I speak with business owners every day that have little or no experience with internet marketing. While many of them sell all over the United States or even the world, many of them service businesses or persons within a regional or local area.
Without fail, the one fact about search marketing that surprises them the most is that they can target potential clients from search engines by physical location (the fancy internet marketing term is “geo-targeting”).
Two of the three largest search engine marketers currently offer this type of geographic choice and the third is beginning to release their own model. Taken together, your paid search and natural search listings can reach around 90% of Americans.
Geo-Targeting with Google, MSN, and Yahoo!
Google offers by far and away the most powerful geographic targeting system. With Google AdWords, you can choose to have your ads shown to particular cities, metro areas, states, regions, countries, or even within a custom area that you draw on a map yourself.
How does Google do this? They look at the ip address information your computer is using to access the internet and know your rough location. Is it 100% accurate? I don’t know, but I can say that I have never had a client using this feature complain that they received a lead from Google outside their target location.
The only time Google veers away from using ip addresses is when the searcher types in geographic information along with their search. For example, if a person in Kansas City types in “wedding photographers duluth, mn“, ads will be shown by companies offering this service to people in Duluth, but not in Kansas City.
MSN’s Live.com also offers geographic targeting, although only on a city or national level.
Yahoo! currently does not offer this feature, although it is rolling out its much anticipated interface this quarter to existing advertisers. While geographic targeting is a large focus of this interface, advertisers will still need separate accounts to advertise in countries outside of the U.S. and English-speaking Canada.
If you would like to learn more about reaching potential clients in your area through the search engines – remember, these are people that search for the exact things you sell – call 1-800-979-3177 or sign up for a free local search engine marketing consultation. Mention this blog and I will personally speak with you to address your needs.