October 2, 2007
SEO makes more sense with Geographic Targeting Increasingly the Internet is being used as a tool for finding local resources. Not just for finding information or buying products online, but you can use it to find homes for sale in your neighborhood, local independent insurance agents, local retail stores and local law and accounting firms for example. It is becoming increasingly important to keep geo-targeting in mind when optimizing for search engines. It makes sense to not only target by a searchers keyword but also by the searchers geographic location.
Hypothetically, let’s say I own a business located in Philadelphia, PA. I am looking for a public relations firm in order to help market my business to consumers living in the Philadelphia area. As you would expect, one of the first ways I look for a public relations firm is to search online using a major search engine such as Google. Because I am a small or medium sized business located in Philadelphia, it makes sense for me to do business with a public relation firm located in the Philadelphia area.
So the question is, how do I find a public relations firm located in the Philadelphia area? I can search on Google and type in “public relations firm” and I will get a list of thousands of public relation firms from all over the world. Since I want to hire a Philadelphia area public relations firm, the search does not give me what I am specifically looking for. Chances are, local companies are not found easily in this type of search. Internet users are becoming more savvy on how online searches are conducted and more and more users search using geographic locations. For our discussion, I would search using the keyword phrase “Philadelphia public relations firm,” which gives me a better listing of local public relation firms for which I am looking to conduct business.
The concept is fairly simple and makes sense; however, many websites do not include this concept as part of their Internet strategy. As a company or organization conducting the majority of business with local companies, how do you take advantage of the concept spelled out above? The idea is to develop your search engine optimization strategy around the concept of geo-targeting in order to increase your search engine rankings when a potential client or customer is searching for your product or service locally.
There are two ways to get your website listed on search engines such as Google. The most popular is organic search optimization, also known as natural search optimization; it is a continuing process allowing a web site to gain free listings within the major search engines without incurring ongoing marketing costs. If you are targeting clients within your local area, you may want to consider the following geo-targeted strategy.
Include the following:
- Full address on all your WebPages, the higher on the page the better results.
- Areas where you do business throughout your website copy.
- Geographic location in your title tags and Meta tags.
- Your city in the link text when linking from other sites to your Website.
- Register for local search with the major search engines.
The second way to get listed on search engines such as Google is through “pay per click” (PPC) campaigns. If you use PPC advertising, you pay each time one of your ads is clicked on a search engine. Google PPC marketing is called Google AdWords, which is located on the right side of a search page
How PPC (pay per click) works:
- Register with a PPC system, provide credit card number and load your account.
- Create one or more ads with title, body text and link to your appropriate WebPage.
- Associate your important keywords with each ad.
- Bid on each keyword, the more you bid the higher the listing.
The key for a local businesses using PPC is to take advantage of Geographic Targeting. Google allows marketers, using AdWords, to specify the geographic locations in which their ad will appear. For example a business in Boston that targets local companies can set up their campaign so that only people in their market area will see the ad. This makes a lot of sense because the Boston based company does not want to be charged because a person from Florida clicked on their ad. By taking advantage of geo-targeting the searcher from Florida will not see the ad.
Author: Jason Lomberg, founder of The Philadelphia Marketing Directory (http://www.philadelphia-marketing-directory.com), Internet Marketing Expert and Internet Strategist with 12 years of experience from the Philadelphia area. Jason holds a Marketing Degree and a MBA from Rutgers University. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org