We haven’t talked much about carrying out SEO for international markets before. However, since we’ve been carrying out a few projects for this, I thought I’d point out some of the things you’ll need to get started with even before you actually begin the Search Engine Optimisation process.
These are all relating to the configuration of your new domain that you’ll be using to reach the new set of audience overseas.
Top Level Domain (TLD)
Ideally, you’ll want to start by having a domain extension that’s specific to the country you’re optimising for. For example, a .com.au domain will perform much better in Google.com.au than trying to optimise a .co.uk domain. Don’t worry about what content you’re going to host on the new domain as we’ll cover that in the following sections. Although having a country specific TLD is the best way forward, another way around this is redirect the new domain to a specific folder on your website, E.g. yoursite.com.au redirects to yoursite.com/Australia
Country targeting via Google Webmaster Tools
if you’ve reached the point where you’re considering optimising your website internationally, I’m guessing you’ll have your website setup in Google Webmaster Tools. You should now set a geographic target for the country you’re optimising IMAGE
Avoiding duplicate content
A common worry website owners have is if they’ll have to come up with an entirely new set of content for the new domain which can represent significant increase in time, resources and cost. You wont need to worry about this anymore as Google and other major search engines now support cross-domain Canonical Tag. You can use this to allow the same content to be served up in multiple domains of yours without the worry of risking a duplicate content penalty. Read more about it at Search Engine Land.
One of the simplest things you can do to improve your rankings is to make sure your website is hosted in the country you’re targeting. Google has officially admitted that your server’s location has an impact on rankings. And, this applies whether you’re optimising nationally or internationally.
You can check your current website’s server location by using a tool such as Check Host.
You’ll want to have a physical location address in the country you’re targeting and you should have this setup in Google places as well. Also, add this address on your Contact or About Us pages for that country. This will help increase the domain’s credibility with Google which can have an impact on your rankings
Now that you’ve got everything else in place, you’ll want to serve up the right content depending on the country of visit of your users. One of the easiest and reliable ways to do this is to use your user’s IP address . Geolify is a handy tool to help you do this.
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