2

One of my clients is a financial planner. He is in the Pacific Northwest, an area big on buying local, and the site's visual identity reflects that in header images, colors, etc...

Well, apparently he also has deep roots in the state of Texas, and travels there at least annually for clients. He recently asked me the following:

I’m thinking of serving clients in Texas (in addition to what I’ve got going here), but my website is themed around the Pacific NW via its web banners. This may sound like a crazy question, but would it be possible to display difference web banners for folks accessing my website from Texas?

Crazy, indeed. I'm well are of the dangers of diluting your brand, like the pointlessness of extra domain names.

TL;DR:

My client wants to have a different banner for people in Texas, so I'm looking for a good option to serve that, while serving the original content to clients in the Pacific Northwest.

Options I don't like:

  • Using GeoLocation is a classic option, and although reliability has improved for desktop visitors, in a recent test of my smartphone's current IP address through 5 services, 4 of them failed to correctly identify what state I was in.

  • Use example.com/texas. We could add content to a special landing page hoping that clients type in the whole link. Downside: that might be an unreasonable expectation.

The only reasonable thing I can think of:

  • Use texasdomain.com. Create a new domain name with 301's to a specific URL on example.com that sets a cookie or session. Then check for cookie/session and serve different CSS file/images & localized SEO. Also, use link rel canonical to cover my butt.

Do you think the above would be an effective option, or would you do something different?

1

You are right about GEOIP and GEO Location. It is hard to do and requires maintenance. Even then, according to some I am in Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, etc. One out of four ain't bad! Not something to count on.

Concerning your idea about the new domain name and doing a 301 redirect. If you are thinking that the domain name is of any benefit because the word Texas is in it, you will be wasting your clients money. Keyword matches in domain names do not count for much these days. The only way I can see this working is if it was it's own domain with content targeted specifically for a Texas audience. Then it could work. But it is twice the work.

Concerning the cookie. There is some merit to this, but very little. You will also be confusing search engines who like to use locale which you should be using to your benefit. I cannot see that a user would appreciate being redirected to another site in another local. This has happened to me a few times as a cheap trick to capture search users and it p1$$3d me off. This happened to me lately where a bunch of long-range digital antenna sales companies and installers would capture my attention as a local search then redirect me to someone several states away. This did not help me at all! I needed a local installer and not one who will ship me a bunch of stuff and tell me to get up on my roof and do it myself. These tricks are terrible. For some professions, people want face to face contact. I would not suggest this tactic at all. Keep it honest.

Your best idea was the sub-directory. Clean and simple. Your home page can reflect both areas and the site can generally focus on the professional offering. For each area you can have targeted sets of pages in a sub-directory to attract search users interested in finding someone to work with who understands their needs and is local or can be. You can target/brand each set anyway you like. Simple. Search engines would love it too.

The best solutions are the simplest. Do not over complicate what people do every day. Please. Simple is always best.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.