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Geo-Targeting Your Website

Geo-Targeting Your Website

Target_Map_GeoTargetingWe are all familiar with Google, Bing and other similar search engines getting in our heads, offering suggested searches based on just a few letters being entered in the search box… did you mean…? Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s annoying, and sometimes it’s downright scary! Google stores every bit of information it receives from every single user. When you enter a search string, Google will offer the most common searches that match the words you are entering, combined with your location information. What is trending in Los Angeles may be different than what is trending in Memphis, and certainly different than what is trending in other countries. This overwhelming amount of data drives the information and suggested websites Google returns.

Many of us, however, may not realize the information in the settings of a website is equally important and powerful in returning search results to the user. If you want your website, or a particular page, to be found by customers within your geographic area, you can influence how your site appears in search results. Google, Bing and other search engines allow website Dartsowners to set a specific geographic target (geo-targeting) for the site overall or for specific pages. This is in addition to generic, top-level domain address information (IP address, location information, links, etc.), and country-coded domains (.us, .au, .fr, etc.). Geo-targeting allows search engines to return results containing optimized content to users based on their location including country, region, state, city, metro area, and even as specific as a neighborhood zip code. The best way to set geo-targeting for your website is to create separate profile pages for each geographic area you want to target.

To check your geographic target settings on Google, visit the Webmaster Tools Home page, click Site Settings, select Geographic target, and choose your options (click here for instructions). For Bing, the steps are a bit more complicated (click here for instructions). Happy Targeting!!!

Newspaper Map – World Newspapers

Newspaper Map – Web Resource

Okay news junkies and map geeks, check out this fabulous interactive website: www.newspapermap.com! Not only is it visually stunning, it is an excellent online tool for anyone interested in local news.

Newpaper Map All

The developers of the website, located in Sweden, have this motto:

All news is local news
Local perspectives on global news. In your language.

The website is one giant map highlighting the location and language of more than 10,000 newspapers around the world. You can search for specific newspapers, zoom in on a geographical area or filter by language. Mainstream papers are highlighted with a large marker, and regional papers are represented with a small marker. Click on any marker for the name of the paper and a link to its website. A list of translation languages are offered or you can opt to translate the website with the click of a button once there. You can even filter the website by language. Check it out – but be warned, it can be addicting!

Newspaper Map Boston Newspaper Map Boston Globe

Minimum Wage in 2014

Minimum WageIn President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address, minimum wage was once again a hot topic. Obama urged local leaders not to wait for Congress to act, but rather to take matters in their own hands and raise the minimum wage to $10.10, well above the current $7.25 federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In December 2011, we published a minimum wage post highlighting eight states raising their minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2012, along with a tally of how the states stacked up against the federal minimum. Since that time, minimum wage increases have continued to occur across several states, many of them the ten states that adjust the rate annually, based on the Consumer Price Index, to account for inflation. Here is how the state counts stack up from 2011 to 2014.

State vs Fed Min Wage 2014 Table

For a complete table by state for the years 2011 through 2014 click here.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor has an interactive map for tracking the minimum wage in each state as well as other U.S. jurisdictions, as shown in the image below.

Minimum Wage Map 2014

While the great debate rages on about the pros and cons of raising the minimum wage, there is plenty of evidence that the impact of increasing wages effects many aspects of the economy. It puts extra dollars in consumers’ pockets which historically leads to increased consumer spending which leads to job creation. Wage increases stimulate local economies. At the same time, higher wages also impact small businesses that rely on a minimum wage workforce and cannot directly absorb the wage hikes without passing costs on to consumers or reducing workforce.

How will these changes affect your business? How will these changes affect your sales and territory management strategy? It’s important to take income and wage metrics into account when making decisions for 2014 and beyond. Our GeoMetrx mapping software has a wealth of demographic data that can help you map your success. If you’d like to learn more, let us know.

NewsMap – visualizing data on a treemap

Visualizing data… that’s what mapping is all about. At GeoMetrx, our specialty is creating and mapping franchise territories and sales territories. Maps helps us conceptualize the story data is trying to tell in a way that is easy to understand. There is virtually no data World Newsthat cannot be mapped in some way, and while we tend to think of maps as being limited to physical geography, as important and valuable as that is, the truth is the only limit of mapping is our imagination.

