SEO might have started out simple and straightforward. But search engine optimization is an extremely complex marketing strategy today.
Not only has Google gotten smarter, and much more nuanced in its algorithm… But you are also competing against thousands of other businesses with massive SEO budgets.
But that is no reason for you to dump SEO just yet…
- 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
- 61% of B2B marketers believe that organic traffic and SEO deliver more viable leads than any other marketing avenue.
- And leads from search engines have a 14.6% conversion rate, while cold outbound leads have a mere 1.7% close rate.
So how do you win the SEO war for keyword domination, without going broke?
By focusing on increasing your local search traffic hits through targeting specific geo-locations!
But before we dive into how you can do that, let’s get clear on exactly what it is.
What is geo-targeting?
Commonly known as geo-targeting, using location-based SEO is the practice of optimizing or customizing content for specific target locations. This geo-location can be a country, state, city, or even an area.
In simple terms, that means you tailor your keywords and web pages to rank for specific location-based searches.
Like when you search for “electronics store” on Google and get a list of electronics stores around you (instead of an irrelevant list of all the stores from around the world!)
Or when you search for “t-shirts” and get a list of the most popular websites or brands that sell t-shirts in your region.
But now the million-dollar question: How to target specific geo-locations for local search traffic?
We’ve got you covered.
Top 5 strategies to use geo-targeting to boost the success of your SEO campaign.
1. Use and target location specific-keywords
The easiest way to target and rank high for a specific geo-location is by using location-specific keywords in your content and copy.
This strategy is not only popular and simple to execute for any company, but it is also the most impactful.
We’re not saying use these keywords and nothing else in your SEO campaign. But to attract local search traffic, throw in a healthy mix of location-specific keywords which have decent search volume.
As always, don’t forget to take your reader’s search intent into consideration while doing this.
Depending on that your keyword could include your city name, area name, nearby landmark, postal code, etc.
2. Boost your local presence with Google My Business (GMB)
Apart from keywords, it’s also good practice to optimize your website for Google’s local search.
The simplest way to do this is by registering for Google My Business. This way you appear directly in the local search results on top of the page.
Using this method legitimizes your business on Google and also lets you control your information online.
Some best practices to follow while doing this are to:
- Fill out the form fully to maximize information hits
- Ensure your location is owner-verified
- Make sure the location you are targeting is mentioned on the landing page
- Your service and product offerings are updated for sales
3. Setup location-specific landing pages (or home pages)
Another way to boost local search hits and conversions is to create location-specific pages for all the potential areas you want to be found.
For an eCommerce company, this can mean creating a set of location-specific pages for all the regions or cities you deliver to.
For a service-based company, this can mean setting up a page to attract local search traffic in various parts of a city or state.
This can mean either location-specific landing pages, or even “mini-homepages” for larger organizations.
While creating all these keep in mind that you can do better than simply duplicating all copy and design, and changing just the location name.
In fact, the best geo-targeted pages have context-specific copy, offers, and even unique page layouts to cater to local audiences.
4. Experiment with using local languages (and currency)
Take the previous strategy of having location-specific web pages to the next level by customizing the visitor’s entire experience to their location.
This is especially great if you are looking for an international presence.
Many studies have now shown that most local searchers are visitors from countries that do not speak English. So not geo-targeting your website for them is just leaving money on the table.
But having said that, local languages might not work for web searches in all countries and with all audiences. So test out this strategy, before implementing full scale. And always have an option for people to switch to another language for convenience…
Customizing your webpage to reflect local currency, on the other hand, is much more of a sure-shot strategy.
It makes it easier for people to shop or assess the cost, and reduces conversion barriers, by making you seem like a reliable local provider.
5. Match your marketing campaigns for best results
Like the rest of SEO, geo-targeting is also not an isolated activity. It works best when combined with the rest of your marketing efforts.
Boost the traffic on a geo-targeted page, by setting up location-specific ads, social media posts, and other top-of-funnel content.
And while you’re doing this, ensure you are message matching the copy and offer on both of them, to maintain consistency for your reader.
Now that you know everything you can try to target specific geo-locations, how do you actually get it set up?
Your local SEO services company will probably be able to guide you on the best path for your business needs and goals.
But here are some options for you to consider…
3 Popular ways to execute geo-targeting to attract local search traffic?
1. Use IP-based redirecting
The simplest option might be to set up IP-based redirecting on your server. You can set up basic redirects based on geo-location, using .htaccess or httpd.conf on an Apache server.
Then the GeoIP API will let you instantly configure your server to divert traffic according to the originating IP of the visitor.
Simply put, this means that your server will show your visitor a web page based on the location it detects in their IP address.
2. Use location-specific PPC ads
Another easy way to drive traffic to the location-specific page is to set up geo-targeted PPC ads that direct the reader to the page. This allows you to get very specific in your campaign’s location and language targeting.
The benefit of this strategy is that it can be an easy way to test out the potential of a location, and see instant results from a campaign.
But that is also the downside. This strategy needs you to create a set of landing pages for each campaign to be able to get this going.
3. Use Geo-targeted domains
Finally, we have the most complex setup option that is based on Google’s guidelines.
heads up, this works only for international or multi-lingual businesses.
This strategy requires you to set up unique subdomains and subfolders for each country or language. (essentially making your website a multi-regional or multi-lingual website.
This is great for local SEO as the subdomains or subfolders you specify will be shown in local searches on Google directly. But keep in mind that it is labor-intensive and requires quite some time to get set up.