True, the Internet today has brought the world much closer, thus encouraging worldwide trade in a mammoth way. But that does not mean brands were not targeted to different countries during pre-Internet days (offline). It was very much there, the only difference between such offline marketing and today’s online marketing is the application of state-of-the-art online marketing strategies. Also, in terms of ranking high in search results for different countries it has become necessary to have an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy that can truly reflect each country you are targeting.
In order to provide best result to any user, Google geo-targets its search results through a two-tier system. Firstly, it offers country-specific versions, such as Google.ca and Google.co.uk, while each of these displaying search results that are tailored for the country it is meant for.Secondly, there is Google.com for the United States and Google.com International. This means that when users visiting any country outside the United States go to Google.com, they get a blend of ‘international’ results that are tailored for the country they are searching from.
When targeting multiple countries, you need to take into account some of the basic elements of international SEO, each of which can render the right option to better optimize for any given country or region. Therefore, the more you try to incorporate into you such international SEO strategies, the better you are going to rank in your targeted overseas markets.
That Google determines the geographic relevance of a website through TLD (Top Level Domain) is an established fact. However, there are generic TLDs as well as country-specific TLDs or ccTLDs. Evidently, the more relevant your ccTLD is to a geographically oriented market, the more likely your website will rank on searches for that country. However, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam has recently thrown some new light on the topic. Cutts explained that most domains at a country level contain content specific to that country. When a site uses a ccTLD, Google is going to assume that the site’s content applies to the Geo-targeted area specified by the domain. If the content is not relevant to the ccTLD, then the site is doing a “disservice” to that domain.
Nevertheless, Google is careful about placing geographic relevance on ccTLD as there are quite a few restrictions on registering some ccTLDs. For instance, if you intend to register any .com.au domain, you need to have a registered business in Australia. Conversely, Google will consider such issue as an indication that your site is relevant to users in Australia, provided you have the required Australian registration.All said and done, if ranking in any particular country or region becomes an important segment of your SEO strategy, having relevant ccTLD would prove crucial toward achieving such status.
While determining the geographic relevance of a site, Google also considers the IP address of the site. A site’s IP address is determined by the server that hosts the site and indicates where that server is located. So if you want to rank well within a certain country, you should ensure that the site you’re using to target that country is hosted on a server that is situated within that country.
One of the prioritized aspects of any SEO strategy comprises onsite content. This includes page titles, meta descriptions, and actual page copy. Therefore, when you are targeting multiple linguistic markets, you need to ensure that you have page titles, meta descriptions, and page copy (e.g. product descriptions) in the relevant languages. Likewise, when you are targeting multiple English language market such as UK and Canada areas, you will need to develop onsite content that adheres to the various English language variations of the markets you’re targeting.
Unquestionably, one of the crucial tenets of SEO concerns building targeting backlinks from apposite as well, as related websites. For beginners, the more backlinks you build, the better your site will rank overall. Additionally, the more backlinks you have with targeted anchor text from pages containing related content, the better your site will rank for targeted issues.Incidentally, when it comes to ranking within a specific country, Google surely considers the TLD, IP address, and onsite content of the sites linking back to you. To tell you the truth, it is much more valuable to have a .co.uk site linking back to your UK property than is to a backlink from a .com or .org site.
Brands that are targeting multiple countries in multiple languages have three options of how to build each of their websites: (a) create separate sites on separate TLDs and ccTLDs, (b) create country specific subdomains on their main domain, (c) create country specific subdirectories on their main domain.Arguably, each of these proffers different advantages and represents different levels of investment. Nevertheless, the one that’s right for your brand will depend on factors such as your budget and available IT resources.