What Web Writers Need to Know about Geo-Targeting

    The good news for web writers as we head into 2014 is that content is still king, albeit in slightly different form than we saw a few years ago. Web marketing gurus, including Jay Baer of "Convince and Convert.com" predicts that website content will continue to be the focus of web marketers in 2014. He, among other web marketing professionals, also predicts that geo-targeted ads and content will increase over the next 12 months as more and more American consumers use their cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices to access the Internet.

    What is geo-targeting?

    Geo-targeting refers to the practice of showing ads to web searchers, based on the person's geographic location. Today, more than two-thirds of Americans use a mobile device regularly to access the Internet, according to a recent study by Pew Media Internet and Life Project. That's more than twice the number who used mobile devices to surf the web just five years ago. Because each mobile device comes equipped with a GPS tracker, marketers and search engines can see where a particular shopper is at the moment they are searching for consumer goods, restaurants, hotels and other products and services. Although consumers can turn off the geo-tracking device on their phones or tablets, 62 percent said in a recent study cited by econsultancy that they were open to geo-targeted ads.

    What geo-targeted website content means to content writers

    As content writers, you've probably already seen bulk orders for similar content with only the city and state changing per article. The challenge for writers is to make such content interesting and unique, while writing similar website content over and over. Below are a few tips to help you adapt to this new marketing phenomenon:

    1. Write like a travel writer.

    Since the only thing changing in mass geo-targeted website content is the location, take a few minutes to find a few facts about the city or region you're writing about and use them to make your article more interesting. Everyone likes to see their city mentioned favorably. Plus, it will help to make each article unique and therefore more SEO friendly.

    2. Write for residents AND visitors.

    Not all people searching for restaurants or products in a specific area live there. Many will be visiting from out of town and looking for travel advice. Make sure that your content addresses both groups.

    3. Focus on long-tail keywords.

    Geo-targeted keywords are, by definition, long-tail keywords. Things like "Chinese restaurants Boston" or "dry cleaners Cleveland Ohio" are pretty specific and help to weed out the majority of competing websites in search results. If the client doesn't give you the keywords, create your own long-tail versions for best results.

    A good content writer is flexible enough to adapt to the constant changes in the web marketplace. If you've been in the business for more than a year, you're likely very skilled at adapting. The popularity of geo-tracking is just one more such change. Hone your geo-targeted writing skills now.

    Topics: website content - website content writing - web writing - geo-targeted content - local search - local content strategy

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