A geo modifier, also known as a geographic modifier, or geo tag, is a location specific keyword, typically used in addition to a search query of a local business or service, which communicates local intent to a search engine.
An example of a geo modifier would be “Charlotte NC” in the search query “Pizza Charlotte NC”.
Doesn’t everyone? With the advent of personalized search, search engines know your location. So, more and more people are simply searching for “Pizza” or “Pizza near me”. Try it; you will get local results. People often use geo modifiers when looking for car rentals and hotel rooms while planning out their vacations or business trips. For example, if you will be visiting Las Vegas next week, you may search for “car rentals Las Vegas”.
How people use Geo Modifiers
- Search term only (with local intent). As explained above, some people simply search for “pizza”, knowing that their search engine will present them with results near them. In larger cities, some people may use an app such as Google Maps or Yelp. A city, such as Charlotte, has thousands of coffee shops and gas stations, so obviously searching for these places via a search engine is usually useless or turns up businesses 10 or 15 miles away instead of 0.1mi away.
- Search term (with geo modifier). This would be search queries such as “Pizza Charlotte NC”. Some people already in Charlotte will search for this. Other times, people 2,000 miles away will use a geo modifier (eg: Car Rental Miami FL).
As for search queries, some people use city names only. Some people add the state. When people add the state, most people use the state’s abbreviation. Also, some people search by county. It is important to keep all of these things in mind when adding businesses to local search applications or creating hyperlocal content.