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Geo-targeting checklist for local and international SEO

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 09:46

After a run in with everyone’s favourite Aussie Webmaster, it seemed a quick checklist for geo-targeting your search optimization efforts could be an interesting exercise. While it is mostly based on the Google geo-targeting patents we looked at earlier, there are also some other elements I've added worth having.

One thing to note right away is that these are by no means mandatory. It should be more thought of as a list to best satisfied where possible and when appropriate. In some cases, issues such as the location of the server are not as cut and dry. There are many instances of sites that do well without that.

We’ll do more on that later… on to the list (any suggestions? Do leave a comment)



A framework for local targeting


Start up

  •   Identify primary target market (country region)
  • Establish secondary targets (neighbour countries, regions, secondary markets
  • Get to know the demographic (searching habits, intent)



  • Primary language – what is the main language in the region? (chart)
  • Secondary languages – what other acceptable languages are known to the region? (chart)
  • Language nuances – are there dialects? Are there any spelling/grammatical subtleties?



  • Is the domain/page URL targeted?
  • Registrar data – is the business location information targeted?
  • IP of web server – is it hosted locally?
  • On page triggers (language, keywords, meta data, images etc..) are they present?
  • Other web pages – is there location information on the site (eg Contact pages)



  • Location information of links – are there a high percentage of regional links pointing to the page?
  • The text near the hyperlinks – are the inbound links on relevant pages?
  • Links pointing out – are there regional links pointing out from the page?


Geo-targeting gets personal

The next time you are working on problems relating to geo-targeting, these questions are a great place to start. It is also worth noting that much like any personalization, some query spaces will react differently. This means that only a given percentage of the results are re-ranked geo-relevant. We could have 40% of the top 10 being modified with geo-targeted results while other spaces, where local intent is more defined, 70% of the results may be reordered with regional results.

As we talked about off the top, one doesn’t need to nail ALL the factors it is about getting as tight as possible with the targeting. So take this list and simply use it as a reference the next time you need to do some local SEO targeting – it should make a great starting point. If you missed the original posts, it's here

(big thanks to Frank Watson for the idea/mojo to make this)


More reading;

Getting to Know Local SEO – Search Engine Watch
Using Images For Local SEO – Search Engine Land
Making Geotargeted Content Findable For the Right Searchers - Nine by Blue
Guide to geotargeting - Blog storm
Building links for geo-targeting - Search Engine Journal
On-Site Geo-Targeting and Local Search Optimization - Search Engine Journal
Local SEO predictions - Local SEO guide
SEO tutorial on “geo targeting” and “language targeting” – SEO Guru


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