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? Just specify the location in webmaster tools, your users, investors, and Google will thank you for it. But why would you want to do this correctly, 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 section, and the top-level domain. This has been an issue because business often wants to host their website in a different location to save money, but want it to rank in another area. The new geotargeting feature in webmaster tools allows a user to specify a particular region.
What can you Specify?
Webmaster Tools allows you to specify a top-level domain, a subdomain or a directory as about a location. For example, you could do the following.
https://www.example.com/ (Tell Google this whole site is from the US)
(Tell Google this is a US subdomain)
(Tell Google this is a Canada subdomain)
https://www.example.com/us/ (Tell Google this directory is only for the 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.
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 attributed to a location will also be associated with that location. The same goes for subdomains and top-level domains. Everything under that umbrella now will belong to that region.
Geotargeting only matters when you are using a specific search engine. So if you tell Google that your directory is for Australia, that directory and its content should rank better in the Google.au search engine, but your site should rank the same in the standard 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 particular area.