Geo-Targeting Your Website
We are all familiar with Google, Bing and other similar search engines getting in our heads, offering suggested searches based on just a few letters being entered in the search box… “did you mean…?” Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s annoying, and sometimes it’s downright scary! Google stores every bit of information it receives from every single user. When you enter a search string, Google will offer the most common searches that match the words you are entering, combined with your location information. What is trending in Los Angeles may be different than what is trending in Memphis, and certainly different than what is trending in other countries. This overwhelming amount of data drives the information and suggested websites Google returns.
Many of us, however, may not realize the information in the settings of a website is equally important and powerful in returning search results to the user. If you want your website, or a particular page, to be found by customers within your geographic area, you can influence how your site appears in search results. Google, Bing and other search engines allow website owners to set a specific geographic target (geo-targeting) for the site overall or for specific pages. This is in addition to generic, top-level domain address information (IP address, location information, links, etc.), and country-coded domains (.us, .au, .fr, etc.). Geo-targeting allows search engines to return results containing optimized content to users based on their location including country, region, state, city, metro area, and even as specific as a neighborhood zip code. The best way to set geo-targeting for your website is to create separate profile pages for each geographic area you want to target.
To check your geographic target settings on Google, visit the Webmaster Tools Home page, click Site Settings, select Geographic target, and choose your options (click here for instructions). For Bing, the steps are a bit more complicated (click here for instructions). Happy Targeting!!!