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What is Geo-Targeting and Is It Effective?

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What is Geo-Targeting and Is It Effective?

Read time 11 min read
What is geo targeting

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What is Geo-Targeting?

What is geo targeting? Geo-targeting is a key activity, also known as local PPC that is used in internet marketing and geo-marketing. The basic geo-targeting meaning is defined as an active response to geolocation. Radius targeting is a key branch of geo-targeting. It comes in handy when a firm wants to send a message to a target market in a very precise and accurate location. 

What is geo targeting trying to achieve? The formal Geo-targeting meaning is understood as a key technique that is used by online marketing companies to identify the geolocation of any website visitor and to provide content to them based on their geolocation. Geolocation is the use of advanced technology mechanisms of data collection to identify the graphical location of a user or a computer. We will also discuss geotargeting examples in this article.

Geo-targeting operations are purely online based and have assisted many companies and multinationals in online and internet advertising. In internet television, geo-targeting is critical to sites such as Hulu and iplayer. However, geo-targeting activities are governed by the rules and regulations found in the digital rights management provision. 

To obtain the correct geolocation of a website visitor, experts discourage the use of proxy servers and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) while conducting geo-targeting. Tech and online advertising dynamos heavily bank on geo-targeting to restrict a company’s ad audience to a certain geographical area/location. One of the global companies that have greatly assisted in effective geo-targeting is Google. 

Did You Know? A 2019 report by Factual revealed that  almost 9 in 10 marketers believe that location based marketing and advertising has increased their sales, enhanced their customer base, and boosted their customer engagement. (Datarade)

How Does Geotargeting Work?

Through signing up with the Google-My Business account, firms and other corporations will have the ability to set up a radius around the respective business location. Consequently, Google also allows users of the Google-My Business account to increase their bids when consumers get into the set up radius of the business location. Users can also set up several radius targets depending on their preference and business strategies. 

What is geo targeting

(A geotarget around the Chicago area, Wordstream)

There are several ways that Geo-targeting is used by online advertising companies to obtain the location of a user. These include IP addresses, zip codes/metro codes, country/nation, religion, ISPs (Internet Service providers), among others. These geotargeting examples are diverse and provide an array of optional ways of finding the geolocation of a user. On the other hand, there are also several examples of geo-targeting in the online market. These include; geo-targeted messages and notifications, direct newspaper ads, Email notifications on new and existing products that are in stock, adverts on promotion of products and services in local and influential stores, custom landing pages, position campaigns, just to mention a few. 

Geo Targeting Software

Geo targeting software plays a significant role in helping to find the location of website visitors and users who are in the same geographical area. These software help companies and other business entities get the most out of their current and future ad campaigns that aim to popularize their products while enhancing both product and market development. The following are some examples of geo-targeting software and platforms that a business entity can incorporate to realize effective and objective marketing and advertising for their products.

Google Ads Location Targeting

Google, one of the biggest tech markets in the world, manages and operates Google ad services that help identify the location of users based on their countries, states, and cities around a specified location. A key advantage of Google ads location targeting software is that it allows companies to target users based on location groups. These include places of interest and business location.

What is geo targeting

(You can even target by Zip Code, gsqi.com)

Facebook Location Targeting

Facebook, arguably one of the most influential geo-targeting softwares with close to 3 billion users worldwide, is one of the largest advertising platforms in the world. Just like any other marketing and advertising platform, Facebook location targeting also allows companies to target users based on their country, city or specified region. 

Consequently, Facebook has a tech innovative software that helps to evaluate and monitor a company’s ad performance in certain areas. Once it narrows down to a region where a company’s ad performance is doing well, Facebook relocates a company’s advertising budget to put up more ads in the location that has more client traffic. 

What is geo targeting

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(Facebook Ad Targeting, aaronzakowski.net)

Geo targeting SEO

Geo targeting SEO has been widely incorporated by many firms in the market in a bid to counter the stiff competition that exists in numerous markets globally. A geo-targeting SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is a unique process of modifying and improving the quantity and quality of a website traffic to a web page from search engines. The unique fact about SEOs is that they tend to focus and target on unpaid traffic rather than paid traffic during advertising and marketing. 

There are several tips on how a company can effectively and successfully advertise their products using search engine optimization. First, a company should find a venue or location where the target audience has specific needs, wants and preferences.

What is geo targeting

(Keyword research is vital when geo targeting SEO, business2community.com)

Second, it is recommended for business entities to exclude some of the locations that the target audience is not heavily present. This helps a business to put up more ads in locations where the presence of the target audience is high. Lastly, businesses are urged to clearly define a radius target around the location(s) of a business or any location of interest.

Did you know? People spend more time on the internet on their smartphones than on computers.

Geo Targeting ads

Geo targeting ads play a significant role in helping a business entity choose the ad campaign of their choice. Geo-targeting ads also guide a business on how to conduct ad campaigns based on their campaign option of choice.

After selecting the ad campaign that suits the business and is aligned with its goals and objectives, businesses can switch to the settings tab to edit some of the options provided to suit their campaign. Some of the options that can be edited include the location where the business intends to target.

