15th October 2013
Tips For International SEO Part 2: Tips 6-10
Follow these tips in order to make sure your SEO strategy is correctly optimised for international users.
6 – Content is King!
When a company wants to target multiple countries online, they might create multiple websites / domains in order to do so. Whilst this works for some people, it can cause a few duplication issues. If you have the same content within numerous live websitse, Google may be inclined to penalise you for duplicated copy. Having multiple websites / domains for each country the business works in can also be quite costly. Not only will you have to purchase multiple domains which will be renewed yearly, you’ll have to pay for multiple website builds, and for each site to be individually optimised / managed.
The best way around these issues is to use sub-domains – for example, we could create uk.varnmedia.co.uk and us.varnmedia.co.uk in order to target a UK and USA audience separately. When using sub-domains, you are able to use what’s called a ‘hreflang’ tag. This is a snippet of code which specifies the language of your website. It can be applied to the website as a whole, or as individual sections depending on your audience. This helps notify Google and other search engines of the fact that, although your content may appear multiple times across each sub-domain, you are in fact targetting different languages / visitors. Google is then unlikely to dish out any penalties for duplicated content.
7 – Local Backlinks
As most people know, backlinks and your overall linking profile are an important part of Search Engine Optimisation. Having local backlinks pointed at your website can really help when you are trying to target a specific location. Having local backlinks directed towards location specific areas within your website can help Google and similar search engines recognise the different countries you are trying to target.
When it comes to backlinks, it is extremely important to remember that quality very much outweighs quantity. Many people still buy backlinks in bulk, which is a very outdated technique which can now cause your website to be heavily penalised by search engines. Ideally, your backlink profile will contain a number of local and international links directed towards relevant sections withn your website. These will be of a high quality from referring domains with a high Google Page Rank. The websites where these links originate should contain useful information which is relevant to that of your own site. Avoid low quality, spammy links and generic link databases.
8 – Domains and Hosting
When creating a website, you can by all means purchase a generic domain which can be used to target multiple countries around the globe. However, search engines such as Google much prefer ccTLD’s, or ‘Country code top-level domains’. These are website addresses which are generally used for a particular country, state or territory. For example, whilst purchasing a .com domain can applied to any website worldwide, a UK specific website may be more likely to use a domain ending in .uk. An American website might end is .us, whilst a French website could employ ‘.fr’.
Using a ccTLD is ideal if you are targetting an international audience from a specific country. With these domains, you can also employ the use of the hreflang tag, in order to specify the use of individual languages within the country. You can find a list of all current country code top-level domains by clicking here.
9 – Server Location
The location of the server which you use to host the website can also have an impact on how well you rank within a particular country or area. If, for example, you are creating a website targeted at an American audience, but you are based in the UK, you may prefer to employ the use of a server based within the USA, instead of one in the United Kingdom. When Google explores a website in order to determine where it should rank within search results, it takes over 200 separate factors into account.
Having the location of your website’s server in the same location as your target audience can help you rank well for a number of location related searches. Of course, you need to ensure that you choose a server company who can be contacted from the country within which you are situated, and with ease. It’s always worth looking around at a number of different hosting companies before making such important decisions.
10 – On-site SEO Factors
Most importantly, never forget the usual SEO rules which apply to all websites, regardless of the target country / audience. Google uses the same algorithms and methods to rank different websites worldwide, and so the vital on-site SEO elements should never be forgotten. This includes your typical title tags, meta information, internal linking profile, header tags, sitemaps and more. If you are unsure as to whether your on-site SEO is as comprehensive and complete as it could be, then Varn will happily provide you with a quote for a full SEO website audit. Simply get in touch for more information.