Geo-Tagging, Will it Do You Any Good?
Is geo-targeting a new technology that small and local businesses can effectively use to market online?
Many small and local companies only want to pay to reach customers who are located close to them. Some examples might be small retail stores, specialized services (plumbers, chiropractors), real estate agents, or tourism and entertainment destinations.
These locally oriented small businesses can successfully use pay per click advertising if they take advantage of the local search tools available with most advertising networks such as Google or MSN. These local search tools allow small businesses to limit their pay-per click advertisements so that they only show up on the computer screens of people in their designated geographic area.
Local search tools like these have made pay-per click advertising a viable media option for even the smallest business.
Here is a comprehensive overview of current local search options.
But what about organic local search results?
Pay per click advertising with local search applied will get you listed in the paid area of Google’s search results but how do you get listed in the main area of what is commonly called organic search results?
You’ve probably heard about search engine optimization and the grand promises of FREE marketing. But a small business with only a local footprint may find it hard to compete for top rankings in the major search engines without a way to indicate a geographic location of your business on your web page and thereby get better page ranking for local searches.
Let’s say you are a chiropractor with a local practice. You don’t want to compete with every chiropractor in the nation for specialty words like “chiropractor” and it is highly unlikely that you will be successful if you were to try. Plus, you are competing with informational sites like Wikipedia and multiple pseudo-directories of chiropractor lists etc. You know… findachiroproactor dot com and all the other who want you to pay to be in their directory.
How does a small business get on Google’s local search main page?
For local search success in Google’s organic listings your best bet is to work with your Google local business center. It’s located in your Google account and it’s very easy to set up. So, get in there, set up your profile and you’re done.
If you don’t have a Google account… get one. Its easy to sign up and its free.
The results look like this:
If you have a lot of competitors you probably won’t show up in the top ten local search results but at least you’re listed. You’ll probably find yourself only if you click on the get more results button. To get a better spot you have to get in there and tweak your Google local search listing.
What about Geo-tagging?
Geo-tagging (also called geocoding) is a simple piece of code that can be added to the meta data of photos, RSS feeds and web sites. The geo-tag indicates your longitude and latitude thus providing web browsers a very exact location. It may have an incremental effect on your local search listings but Google mostly works based off the street address you supply when you sign up.
However, geo-tags may have an impact on your local search listings with other search engines and have potential for local searches conducted on cell phones and PDAs. The GPS phenomenon is still in its growing stage and nobody really knows where geo targeting will end up.
So, in answer to the question: Should I add geo tags to my site?” the answer is… why not? Especially if you depend on local foot traffic, retail stores, restaurants, etc. Go ahead and geo-tag your site in anticipation of the next breakthrough in local search technology.
How do you add a Geotag to your website?
Adding to the geotag to your website is pretty simple. You create an ICBM meta tag that includes the latitude and longitude in the contents of the tank. It will look something like this:
That’s the longitude and latitude for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
You can also add other information about region and place name like so:
How do I find my longitude and latitude?
There are lots of online options Allow you to enter in any street level address and get both latitude and longitude as output. An example is www.batchcode.com/lookup , but there are plenty of others.
Once you have your long to defend latitude information simply replace your information for what I have created upon for the white house and paste it into the meta tag area of your website. Voila, you are done!
What about your privacy?
Be careful how you use Geo-tagging. If you have a home based business you may want to supply less specific information does not allow everyone to see your actual street address.
For example if you change
Then your Geotag would only indicate your location within a 100Km radius