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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

The geographic location of a website

Most websites are housed in so-called server farms, where their physical location is only important in as far as their protection and reliability is concerned. It’s quite possible to have a web server in the shed at the bottom of your garden, but I wouldn’t recommend it. A reliable hosting company with a good reputation, ultra-fast internet connection, fire-proof rooms and good insurance policy is the minimum you should expect these days.

However, the “virtual location” of the website is much more important: in particular, if you’re offering a service as a business based on a local region. I am currently working on an updated version of this website and one of the key parts I want to improve – aside from the visual – is its success as a promoter of my wedding photography. Once people find the site and its gallery, feedback is usually good: but the problem is that they don’t find my site unless they’re quite specific about their search.

One way in which the popularity of mobile devices such as the iPhone and Android phones has had an effect is that geographic technology on the web has come on in leaps and bounds. One specific development over the past couple of years is that Google has improved their ability to target your search results based on the purported geographic location of your business. Either by specifying it via a Google Places entry, or via additional “meta tags” specifying the locality to a degree of accuracy.

To that end, I’ve added the technology to this version of my site for the time being, to see what results they bring. By specifying the centre of Lake Thun and a radius of 10km as accuracy, a little privacy of an actual address can be avoided, whilst still being specific enough to be caught in a search based on the local area.

More information is available in this article on the Search Engine Watch website, and at the Geo Tag Generator website.