Optimise SEO for international sites. (Geotargeting)

15. September 2010 03:45 by Sasha in SEO  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments

If your website audience is spread over different countries then you would want to rank well in the local Google searches for those countries. This article covers only sites that are in one language – English. If you have a multi-lingual site then there are other rules you also need to follow.

A good place to start is the Google support pages  - http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=182192#1

Basically Google does it’s best to determine who and where your audience is by using things such as:

  • Domain Suffixes (.au, co.uk, etc)
  • Where your server is located. Locally to your audience is better.
  • If your site includes local addresses and phone numbers on the pages or the use of local language and currency
  • links from other local sites
  • Use of Google Places

As having a local domain for the same site such as .com.au and .co.uk should theoretically improve your rankings in both Australia and the UK, it is tempting to apply both domains to the same site. The problem is that Google may penalise you for having duplicate content. (Read more)

A way around this is to create different content that appears based on your visitors location. Obviously this requires creating more content as well as your site being able to handle displaying different content based on users location.

Keep it Simple

For most people the best strategy would be to:

  • Use a domain with a generic suffix such as .com
  • If possible tailor content to apply to your target countries by providing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses in those countries.
  • Generate links from sites that are hosted in the location you are targeting.
  • Use Google places and Adwords in the local countries.
  • Research if users in other countries are searching with different terms and optimise for those terms.

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