International SEO Tips
It's time to refresh the key action items or best practices for International search engine optimization.
When I was at SES London in February, I received lots of great questions from search engine optimization (SEO) practitioners around Europe at the International SEO session and Meet the Experts roundtable. Some of the questions were very specific, yet rather basic, such as, “Do I have to have a .de ccTLD to have a website for Germany?” or, “I don’t have a local address, so that is why I don’t rank well in Spain, right?” There are countless information resources available for SEO in general including International SEO. Perhaps people are confused, because there are too many “opinions” and “ideas” out there and not enough facts. It is probably time to organize our International SEO best practices, what they are, and how they work.
International SEO Best Practice
One of the key goals for International or multilingual SEO is to make each of your global website as local as possible. Below are well known SEO action items for global websites:
1. Localized content: Localizing the content and providing your products, services, and information in the local language is probably the first step, and the most important step of your International SEO workflow. Conduct the keyword research for each country and use popular words used in that country. By using local currency, local address, and phone numbers also help provide signals to identify the target country.
2. Local domain (ccTLD): The country code top level domains (ccTLDs) are reserved for each country except some, which have been recently used as generic domain such as “.tv”. By using a ccTLD, you immediately set the geo location for the website and the search engines understand that. Hindsight of this is that all content under ccTLD such as “.co.uk” are set for specific country even if you add localized content targeting other countries. Google Webmaster Tools doesn’t provide a way for you to set geo targeting for website using ccTLD’s only for subdirectories. (Google Webmaster Tools let you set geo targeting, if you have some of the generic ccTLDs such as “.tv.”)