Rankings change significantly based on the location where the search was made. Only by getting a view of your rankings in different countries will you have an understanding of your SEO needs. For this reason, it is important to fully integrate geomarketing in an international SEO campaign. Geo-targeting is a broad reference to the method of pinpointing an audience based on their location. When looking to reach customers abroad, we will have to use location specific optimisation strategies so as to position your website in local search results.
If you’re checking your rankings in one location (e.g. Paris), you will have different rankings than if you are in another international location (e.g. Bruxelles). We then need to check your local rankings in the country you are targeting. Rankings are a strong performance metric, as long as they are used alongside other important metrics like traffic and search volume. For that purpose, Openvalley has created a ranking index called LocalRank that helps you track your rankings and other essential performance data in your foreign target countries. With this information, we help you monitor the performance of your international SEO campaign through-time, pinpoint where there is room for improvement and which country you should focus your efforts on.
Location-specific optimisation strategies are becoming increasingly more important, and we will review now some of the factors affecting positively your presence in local search results. Here are some of our location specific optimisation methods:
Having a country-coded top-level domain (such as .ie) for the country you’re targeting really helps the search engines identify which region you’re relevant for and which queries you should show up against. You’re not going to try and target France with a .es website after all…So it makes sense to work with a multi domain website. Another approach, one sub-folder per language, with only one domain name (www.yoursite.com/en/) ; www.yoursite.com/fr/)) can be also useful. If your main site has a lot of trust and authority and especially if you don’t have a business with local offices then you should think about using this strategy.
Meta tags and localized content
“Local content is king” could be one of the rules to follow to appear on the local level. One of the most important factors for successful geo-location and geo-referencing of a website is its content. So when targeting a specific country, you should create optimized content targeting specifically this country, paying particular attention to the text of the web page, the titles and meta descriptions pages.
Geotargeting with Google Webmaster Tools
The Set Geographic Target tool in Webmaster Tools lets you associate your site with a specific region. if your site is tailored to a certain geographic location, you may want to use this feature. It is quite simple to use. You are not obliged to geotarget any region or country in GWT. If you decide not to check the Target users in checkbox, you are simply leaving your options open so that Google doesn’t particularly associate you with a geographic location.
Google and other search engines can see where most of the sites that link to you are located. And that’s another factor on how well your site will rank in a particular country. Getting local links pointing to your site can really help a site rank for that particular location, so do not underestimate the power of quality local links. The more quality links you will have, the better your site will rank!
We should make sure to get links from sites with a similar profile. For example, it will be interesting for a site selling computers located in Germany to get links from other high tech sites located in the same country.
Care should be taken to vary the anchor text of the links pointing to your site, avoiding any keyword abuse. These backlinks should point to different pages of the website, and not just to the home page.
Don’t forget to list your website in every local directories, Google Places, Four Square….
Local activity: Links, Mentions, Votes and comments
Signs that indicate to users and search engines a local presence are not to be overlooked. It is interesting to include your business in Google Places or local directories to get links pointing to your website.
Getting customer reviews will also play a positive role in SEO. Do not forget to create links to your website from your local social accounts .
Addresses and local phone numbers on each page, local currency
Any information that will help search engines determine how a site should appear in search results should be used. By adding an address onto every page ( including the country in the address, not just the street address), you’re sending a strong signal to search engines that you are based in a specific region and that is the region that you should rank in. The best way to implement this is in the footer of the site. If you have more than one address for a particular company, we would recommend you to only use only one in your footer. Don’t forget to add your business in Google Places if you have a physical address in a particular country.
Other elements that indicate that it is aimed at a particular market should also be added: local currency, local phone number…
Adding a specific locally-targeted page (or pages, where appropriate). These pages should include relevant information about the store or service being provided in that particular area, along with contact details and any relevant addresses. This holds true for any location where you hva a physical presence.
Ensuring the page has internal link equity.
The page/pages then need to be given internal link equity, ideally from links within both site-navigation and body content, allowing Google to understand that the page is fully integrated within the whole site architecture.
Implement geo-specific schema tags.
For those unfamiliar, Schema.org provides a collection of tags that webmasters can use to mark up certain content elements with structured data that Google, Yahoo, and Bing all recognize and use to better understand the intent of the content. There are many geo-specific schema tags that can be leveraged to further send signals as to which audience the content is intended for including organization names, addresses, phone numbers, geo-coordinates, etc. In addition to sending these signals to the engines, the data is now being incorporated into the search results pages for relevant queries. Not only does this improve the user experience, but it also helps attract a searcher’s attention to your content and will likely increase click-through rates.
Hosting Location (geolocation with ip)
Hosting location can influence on local search results. Even if you have a site with a local domain (for instance www.domain.fr) your ranking will benefit from hosting the site in the local country, and if you have a generic domain (e.g. www.domain.com) then hosting in the right country can make the difference. Page load time is a measurement of the length of time it takes for your entire website to load a page and display it to a visitor. It is also an important factor when it comes to SEO, as page load times help determine your website’s position in search results. The closer your hosting will be to your target market, the faster it will load.
Let us get your website working for your international expansion. Contact Openvalley today for more information on local search optimization.