Sunday, November 4, 2007

How to Geotarget Multiple Locations For The Same Business With Google

This past week Google Webmaster Central announced the ability for webmasters to specify a geotargeting preference for their web sites. The feature is somewhat limited, but still useful for many sites. It lets you tell Google you want to target customers in a particular geographic area. If you sell your services locally this is a great benefit...

One item they didn't mention in their blog post was that you can have multiple geo targets per web site, if your web site is set up 'correctly'...

If your business has multiple locations and each location has a separate directory on your server, then you can geotarget each of your locations separately by doing geo-targeting on each directory separately, and not having any geo-targeting on the web site as a whole. Notice in the following screen grab that Google allows a directory on a site to have geotargeting - it's not just for the site as a whole...

Google allows web site directories to be geo targeted

While this was a blog directory that would never be geo targeted, imagine if the directories were:

  http://www.animalhavenshelter.org/soho/
  http://www.animalhavenshelter.org/flushing/
  http://www.animalhavenshelter.org/sanctuary/

That would allow to Animal Haven to geolocate their SoHo adoption center and boutique for SoHo in Manhattan, their Flushing shelter for Flushing in Queens, and their upstate sanctuary for South Kortright in the Catskills.

Let's go over that again... To have multiple geo targets on the same web site, set up each location in a separate folder on your web server. Then register each directory as a separate site in Google Webmaster Central. Then go under the "tools" section for that sub site and geo-locate that directory. Do not geo locate the site as a whole.

We're crossing our fingers that Animal Haven gets a grant this month that will enable them to hire us to rebuild a number of technical aspects of their organization, including their web site. When we do, we'll definitely be setting up each of their locations as a separate directory with a separate landing page - it was already in our proposal to them. Google's announcement just fits into that plan really well...

One other detail we noticed with the new geolocation feature is that your city/town must be in all caps, but your address doesn't need to be...

Google's geolocation feature requires city to be upper case

Why Google couldn't just change what you enter to uppercase I don't know... It's a little thing, and hopefully they'll fix it soon.

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