Geo-targeting ads also allow business entities to change the languages based on their preference and target audience. These ads basically help a business target specific users based on their location. The more attractive, presentable and compelling an ad is to the target audience, the higher the likelihood of a user to convert to the product being advertised. 

The use of geo-targeting ads can also be termed as local awareness advertising. While using platforms such as Google ads, the average Cost per Click (CPC) ranges from $1 to $2 on the search network. Geo-targeting ads can also be broken down into social media and search engine ads. Social media ads operate where social media platforms such as Facebook place ads on the side of the user’s pages. Search engine ads on the other hand places ads on search result history based on the browsing and search history of a user.

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Geo-Targeting Website

A Geo-targeting website heavily banks on personalization to capture the right target audience. One of the most common and effective geo-targeting using websites is to put up pop ups and sticky bars that will quickly capture the target of users in a specified location. A Geo-targeting website is run by skilled and experienced web developers, web administrators, and content managers from different companies globally. 

Some of the key industry players who provide Geo-targeting websites that help companies advertise and market their new and existing products include Facebook, Google and Yellow Pages. However, Facebook and Google have managed to remain among the best Geo-targeting websites due to their huge social media following.

Benefits of Geo-Targeting

  1. 1. It allows personalized content marketing:

Geo-targeting allows personalized content marketing where companies and other corporations can target a specific demographic audience that share a common product interest. Personalized content marketing is one of the key benefits of Geo-targeting. This type of content marketing is successfully executed through accurate collection of data, analysis and the professional use of automated technology.

Personalized content marketing is important as it initiates and grows the engagement between a firm and its potential clients. Personalized content marketing is very critical especially for firms and corporations that venture and cater for different audience segments. There are several types of personalized content marketing that users and companies can adopt. These include segmentation, personalization and individualization, which is also known as Individual-specific Personalization.

  1. 2. It helps in spreading information concerning offers and discounts to local audiences:

Once in a while, many businesses tend to give back and appreciate their customers by offering attractive discounts and regular offers. This also acts as a way of attracting more customers to shop with the respective business entity. To make their clients and potential customers aware of running offers and discounts on mentioned products, firms and corporations incorporate geo-targeting to realize this objective.

They send personalized messages and notifications to their clients and potential customers from a specific and selected demographic group that falls within the radius target of a respective company. By doing this, firms ensure that they constantly engage and communicate with their clientele and keep them abreast of offers and discounts that are running in the market.

  1. Makes businesses locally relevant: 

As stated earlier, geo-targeting aims at sending messages and notifications to a specific demographic group around where a respective business operates or around the radius target. By doing this, firms and companies that are local, national and multinational can be assured of a high local consumption of a company’s products by the immediate local market. 

What is geo targeting

(local directory link, ahrefs.com)

Local clients and consumers are able to be kept posted of new and existing products that fall under their needs and preferences. The local market and clientele base plays a major role in acting as the foundation and pivotal point of any organization. Even as a firm or corporation grows bigger and dominates foreign markets, it is essential to always ensure that the business remains relevant at the local level.

  1. It helps a business promote local marketing events: 

Advertising companies and agencies regularly arrange and hold local marketing events that help familiarize different products from different companies, whether new or existing, with the local consumers. Most firms have a high level of involvement while scouting for local marketing events they can display, advertise and market their products. Big brands and companies promote local marketing events by becoming sponsors and catering for all expenses that relate to the event. 

Another way that businesses can promote local marketing events is by issuing prizes and giveaways to the attendees in the events. This is a strategy that aims at attracting more potential customers to purchase and have a try of goods and services being offered by a company in the local event. Consequently, another significant way that geo-targeting has helped promote local marketing events is by airing and promoting local marketing events on social media. This ensures that the whole event is available for every potential client to view and purchase their products of interest. 

  1. Allows businesses to hide strategic ads from competitor firms:

In each and every industry, competition is stiff and requires businesses to come up with new and innovative ideas to stay at the top of other competitors. Geo-targeting has played a significant role in helping deal with the tight competition that is evident in every market. Competition in different industries can be attributed to the existence of many firms and companies in the market.

Geo-targeting works under the principle that it only shares information, data, messages and notifications to selected and specific populations in a given area. This gives users and companies the freedom to exclude any user or website visitor that may compromise the competitive advantage of using geo-targeting. This is an advantage as firms can send strategic advertisements on their products without the consent of other competitive partners in the market.

  1. Helps improve user experience:

Personalized content sharing is one of the most suitable geo-targeting ventures that a business can incorporate in ensuring quality and effective marketing and advertising of their products. Personalized content sharing ensures that the company and the website visitor or user are constantly engaging and communicating on issues regarding product launch, discounts and offers that may be running at a particular period of time. 

Geo-targeting helps a firm to take a website visitor through the journey of sourcing and buying goods and services under advertisement. Consequently, consistent use of geo-targeting by companies to send messages and notifications to their clients builds trust and confidence between the two parties due to constant and regular communication and advertisements. Basically, the use of geo-targeting techniques, such as personalization, help guide a client swiftly through the buying journey. This results in the improvement of user experience and confidence.

