Google Geo-Targeting Problems

State highways in Colorado
Image via Wikipedia

Google Geo Targeting is tricky, here is why.

If you are using Geo-Targeting on a Pay per click campaign, and have a very specific part of a metro area you want you ads to run in you assume the geo-targeting will show your ads for the searchers from that area.  Well, maybe, and maybe not.

In our experience, (mostly my own), Google decides where the searcher is based on the searched ISP’s point of presence., or node, or what ever you want to call it.  So when I search from my home in Lafayette Colorado, Google thinks I am in Sherrelwood Colorado, which I have never heard of, but according to the map Google serves up, is about 8 miles south west of my actual location. As a crow flies, you would need to fly over two cities before you landed in Sherrelwood.

So… I assume that this is true for most searches, and that most seachers are getting results based on not their local information, but thier ISPs nodes (or wire centers or ???) location.

That also has BIG implications for Local SEO.

Now I use comcast as my ISP.  Comcast is the largest ISP so I can assume that lot’s of potential prospects have the same issue. If I want my business or client to show up in Lafayette CO.  on the maps, I need to get a Sherrelwwod address?

You can see how messy this is. Might have been one of the reasons Google decided to combine organic and Google places results back in October.

So my long winded point is, if you are doing PPC,  don’t be too precise with your google geo-targeting or you may miss your entire market, and end up selling in Sherrelwood, a nice place I am sure, even if as a native of Denver I have never heard of it.


Anyone with any more information please let me know!


Here is some info from Google help on setting your location:

Automatically detected location

To provide you with the most relevant results, Google attempts to automatically detect your location and customize results based on that detected location. A location that’s labeled “Auto-detected” is chosen based on the following factors:

  • Your IP address .
  • Google Toolbar’s My Location feature. If you have Google Toolbar installed and have the My Location feature enabled, your approximate location (if detected) will be used to customize your search results. If you don’t want Toolbar to attempt to determine your approximate location, you can turn off My Location





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7 thoughts on “Google Geo-Targeting Problems”

  1. I have experienced the same problem. Good to see it confirmed, as you don’t get much when you search this. We have had to completely revamp our city PPC because of it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. My company offers a product that allows you to Surf Locally….without being local. You can use GeoSurf to check your geo-targeted campaigns that are in areas other thanyour own. Good luck 🙂

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