of your company and to pin your location to Google Maps.
The other thing to keep in mind is the domain name of your website. For a company that works in a specific location, why not include the place name and description of what the service is in the name to be instantly understood by your customers and Google’s analysis bots. If your website is for customers internationally, then consider a .com rather than the specific .co.uk or .uk top level domains.
Need some guidance about how important your location is for your business website design?