I will be targeting people in my city with Facebook ads and other online marketing services.

If someone from another city finds my website, should I still let them sign up?”

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Alex Glenn
 – Alex Glenn, Founder at Right2Revenue.com

Great question!

Short answer, yes. But… hide them at first.

This is because you want and need to know where to turn next. Whether you offer an invite to join option for users outside your target audience, or allow them to create profiles you simply do not create main navigation links for, or include them in site search, you will benefit greatly from knowing your site is getting a lot of interest from those cities.

The main reasons to hide the user profiles who are not in your target launch or “proof of concept niche” is:

  1. User Experience is better when they only have to search by category or type, and not by location. UX is critical for your test market. You don’t have to have the best site or app, but you have to make it super simple and quick for your users to find what they are there for. The more cities, the more granular you will have to get with your UX design, site structure and landing pages. The point is, removing non-local profiles from the search and display is the way to go.
  2. You can take over localized keywords much easier. You can take this a step further by adding a local exact match keyword in your category page URL so that all of your user profiles show up as “.com/{{city}}-{{state}}-{{service-type}}/{{profile-name}}. This is a great strategy for taking over local search results. Just make sure you are asking your users to create more robust profiles and force them to use your top keywords by requiring a ‘profession’ or ‘service’ selection from a drop-down box.

But again, don’t prevent them from joining, or requesting an invite. If you do not have a valuable enough proposition or exciting PR campaign that encourages users from outside your launch/test market to “request an invite to join”, then you should block them from the funnel and site search (not google search). This will ensure you get the value of having those early adopters for when you enter the market, without affecting UX.

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