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Geoblogging – How to Geotag Your Blog

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The following post on geotagging blogs is by Rob O’Daniel from 2Dolphins.

Remember the old adage, “The three most important things in real estate are location, location, and location?” Soon enough, that saying may even hold true in the virtual landscape of the Internet.

Geotagging, or the process of adding geographic information (latitude, longitude, & other positional data) to almost any digital content is a quickly-growing trend. Once geotagged, media such as websites, blog posts, RSS feeds, images, or videos can be easily displayed on an online map or cross-referenced with other information about that area or location.

One way to get your feet wet with this is to make your website or blog’s location known. By adding geographical metatags to the header of your HTML documents (a.k.a. web pages), between the and elements, you’ll “geotag” your website, allow search engines that support this feature to recognize its global position, and (hopefully) help more readers find your blog geographically.

So, where to begin? It’s easier than you think, although it will take a little bit of research to gather your specific location info. Once you have that, geotagging your site or blog is a simple matter of a few additional lines of HTML code. For example sake, here’s what I used on 2Dolphins:


<!– Begin global positioning META tag stuff —————>
<!– GeoTag metadata ————————————->
<meta name=”geo.position” content=”31.896788;-102.368551″ />
<meta name=”geo.country” content=”US” />
<meta name=”geo.region” content=”US-TX” />
<meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Odessa, TX 79762, USA” />


<!– GeoURL metadata ————————————->
<meta name=”ICBM” content=”31.896788,-102.368551″ />
<meta name=”DC.title” content=”2Dolphins” />


<!– Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) metadata –>
<meta name=”tgn.id” content=”7014260″ />
<meta name=”tgn.name” content=”Odessa” />
<meta name=”tgn.nation” content=”United States” />
<!– End global positioning META tag stuff —————–>

(Note that the comments & blank lines in the example above are included only to make the code more understandable and may be changed or omitted if so desired.)

Unfortunately, the geotagging standards are still in something of a state of flux, but by adding these several groupings of tags, you’re covering all the competing methods.

Of course, you’ll want to change the contents of these tags to match your actual location. Note that information within the quotes is case-sensitive and that the numbers in “geo.position” are separated by a comma rather than semicolon. Daniel Filzhut’s MyGeoPosition is a handy tool to help you generate the positional data for the GeoTag & GeoURL metadata fields.

(The “geo.placename” tag is an optional free text field that’s typically used for city & province or city, state & zipcode, but can contain any relevant location info you’d like to place in there.)

You can visit the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) site to find the information for those fields. The search function on this site seems kind of tricky – I had far better luck with finding my location data by using the Browse the TGN hierarchies link and drilling down through the structure. Also be mindful that if you’re in the U.S., you’ll begin by selecting “North and Central America (continent).”

(Just keep clicking the little blue hierarchy icon TGN Hierarchy icon to the left of each category to drill down into each successive level.)

Once you’ve gathered the info and added the geographic tags into your blog or website code, be sure to submit your site at GeoURL, GeoTags and feedmap. If you’d like to see what your geographical net neighborhood looks like, key your newly-updated website URL in the search box at Fabio Cipriani’s Google Maps-mashup Geo-Serendipity.

And there you have it – a few extra lines of code and your blog or website is a part of the geotagging community. Is this likely to make an immediate or major difference in the amount of traffic your website receives? Probably not, but anything extra you can do to be noticed by search engines is a good thing. And as more websites & blogs do get on-board with geographically tagging, you’ll be at the forefront of the wave.

Let us know what you think about geotagging – post a comment or question!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Very cool! Working on mine now

  2. Very interesting, but how will this affect my blog SEO-wise?
    I’m thinking “Ok, I’m a Romanian guy, writing in english, targeting mainly the english speaking readers.”
    Why would I want to place my blog in Romania if I’m not targeting my country?
    Any idea how search engines interpret these tags? Would they affect your rankings in, lets say, Google’s international search? Or the search results based on the user’s country?

