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It is a missed opportunity for businesses not to promote on the Internet. For those which are already doing it, it is another challenge to execute a geotargeted marketing campaign to accurately attract location-based leads. In this article I will write about the key steps and tools a webmaster must know in order to harness them for such a campaign creation. Google, being a global, multinational corporation, does not have just one search engine at google.com. There's google.de in German, google.es in Spanish and so many other languages. To learn of all the available languages, visit Google's Language Tools.
So what's the significance? If you should do a quick search with, say, the term "Internet Marketing" you'll find both sets of results in google.de and google.es are different. The similarity is each contains some numbers of sites based on their native country-specific domain extensions and languages. This is Google's attempt at presenting the best possible results based on localization and as you can see, it also becomes possible for you as the business owner to take note of the combination of factors that enables your localized site—if you should design one—to rank high in the "localized Google".
Possibly the most influential factor is, as mentioned, the country-specific domains. Invest in website.co.in when there is a compelling reason to target the India market. You can still take on the lesser recommendation of sticking to just one domain. Some corporate websites I've seen have subdomains created to represent their various country offices e.g. india.website.com or website.com/india.
The IP address of the web hosting server with which you run your website also contributes some weightage to the localization effect.
From the SEO point of view, it is more effective to publish content in the local language since localized Googles run on the same language. Though there are many free and paid translation tools, you cannot afford grammar and vocabulary mistakes and miss out on subtle nuances of language when you're in business. It pays to get a professional human translator to edit the content.
The benefits of inbound backlinking to increase PageRank still applies.
So far all that's being said refers to on-page optimization to influence free traffic. In Google AdWords there's also some work to do for geotargeting ads. However, AdWords have always been well known for ease of use so you can clear this hurdle in minutes simply by clicking on "Edit Campaign Settings" in your campaign and modify under "Target Audience" section.
Here's the interesting part. Consider 2 phenomena in searches:
1) The unwritten rule of thumb for conducting a localized search is to input "(keyword) (location)" e.g. "plumbing london".
2) Let's say you live in the UK. Have you noticed whenever you access Google you are redirected to google.co.uk instead of the presumed 'default' google.com? That has to do with your web browser's IP address, which becomes part of a range of addresses that is assigned to a region or continent, and the Google search engine has been programmed to act accordingly.
When you geotarget AdWords ads, it's not necessary to put in location to the ad's title, but consider carefully whether your business should accommodate travelers. Travelers would have done their homework before they make their travels, so you cannot restrict your ads from appearing depending on where these would-be travelers conduct their searches.
Example: your business may be renting out vacation homes in Florida, but surely it's not only the Florida natives who rent vacation homes. What about the Brits?
Unless you're highly aware of where your overseas sources of customers are likely to come from (Google Analytics will be helpful for tracking), you can switch off geotargeting option and put in title "Rent Vacations Home In Florida". You may also put in negative keywords for locations where you know you won't convert.
Alternatively, create and geotarget a separate ad appealing to British travelers for Florida vacation homes.
Let me end off by saying this post does not end conclusively and I'm sure there's more to geotargeting strategies than meets the eye. I'm writing as a creative response to a query by a client of mine about targeting specific crowd and demographics, and I hope this article contains enough information to get you on a good start.
Nelson Tan is the webmaster behind Internet Mastery Center. Download $347 worth of FREE Internet Marketing gifts at http://www.internetmasterycenter.com