How Does Geolocation Work?

How Does Geolocation Work?

Geolocation is the ability to determine an internet user’s physical location. This awareness can be used for almost any purpose, from targeted advertising and fraud prevention to law enforcement and emergency response. A website or webpage needs access to the user’s geographic location information to geolocate an individual device. For example, when a user visits a website that requires an email address, their browser provides the website with that email address as well as the user’s approximate geographic location.


If you’ve ever asked yourself how does geolocation work, here’s everything you need to know about what is geolocation and how it works.

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What is Geolocation?

Geolocation is the geographical (longitude and latitude) location of a device that’s connected to the Internet.

Remember that time you accidentally misplaced your phone, Apple Watch, AirPods, or Mac, and you used the “Find My...” feature?

Well, Apple uses geolocation technology to pinpoint the approximate location of your iOS device.

Business owners can take this one step further with geolocation marketing. If you’ve ever used the app Foursquare, you’ll know that as soon as you touch down in a new city, you’ll get a push notification about all the top restaurants near you that match your preferences.

Another excellent example of geolocation marketing is rewarding customers with a small gift for “checking in” via Facebook. You can give away a free coffee, your WiFi password, or a 20% off voucher.

It’s an easy way to reach a larger audience and grow your business using little effort.

How does IP geolocation work on a browser?

Whenever you connect to the Internet with your phone, computer, or tablet creates a unique identifier for you called an IP address or internet protocol address. The IP address allows computers to send and receive information. This address is the internet version of a home address.

There are four types of IP addresses:

  1. public
  2. private
  3. static
  4. dynamic

Most devices use dynamic IP addresses because their IP address changes based on the device's location.

So, the IP addresses can determine the country, region, state, city, and postal code as well as a customer's time zone and exact coordinates. If you've ever used Google Maps to locate a local restaurant, or went online to find a physical store location for your favorite brand then you've used geolocation services.

So how accurate is geolocation?

Like anything in life, there’s always room for error. Geolocation collects its data from the GPS on your device and cellular networks. The more people there are to receive transmissions from; the more accurate geolocation becomes, dramatically reducing the probability of your phone telling you to turn left into a wall. 

If you’re out in the sticks, you’ll find geolocation accuracy starts to get a bit wonky. There are usually delays in data transmissions, and Suri might really want you to drive straight through that cornfield.

Geolocation only provides an approximation of location. Using IP-based geolocation boasts a 95-99 percent accuracy of a user's country and a 55-80 percent accuracy for a user's region or state. Accuracy varies depending on the provider and the device's location.

What are the benefits of geolocation?

how does geolocation work

1. Creates tailored shopping experiences

 Are you running an e-commerce site in multiple countries around the world? When a user lands on your website, you can use their IP geolocation to take them to the site you’ve built specifically for that region.

The benefits?

Your customers can see what stock is available in their country as well as the prices of your goods in their preferred country. It creates a seamless and tailored shopping experience that will keep eyeballs on your site.

2. Improves your marketing efforts

Geolocation is also a powerful way to improve your marketing. Using the geolocation in Google Analytics in the Audience section, you can click on the “Geo” drop-down list and view an interactive map showing you where most of your users come from.

 From there, you can use location-based filters to drill down into cities and view the statistics for acquisition, behavior, and conversions for each destination.

With this information, you can start to analyze your base and begin to make better business decisions.

For example: If you notice you’re getting a decent amount of from New York, but the users aren’t converting, you can set up a geolocation coupon code to trigger and encourage people to complete the check-out process.


What are the weaknesses?

1. While IP-based geolocation is a treasure trove of information for businesses, users might feel less inclined to share their data with you. As a result, there is a rise in VPNs, Proxys, and other IP obfuscation tools.

2. Another way that your geolocation data can become corrupted is with data injection. This is when the user sends fake locations or when no data is collected because it requires the user to consent.

So if you need the exact address of your customer, down to their house number, the best way to collect this data is by simply asking for it.

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How can you use geolocation for your business?

 Now that you know the benefits of geolocation, we'll show you how you can use it to your advantage. Geolocation can help you:

  • determine the location of your customers to better tailor products for them
  • help your customers find you

So, how can you leverage this? By using a store locator.

A store locator lets you connect with potential customers in your area. This is an ideal solution for businesses that want to expand their customer base or promote their brand. It’s also great to find new customers and attract them to your store.

 Storemapper is a web-based app that helps businesses to map their locations and track their performance. It offers a variety of features, including the ability to create custom maps, track foot traffic, and find where customers are located. Storemapper is easy to use and offers a free trial, making it a great option for businesses of all sizes.


Installing Storemapper to your site is super easy, and you only need to do it once. We use WordPress in this example, but the installation is the same for Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Volusion, and any other CMS or e-commerce platform.

Please find more information on how to install Storemapper for WordPress here.

1. Click here to get your code snippet, highlight it, and copy it to your clipboard.

We just need to create a page in your CMS or website to put the code in.

2. You’ll need to create a new Page in your Admin.

3. Paste this in as raw code so switch the editor to Text, or HTML, “Source Code”, or a symbol like < > and paste in your code

4. Save the Page and you’re done. That's it! Your store locator will now render on that page like any other normal page on your site.

See how to.

Frequently Asked Questions about Geolocation

What is geolocation?

Geolocation is the process of finding out where something is in the world. Usually, this refers to finding out the latitude and longitude of a particular location, but it can also refer to more specific details like altitude, accuracy, and so on. Geolocation can be done with a variety of methods, but the most common is probably GPS.

What is a geolocation service?

Geolocation service determines the location of your customers, whether they're using a computer, phone, or another device. Geolocation services like Storemapper can help customers find your physical store location right from your website.

What is my geolocation IP?

Type into Google "how to find my IP" and Google will reveal your IP address.

Is my IP address based on location or device?

Your IP address is based on where your device is when it's connected to the internet.

How accurate is IP address location?

Generally, around 95-99% accurate.


Geolocation is the process of identifying the physical location of a device, usually a cell phone or a computer, through its IP address. It's an excellent way to grow your business and offer your customers a tailored experience. As technology improves over the next couple of years, accuracy will continue to improve and it will continue to be an indispensable business tool.

Try our store locator app on your site and help customers find your products.

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Try our store locator app on your site and help customers find your products.

Start a free trial
no credit card required