Geotargeting is one of those little details that separate new affiliate marketers from their more experienced brothers and sisters.
In essence, geotargeting is the practice of determining the geolocation of the visitor that you – as an affiliate and a website owner – are interested in. The idea is that sometimes it’s not worth to provide your offer to the whole world if, say, your customers are all based in Ohio (which isn’t an exaggerated example when you’re dealing with a purely local offer).
Most of the time, geotargeting is believed to be relevant only to pay-per-click or other forms of advertising. This isn’t the case, however. But let’s discuss this matter starting at the most basic stuff.
Geotargeting is Offer Dependent
If you’re offering your own (and hopefully digital) products then geotargeting is not usually that important. As a product owner you can decide to ship it to every part of the world. For affiliates, however, these things can get a little complicated.
Depending on the affiliate network you’re a part of you might have to geotarget your offers accordingly.
Clickbank is one of those networks that doesn’t require you to geotarget anything. Their digital products can be bought by anyone possessing a credit card, with no limitations regarding the part of the world the customer’s from.
However, other affiliate networks have their offers targeted to people living in a certain country, and often even in a certain part of that country.
Many affiliate programs are paid on a cost-per-lead basis and other similar models. Such offers are created by companies who then get the leads you’ve generated and do business with them. The fact that those companies are not interested in leads from a completely different geographical location is not surprising. This is why if you want to make money you have to geotarget.
Geotargeting on a Trend Basis
Even when a certain offer does not require you to geotarget it still might be worth to do it anyway.
This is a case when certain topics are more popular in given regions of the world than in others. And it’s not uncommon. Even a fairly general topic of weight loss is most popular in states like Tennessee and Georgia in relation to all the other states in the US.
You can find out such things by going to Google’s tool called Google Insights for Search.
You can use it to input any keyword or keyphrase of interest to you, and find out where it’s most popular. Then you can use this data to geotarget your offers, by providing some location-specific content, for example. This should convince people living in a given part of the country to pay more attention to you and your custom affiliate site.
Geotargeting in AdWords and Other PPC Ad Networks
Geotargeting is most popular in AdWords and other PPC ad networks that provide this feature.
Basically, as an advertiser you can choose from a variety of different methods of geotargeting. Some of the most popular are:
- Country. Select countries where the most of your customer base lives.
- State. For US visitors you can select the states you want to target. This is also available for other countries, where you can select certain regions or provinces.
- Metropolitan areas. This gives you the possibility to select Los Angeles and its near cities as your target area, for example.
- City. Select just a single city. Really handy if you’re promoting a truly local offer, like a sale by a local brand, for example.
- Distance/radius. Select a given location and set a radius (in miles) you want to target.
- Language. This doesn’t seem like a geotargeting feature, but actually it’s the most obvious one. If you choose that you only want to target English speaking people, for example, this will reduce (quite significantly) the number of countries you’re ads will be shown in.
The user interface provided in AdWords is quite easy to use and it shouldn’t take you long to get a hang of it. If you stumble upon any problems, however, you can always take a look at the available tutorials and help center.
Other ad networks provide similar possibilities of geotargeting, but they’re not always that developed. That’s why we’re using AdWords as our example.
Geotargeting in Organic Search Results
This is a topic that’s not that popular in the geotargeting space, but it should be.
The thing is, whenever someone inputs a query into Google, different results will pop up depending on the location from where the query is done.
When it comes to AdWords the thing is clear – only the ads that are targeted to that area will be shown. But when it comes to the organic results Google has to come up with them on its own.
If you want to help Google out you can use the Geographic target feature in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). If you haven’t signed up for GWT yet then you really should.
Google uses their GWT data quite often. And whenever they need to decide for whom a site is targeted this data becomes really significant. By selecting the desired audience’s location for your affiliate site you’re making things easier for Google and improving the chances of reaching your audience.
Now, another part of appearing in the organic results is of course SEO. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing any geotargeting or not you still need to take care of basic SEO tasks, like: on-page optimization, off-page optimization, link building (you can try SEO Link Monster – new product by Brad and Matt Callen), etc.
In the end, geotargeting is only a tool for you to help you reach your audience in the most effective and cost-efficient way possible. A situation in which your prospective customers are evenly spaced around the world is highly unlikely.
What’s your approach for geotargeting? Are you using it as part of your affiliate marketing campaigns?