Search engine optimisation is the boom business on the Internet as more and more website owners learn to appreciate the power of search engines like Google for Internet marketing. Just a few years ago SEO was confined to web designers and a few multinationals but today everyone is getting in on it and at the same time the search engines are getting smarter, with a major development being geo-targeting.

What geo-targeting means is that if you search for something like a building contractor on Google, you will often get different results dependent on where you are searching from in the world. The search engine takes a note of where you are, then looks for websites offering the right kind of services you’re looking for and that are also based geographically close to you. This is especially useful for searching on mobile phones, tablets or laptops and helps bring search results on things like tradesmen’s services into sharper focus than before.

At its most basic level a search in the UK will bring up mostly UK based websites or UK versions of major websites like Ebay and Amazon. In highly competitive search term areas though, it can go right down to towns and postcodes level detail.

So, how do you take advantage of this and not get left behind?

It calls for thinking out an expanded strategy on your general SEO, most people interested in optimising their website will already have keyword packed copy, page titles, third party links and so on, but now you need geographically targeted keywords as well so that the search engines know where you are and where you operate. Of course, more keywords means a lower density and efficacy on the keywords you already have in place, so be smart.

Think limited
You can only place a handful of keywords into page titles or meta tags, so don’t try and cram a huge list of local towns in there, keep it to regions, counties or states so that you only have to find space for two or three more keywords that really matter.

Think copy
Like any keyword incorporation whilst optimising, look through the current copywriting for natural places to slot in some geographical locations; mention where you are based in every opening paragraph and closing paragraph still focusing on general regions or key cities and towns.

Think lists
Search engines love simple lists and people will put up with them in your copy if they fit into context, so make a new page detailing your delivery service or your operating area, and make the primary feature of the page a long list of villages, towns, cities, counties, states and regions you want to get traffic from. This is great for search engines and useful reference for any human who wants to check if you do deliver to where they live.

Equally useful for SEO but less usable for humans is to sneak in a locations paragraph on every page as a closing item such as “Contact us today, we work across the south east including…”, this is a quick way to bulk out geographical keywords on every page of your site which most people will just skip over as they read.

Think local
Geo-targeting is most powerful at a local level for small businesses, don’t try and compete for an entire country unless you have a lot of time and money to spend on SEO. In less competitive business sectors it is plausible by making lists of the largest cities or states in any given country, but for the average small business owner wanting to compete in a very localised area just get the map out and make an alphabetical list of every location within your operational radius. Most people are only just catching on to geo-targeting so get it right now and you can beef up your site authority and history and really roll in the results.

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