By 7 years ago in Marketing SEO

Neighbours United.co.uk – social networking on your street

Listening to Stray FM this morning a couple of Harrogate businessmen were soft launching Neighbours United, a social networking site based around your local street.

The site aims to connect neighbours together so they can discuss meetings, local issues, recommend plumbers, find lost cats, borrow ladders and do everything that neighbours used to do before the invention of the internet.

For me the interesting aspects are local SEO and how the site could become a very valuable hub for finding recommendations for services and restaurants – if structured in the right way. For example if I was researching a restaurant in London W3 then it would be far better to get a recommendation from the people who live in W3 than from somebody who lives in Leeds.

Another aspect would be for researching a new property. Rather than chatting to the neighbours when you view a house you could check out what was being said on the local messageboard and get a real insight of the local issues. If all the streets have a spiderable URL then searchers could quickly find information about streets via Google.

Another interesting point is how the founders are going to be marketing the site. To me offline marketing is a much under used weapon and to see a brand new site launching in a local market using traditional media is a good example of what most webmasters forget.

Hopefully we will be able to get an interview with the guys once they publish an email address.

By Patrick Altoft. at 12:45AM on Saturday, 29 Mar 2008

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

comments

  • http://www.tn2networks.com Aaron

    It’d be great to see something like this take off, as you say for trusted local info.

    Not too sure about neighbours interacting with other neighbours though, at my last house we had a great community spirit pretty much everyone knew everyone else in the same street but my new place everyone pretty much keeps themselves to themselves no matter how friendly you are. So it makes me wonder if the neighbourhoods that get on well anyway just won’t need it and the ‘unsociable’ neighbourhoods won’t want to use it.

  • http://www.cashjuke.com How to make money online

    That’s a great idea. I don’t think that would work where I am though. :[

  • http://www.matthemattrix.ws Matt

    Seems like the trend for search engines focusing on local search capability. Now that social media is the big new thing, we’ll see more and more of these geographically localized communities popping up, I think.

    It’s a fascinating development, considering that the internet is a global medium. But it’s hardly surprising, since in the end we still all live in the real world and we build most of our relationships (personal, social and business related) with people close to where we live.

  • Steve

    I think this is a great idea – not only to bring local people together but to provide a practical way of recommending great service and supporting people who live close by. I see many benefits such as being able to let neighbours know about items which I no longer need – I’d rather give these to someone in my street than take to the local tip (8 miles away)or have the inconvenience of selling on eBay or even taking to the local charity shop. I also struggle to find good recommended restaurants, builders, electricians etc. If someone has experienced a good service and would recommend I’d feel more comfortable in using them. Finally I live in a very sociable street. Arranging a night out or even a lads night at the local pub takes some ringing around – what better way of quickly posting a social gathering on a site specific to neighbours.

  • http://streetsize.com Matt Collins

    Thanks for the post, Patrick. It’s interesting to read about this development in Harrogate.

    I’ve been trialling something similar based here in London (StreetSize.com). I tried putting letters through local people’s doors advertising the site and, as far as I can tell, had a very good take-up from that (so I guess offline marketing can indeed work well). I’ve also had a good take-up from advertising the site using PPC. My approach is far from scientific, but it does give me the feeling that there’s demand for this sort of site out there.

    For now, my site doesn’t have any real geographic structure to it, so it’s an interesting challenge to find a way to add local-relevant terms to the pages to attract local-focused search traffic.

  • http://www.neighboursunited.co.uk Andy L

    Just a bit of an update on how things are going. We have really managed to get a bit of momentum on the site with more people registering and active than we planned for in the initial launch period.

    We have modified the site and are now looking at the best way to spread the word and roll out into other areas.

  • http://www.neighboursunited.co.uk Andy L

    Wow, its over a year since I posted on here. It has been fun learning from the launch of http://www.neighboursunited.co.uk in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

    Well we just in the middle of making some changes that will help improve the usability of the site and also mean that it can be used in areas other than the HG area.

    It will be interesting to see how the site grows into other parts of the UK….

  • http://www.neighboursunited.co.uk Andy L

    The site update went live on Wednesday and all has gone well so far…so now all areas of the UK can now use http://www.neighboursunited.co.uk

    We are looking for people interested in managing local areas…so please get in touch at admin@neighboursunited.co.uk if you know anyone who would like to help put the community back into the neighbourhood and potentially earn a few extra pounds in the process…