  3. Martin says:

    You may also want to have a look at http://www.georss.org/
    Should be supported by Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth

  4. Mr.Sentences says:

    why anyone would need geotagging?

  5. Great tips I haven’t heard of this before, I’ve put up description and keyword and title tags, and even robot tags to “revisit” but I was completely unaware of geotags. thanks darren I will put this to use. – Luis Gross

  6. Melissa says:

    I agree with Alex. My blog is in some ways specific to the U.S. but has applications abroad. Will GeoTagging effect the market that I appear to on Google and other search engines?

  7. This is quite an interesting feature to use in our blogs. While my own blog is geared towards an international (predominantly English speaking) audience, I have to admit I am always interested to look at blogs when I realize the author lives in my corner of the world ;)

  8. John says:

    An interesting follow-up would be how to geotag blog posts. My personal location is not relevant to the type of blogging I do, but I write about a lot of different places. It would more be useful to add semantic data about each of them within the post than to do it for the whole blog.

  9. Alex Brown says:

    You have so many great tips…glad I found your blog!

  10. Kevin says:

    Do you geotag based on where your blog lives, or where you live?

    Kevin

  11. Jaffer says:

    @ Mr. Sentences: One social aspect of geotagging you blog is to find out who else is blogging in your neighbourhood or what other businesses in your neighbourhood have a website.

    I have found atleast two bloggers this way and later discovered that we went to the same school !

  12. Jaffer says:

    @ Mr. Sentences: One social aspect of geotagging your blog is to find out who else is blogging in your neighbourhood or what other businesses in your neighbourhood have a website.

    I have found atleast two bloggers this way and later discovered that we went to the same school !

  13. rekindled says:

    I can see how this would be relevant for some posts or sites, perhaps if you were writing a travel blog or using your site to promote a bricks and mortar establishment. Beyond this, I am not sure how useful this will be for the majority of bloggers. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops.

  14. @Kevin: I’m thinking that if you’re the one writing the metas you can, basically, put whatever you want; although, I believe the point is to identify yourself, since a blog should be part of who you are.

  15. Whatleydude says:

    I’m really into geotagging my photos at the moment with my N95 + ShoZu..

    Geotagging my blog though? Maybe.

    Geotagging my blog POSTS however.. That’d make sense to me. I rarely actually blog from the same place twice on the trot. Right now for instance, i’m sitting on a train heading home from london. Replying to this post via my mobile using mobile google reader.. Geotagging my location at the time of posting.. That’d be cool.

  16. Sheamus says:

    @Mr.Sentences, “why anyone would need geotagging?”

    Well, it’ll make it easier for the stalkers to track you down.

    I don’t personally think it’s of enormous use to most bloggers, or websites for that matter. But I’m sure someone will manage to turn it into an enormous moneyspinner in a way that is blindingly obvious with hindsight but frustratingly subtle beforehand. :)

  17. Sheamus says:

    @Alex, “I’m thinking that if you’re the one writing the metas you can, basically, put whatever you want; although, I believe the point is to identify yourself, since a blog should be part of who you are.”

    You raise an interesting point, though; potentially one could use this to give the impression that you’re somewhere you’re not. Firms claiming to be on Wall St could actually run at a pittance in the Ukraine.

    Aha – so *that’s* where the moneyspinner’s going to be! ;D

  18. Let me first say that this is very cool.

    Now let me say that I think it is worthless. What useful purpose does this serve? Maybe and I’m just saying maybe a business could find this useful. But for the most part I just don’t get why anyone would include this on their blog.

    There are just so many things that you can add to a blog before people just start tuning everything out. Add one too many and they might start tuning your blog out.

    Live From Las Vegas (You know where I’m at!!)
    The Masked Millionaire

  19. Rob O. says:

    Masked Millionaire, these geotags have no effect upon the look of your blog or website to visitors. They only enhance how visitors might find it.

