Ian White’s Urban Mapping provides neighborhood data to local search companies meaning when you search for “Starbucks in Soho”, chances are the search engine you’re using uses Urban Mapping’s data to figure out where “Soho” is. Neighborhoods are weird things, most of them do not have defined boundaries of where they start and stop. I sort of know what I’m talking about when I say the “West Village” of NYC but chances are my definition is different than yours.
At SMX Local today, Ian went through the data that AOL accidentally leaked (something like 20 million searches) and found that 9% the search terms people used included what he classified as “neighborhood-specific” terms. Compare that to zip codes which accounted for less than 1% of the searches.
What this means is that you may want to consider using neighborhood-specific keywords in your SEM/SEO campaigns. After all, if I am at the office and need to find a place to get a quick bite to eat I am not going to search “pizza in san francisco”, I’m more likely to search “Tenderloin pizza” or whatever neighborhood I might be in.
Knowing the neighborhoods that your business targets might be no big thing, but if you’re a national agency you might not be as intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in a client’s city. And if you’re servicing a national chain and need the neighborhoods for multiple cities it gets even trickier. That’s why I’d love it if Ian opened up his service to marketers who need to develop a good neighborhood keyword list.
(Full disclosure: A few months ago I did some consulting work for Urban Mapping)