Many businesses across the UK and abroad have customers based overseas in different countries, but you’re probably thinking how did they find these customers?
Targeting new customers through the major search engines can be a great way to do this, but, how do you do this affectively using search engine optimisation (SEO)?
Here are my top 6 tips when SEOing for different languages, countries and search engines:
Geotargeting a domain name via Google Webmaster Tools, is a great alternative over ccTLD. Domain extensions such as .com, .net and .org are considered geographically neutral. But, I’ve found ccTLDs to be the best method, read more below.
Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD)
When targeting a specific country, from my experience, purchasing and using a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is one of the best strategies. If you are targeting Spain, the best ccTLD would be .es – to see a complete list click here.
Something which I’ve mentioned many times before is the server location. If you’re targeting the UK, a UK server location is best. If you’re targeting Germany, a German server location is best, and so on.
In most HTML documents, you may find the following code:
<html xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml” dir=”ltr” lang=”en-US”>
Notice the “lang” tag? This is used to declare the language of a website, webpage or a proportion of a webpage. Not only I have found this useful but its another way to tell the search engines the language of the site. I’ve also found that it can help to display characters correctly, especially the Chinese language which uses symbols. For more information on the LANG tag, please click here.
Content is a major factor, and having native and well written web copy is a must, if your targeting a specific language, it must be written in a native tongue. In the video below, Matt Cutts of Google stresses that content translation services aren’t enough when it comes to converting content, it needs to be written in the native language and also needs to read well.
A common tactic when link building is when targeting a specific IP location. Let’s say you want to rank well in the UK, targeting domains which have a UK IP, and link back to you is an advantage! The same applies for all other languages, for example, if you want to rank well in Google France, targeting domains based on a French IP (and even with the domain extension .fr) will work really well.