Google leads the way when it comes to geo-targeting. Webmasters who use it to the fullest gain the kind of return on their investment that grows companies and keeps customers returning. Taking geo-targeting into account is not an option. It’s a requirement and here’s why.
A Brief Definition Of Geo-Targeting
Geo-targeting delivers local relevant results to web searchers by determining their physical location and matching it with search results or ads for companies in their locale. For example, if a web searcher types in pizza, the top results should be pizza restaurants near them. The only way a pizza restaurant can get at the top of that list is if they have location information built into their website. When that happens, local establishments get traffic that builds businesses.
How Geo-Targeting Works
Online companies with US addresses appear in search results for US web searchers because of country codes, or TLDs, included in their top-level domain. That’s the reason that searchers based in North America don’t get results for European countries. In addition, the language used matters. If a query is placed in English, results will be returned in the same language. All of these specifics are included within the Google algorithm.
To get results on a more local level, webmasters must include all pertinent location information as a website registrant and on the website itself. This is particularly important for businesses that operate out of brick-and-mortar stores. Using geo-targeting, web searchers not only find out where businesses are located, but how far away they are from them. As you can see, geo-targeting is a powerful tool.
The algorithm also uses other hints to determine location. A website’s backlinks are filled with all sorts of clues to determine location. That’s why local business websites often link to regional and city newspapers and magazines or other businesses in their area. These steps solidify a business location for the search engine. But, knowing all this doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to implement it.
Examples Of Successful Use Of Geo-Targeting To Boost Sales
Local clothing stores in areas that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day have an enormous opportunity to reach out to customers in their area to sell clothing with a green theme. By setting a geographic range around their store or even a local Irish pub, they can target customers online with promotional ads for St Paddy’s Day attire in the weeks just prior to the holiday. This is a case of defining not only the geographic area, but of using local culture to boost the efficacy of advertisements.
Lunch restaurants in downtown business areas or coffee shops located along high-travel corridors can reach out to potential new customers using geo-targeting. By setting a so-called fence around their location, they can ensure that their ads will pop up for hungry office employees located within a one-mile radius of the restaurant or for coffee-deprived commuters looking for a cup of Java on their way to work. Instead of blindly casting an ad into the vast sea of the Internet, they get the opportunity to connect with customers who located within their target area.
On the other hand, where the most likely customers are located changes with the seasons for some businesses. A store specializing in children’s educational toys might go gangbusters during the school year by setting up a geo-fence around area elementary schools. But, that fence won’t do them much good during the summer months or the winter break. Perhaps that fence should be moved to a local beach or shopping mall to capture more customers.
Creative use of geo-targeting brings in new customers and helps to keep old customers coming back. Instead of losing out to online retailers, local businesses are letting their local customers that shopping with them is often more convenient than they realize.
Dori O’Neill is in the business of helping individuals and business owners achieve success through proper business practices and reputation management. He maintains offices throughout the world and has lived in Canada, United States, Japan and Hong Kong. If you need more leads for your business, visit LeadLures.com today.