As the internet becomes more and more a part of our lives, our physical location is becoming more and more important to the internet. Here is just a few services that really show this.

  • Google will prioritize search results based on the location of the IP address of the computer you are using. If you’re searching for a dentist you don’t want results that would require you to travel to France for a cavity filling.
  • Nowadays, it is almost essential to have your business listed in Google Places. I know whenever I’m in a new place I use Google Maps to search for local businesses. I can see what is around me in one glance. If a business is not on Google Maps, then how am I supposed to know it exists?

Your Location in Cyberspace
Smart Phones especially are capitalizing on this concept:

  • Several apps will let you scan bar codes when you’re at the store. If there is the same product in the vicinity for a better price, it will let you know.
  • Facebook Places, and other similar services such as Foursquare let you share your location with friends. You can see where your friends like to hang out or go for lunch.

This creates new opportunites for SEO. Rather than ranking for a broad keyword you most likely want to rank for that keyword in your local area.

This new trend also creates concerns for people who don’t want to be found. There are ways to embrace this technology with no fear however. All location based services have some pretty good privacy settings. You can change the settings to allow only your friends to see your location or only the service itself. Many users of Facebook Places or Foursquare will “check in” just as they are leaving. That way if anyone is watching online for you to leave the house, you’ll arrive home before anything can happen.

New technology is always a little bit scary, and there are good reasons for this one, but it also creates new conveniences and new opportunities. What are your feelings about cyberspace knowing your physical location?

Jamie Bates