People think in a local way
Surprisingly across the different parts of London we think that you need to treat your search engine optimisation efforts differently from a national campaign. It is often been said that London is a collection of villages in the metropolitan area. The only other place which is pretty similar is probably New York (but I am open to debate on that one). It is extremely easy, if you work near your house, to never have a need to go anywhere else.
Internet Marketing london
City centre is for special occasions
In most London neighborhoods there is a wide variety of choice of restaurant, bars, banking, post offices utilities etc. so unless you have a mind to go to the centre of town and see some specific art exhibition, you can live your whole life without leaving your neighborhood.
People are from places not postcodes
If you meet somebody who is from London and you ask where they're from they will say they are from name of the area that they live in (or that they grew up in). They definitely don't say I'm from such and such postcode as in W5, EC4. They will say they are from Camden, or the city, or Chelsea or Kensington. This is why our approach to search engine optimisation has to be different from place to place simply because some neighbourhoods have got more" pull" or "juice" than others.
Obviously there are many tools to help you determine what searches are the most popular but that isn't the end of the story. Often people search London first, realise that it gives them too much non relevant choice and they then narrow the search byproduct or by geography. This means that the most popular searches are not necessarily the searches that people make the decision to purchase from.
SEO for London (and even more local than that) not National
Over the years this has made us form the opinion that you need both good analytics.. and search engine optimisation company that has employees that have lived in London for a certain period of time. We think this means they will have a good idea of which neighborhoods are more popular than others ideologically speaking. Obviously some people can be better at North London and some would be better at South London (and never the twain shall meet in my experience). One of the guys working for us has lived in North London for most of his life and goes to Munich and on holiday more often than he gets into south London.
You're not from round here
Unless you're from the big city you really won't understand how, having spent an hour going home from your office, the last thing you want to do is spend another hour (or possibly two) going across town to get to south London to see some friends. Quite honestly we see our friends in south London much less than we see our friends on the continent, we suspect this is because it's that it's worth more effort to go skiing or visit a city than it is to travel across the crowded tube network for a quick drink with a friend.
It's just not worth it.
This is the year of Local search especially in London
This year everybody's talking about how local is going to be much more important in the search answers than before. Personally we think that is old news it has been extra important in London for a very long time. If you live in North London it doesn't matter how many guys in vans the service you are looking for has on the road, if they are based in south London you will never ever call them.
I'm top, but I am not busy?
We often get clients who have spent a lot of time, effort and money into optimising around the term "London". They find themselves at the top of a lot of London search results but still don't receive any phone calls.... and they sit there wondering why and being upset about where all their money has gone.
It's all very well coming top all over London and people think this is a great idea but if you are local firm it's not going to help you (outside of our own locale).
If you are located in a neighborhood like Hampstead or Clapham.. that's where you want to be prominent but most clients don't think about focusing on areas like this because they think they are too small.
This is why concentrating the first load of optimisation for your website around your local area is better. The conversion rate in to customers is much higher for the money that you invest. Later you can then move towards areas that you want to service that you decide aren't too far away from home.
This will ensure any SEO efforts will provide a higher return on investment.