When we recently released an updated version of our SEO Basics white paper, we added information about the geo.position meta tag.  Using this tag allows webmasters to let the search engines know where the organization is physically located by providing longitude and latitude data. 

This is a useful tool for location sensitive organizations, but it is not as helpful to all organizations.

Organizations that would benefit from using the geo.position tag:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels/Motels
  • Parks
  • Amusement Parks
  • Car Dealerships
  • Hair/Nail Salons
  • Entertainment Venues
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Tours
  • Car/Bike/Equipment Rental Shops
  • Educational Institutions (unless they are mainly online)

Using restaurants as an example, when someone in Washington, DC types “pizza delivery” into a search engine, they are likely looking for a local store.  In this case, establishing one’s geographic position would help since the search engine will likely take into account the searcher’s location (based off factors like their IP address) when producing results.  If that same person is going to travel to Seattle and is looking a place there, they will likely include additional references to the query (perhaps “Seattle pizza delivery”).  In this case, the search engines would look for sites with that information.

Organizations that wouldn’t benefit that much from using the geo.position tag:

  • E-commerce Sites (most ship goods over a wide geographical area)
  • Trade Associations
  • Professional Associations

Basically, if an organization’s target audience is not largely defined by geography, using the geo.position tag does not really offer an advantage.  For instance, an e-commerce site that sells t-shirts likely does not want to merely focus on selling to people currently living in Maine.  Even if the shirts have a Maine theme, why would the site want to limit itself to people that live in the state since it ships all over the place?  When a site wants to have a broad geographic audience for something like Maine-specific t-shirts, the shirts’ product descriptions and individual product page title and meta description tags should have Maine-related keywords in them to focus the topic of the site.  If the site was for a t-shirt store that only sold at its location and does not ship items, then using the geo.position tag could help.

Organizations that must consider their mission when deciding to use the geo.position tag:

  • Media Outlets – If the outlet is focused on a small geographical area like a city, using the geo.position tag could help.
  • Large Chains – The pages about the entire chain should not use the geo.position tag, but the webmaster should consider using the tag for pages about specific locations (hotels, restaurants, department stores, etc.).
  • Advocacy Campaigns – If the campaign is about a local issue like cleaning up pollution in a lake, then using the geo.position tag is worth considering.
  • Blogs – The focus of the blog will dictate if using the geo.position tag is worth consideration or not.
  • Movies/TV Shows/Bands – If distribution of the movie or show or touring range of the band is within a geographically small area, the geo.position tag could make sense.
  • Service Providers – Regardless if the organization provides consulting, construction, staff, event planning/management, etc., the geographic range of service will help determine if associating a web site or page to a specific location is logical or not.

So, why does The Bivings Group site use the geo.position tag?

We do provide web design, application development, and online campaign management services to a variety of clients all over North America and on a few other continents.  While it certainly helps to have the ability to easily have a face-to-face meetings with clients, it is not necessary.  One reason why  we use the geo.position tag is that many of our clients are DC-based organizations, and there are many similar organizations in the area that we have experience offering services to meet their needs.  Thus, we would like to show up high on search engine results pages when people in this area search for terms like “web design.”  We would likely do fine if we didn’t use the geo.position tag.