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Geotargeting your Site for Search Engine Optimization Just got Easier

Geotargeting your site for search engine optimization can be critical to online success. SEO Inc. is an expert in this practice, which is why we’re so excited about a new development Google recently released in webmaster tools. Did you know that you can now tell Google where your site should rank? Simply specify the location in webmaster tools, your users, investors and Google will thank you for it. But why would you want to do this exactly, and how does it work? OK, let us flush it out a little.

In the past, when determining the location relevance of a website Google would look at where the site was hosted, the language of the site and the top level domain. This has been an issue because business often want to host their website in a different location to save money, but actually want it to rank in another location. The new geotrageting feature in webmaster tools allows a user to specify a particular region.

Google Geotargeting in Webmaster Tools
Google Geotargeting in Webmaster Tools


What can you Specify?

Webmaster Tools allows you to specify a top level domain, a subdomain or a directory as pertaining to a location. For example, you could do the following.

Top Level Domain (Tell Google this whole site is from the US)

(Tell Google this is a US subdomain)
(Tell Google this is a Canada subdomain)

Directory (Tell Google this directory is only for US)

To set a geographic target:

1. On the Webmaster Tools Home page, click the site you want.
2. Under Site configuration, click Settings.
3. In the Geographic target section, select the option you want.

If you want to ensure that your site is not associated with any country or region, select Unlisted.

Watch a Video on Google SEO Geotargeting and Webmaster Tools

When Does this Make Sense?
Consider you have a store in Australia and you want to rank well in the Australian search engine. You would want to tell Google that your site is Australia related. Furthermore, if you are a larger site and you have a directory or subdomain that only contains products or information for a specific region you can now make this clearer to Google. By doing so, you will rank higher in that region. Keep in mind, that any directory that falls under a parent directory that has been attributed to a location will also be attributed to that location. The same goes for subdomains and top level domains. Everything under that umbrella now will belong to that region.

Geotrageting only matters when you are using a specific search engine. So if you tell Google that your directory is meant for Australia, that directory and its content should rank better in the search engine, but your site should rank the same in the normal Google search engine. Overall, Google has made it clear that this strategy should now only be used from a global location perspective. However, this may change in the future.

Do not use this feature in Webmaster Tools if you are only targeting a language, because people may speak this language outside of that location. Make sure if you use this feature, you are using it because a specific piece of content should mainly belong to a certain area.

Need help? Let us know!

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