International SEO Strategies
I often have heard people discussing about International Search Engine Optimization strategies and how it can help get your website a global impact. Different SEO people have different opinion about this and still people have no clear indication on how to go about setting up a global SEO strategy, here in this post I will be discussing about few basic strategies that can be included in order to give your website that extra reach. Here is my two cents:
Site Architecture & Domain Management
As many people would suggest I would have the site architecture at top the list when it comes to optimizing your website. To get the perfect website that can rank in search engines it’s necessary to maintain good site architecture. It’s very important for big business organization to expand their website to cover multiple regions and there are various ways you can show Google that your website is intended for a particular geographical target market.
When targeting more than one regions or country then never forget to do an in-depth analysis of the legal and administrative requirements that can come into play. Domain management is one of the most important factors and it is completely dependent on the size and target market of your business. Below I am mentioning different types of approaches that big brands have been using to counter this:
Country Specific Top Level Domain
Using a country specific domain name, a country specific domain name will give strong signal to search engines and users since it is exclusively targeted to a particular region. You can also choose to manually target for gTLD using Google Webmaster tools as well, it’s quite easy to do this but remember to use multilingual content for that purpose. Amazon is one of the best example for using CSTLD as they have managed their domain by separate for UK and US (Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.co.us). They have also taken specific care that there are no duplicate content issues present in the website.
Using subdomains can be quite useful for smaller business websites and even though it’s not as strong as using CSTLD it can be made powerful if you are concentrating on the inbound links. A good example for a website using sub domain can be yahoo who have been using it very effectively, E.G Yahoo has uk.yahoo.com as subdomain which is targeted to the users from UK. Often subdomains are treated as less effective when compared to top level domains and sub folders but there is a positive side to this as well sub domains compared to others have a potential to be hosted on different servers to the main website.
Having subfolders in your website can help a webmaster to manage different sections of the website under one CMS so it’s much easier to control and manage when compared to sub domains. E.G of sub folder architecture can be apple as their UK website is located ender www.apple.co/uk/ but to successfully implement this you will need to individually target the geo location using the webmaster tools. The main disadvantage for sub folder is that it can’t have different IP’s as the main domain will be hosted in a single location.
Multi lingual Content
Translating the contents to languages that your website geo location is targeting to is another important factor. It’s very important to understand that not all countries can read and speak English, Spanish is also being spoken in at least 20 countries which means that we will need to concentrate on other languages as well if we need our website to have a global impact. But be aware of the duplication issues that can affect your website because of automated translator plugins and few translations can also give wrong meaning to the users.
If you are using a translator plugin then make sure that there are no indexing problems that are caused due to this and also have a close check on the keyword variations. Language localization should also be another factor to be considered as different words can be ranked differently in various countries. E.G if you are optimizing the content for sports and you are using the word Football across the content then it will be ranking less in regional based searches. In Italy Football is searched as “Calcio” and Spain its “Futbol”.
While concentrating on a global basis it’s very necessary to build links pointing from each country to its related directory or domain. Along with attracting local links take special note of the localised anchor text that needs to be used as well in the incoming links. Use a regular search operator to find out the sites that are coming from a particular TLD.
Local Citations & Contact Information
Having a mention of your business across local business listing sites like Google Places, Yelp etc with link to your related domain can be very useful and this has been getting in high weightage in Google search. Also ensure that your contact details and physical location is clearly mentioned in your website.
Content language Meta tag & XML Sitemap
While writing a Meta for a global website include content language Meta tag. E.G
Also don’t forget to add an XML sitemap make sure that you include it by sub directory/country basis.
Above listed are few of the main strategies that needs to be included in your SEO campaign if you are targeting your business website on an international basis. So what’s your Global SEO strategy?