Published on November 15, 2008
International SEO By Duncan Morris
International SEO • When should you worry about Internationalisation • The factors used by the search engines • Pros and Cons of various site architectures for geo-location • The answer
Why should you care • Increase in traffic • Target new markets • Decrease in bounce rate • Improved conversion rate • More business • More money • Need I go on?
Why should you care – Not ranking • Generic tlds (.com, .org, .net etc) can cause issue for local search engines. oOften seen as ranking well in the US but not in your local index. • If you only rank in your local index but want listing everywhere (informational product)
Geo-location • Redirecting users based on their IP address can be a good idea. • Search engines tend to browse with an American IP address • Information architecture is king. oYou must have a way for the search engines to browse to every page, in every language.
Why should you care - Language “To reach 90% of the world’s 1.2 billion Internet users, companies must support 20 or more languages” Quova via blogstorm.co.uk
Factors to “flick the switch” • ccTLD (.co.uk) • Hosting Location • Google Local • Physical address on page • Inbound link profile • Webmaster Central
A Quick note about Webmaster Central • For some reason I’ve yet to fully understand, Yahoo! and MSN don’t listen to the Google Webmaster central setting.
Country != Language • If you want to reach French speakers don’t forget the Canadians. • If you geo-target your site to be French you will most likely miss out on French Canadian traffic.
Information Architecture is King Beckitten - http://www.flickr.com/photos/suteki/462066881/
One Powerful domain • www.ikea.com owww.ikea.com/en owww.ikea.com/fr • A better solution (?) owww.ikea.com/us/en owww.ikea.com/uk/en owww.ikea.com/ca/en owww.ikea.com/ca/fr • This would allow you (force you) to write content targeting the relevant country, not just the relevant language
Pros and Cons of One powerful domain All your links go to one domain • Lower CTR / conversion rate vs ccTLD • What should you put on the homepage? • American pages often outrank British pages
Sub-domains • Wikipedia.com (who only care about targeting languages) oen.wikipedia.com ofr.wikipedia.com ode.wikipedia.co • If you care about targeting individual countries, the following is better. ouk.example.com/en ous.example.com/en oca.example.com/en oca.example.com/fr
Sub-domains – The worst of both worlds? All links to one domain Could host subdomains in their local country Links are dampened across subdomains What do you put on the homepage / www Lower CTR / conversion rate
Local ccTLD’s • amazon.com / amazon.co.uk / amazon.fr oIn this setup you still have to think about language. There are Canadians who want a website to be in French.
Pros and Cons of ccTLD’s Geo-targeting is *much* easier Improved CTR / conversion rate (especially where the tld indicates the language) Link building is *much* harder Can lead to duplicate content issues .com often still outranks other English TLD’s
What’s the answer? • Well... It depends! • Make sure you own all the relevant domains, and either use them or 301 them to the relevant place. • Local business units ? oUse the ccTLD’s and treat as separate websites • Business managed centrally? oPut everything on the .com and treat as one website
If the search engines are listening... • How about a way of claiming multiple domains • What about using sitemaps to pass the language / location of a page • Tell us if you ignore duplicate content if the pages are geo-targeted differently (rumours this is the case) • Make more use of on page factors within a domain (different addresses on different pages)
Duncan Morris - Distilled www.distilled.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: duncanmorris
Duncan Morris. Chairman & Co-founder, Distilled Ltd. Location London, United Kingdom Industry Information Technology and Services
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