Q and A: How do I optimize a web site for its geographic location?

QuestionHi Kalena…

I would like to optimize a website for its geographic location. In order to do so, I think I should preface certain home-page keyphrases with the name of the city. I’m wondering if I should repeat this practice throughout the website for better effectiveness, or would this be unnecessary? I’m also wondering please, what is the purpose of the Distribution Meta tag. Please let me know.


Dear Peter

First up, you should be aware (or perhaps you already are) of Google’s new feature that allows webmasters to associate a web site with a region/country.

Regarding how best to optimize a web site for different geographic locations or languages, sub-domains seem to be the way to go, as recommended by Matt Cutts of Google.

But if you are only optimizing for a single city, you should treat that city as another keyword on your page. That is, don’t repeat it ad-nauseum, only where it makes sense to do so. I would recommend no more than 5 repetitions of a target keyword or phrase on a single page. If your whole site content is about the city then it should naturally rank well for city-related phrases anyway as people will be linking to your site using the city name.

Regarding the Distribution META tag, as far as I am aware it is not a valid META tag, is unsupported by any search engine and the myth that you should include one has simply hung around like a bad smell like the Dublin Core META Tags. Skip it – otherwise it will simply contribute to your code bloat.

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Q and A: Is it true only 65 characters of a title tag will show in a browser but 200 will be indexed?

QuestionHi Kalena…

Is it true that only the first 65 characters of the title tag will be seen in a searcher’s browser even though about 200 will be indexed?


Dear Diane

Yes, around 65-70 characters (or 8 words) will be displayed and up to 300 characters will be indexed (by Google at least).
More info here:

Best Practices for Title Tags and

The Title Tag Experiment

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Q and A: Are Geo Tags worth using for search engines?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I just came across ‘Geo Tags’ that allow you to identify the geographical location of your business. I’d like to incorporate them on our local office pages like Boston, Charlotte, Houston, etc.

[meta name=”geo.position” content=”35.2287 -80.8458 “]
[meta name=”geo.region” content=”US-NC”]
[meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Charlotte”]

Is this worth doing? What do you think?


Dear Kelly

I’ve done a bit of research into geo tags and it appears that Google is now supporting geo-tags for Google Earth.

Google has also added geo-tagging ability to YouTube videos, so the location functionality is obviously part of their algorithm now. In addition, Google, Yahoo and MSN Live Search all now support GeoRSS. GeoRSS is a format that extends RSS by adding location data using Google Maps and the Google Maps API.

So yes, I would say go ahead and add them to your pages. The code additions are fairly small so they shouldn’t bloat the code too much.

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Q and A: Does it matter if your META Keywords tag is above the META Description tag in the code?

QuestionDear Kalena…

Does it matter if you have meta tags keywords higher on the page than the meta tag description?


Dear Mark

No, it doesn’t really matter if your META Keywords tag is above your META Description tag in your HTML code. But you should make sure that the title and META tags are as close to the top of your header as possible so they are one of the first things indexed by search engines. You should also keep in mind that search engines only index a certain amount of code per page before moving on, so your HTML should be free of code-bloat and should validate to W3 standards if possible.

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Q and A: Is a 3 word search phrase counted as 1, 2 or 3 keywords?

Dear Kalena…

Just read your fine feature article at Site Pro news in the Nov 28th issue. In your part 2, would it be possible to include the max character length, max# of keywords that you would recommend be used. Also I was wondering if a three word term such as “widgets in FL” would be counted as one keyword or two or three?


Dear Ed

Thanks so much for your feedback on my article. That article is actually half of a larger one I wrote a few weeks ago and you can expect to see the other half in SiteProNews shortly. I think Part 2 will answer your questions, but this recent piece by Danny Sullivan about the keywords tag might also help.

As for “widgets in Florida”, there is no official standard in terms of how many keywords you should target on each page or in each tag, but it is generally very difficult to optimize a single page for more than 3 or 4 keywords or phrases. “Widgets in Florida” can be considered a single search term but also covers the individual keywords “widgets” and “Florida” and the phrase “widgets Florida” (search engines consider “in” to be a stop word) so I would describe that phrase as covering 3 or 4 search terms and I would probably stick with optimizing your page for that single phrase and concentrating on other search queries for your other pages.

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