Location and date – targeting keywords hiding in plain sight

This is not an article about search engine optimization. This is about making your website less difficult to find for those already looking for it. I’ll be basing it on experiences and observations of the websites’ of Norwegian business.


Norwegian businesses seldom include “Norway” anywhere on their pages. Its such an obvious keyword that its easy to forget. Some of that likely originates from thinking, “I have a .no domain. That is a strong signal that my website targets Norway.” While this is certainly true, it does not help those searching for your site.

Machines are, unfortunately, very stupid. Humans have adapted to some degree and search for “web hosting Norway”. That filters out most of the relevant results. I looked at 42 Norwegian web hosting companies’ websites. Almost all failed with few exceptions. The exceptions had either included “in Norway” in copy text or had “Norway” somewhere in their footers. A few were saved by listing customers on their front page that had “Norway” in their names.

I had trouble finding hosting companies based in Norway to host this site. Eventually, I managed to find a few providers only by looking through the categories in the national business registry. It did not even occur to me that these sites would not identify themselves as belonging to Norway on their actual websites. I see one in twenty searches for another site of mine — that geographically targets Norway — contain region based keywords.


This is kind of a continuation of my article on how webpages appear less trustworthy without a publication date. Including dates is a good thing. Think of these searches “ebola winter 2014”, “cheap web hosting 2015”, and so one. Including dates are not only making your content more trustworthy but also easier to find.

As discussed in my previous article, dates should be included on every page. At the very least, include the date in the copyright notice in the footer. Analyzing my own pages, it would seem search engines give very little relevancy to what is in the footer. Or indeed low on a page. Try to work in the year or even more concrete time factors in other contexts higher up on pages to make them more relevant.

Keep in mind that you should always write for humans. How would you make the location or date relevant to a human reader? Avoid keyword‐rich headlines and paragraphs that are unnatural to read. Appending “of 2015” or “in London” at the end of an arbitrary headline seems to be a common method to target geographic regions. Humans prefer “London’s best sushi restaurants” over the more unnaturally sounding “Best sushi restaurants of 2015 in London”. Dates can be worked in elsewhere in to the design or mentioned in passing.

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