    Most of my posts are not geographically-specific nor does my location have any bearing on the context of them, but I do think it’s interesting to see the other bloggers who are within the same neighborhood or community. You might discover other area bloggers that you never knew about before…

    Just as most GPS units will show you nearby gas stations or restaurants based on your current locations, doesn’t anyone else see that it might be useful or at least interesting to see web resources shown similarly?

  20. I have to say I agree with some of the comments above. One of the great things about the internet and blogging is that it makes the world a smaller place. I could be communicating with someone from Timbuktu and not even know it. Should I know it? Should I even care? Could this even put up barriers to people communicating? I’ll have to think about this some more. Thanks for the post though :)

    - Dave

  21. Lightening says:

    Is it possible that something like this could backfire if you’re trying to reach a very broad audience? Or would it just be considered a “bonus” way of people finding you? I’m finding more and more of my traffic is coming from the US (whereas I’m in Australia) so I’m not sure whether something like this would actually be a benefit or a detriment. ????? I’d love to read a follow up post on this based on the questions people are raising here.

  22. Rob O. says:

    Guys, this isn’t a means of narrowing your audience! Don’t think of this as a limiter – in fact, just the opposite.

    Unless people are specifically looking for other geobloggers, they’ll probably be oblivious to the addition to your code. But web-apps and search engines that are keyed to take advantage of this additional info now have another means of finding your site.

    Do you have your site name & description embedded in your HTML header code? I’ll bet you do. And part of why you did this is to further optimize your page(s) for search engines. Well, geotags are more of the same. These aren’t some kind of whiz-bang widget – they’re just visually transparent META codes. But their inclusion may help you get extra search engines hits…

  23. Thinkjayant says:

    geotagging is essential for location based blogs. Or rather blog which cater to a particular geographical area. Say a blog on a particular city would greatly benefit.

    However, since i am new to this… can i ask that…

    should my complete site be geotagged at one location or individual pages can have different geotags..??? if this is possible then it would have mass appeal, for everyone write some or the other post which is location specific

    i think then i would be a great idea to say writing a travelling blog, and geotagging the locations of places been blogged about in individual posts, so that it occurs in the google and microsoft location search and maps.

    what do you think?

  24. In parallel you should followup with an item on the recently launched open mapping standard, KML, keyhole markup language.

    db

  25. markowe says:

    How precisely were you thinking of geotagging your blog?! Only, geographic coordinates can narrow down your location to any degree of precision you like (though every satellite image or GPS device will have a limitation of a resolution of a few metres at best) – so are you showing us the house you blog from? :)

    Seriously, you obviously wouldn’t indicate exactly where you lived, though your workplace might be OK if they are separate. You need to pick some arbitrary central point in your city, but don’t just zoom in from space till you find your city and then plonk a point down – you could be quite a way out, or else you could pinpoint the psychiatric ward or the zoo or something, and that might get your blog visitors wondering…!

  26. Thanks Darren for the good write-up. I have always done the ICBM tags but added the others as you have to my two personal sites.
    Cheers!

  27. Margherita says:

    geotagging…how’s i am not into it at all?

  28. how will this effect the number of visitors to your site? will this increase visitor count?

  29. rjleaman says:

    I’m with Whatleydude on this one, in that geotagging on individual posts strikes me as more useful than tagging a whole site or blog. In fact, I’ve got a new personal project in the works for which post-geotagging could be a great navigation option, more suited to the particular subject matter than trying to chunk up content into the usual Categories, or leaving readers to wade through an irrelevant chronology of archives. Ideally, there’d be a Google-type map, where clicking on a place-marker would take the reader to a page (or pages) of posts related to that location… is it do-able, practical, cost-effective? I don’t know yet, but investigating the possibility is high on the to-do list.

  30. Mark says:

    If I want to know where my readers are from I just look at my Google Analytics reports (which turned out to be an interesting read: fully 40% of my readers are outside the US, which suprised me).

