Geo-Targeting or localized online advertising in the world of SEO is a way to target the specific user of a website for local search. In other words, local businesses can promote themselves to potential customers that live in their area and utilize city/state specific search terms in their marketing. For it to work effectively and to maximize your organic ranking potential, you have to apply several techniques.
The initial question a webmaster will ask themselves is what kind of locality am I targeting? Would it be city-centric, county-centric or even country-centric? The next step would be to get yourself submitted to the directories. Obviously, you would go with the local directories first and then go with the regional sections of the more traditional directories such as Yahoo and DMOZ. Also, if you are going for a country specific site, you may have to consider the design of the website being indicative of the country’s people and its culture. Additionally, if you are say a UK site targeting a UK audience, Google advises that you should assign a specific country using Webmaster Tools. This is a good idea considering that search engines use the hosting location and the top level domain (.co.uk/.br) as a reference point for determining the location of your website. For a website that is merely targeting a city, the webmaster need to focus on keywords, and keyword targeting for the locality they are trying to target. There are some free tools out there for generating city-centric key word phrases for localized search optimization. One has to keep in mind their particular demographics as well. An owner of a club or bar, for instance, could submit to something like citysearch.com which is a search tool for tourists and the younger crowd.
So, whether you are targeting people in your city or entire country, it is always beneficial to think about the best strategy for getting the word out to the locals. Geo-targeting is a great way for local businesses to compete with the big national chains. A small “mom and pop” eatery now has a fighting chance of competing with the big boys. Big businesses can benefit too. A large clothing company may want to run ads in the winter for snow shoes while at the same time target Florida consumers for beach wear. A webmaster will always need to keep the needs of their consumers in mind and do the necessary research or their geo-targeting strategy may have no impact whatsoever.