Google Launches Local Search Targeting & Search Forum Spotlight

Google has rolled out a new Regional Targeting feature that lets advertisers have their AdWords ads appear in front of those searching from specific local areas in the United States.

For instance, an advertiser could choose to have their ad for “dentists” appear only in front of those searching from within the San Francisco Bay Area. Outside this region, the ad would not be seen.

Such ad targeting is a first for a major paid listings provider. Google competitor Overture is beta testing its own local product, but that is based on advertisers choosing to be in an entirely separate ad program. In addition, ads in that program would still be seen by those outside of a particular metropolitan area.

There are advantages to both systems. In Google’s system, an advertiser can use generic terms to target a particular area. In other words, they can simply bid on the word “dentist,” narrow to the San Francisco Bay Area and know they’ll show up in that area for those searching for “dentist.” They needn’t target city variations such as “san francisco dentist,” “oakland dentist” and so on.

In Overture’s system, ads are tied to physical locations. This means that they can be attractively tied into a map, which is very useful for some types of local searches. While Google is testing its own map-based local search product, there’s no way its new regional targeting will allow ads to be placed on that map — though they could run alongside it.

Google’s system works by identifying the IP address of a user, a system it has long employed to allow advertisers to target ads to specific countries. The US targeting matches the 210 “designated market areas” that are used to define television markets.

IP matching usually works, but it is not perfect. Google says that if it can’t identify a person’s location, it will serve up national ads instead. However, it may also be that Google will incorrectly identify a person’s location. This is something that happens, albeit rarely, with its existing country targeting.

Google Buys Sprinks; Plans IPO

News on these stories has now moved to a separate article: Google Buys Sprinks, Plans IPO

Search Engine Forums Spotlight

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web.

GoGuides Hostile Takeover
Webmaster World

“Just got an email from GoGuides about a recent submission saying that they have been subject to a hostile takeover and their host is keeping their scripts and financial resources.”

Top 5 Google Do’s and Don’ts

“Four months ago we compiled a list of the top do’s and don’ts to consider when optimizing your site for ranking in Google. Can you make any suggestions to improve this list? Has anything changed?”

Maliciously, Repeatedly Clicking On A Pay Per Click?
Best Practices Forum

“What can I do protect myself from somebody who engages in the act of repeatedly clicking on a pay per click?”

The Alexa Toolbar
High Rankings Forum

“I have mixed feelings about the Alexa toolbar. In some ways it is a useful little gizmo, certainly great for most of my own target audience which is why I have a page about it extolling it’s virtues. On the other hand, it does track the users browsing habits. The thing is, whether it is your ISP [Internet service provider” or Alexa, someone is always tracking your browsing habits.”

Future Of Search Engine Optimization
High Rankings Forum

“Given that Google’s bought Kaltix, which is seen as I understand it as greater personalisation of SERPs [search engine results pages”, with cookies on the PC storing data – so that a [search engine” has a pretty good guess what you’re searching for, as opposed to a shot-in-the -dark guess (I exaggerate, but only a bit ) – will SEO still be relevant in the future?”

Webmaster World

“The wait time on searches is deadly. I was almost too impatient to wait out the first phrase I typed in. The way they organize the info is brilliant though.”

Merging Many Websites Into One
High Rankings Forum

“What are the consequences?”

Is Anyone Seeing a Drop in Earning Per Click?
Webmaster World

“The supply of ads isn’t infinite. As more ads are shown and clicked on on someone else’s site, the higher-paying ads fall out of the rotation as their budgets are exhausted and the lower paying/lower CTR [click-through rate” ads start being shown, with the PSA’s [public service announcements” being the presumed bottom of the pile and paying no-one.”

Search Engine Forums Spotlight courtesy Search Engine Guide.

SearchDay Week in Review

Balancing Paid and Organic Search Listings
SearchDay, Oct. 23, 2003

Do you really need both ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ listings, generated by search engine optimization (SEO), and paid placement, aka pay-per-click advertising (PPC), to be successful on search engines?

The State of the Search Engine Industry
SearchDay, Oct. 22, 2003

Noted search engine experts and analysts explored the major themes and trends driving the current and future state of the industry in a lively, wide-ranging forum at the Search Engine Strategies conference.

Local Search Part 2: Google & Mobilemaps Bring Back Geosearching
SearchDay, Oct. 21, 2003

How Google and Mobilemaps are making it possible to search the web yet filter results to a local level. Second of a three-part series on local search.

Expand Shorthand Meanings with the Acronym Finder
SearchDay, Oct. 20, 2003

NTK what an acronym stands for? The Acronym Finder is the place to search for abbreviated meanings, IMHO.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

‘Blocked’ contents of US report revealed online
Computer Weekly Oct 24 2003 1:08PM GMT
Google Said to Consider Online Auction of I.P.O. Shares
New York Times Oct 24 2003 12:12PM GMT
Spammers Clog Up the Blogs
Wired News Oct 24 2003 9:46AM GMT
Google about to go public Oct 24 2003 9:09AM GMT
Microsoft Says MSN Makes Its First Profit; Sales Of Xbox On Rise
Investors Business Daily Oct 24 2003 8:14AM GMT
Spam ‘turning people off email’
BBC Oct 24 2003 8:13AM GMT
Where spam comes from
BBC Oct 24 2003 8:13AM GMT
Google looks for IPO
ZDNet Oct 24 2003 8:10AM GMT
Google hails ‘rational’ tech sector
BBC Oct 24 2003 6:13AM GMT
The Great Library of Amazonia
Wired News Oct 23 2003 5:32PM GMT
MP3 site just a search engine: AU ISP
ZDNet Australia Oct 23 2003 2:02AM GMT
Human Error Leads to AT&T’s Anti-Spam Gaffe
AtNewYork Oct 23 2003 0:06AM GMT
Ask Jeeves Getting the Respect Oct 22 2003 11:15PM GMT
UPDATE 1-Ask Jeeves swings to Q3 profit as traffic rises
Reuters Oct 22 2003 9:16PM GMT
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