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Geocoding Pages For A Local Site

Basic question: is there a standard emerging?



7:14 pm on Jan 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I haven't really followed the topic of geocoding up to now, but I think it's time for me to start learning. So I'm starting with a basic question.

I have a site with many pages, each of which is about a single city. (Imagine "Los Angeles restaurants", "New York restaurants", "Chicago restaurants", etc.)

Is there an emerging standard for how to indicate the location for each page, so that local searches will particularly identify them? Something like (just making this up) <meta geocode="New York, NY">?


7:04 pm on Jan 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yes, there are some standards emerging - I've actually blogged about this very thing a couple of times.

One protocol is the geotag which allows you to pass longitude and latitude in meta elements. Associating the geocodes with a page or with content establishes precise coordinates for pinpointing location. Here's the format:

<META NAME="geo.position" CONTENT="latitude; longitude">
<META NAME="geo.placename" CONTENT="Place Name">
<META NAME="geo.region" CONTENT="Country Subdivision Code">

Example use:

<meta name="geo.position" content="32.787702; -96.797693">
<meta name="geo.placename" content="Dallas, Texas">
<meta name="geo.region" content="US-TX">

Another protocol is the hCard Microformat. This format displays your info in a normalized manner that would be easier for search engines to read off your pages, and unlike the META geotags above, it can be visible to endusers.


<strong class="fn org">Example Company, Inc.</strong>
<span class="adr">
<span class="street-address">1000 Main Street</span>
<span class="locality">Springfield</span>,
<span class="region">MO</span>
<span class="postal-code">56087-0000</span>
<span class="country-name">USA</span>
<span class=hgeoh>
<abbr class="latitude" title="37.230000">N 37&deg; 23.0000</abbr>,
<abbr class="longitude" title="93.380000">W 93&deg; 38.0000</abbr>


6:31 pm on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

hCard really seems to be taking off...Yahoo local and Flickr are using it...more on implementions: [microformats.org...]


5:42 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yeah, flickr also added support of the geotag format when they added in their mapping interfaces. (You can now associate your photos in flickr with their precise location on Yahoo Maps.) Previously, hard-core location-junkie users would type in the geotag coordinates into the user tagging fields for a photo, but now you just drag the photo over a map and they'll automatically store the geographic coordinates in the photo page's metatags.

Further, if you have one of the cool cameras that has built-in GPS, the long/lat stored with each photo can be set to upload along with the other EXIF metadata and Flickr will automagically associate the photos with their mapped locations.


4:18 am on Jan 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

<META NAME="geo.position" CONTENT="latitude; longitude">
<META NAME="geo.placename" CONTENT="Place Name">
<META NAME="geo.region" CONTENT="Country Subdivision Code">

Is this intended to be used for a specific business or location, such as the latitude and longitude for "Al's Hamburger Shop" or can it be used for a site that, for example, lists all the restaurants in a particular city?



8:57 am on Jan 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The main one seems to be

<meta name="ICBM" content="051.5286, -0.0935">

This has been around for a while, and you can also copy/paste the coordinates into the google maps search box... The acronym is to do with ballistic missiles!

Other uses: geourl.org allows you to see what other websites are near your own site... And www.a2b.cc is another one that is similar.

Other tags are:
<meta name="geo.position" content="44.345;-93.712">
<meta property="geo:lat">46.1</meta>
<meta property="geo:long">124</meta>

But I've not tested any of these.

In any case, with most mobile phones now handling proper html web, and with some starting to include GPS/satnav, this is sure to become very big at some point in the next year or two.

[edited by: R1chard at 9:15 am (utc) on Jan. 19, 2007]


9:22 am on Jan 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

<meta name="ICBM" content="051.5286, -0.0935">

is this to help with searches for weapons of mass destruction?


10:46 pm on Jan 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

farmboy, I believe that code is intended as locational code for a single item. So, for your site that's got info on many businesses, I'd say that you shouldn't list multiple businesses on one page with a single set of metatags trying to describe them all -- the format for the coordinates is for a single point, not multiple different locations.

You could list multiple businesses on one page, and then link off to a more info page about each business, and on the individual business's pages, that's where the geolocational meta data should reside.


4:09 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Do geotag/hcard have to use all tags, or could FarmBoy include only the locality/region/state tags and exclude the long./lat. and street address required for a specifc location?

I have several clients where a specifying an exact location is applicable, but far more where being able to specify a city(s) or state(s)would make more sense. Such is the case in the insurance/mortgage/financial service sectors as well as with other businesses serving regions.

Any suggestions for how I might apply tags in these scenarios?

Are there any tools/validators to check the accuracy of the geo code or display how/if it is read?

Good stuff on an interesting topic btw.



6:08 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

You can leave out Street address, I believe.

Also, the microformats.org has a code generator that can generate the hcard for you:



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