Google Webmaster Tools Geotargeting Added

Google just unveiled a new tool in their Webmaster Tools - the ability to set geotargeting for sites, even down to the street level if necessary. Naturally this is very cool, and interesting to those of us that deal with geolocation issues all the time.

The tool will not allow you to override the ccTLD, so you can't declare your .ca site to be from the US, for example, but if you have a gTLD like .com, .net and so forth, then you can. For many people, this is an excellent method for accomplishing what they want.

If you want your site to have multiple countries, you would just create sub-domains -, for example, and then get geolocation for that sub-domain to France. You can do this with multiple sub-domains each to multiple countries. No site can be geolocated to more than one country, however.

Naturally, this will bring up the next question - "Hey Ian, since Google has this now, why would someone need your IPGeoTarget tool™ "?

Well, as long as you only cared about Google and used the Webmaster Tools, then you would not, and I would not in good faith recommend paying for any system as long as Google has a free tool that does the same thing.

However, since this only works for Google, you would not be able to geolocate for Yahoo, MSN, Ask, or other search engines, so that's certainly a limiting factor.

Second, this currently only works for entire sites (including sub-domains), but not directories or pages. Many companies have set up their sites like this: and Googles system would not help them in this case. This can cause big issues if your CMS doesn't support cross-site editing, or if you are looking at the possibility of 301'ing thousands of indexed pages (along with the related drop in traffic/rankings during the switchover).

Finally, not every company uses or likes to use the Webmaster Tools (though I admit they are pretty useful myself).

I admit the timing is a little annoying - I have no idea if it's a pure coincidence or if someone decided to speed up the announcement because of the interest in IPGeoLocate. Either way, it was just a matter of time before Google did this, since webmasters have been clamoring for it for some time, so I'm not worried.

My recommendation would be to use it right now if your site structure allows - Google does drive a fair amount of traffic, so it's not like it's a waste of time - and then add IPGeoLocate to the mix once it's available for your target country - hopefully next month.


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