Whenever we come across unique data mapping projects, we like to share them with you. Our most recent discovery is the NewsMap app (be patient it can take a moment to load), which visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News aggregator. Utilizing a treemap algorithm to display a large amount of information, the service has taken the concept a step further. The app divides news stories into bands that are divided by content and location around the globe. Users can view the biggest topics trending around the globe across all categories, or narrow in on a particular news segment in a single country. Below is a view of the current news stories trending across all categories in the U.S. at the time of the publication of this post (2/28/14):

NewsMap Image All

Much like a word cloud, the greater attention by media outlets to a given topic or newstory, the larger and more prominent the placement of the story in the treemap. Hover over a headline for a summary of the topic as well to see how many related articles are out there:

NewsMap Image Top Story

Currently, the app provides trending news for 19 countries grouped by 7 categories:

  • World
  • National
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Health

You can quickly register for a free account and customize your news settings. This app is one of the best ways to filter out all the noise on the Internet and quickly get a sense of the hottest topics. Funny, and true, story… a couple of weeks ago my son called home from World Thumbs Upcollege and he mentioned the flap about ‘flappy birds’, the app that was temporarily pulled out of the app stores by its owner. Thanks to NewsMap, I knew exactly what he was talking about. Seeing that it was a trending story that day, I hovered, read the summary and moved on, and enjoyed my son’s surprise that I was ‘hip’ to the latest tech gossip!

Median Income vs. Median Rent Heat Maps

Median Income vs. Median Rent Heat Maps – business site location analysis tools

Income Rent BalanceWe hear a lot about the real estate market these days and how fluctuating costs are impacting local economies. If your business relies on minimum wage employees, for example, it will be more difficult to maintain a workforce if located in an area with high rents. Likewise, your business needs to be accessible to consumers who can afford your products or services. Furthermore, locating your business in a debt-strapped area could suppress earnings potential.

Kwelia, a company that provides competitive intelligence for the real estate market has created an interactive online heat mapping service at the census tract level. The heat maps allow you to quickly visualize median income, median rent per sq/ft., and most importantly, the combined effect of median rent as a percentage of median income. The maps are available for nearly every metro market in the U.S.

Showcased below is the median income / median rent for the southern portion of the Silicon Valley. The highlighted track (pointing cursor) includes Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA. The median rental share of income in this region is a comfortable 16.6%. San Joaquin Valley to the east, on the other hand, at 46.2%, leaves residents with much less disposable income.

Median Income:

Source: Kwelia.com

Source: Kwelia.com

Median Rent/sq.ft.

Source: Kwelia.com

Source: Kwelia.com

Median Rental Share of Income

Source: Kwelia.com

Source: Kwelia.com

We’ve zoomed in on this same area and applied our GeoMetrx 2013 household income by census tract with an overlay of the top computer and electronic product manufacturers (annual sales over $1 million). You can see there is certainly a lot of competition for well-qualified employees which draws talent to the area and keeps salary levels (e.g. income levels) competitive as well. There is a symbiotic relationship between business activity and the real estate market. However, as the balance shifts between these two forces, the impact can be enormous as we saw in 2008, and the years following as the real estate market has struggled to regain its footing amid the long-running economic downturn.

2013 Median HH Income by Census Tract -- Top Computer & Electronic Product Manufacturers (NAICS 3341)w/Sales $1MM+Source: GeoMetrix.com

2013 Median HH Income by Census Tract —
Top Computer & Electronic Product Manufacturers (NAICS 3341)w/Sales $1MM+
Source: GeoMetrix.com

For a complete retail site selection analysis, consumer profiling and/or market analysis, our GeoMetrx web-based mapping software is loaded with rich demographic data, competitive business data and much more. If you are planning to start a new business, open additional offices or retail locations, or expand your franchise offerings, GeoMetrx can help maximize your decision making portfolio. Call us at 1.888.848.4436 for more information or request a custom demo today.

New Beach Front Property? If all the ice melted…

When it comes to global warming, or rather the new, more PC term, climate change, there is one main theme – rising temperatures of both land and sea. While the debate rages on whether this threat is real or perceived, or whether it’s human induced or a natural geological cycle, one thing is certain, the earth is changing. But then it always has been and likely always will,  and this keeps our scientists very busy indeed!

In the September 2013 issue of National Geographic, a map was created in response to the question many of us have asked in recent years – “What if all the ice melted?” Well, for starters, the sea would rise an estimated 216 feet, and the most dramatic effect in the U.S. can be observed in Florida… er, wait, there would be NO Florida!!! Along with that, we would lose much of the rest of the Gulf Coast, as well as the entire Atlantic seaboard, San Diego, and more.

If All the Ice Melted - US

JASON TREAT, MATTHEW TWOMBLY, WEB BARR, MAGGIE SMITH, NGM STAFF. ART: KEES VEENENBOS.
SOURCES: PHILIPPE HUYBRECHTS, VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT BRUSSEL; RICHARD S. WILLIAMS, JR., WOODS HOLE RESEARCH CENTER; JAMES C. ZACHOS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ; USGS; NOAA, ETOPO1 BEDROCK, 1 ARC-MINUTE GLOBAL RELIEF MODEL COPYRIGHT © SEPTEMBER 2013 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY

But before those of us slightly inland from our current shorelines reassess our property values, it’s going to take awhile to melt the more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth. According to National Geographic, “some scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt it all. If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, we’ll very likely create an ice-free planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58.” To see more, click on this link, or on the map above to view the affect on each of the continents.

