How to Geotag Your Blog

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=”” 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=”” content=”7014260″ />
<meta 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!

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