Combining geo-targeting with your business' current SEO techniques won't just get your business ranked at the top of a Google search – it also attracts a flurry of local customers who want your goods and services.
Geo-targeting is the way in which online businesses determine the location of their customer and deliver personalised content based on this location.
We spoke to Doron Milner, Director of Local Web Advertising; a company that helps businesses attract online customers who are searching for businesses within their area.
"People generally want what is most relevant to them; something that's quick, easy and convenient. So they're searching locally. If businesses understand this principle, they can actually find local customers who are close to them and that want their products and services.”
Here are just some of the benefits geo-targeting can bring to your business:
1. Geo-targeted ads can help small businesses compete with much larger brands
“Geo-targeted ads, especially the way Google uses them, are some of the most cost-effective ways of advertising because you're sending highly-relevant messages to people that are looking specifically for you. For example, if a business only delivers to Bondi, then only people in Bondi will see and click on their ad. There's no other form of marketing that does that.
Thanks to geo-targeted advertising, small businesses can now compete with the bigger guys because they're targeting the customers they are specifically able to service. This tops any level of ROI that might be delivered by billboards and TV advertising – both of which are more expensive and do not necessarily speak to the target customer.”
2. Geo-targeting is a better option financially
"Businesses are only spending money on advertising that targets likely potential customers. In the case of Google’s geo-targeted advertising, only once the customer gets to the business’ website will the business pay for the ad. This means they're only paying per view – it's almost like saying 'I'll only charge you rent when somebody walks into your store."
3. Geo-targeting provides a good ROI
"Hiring a local SEO company allows you to pay a small monthly fee that will get your business to the top of Google’s search results and will make sure it stays there. So it's a much better long-term investment and sometimes can be cheaper than using Google Adwords, as you're not paying for each click.”
Geo-targeting tips for beginners
1. Use a local domain to target local consumers
If your business is in Australia, a country-specific domain that ends in ‘.com.au’ would work best. You can also improve search results by citing the specific city in which you offer your services. For example, if you specialise in acupuncture and your services are only available in Sydney, you could buy the following URL: sydneycityacupuncture.com.au.
2. Get listed in local free directories such as Yellow Pages and True Local
Use accurate details of your business, including your phone number and address. Don't post any inaccurate information about your business as Google scans the web for this and it may work against you.
3. Think about the host
Just as important as using a local domain name is using a local web host. If you are targeting people in Australia, then use a hosting service that is based in Australia. Remember, your website is ranked by a non-human entity, so the more obvious it is that you are an Australian-based service provider, the higher you will appear in a local search.
"Ultimately, the future of search is becoming more and more targeted, to help deliver more relevant search results for the individual," says Doron. "Google is all about relevance - they're getting smart about delivering local search results. And that's the beauty of search – you now find what you're looking for very quickly."