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Geotargeting is a sub area of targeting and belongs to the larger field of online marketing. The term “geolocation” is also used synonymously. Advertisers or webmasters can control content and place ads targeting particular regions with geotargeting. The IP address, GPS data, databases, and algorithms are used to locate users geographically.
Targeting is a very significant part of marketing, because it is assumed that the number of conversions increases with relevance in the search results. Geotargeting is a segment of geo marketing that should not be underestimated. Especially in the case of advertising, users may have different requirements for ad clips or banners ads in different regions.
Application fields for geotargeting
Geotargeting is not used solely for precise targeting in online advertising. The various areas of application are briefly outlined below:
- Payment providers often use geotargeting to check online payment transactions by comparing the location of the user with the payment data stored.
- Market research uses geo-data to narrow the demand for specific products regionally.
- Online ads can be placed relevant to specific regions with geotargeting. Ad campaigns using Bing Ads or Google AdWords can be targeting more precisely with geotargeting.
- Programs designed to prevent Internet fraud such as phishing utilize geotargeting to uncover suspicious inconsistencies.
- Web portals of news stations or for example from YouTube uses geotargeting to narrow the broadcasting of content regionally for legal reasons.
- Online shops rely on geotargeting to provide visitors with the correct language version or the nearest local store.
In order for geotargeting to work, the user’s location must be determined exactly. However, since many users browse the Internet with VPN or a proxy server, they cannot be located exactly. Advertising that is placed with a regional reference therefore cannot be precisely tailored. Similarly, the use of VPN or proxies prevents regional search results.
An example of this is the Google search function with regional reference. If the location of the user is determined automatically, Google enriches the search results with local search hits. If the user’s location is kept general, no regional search hits from Google Maps or GooglePlusLocal will be shown.
Geotargeting and SEO
For SEOs, geotargeting plays a major role, especially in the area of “Local SEO.” For example, websites can be optimized to rank well for certain keyword combinations and specific locations and the appropriate version of the website gets output for a locally specified search query. Google recommends in the latter case, the note hreflang in the source code.  To optimize a website for local search queries, the copy should contain as many regional references as possible. In addition, an entry on Google Maps or Google+ Local can be an effective way to get a listing in the SERPs for search queries with a local reference. Geotargeting can also be strengthened with references in industry portals or local portals.
- Google recommendations for Geotargeting. Accessed on November 22, 2013