|Local Targeting - Does it work?|
UK versus US
Adwords and AdCentre both offer the ability to target locally within the UK. Although they will not divulge how they target users in those local areas, in any case, I do not believe this works in the UK.
One of the targeting measures they use is IP lookups. Now at home, I use Orange as my ISP. If I were to search on MSN or Google, they think I am in Leeds, where the Orange servers are located. I am clearly not in Leeds by the way! I have also set up some local targeted campaigns and tried to search for my keywords in these areas, and low and behold I do not come up. I have no option but to advertise my site to the whole of the UK, although I would love to target certain counties and cities only.
Clearly, AdWords and AdCentre are developed in the US and released as one global platform, with no tweaking for each market they enter. Does this mean that local targeting actually works in the US as they have developed it? Are there any problems with matching a local PPC advertiser to a local query in the US? I would appreciate if my american colleagues could shed some light on how well local targeting works in the states and whether these engines will manage to crack local search in the UK!
I have one campaign where I target just the state of California and this seems to work well in the main, with just a couple of enquiries coming from outside of the state.
I haven't tried regional targeting in the UK apart from an England campaign which seemed to work. I am working in Hampshire, but if I do a search it looks like I am in the Midlands, so I am not sure how good regional targeting in the UK actually is!
Do you know how it works in the states? Do ISP's give a user a fixed IP (or an IP range) that relate to a specific geographical area?
In the states, GEO targeting works quite well overall.
The IP targeting generally takes place at the host location. For the most part, people live near their hosts, so that targeting works well.
There are exceptions where someone lives in one city and has a host provider in another. So while it appears to work most of the time, there are times that one will see IP targeted ads regions that are not their own.
There are also notable exceptions. For instance, all AOL traffic appears to come from Virginia.
I believe I heard that the UK has only main 4 host providers, and that's one of the biggest issues with IP targeting in that country. Not positive if that's correct, just remember hearing something like that.
Interesting. Correct me if I am wrong but any AOL user in the UK is given an IP range in Virginia too! So to these search engines, AOL UK users are not even in the UK, let alone being able to identify them in a region or town! That is an awaful lot of people in the UK in which their location is wrongly identified.
When you speak with people at AdCentre etc, they seem to be blissfully unaware that their geotargeting features do not work in the UK! Does anyone have any news on whether the engines are focused on making this work in the UK?
I'm not sure if internationally AOL users all come from Virginia.
Were you asking a question or making a statement about AOL IP addresses?
I thought that all AOL users IP ranges were US based. I did hear this a few years back so not sure if this was indeed true or still holds true. So, it was more a question than a statement.
Is there a geo-location benefit to hosting a US regional site locally for organic searches?
I'm currently optimizing a regional widgets site. There's one hosting company in the regional area, and, from my perspective, it has some limitations compared to hosting one might get out of the area.
Additionally, many of the regionally-motivated inbound links to the site are likely come from other sites on the local host... so class-C separation might be better achieved at a distant host.
Are local (organic) searches are favored geographically in any way, at least within the US? I'm thinking of all the major engines, and of course most probably Google.
Also, do I put the site at a disadvantage for local PPC targeting if I move hosting outside the region?
According to the site maps team, the server location doesn't mean much for local targeting, assuming your host is in the same country as the location you wish to target.
When moving into international territory, then the host location can matter quite a bit.