Small project update:
About a week ago, I made some small changes in the body text and the title of the main page. This week the site jumped 1 place up in google.be and 3 places in google.com for the selected keywords but I don't know if that is because of those changes. Pages in the English language were also added some time ago.
In google.be there are 2 (local) taxi companies + google's Local Company results (comes with the map) in front of my site now . This places my site at a # 4 position.
In google.com there are 3 (local) taxi companies + google's Local Company results in front of my site now . This places my site at a # 5 position.
In other related searches i noticed that it is possible to outrank the Local Company results which usually rank # 1.
Currently Yahoo.com/Live.com/msn.com/msn.be are all at a #2 position for selected main keywords.
Just over 80% of the site visitors are from Belgium (as expected). About 13% visitors of neighboring country The Netherlands (same language). The remainder of visitors are from different places in the world but mostly Europe. There have been up to 19 visitors a day but it actually varies a lot.
Adsense revenue is almost nil (few $ cents/day), it has been better before although i haven't made any changes in the position or format since then. At least it paid back for the domainname + some of the hosting at about us $13 since the site went online. Monetization should probably be from offline work.
I'm brainstorming about more things that can be done. Last night i happened to come back late from work and at 1 am I was standing in front of the gate of one of the mayor taxi companies here. When I called them to ask for a ride home they told me that i had to wait for 20 minutes before they could pick me up. Eventually, my colleague dropped me off at the central railway station where I was able take a cab home immediately. This kind of waiting must annoy people a lot. Wouldn't it be possible to have a place -possibly on the net- where you can just select the fastest pickup from different companies? Will it be possible to create such a system on my site and would such a system on my site benefit from the power of a #1 position of the most sought after taxi keywords in this city? Above else, will any profits (if at all) justify all the time and effort spent? For now, i will just keep going as the taxi site is not a full time occupation.
Interesting. Amsterdam implemented such a system too recently.
At the moment, I'm traveling in Europe frequently. That gives the opportunity to see how my site ranks in different geo locations. I found some interesting facts that made me realize that a few changes and updates need to be done.
First of all, from whichever location I check the site, the adsense ads are not relevant most of the time. The site is in 2 languages, Dutch and English. The Dutch pages most often display Netherlands based company ads. Most often not taxi and not always travel related. The English pages display UK or USA based companies most of the time. No wonder the site has a very low CTR! Visitors of my site are only expecting information about Belgium based companies. This means that I should experiment with different content and perhaps mention the location more often in the text. I will also add a French translation.
Something I'm more happy about is the improvement in ranking in google.be/.nl/.com. Last couple of days, the site ranked #2 for the selected keywords in google.be but today back at #3 again (after the local business results). It seems a bit unstable but these small fluctuations have been there since the beginning. Overall the site goes up roughly 1 position every 2-3 weeks or so.
GEO location and SERP
Coming back to the subject of geo location. I've checked on google.com from Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy for example. In all these locations, the ranking position seemed to be the same. I always thought that google factored the IP-location (from where you're searching) into the search results. For example; in the light of Sulumits Retsambew in google.com, will the site that ranks first position do so in all geo locations? I'm curious to know the definite answer.
I see different search results from different geographic locations, sometimes.
But I have also hit the REFRESH/RELOAD button over and over again, only to see the SERPS cycle between different results.
I've seen AdSense key strongly off of URL's, h1, and h2 tags. I'd look there for optimization to help "hint" AdSense into displaying appropriate ads.
Also, are you using section targeting to help AdSense target your ads properly?
There may just not be enough content-network ads related to taxi's in Belgium?
I am definitely going to experiment with section targeting.
On the other hand it seems there are less related ads then about 6 months ago. Also Google's search results were more populated with local company ads then. So, yes there simply may not be enough content-network related ads.
Thanks for the tips Will !
SEORabbit has just published Google Local Optimization : Google Local Business Listing Optimization Tutorial -- it's worth a read! :)
The keywords in the first post are edited to the real ones to give you a better idea about the project. I also added more information there.
Not much has happened since the last update.
The site is at a steady 2nd position for 'Taxi Antwerpen' in Google.be/.nl. That is: the Home Page and the Phone Numbers page. Apparently Google finds the latter page interesting enough for visitors to be displayed also in the Search Results.
On bing.com, pages of the site are on #1 and #3 position. Yahoo also shows #1 position. All of these with keywords 'Taxi Antwerpen'
I finally inserted the Section Targeting code 2 days ago (as suggested by Will). Whether or not this helped (I think it did :) ), today almost all Adsense ads are more relevant and I got rid of some annoying non-relevant ads. It is just that there are not that many local advertisers in the Adwords program at the moment.
Not surprisingly, most Ads on the English pages are still not relevant however.
Enhancing the user experience
In order to help visitors locating a taxi easier, I've added a map that shows taxi stand locations around the city. Apparently, there are over 200 stands so I keep adding these once I find more (either on the net or by actually bumping into one on the streets). I hope it helps enhancing the user experience. The map is created with My Maps of Google so I'm not using the API.
Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk
I'm as guilty as -insert something creative :D - : I haven't taken much action regarding monetizing the site but I will not come up with all kinds of excuses. I've been holding back way too long so in the next update I will write something about the efforts I made.
p.s. Adsense revenue over €20,- ($28,-) so it paid back the domainname and hosting for 1 year.