The Essential Guide to Setting Geographic Target in Google Webmaster Tools

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We all know that Google Webmaster Tools enables the setting of a geographic target. By setting such a target country/location, webmasters are giving a specific signal to Google about the country/location that they want to focus on.

What if I want to set a Particular Country?

If your business is focused on a country specific target audience, you can make the appropriate setting on the Google Webmaster Tools, so that, you are able to target your country of choice.

For e.g. Say the target of your website is the US market. So, by setting “United States” as a geographic target, you will be able to focus on appearing at the top of the search engine rankings displayed by www.google.com (US).

The following figure explains how you can set a particular country as a Geographic target in Google Webmaster Tools:

Geographic target

The Advantage

  • You can experience better results in the Country Code Top-Level Domain of Google that has been targeted.

The Disadvantage

  • You won’t be able to see extensive results in the search engine rankings of other countries

What if I am Not Setting a Geographic Location?

If you don’t want to target a particular country, you just need to keep the box unchecked as shown in the figure given below:

Geographic target

Advantage

  • You will be targeting a global audience, across all countries

Disadvantage

  • You won’t be able to see extensive results in the search engine rankings in a particular country

Having gone through the various advantages and disadvantages, you might wonder whether I can combine both these options to get the best of both worlds. Yes you can.

What if I want to Give More Importance to a particular country and also get the ‘Global’ Advantage?

First, set a geographic location that you want to focus on and then take the next step. This step is both, important and challenging. As a webmaster, to experience benefits of going global, you need to create backlinks keeping in mind the other geographical locations as it will help your website experience global visibility.

For e.g. You want to focus on a target audience based in the United States, but you still want to receive traffic from other countries. In this case, you need to set United States as your geographic target by ‘ticking’ the check box and choosing ‘United States’ from the drop down menu. After that, you can focus on attracting backlinks from other geographic locations.

But, this is an exception and can only happen in certain cases where your business is targeting a global market, but most of your clients are from a particular country.

Mark Spencer

Mark Spencer

Mark Spencer has more than 5 years of hands-on experience in SEO industry. He currently works for PLAVEB, a leading Website Design & Web Development Company based in Los Angeles, California.
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  • http://www.mactonweb.com seo bangalore

    This Guide really helped me to set Geographic Target area for my newly started website.

  • Vikram Sharma

    Hi,

    Thanks for this nice 101 article. I have a question. Lets say I am targeting 3 countries US, UK and Australia weightage assigned to these are 60%, 20%, and 20% respectively. Is it not more efficient to run 3 websites (same or separate domains) rather one website? Which option will require less effort?

    regards

  • http://www.imediass.in Dlokeshseo

    Today Local Optimization plays important role in search engines. As Google is giving preference to local maps , for certain keywords .With out Local optimization websites cant achieve top rankings in 1st page of google results. eg: pest control chennai, Google will display 1st maps with websites, then organic websites results. So its essential to optimize local maps along with webmasters Tools.

  • http://www.anubavam.com/ipad-developers iPad Developer

    Online visibility is more important for a business and most of the organization want traffic from all over the world and they are ready to serve to the entire world. For a small companies the geographic targeting is feasible.

  • http://www.weindians.net weindians

    What if i want to target US,UK, India, Australia .. means more than one country , but no other… Is one country or global only possible??

  • http://www.vegascodes.com Jon

    Haven’t really focused on this aspect of my website but will after reading this article. thanks….