Did you know that search engines consider geographical location when offering search results? Most of them ‘know’ where searchers are located and give priority to websites attached to common geography. This means that your online brand marketing strategy should include provisions for localisation.

Integrating Localisation into your Online Brand Marketing Strategy

If an internet user lives in Hanover, and is searching for automotive repair, results will heavily reflect vehicle repair shops in Hanover. But how do those clever search engines know where a surfer is located? Even when he or she doesn’t include a geographical region in their search terms?

Here is how a search engine determines location:

  • A device’s IP address, or Internet Protocol Address, is a series of numbers that provides search engines with information, including approximate physical location. This may not be pinpoint-accurate, but it’s usually close; an internet user will notice that the search engine ‘thinks’ they’re located one or two towns away from where they actually are.
  • If using Google Search, an internet surfer can indicate his or her location on the left-side column.
  • A searcher can specify a location in settings from any Google account.
  • If someone is searching using a mobile device equipped with [enabled] GPS, a search engine may ask for permission to access his or her location information.

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If you’re a business owner who focuses on serving your own community and you’re hoping to target locals with your online brand marketing strategy, this algorithm is sure to be beneficial to you. Moreover, if your products and services vary by region, it will benefit your brand. Even if searchers don’t specify your location (and theirs), you’ll still be given search priority – as long as you employ the correct search engine optimisation techniques for localisation. Here are some guidelines:

  • If your services can be categorised in micro-local, regional, and national categories, represent this with a webpage dedicated to each demographic. For instance, if your product performs differently in varying climates (seedlings, for example), commit a webpage to each. If you own a number of different satellite locations, devote a page to each one. Any differences between locations can warrant a localised page – think sales tax, shipping rates, product pricing, directions, etc. Make sure that each location’s page is optimised per its location so search engines will pick it up.
  • Build links from other localised sites to your site, so that search engines will view each localised page as pertinent to your geographical region. Local bloggers, business directories, telephone directories, and informational sites about your specific region are good places to start.
  • Go to internet business directories like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Google Places, and Bing Maps and claim each listing for your business. Make sure all information is correct.
  • Consider submitting your inventory to Google Products, which can tell local searchers that you have what they’re looking for in stock.
  • Acquire a KML Sitemap so your business will appear on Google Maps and Google Earth.
  • Include your geographical location in your backlinks so that search engines can more easily pinpoint your location.

When employing SEO for localisation in your online brand marketing strategy, remember that it’s important to make your location clear to search engines. Keep location in mind when writing quality, informational content and when inserting links into that content. Use geographically specific keywords in your content management system’s SEO pack. Remember that even when searchers aren’t looking for a specific location, Google and other search engines are doing it for them.

Even if your business operates globally and localisation is not pertinent to its success, don’t ignore regional search engine optimisation. Instead, concentrate on making your pages appealing to consumers in a number of regions.

For more on localisation, SEO, and creating your online brand marketing strategy, visit How to Build a Brand, enrol in our FREE 6-Step Brand L.E.A.D.E.R. Programme, or follow us on Twitter.

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