written by: Vasanth•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 9/18/2012
Learn about geo-targeting and find out how photo sharing sites like Panoramio and Flickr can help improve search engine ranking for your business.
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There are several ways to optimize a website for search engines. The goal is to increase the relevance of the site in the search engine's ranking. From the website address, to the content of individual web pages, it is important to use search engine optimization tools and techniques in every aspect of the site. It is also important to utilize other websites to increase your relevance in the search engine. One method that utilizes photo-sharing sites is called geo-targeting. It is useful for businesses trying to improve their search engine rank.
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What is Geo-Targeting?
Geo-targeting focuses on the local relevance of a business, rather than its global relevance, considering location information. The address of a business is usually included in Google searches and the location of the business is usually visible on Google Maps. If the website is optimized for a particular region, location-based searches will produce results relevant to that location. For example, if you search for “Pittsburg business schools," websites with this local optimization would rank higher than websites with a regional optimization. Similarly, if you search for “east coast business schools," websites with this regional optimization would rank higher than websites with local optimization.
A step further is geo-targeting that occurs automatically, without location keywords in the search. For example, if you search “business schools," schools located near you are included in the search results along with a map showing the location of these schools. For this to occur, the relative location (country, state, city) of the user is identified through their IP address when they send a query. With this information, the search engine finds websites that have similar location information. This type of geo-targeting is useful for local businesses trying to increase their traffic, not just online, but at their physical location.
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Mapping Photos To Your Business
One way to increase the relevance of your business in local searches is with geo-targeted photos on Google's Places for Business. It is free to join and it helps your customers find your business more easily. Upload a photo and address with information on your business and how customers can get there. It also makes it easier for your customers to find you on Google Plus.
To do this, you will need a Google account. After signing in, upload photos of your business to the site. Describe the photo with information including the business name, tags and address.
Another option for mapping photos to your business is Flickr. This is a photo-sharing site that is accessible through a Flickr account or a Yahoo account. After signing in, upload the photos that will represent your business. Before pressing the Upload button, make sure the Public option is checked. Once the photo has uploaded to Flickr, click Add a Description and enter the business name, tags, and address. Save it. Click Add to Your Map to place the photo on a map. Set the Default Permission to Anyone. On the displayed map, choose All Your Content. Drag each photo to the location of the business.
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Advantages of Geo-Targeting
There are several advantages of geo-targeting. For local businesses, it increases their presence online and helps them compete for the local market. This is particularly important for businesses still using traditional marketing such as advertisements in newspapers and telephone directories. By expanding online with a geo-targeted website, local customers are more likely to find your business. Some businesses are more likely to benefit from geo-targeting than others are, but overall, being ranked by search engines is definitely an advantage.
For online businesses, geo-targeting lets them create specific web pages for different regions. For example, one web page would be designed for English language regions, while the same content is translated on another web page for other countries. Instead of providing a link on the home page that directs the user to the country specific page, geo-targeting would direct the visitor to the correct web page instantly.