SEO GEO Targeting & Intelligence
How to Implement a GEO Funnel on a Website
GEO Targeting has become extremely important in SEO since Google announced it will pass more value to websites with GEO funnels.
How does SEO GEO Targeting work?
Usually Google knows where your business is located based on the information you provide on your website. Let’s say your company is in Los Angeles, California; the chances are good that you will rank for keywords surrounding your location and city if you perform SEO. However, if you want to target users in other cities and states, it’s not as easy to rank.
For example, if someone searches for your services in another city outside of Los Angeles, it’s likely that you will not show up. Google will always provide search results to users based on their location.
Now the question is:
How does Google know where users are located?
It’s not a secret, Google knows exactly where a user is located. Many assume it’s the IP of the user, but there are 100s of different ways for Google to know where a user is located in today’s world.
Some examples: Let’s say your smartphone is connected to Google, and you’re not even browsing the internet with it, but instead you use your desktop computer or laptop. Google is still able to determine who and where you are based on your smartphone’s connection, even without using the device directly.
Chances are high Google has already made the conclusion that the laptop or desktop computer you’re using belongs to the same user with the GPS smartphone based on your past browsing history and account profile.
Your location can be tied to your online behavior even when you are offline
And even if you shut off all your devices, Google will determine your location based on your search history and behavior or even email. For instance, if you searched for a coffee shop around your location, or checked the latest events in your hometown, than you’ve already told Google where you are.
Furthermore, when you search on Yelp or reveal your location to another website, through Cookies and Google Analytics, Google is still able to understand where you are. You may wonder how many things you do with your devices that are location based without you even knowing it.
Long story short, it’s easy for Google to know where you are, and it doesn’t help much to turn off your GPS, use an anonymous IP or use Google’s incognito mode.
And that’s why users will always be provided with websites and search results based on their locations. This is where your website, if it doesn’t have a GEO funnel included, won’t show on up in other locations. You might see your website on top of your search, but fact is: other user’s in other locations just won’t.
When did GEO Targeting in SEO become important?
GEO Targeting was always part of Google’s ecosystem. However, it was not as important until September 2016 with the Google Update called “Possum“. Google announced that GEO Targeting will be one of their most important algorithm updates. Since then a huge variety of Google Guidelines have been published and SEOs had to get acquainted with the new requirements in order to rank websites for other locations.
Early SEO adopters started implementing GEO funnels to websites and saw tremendous increases in traffic.
And in June 20th, 2017, not even a year later, Google launched its “Google Jobs” platform which also puts weight on location. Using Metadata called “Job Schema” companies are able to provide location-based data to their job descriptions among other data.
Based on that data, Google now shows Job postings to users in certain areas.
As with every new technology, there are winners and losers: Winners adapted to the new algorithm and became experts in implementing GEO funnels for their clients. Losers failed to keep up with the changes and still have no clue how GEO targeting in SEO works or why they do not rank outside of their primary city.
How to GEO target in SEO
The basic principles of SEO GEO Funneling is to create a GEO Landing Page Strategy that is not only interlinked throughout the site, but also includes so-called location-based widgets. Google made it clear in the past that it will only rank websites in certain locations, when webmasters follow the rules Google laid out for GEO Targeting with Organic SEO.
The requirements for GEO landing pages are not all documented by Google, a lot of help and knowledge can be gathered on popular SEO sources like forums and blogs. Also experimenting in the past with the Google algorithm by using specific gadgets and widgets based on what Google likes is very helpful – however the risk to be ranked down as a spammer is high if the SEO doesn’t know what he/she is doing.
Among many features, it usually works with a GEO-coded-database that is part of the website including distances between cities and Latitude/Longitude information for each city the company wants to target. Besides that, Google doesn’t want webmasters to create doorway Landing Pages with the required GEO data and widgets; it’s important to create valuable, relevant content to the user. On that note, the technical specifications alone are not sufficient, but a thorough GEO content strategy has to be developed.
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