40 Maps that Explain the World

We’d like to share with you a blog post from Max Fisher and the Washington Post Foreign Staff. Max wrote a great post including both existing and newly created maps that each give a unique view of the world.

WARNING: Do not click on the link to Max’s post unless you have some time to spare! If you love maps and you love data, you WILL get caught up in the fascinating 40 maps provided.

Here is a sneak preview of Map 3:  The world’s major writing systems:

Source: Wikimedia Commons; Max Fisher and the Washington Post Foreign Staff

Source: Wikimedia Commons; Max Fisher and the Washington Post Foreign Staff

Says Max… “This map is a reminder that the world’s divisions and commonalities go much deeper than national borders. It also helps to tell the stories of a few major events that still shape the globe, the echoes of which you can see in almost every map on this page:European colonialism, the Arabic-speaking Islamic conquests of the 7th century, the Russian expansions of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the (still-ongoing!) unifications of India and China.

Okay, now you’ve been warned, so here is the link: 40 Maps that Explain the World. Enjoy… because we sure did!

Map of US Rivers

Map of US Rivers

What an incredible Map of US Rivers! Using USGS data, Nelson Minar has created a vector tile map of all the water flowlines in the 48 contiguous states.  While he cautions that he includes all the flowlines available in the dataset (i.e. “lots of seasonal creekbeds, arroyos, etc.”) it’s still a pretty incredible depiction of all the flowing water sources in the U.S.

Minar also cautions that there is some missing data as well as some nuances of the data and software that causes some blue rectangles and variable density, particularly north of Texas and west of the Mississippi. For those who are technically adept and interested in trying their own hand at creating vector tile maps, Minar has provided detailed information thru this link: https://github.com/NelsonMinar/vector-river-map

Real-time Earthquake Map

Real-time Earthquake Map

Most of us don’t give much thought to earthquakes if we don’t live in California, Alaska or Hawaii, but you might be surprised to learn that earthquakes pose a significant threat to 75 million Americans in 39 States, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The two most common questions following an earthquake are “Did you feel that?” and “How big was it?” The answer to the first often depends on who you ask, unless it was so huge nobody could have missed it. The answer to the second is typically available within 30 minutes or less on the USGS’s Earthquake Hazards Program website. The website has recently been updated and includes a nifty interactive mapping application. There are so many different setting options for the Real-time Earthquake Map that it comes with its own navigation map:

One of the many features of the application is a running count of current earthquakes. This running count can be set based on the chosen data feed options which include:

• 7 days, Magnitude 2.5+
• 7 days, All
• 30 days, Significant
• 30 days, Magnitude 2.5+
• 30 days, All
• Custom (select time range, magnitude range and more)

You can also choose which region you want to observe whether it be worldwide, the US , any of the most common earthquake states or simply zoom into a region within the map window. The list of displayed earthquakes will adjust to match the view option you choose. If you are a mapping geek/geography buff, check out the site and have fun trying out all the different option settings. And may the ground beneath your feet hold steady!

Pop vs Soda – A Soft Drink by any other name is…

Pop vs Soda

A soft drink by any other name is… just as bubbly, or is it?

I remember a funny story my mother shared with me years ago. She and some college friends at a school in the upper Midwest stopped in at a local diner for lunch. One of her friends ordered an orange soda. The server dutifully jotted it down, but when she brought the orange soda to the table, the friend was stunned. There before her was a large glass filled with vanilla ice cream and an orange soft drink. It took a little bit of discussion to sort out the misunderstanding, which came down to a regional variation.  You see, her friend grew up on the East Coast where soft drinks are typically called sodas. In the Midwest, folks refer to soft drinks as pop, so had she ordered an orange pop, there wouldn’t have been a funny story to share! In the South, soft drinks are often referred to as cokes, no matter the flavor. If you want an orange soft drink while visiting there it is advisable to order an orange coke… seriously!

I recently came across a fun website, the Pop vs Soda Page, where this difference in word usage is being surveyed and mapped by Alan McConchie. Anyone visiting the site can participate by entering their hometown ZIP Code and selecting which version of the word they first learned to describe soft drinks. Here is a look at the most current map.

The actual website map is interactive and by mousing over the map you can view just the areas in which a particular word is most prevalent – Pop vs Soda vs Coke vs Other. A map for Canada is said to be coming soon. What do they call soft drinks in the Great White North?