Mike, sorry to come onto this so late.
My suggestion would to be using separate domains for each county, creating a new and slightly different website for each in that the content is different enough that the search engines consider each to be their own separate entity, while back linking to all the other domains.
I started studying SEO back in the mid '90’s because of my specialized microscope biz. Google “ceiling mounted microscopes” “isolate surgical microscopes” “installation surgical microscopes”. I am Mittmount. Use either Bing or Yahoo for the same searches and you will see one of my special SEO tricks. You might not see Mittmount listed, but rather different domains that point to that site. They are not websites, just specially forwarded domains that contain lots of META DATA!
Most all my web customers get about a dozen domains in their SEO package to further enhance their SEO.
What you are talking about Mike, I do in a way that I call satellite websites. For some of my customers with a bigger budget and a strong desire to be at the top of the first page of Google, Bing and Yahoo, we create a multitude of websites all working together in concert.
I have two such clients at the moment wanting to be found at the top of as many possible related search queries as I can make happen. Over a matter of a few months of the site being completed, they are all fighting for the top spot on the net. I call this effect “stacking the deck” as I have for several different clients filled the entire first page of search results with nothing but the client’s links! Their competition is all on the next pages! I’m consistently able to do this for the clients I work with.
One client is a very large commercial and industrial property maintenance company in Denver. They had a fairly good organic website working for them locally with the search engines, but there is lots of competition and they had nothing done to the website for a couple years and that company stopped doing webwork.
They interviewed three big Denver internet companies and me, which they found via a custom HTML Craigslist ad I created for SEO services. I was the only single-person company.
The other three companies really did not have any good, new approaches for what they already had. They all just wanted to rebuild the website in f_cking WP. The first thing I tell any prospective client is that I hate WP and I have never found any WP person to put a website over mine SEO wise. I explain it as all my work is organic and WP, Drupal and Joomla are the GMO’s of the net. I’m convinced a properly made organic website will beat out the CMS sites every time.
I asked for a week’s time to analyze their situation before giving them a visual proposal. Their biggest problem was they have too many specialities all under one smallish website. They have basically 17 totally different services available, from electrical contracting, to street sweeping, to hydroblasting, to graffiti removal.
They were sold on the idea of taking each one of those specialities and making them each their own “division” of the main company. Though all are housed in the same huge building, we are giving each division their own separate website, physical address (by adding suites) and phone numbers.
Each division is getting their own Google, Bing and Yahoo Maps/Places/Local accounts, as well as their own Yelp, Manta, MerchantCircle, etc. accounts.
Each division’s websites refers back to all the other division’s specialities whenever possible and back linking throughout. At the bottom of the webpages I have the logos to all the “glommers” (yelp, merchant circle) each linking to their own webpage for each glommer. (You can not fight these bastards so you have to join them! Then your website can be listed in the search results rather than a generic listing for these glommers.)
Of course at the bottom of the page I have links for all the other divisions and each and every link is filled with a verbal description for hovering purposes. I have found through the years that the more webpages I make per site each being separately descriptive for each thought/subject/idea/product, the more attention that page gets from the search engines. So I am not afraid to keep adding pages to the website and all of them back linking to both within that website’s own web pages and all the other websites.
It is not long before you see when doing a good localized search that the client’s various webpages, as well as the glommer’s clients webpages all falling in place on the first pages of the search engines and lately (last six months or so) I’ve been having much better luck with Bing and Yahoo’s results.
So let’s look at a few of these results so you can see what I am explaining…
Google: Colorado hydroblasting
This is just starting to fill in, but you will see most of the links going to what boils down to my client Lightning Mobile. Google will even list my custom Craigslist ads in these results! Now to the other two search engines.
Bing: Colorado hydroblasting
Yahoo: Colorado hydroblasting
When you go to Bing and Yahoo will see one of my domain SEO tricks and you will notice that there is quite some difference in the results compared to Google. Near the very top, if not the top organic result you shall see coloradohydroblasting.com. Mind you, that is NOT a website! Then most of the rest of the first page of results for Bing and Yahoo are references to my client, one way or another. Towards the bottom of both those first pages you will also see hydroblastingcolorado.com, which is the actual website that coloradohydroblasting.com pointing towards.
One of the first things that I do within my settings each and every time I make a website with FW in order to get as much SEO power as I can: Go to File>Document Setup>Output and I always find that the Max. filename length is highlighted and set to the lowest number. CHANGE THIS! At this time the best it will do is 127, but it sure would be nice to have that increase in the next upgrade! I simply do not understand why it has to remain at 127, but I am very person responsible for getting the increase to 127 made a few years ago. Maybe those limitations can be lifted now with HTML5?
Do a search for a particular news article on the net. Use the title of the news article and then look at the search results. You will see in bold in the URL part of the results the name of that article. I do long stringing url talk to the search engines all the time! This is an important part of SEO and do not be afraid to use long string URLs to gain SEO. I will sometimes bury a webpage down two directories/folders so that I can get the 127 characters x 3. That being said, use your Title wisely too. I see too many using this precious space incorrectly!
Many times I will start the website off on a long name domain, using many words separated by “-” and not the under score. Then we will have a short, easy to remember domain being specially forwarded. (That needs to be another posting!)
Example, the largest seller of the Cheeba Chews products in North California is my client. They sell the crap out of them! I made them a separate website just to push the product. The easy domain name is CheebaChewsCalifornia.com but that is NOT a website, just a specially forwarded domain.
Now go to Bing or Yahoo and type in: Cheeba Chews California
and see what you get.
I am seeing that the first organic result for both are cheebachewscalifornia.com ahead of both the Cheeba Chews website and the cheeba-chews-san-jose-california-hash-oil-candy-marijuana-thc.us domain. The long url domain is the actual website. This is exactly one of those satellite websites I mentioned earlier.
I’m going to make another post or two about SEO and what can be done organically to fight off the bigger companies and the “glommers”.
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