  1. Helps to increase service speed and save time:

Geo-targeting is a faster and more convenient way of advertising products and services to the target audience. Geo-targeting involves sending notifications, messages and advertisements to specific users in a specific area/demographic location. This means that companies using geo-targeting only send advertisements, messages and notifications to only the group of people in the market who match the needs and preferences of a particular product. 

This means that users that don’t fall under the stipulated and specific group of people in a certain area/location and their needs & preferences do not match those of a particular product will not get the advertisements and notifications. 

Firms benefit from geo-targeting by saving a lot of advertisement fees as they only send notifications and advertisements to specific groups of people and not to just anyone. Consequently, this also increases service speed. Geo-fencing is much more expensive as it involves sending messages to anyone who comes within the radius target. A lot of time is also saved in geo-targeting as sending messages to a specific group of people is easy and fast. 

  1. Effective Marketing Budgets:

Geo-targeted marketing has proved to be most effective for firms and corporations operating in specific areas/locations. This is effective as the messages are more relevant to the audience around the area a business operates. Focusing advertisements, messages and notifications on the areas that a business is located helps to save on additional costs and ensure proper allocation of marketing and advertising resources. 

Personalized content marketing through geo-marketing helps a company’s marketing dollars go up significantly. Geo-training is the best and most guaranteed way to make heavy and reasonable returns on investments, especially when the people in the regions a business operates can relate to the advertisements posted.

  1. Product and Market Development:

Once a firm or company has developed and launched a new product in the market, the best way to evaluate its performance is by using geo-targeted techniques. New products can be tested in the market using a small and specified geographical area to get feedback from customers and evaluate the product’s performance in the market.

Consequently, the incorporation of advanced and digital geo-location helps to narrow down to specific areas that allow for location based testing. Geo-targeting can also help to gradually grow a business entity into other specific locations.

Did you know? Companies experience a 20% increase in conversions when incorporating location based data.


Geo-fencing is one of the geolocation techniques that play a huge role in enabling the creation of a virtual geographical boundary. This virtual geographical boundary can be created by the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) services or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) systems. RFID and GPS systems play a critical role in enabling the computer software to initiate the desired response whenever a mobile gadget enters or leaves the radius target.

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Setting up Geo-Fencing

There are a few steps that are crucial in setting up a geo-fence that is successful and effective. A user should first log in to the map page and select the ‘Geo-Fence’ option. After doing this, the user is advised to set the various parameters of their choice and save them. 

However, users are free to edit their parameter choices any time they decide to. To exit the Geo-Fence option, users can uncheck the ‘Geo-Fence’ option. However, there are times that users do not want to receive notifications and messages from companies and corporations that use their location to advertise their content.

Geo-fencing heavily depends on the location of a user to send them notifications. If a user does not want to receive any notification, they can turn off their location settings on their respective devices. Consequently, users may also consider using VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to hide their exact geolocation.

Mobile Geo-Fencing

On the other hand, geo-fencing can be used with or without an application. This is possible by easily obtaining the zip codes or latitude/longitude of a website visitor or user. Thanks to advanced technology, geo-Fencing has become easier and users can now set up geo-fences by using their mobile devices. 

This is what is known as Mobile geo-Fencing. Key companies such as Android and Apple have the unique option of creating a geo-Fence by simply setting up the radius, and latitude and longitude of the area one wishes to monitor. There are several examples of companies and users who have profited by the geo-fencing activities they bank on to operate their systems. These companies include Uber, Walmart, and Starbucks, just to mention a few. 

What is geo targeting

(Geo-fencing, feathr.co)

Geo-Targeting vs Geofencing

Geo-targeting Vs Geofencing has often been a heated discussion in the online marketing and advertising multinational companies. One should first have a clear and deep understanding of the roles and functions the two activities execute as a basis of having distinct differences when it comes to Geo-targeting Vs Geo-fencing. 

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Advertising that uses location data in order to cater to a certain population or geographical area.

Google Ads

Geofencing targets users with certain ads when they cross the boundary set up by the geo-fence.
Geo-targeting allows a more focused metric of users who are located near a geolocation point.

A geotag is attached to websites to document their location and earth coordinates. This then allows ads to be optimized for that specific location.

This is a method that monitors a user’s browsing habits, and delivers relevant ads to the user. This is why if you’re looking at computers, ads relating to computers appear in the ads on every site you visit.


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Daniel Urmann

Author Bio:

Daniel Urmann is the co-founder of Diib.com. Over the past 17 years Daniel has helped thousands of business grow online through SEO, social media, and paid advertising. Today, Diib helps over 150,000 business globally grow online with their SaaS offerings. Daniel’s interest include SMB analytics, big data, predictive analytics, enterprise and SMB search engine optimization (SEO), CRO optimization, social media advertising, A/B testing, programatic and geo-targeting, PPC, and e-commerce. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Finance and E-commerce from Cornell University – S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.


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