  31. sami says:

    hmm gotto check that on my own website!

  32. Felex Tan says:

    Feedmap is not working ,others are ok.It is simple to use especially MyGeoPosition ,the tools are useful.

  33. Thanks – I’ve added the meta tags and am up and running.

  34. Rob O. says:

    Mark, it’s the inverse – this isn’t for YOU to see where your site’s visitors are coming from but rather for YOUR VISITORS to have an additional way to find you – to see where your blog or site is geographically located.

  35. Why in the world would anyone use these tags? What search engine looks for them?

  36. Chris says:

    I haven’t delved into geotagging yet, but one thought occurs to me. Perhaps the women reading can understand the reluctance of identifying your geographical location to cyberworld. Applications of geotagging when I’m writing about a different place would be nice, but I have to admit not wanting to jump in.

  37. Zerolove says:

    Just curious as to why you used Odessa, Texas in your example being your in Australia? I also was wanting to know if you think always use geo tags or only if the blog is about a certain area.

    Thanks,
    Zero

  38. Rob O. says:

    Chris, sure enough, I have wondered about how this could pose a stalking risk. But the geo coordinates you use don’t have to be so precise as to show people the house you live in. You can use a more generic location like a central spot in your neighborhood, suburb, or city.

    Zero, Darren may be in scenic Australia, but I’m sitting here in dusty
    West Texas! :)

  39. Chris says:

    Yup, Rob, I could use the next closest major city, I suppose, being a suburb.

  40. When you care about geotagging you should use the address-html tag/microformat as well!

  41. Rob O. says:

    Malte, maybe you could provide a little additional detail on that? Sounds like something we need to know more about.

  42. Thanks for this. I tried it at http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/ and found I could only get one of the three methods to work, and I added the suggested graphic it provided. (GeoURL)

    I’m using Blogger, and I found a cut and paste was not enough. I had to correct the HTML to get Blogger to accept the change. I had to use ” instead of the angled quotes, and I had to make sure the comment tags used 2 sequential hyphens and not whatever the cut and paste produced.

    Plus one of the links (the last) was 404 but I was able to Google it, only it didn’t work anyway. Or at least I couldn’t figure it out.

    In any case, I thank Problogger for this excellent blog. What use a geotag on a blog is I’m not sure, but I learned something in the process. Thanks again.

  43. Glich says:

    I don’t get it how to add geotagging in my website. Please help me.

  44. Zealous One says:

    Awesome post! Finding your post inspired us to seek out more information on geo-tagging which fell directly in line with our geo-targeted SEO. I will say that we saw significant bot activity as soon as we did – and our top keywords took a couple of steps up in 48 hours! The coolest thing we have been getting alot of feedback on is an obscure link on the bottom right (that we use for reciprocal directory links) that links to Google Maps. Seems our visitors are clicking on the “Street View” and talking a “virtual walk of the Las Vegas Strip!” Needless to say, we’re looking into how to integrate it more effectively at present.

    Thanks again and when our newest case study in Geo-tagging yields quantifiable results, I’ll be back to give you an update!

  45. hiduptreda says:

    wow… amazing!
    new knowledge for me, thanks for share…

  46. Vinayak says:

    Now you can Geotag individual post in Blogger
    It’s an interesting new feature in Draft Blogger.

  47. Kenneth Udut says:

    I’ve been in love with geotagging ever since I first got wind of it. On http://free.naplesplus.us (Naples, FL USA)- it’s geotagged right to my house, which could be scary, but the publicity of information as it is, why not?

    I look forward to more things being geotagged. I’ve been trying to geotag my rss posts, but it’s been a pesty process, mostly because the names/addresses I have on my databases are in a convoluted format that I REALLY must standardize one of these days. Of course, the geotag standards themselves keep changing, so things that were fine a year ago, no longer seem to work. Ah well. It’ll just get better and better over time, won’t it!

    Kenneth Udut, Naples, FL simplify3