Connect with us

SEO

Getting Started In International SEO: A Quick Reference Guide

Published

on

Getting Started In International SEO: A Quick Reference Guide

For many companies, having a global website is one of the best ways to reach a wider audience to grow their business.

As more quick and easy website design services become available, even an individual can start a business by targeting foreign countries via a global website.

The thing is though, having a global website does not make you successful in other countries.

Also, following the standard SEO best practices does not make your global website competitive in all target countries. While there seems to be boundless information about international SEO available, it is a fact that many of them are either outdated or incorrect.

In this post, I’ll cover some of the key areas of international SEO.

Advertisement

What Are The Differences Between International & Regular SEO?

The standard SEO best practices certainly are the foundation of international SEO as the search engine algorithms are very similar, if not the same, from country to country.

I’d say that international SEO is built on standard SEO knowledge and skills.

So, what makes international SEO different? The main reasons are:

  • Languages.
  • Multiple websites.
  • Popular search engines.
  • Local audience.
  • Local competitors.

While you pay attention to each site, you must keep an eye on the overall performance when you have global websites. Otherwise, your local market websites may be competing against each other or the worst case, may not be indexed at all.

For example, your website designed for Mexico should not outrank or appear in the search results in Spain, if you have a different site designed for Spain.

If you misuse the canonical tag or hreflang tag, certain sites may not be indexed by the search engines or create duplicate indexing.

Should I Go Global? And Where Is My Market?

Before you get into international SEO, it’s always a good idea to review some market reports, stats, and even your own website data to help make the decision.

Advertisement

This is particularly important if you are not sure about the opportunities in different countries or have some convincing to do with your bosses.

Here are some informational sources you can use to decide or prioritize the countries/markets to go after:

  • Government and trade organization websites, such as Trade.gov and WTO.org provide the latest international business and trade news and statistics.
  • Many companies provide Internet-related reports and statistics, such as Internet World Stats, Econsultancy, and McKinsey & Company. There are numerous sites providing information about specific countries, too.
  • Your own analytics data. Do you see anyone visiting your site from other countries? Is there any country that sends more traffic to your site than another? It’s worth paying attention to these markets, especially if any of them are converting already.

One Global Site Or Multiple Website?

If the market is big enough for you to invest in, definitely go with a separate site for each target country.

Not just for SEO reasons, but also to provide a better user experience to the local visitors, it’s always better to have a dedicated site for each of your target countries. It also allows you to use different designs and content on each site, if needed.

However, this may not be a feasible option for you, at least not at the beginning. In that case, you’ll have a site for each language that is spoken in your target countries.

It is okay to do this as you may want to test the waters first before you dive in too deep.

Luckily, we can use hreflang tags to tell Google which language and country each site is created for.

Advertisement

Which Domain To Have: ccTLD or gTLD?

If you asked me this question in 2008, my answer was always to go with a ccTLD. The reality is that not everyone can have this option for different reasons.

Luckily, it doesn’t have as much of an impact on your SEO as the search engines have come a long way. We now have other options to geotarget the sites, especially with Google.

Note that some of the search engines such as Baidu still favor websites with local ccTLD.

Also, people outside the U.S. tend to click websites with local TLD over sites with .com or other generic TLDs.

Does Hosting Location Matter?

The location of the website host was one of the important signals for the international SEO related to geotargeting.

However, it’s not as important now that we have other ways to correctly indicate your website’s target market to the search engines and regionally managed CDNs.

Advertisement

Still, the host location has a large impact on the page speed. Make sure that your site can be accessed in the target countries quickly.

How Should I Go About Alternative Geotargeting?

Perhaps, geotargeting is one of the simplest practices where many websites make mistakes as site owners moved from ccTLDs and local market hosting.

There are several ways to geotarget your websites and pages. Here are some of the popular methods:

  • Geolocation assignment in Google Search Console.
  • Hreflang tag for Google.
  • Language meta tag information for Bing.

Side Note: Google now generates the search results based on the searcher’s location no matter which local version of Google a searcher is using.

For example, you used to get different search results from Google.com than Google U.K. (google.co.uk) or Google Australia (google.com.au) even when searching for the same keyword.

But now, you will get the same results in all three Google searches unless you do that search in three different countries.

Google Or Not Google?

While Google is by far the most popularly used of the search engines around the world, in some countries, there are locally grown search engines that are far more popular than Google.

Advertisement

If your target country is one of those below, you’ll need to pay some extra attention to monitor these local sites and for additional optimization work.

  • China (Mainland, Simplified Chinese language).
  • Russia and Eastern European countries.
  • South Korea.

Do I Need to Care About Other Search Engines?

While Google is by far the most popularly used search engine around the world, in some countries, there are locally grown search engines that are very popular.

By ignoring these search engines, you are ignoring huge business opportunities in those countries.

If your target country is one of those below, you’ll need to pay some extra attention to monitor these local sites and for additional optimization work.

  • China (Mainland, Simplified Chinese language) – Baidu.
  • Russia and Eastern European Countries – Yandex.
  • South Korea – Naver.

Of course, even in the countries where Google is most popular, ignoring other popular search engines including Bing limits your business potential.

Translation And Localization

Your global sites should not be the copied and pasted version of your home country website in different languages, though I see that happen to many websites.

Yes, translation and localization of website content are one of the first steps. But then, you need to optimize the sites for each country’s local audience from messaging and offerings to the overall user experience of the site.

A site with popular and well-performing content in the U.S. market may not do as well in Asia or in South America and may require additional content edits and optimization work.

Advertisement

For these reasons, it is important to conduct the keyword research in each targeting country from the standpoint of understanding the local interests and the words they use.

Keep in mind that although the translators or the translation agencies provide a correctly translated document, they may not use the same words that people use to search the information.

Do I Need To Build Links For Each Website?

It’s a hard, “Yes.”

Even when you have one global site with all country or language sites under the same domain, you still want to build links to each site even when you already have tons of links pointing to your domain.

It is because your home country website is likely to have links coming from external sites that are in the same home country.

In order for your global websites to be competitive in each country, you need links from country-specific to the website.

Advertisement

For example, you want to gain links from websites in India or targeting India to your Indian website. Having links from local websites is a good indication to the search engines that your website is designed and suited for that country.

What Else Should I Consider Before I Go Global?

One of the biggest challenges that most companies with global websites face, even the multinational Fortune 100 companies, is the local resources.

No one has the luxury of having unlimited resources in each target country, and this can become a major bottleneck especially since SEO is not a one-off project but requires continued efforts.

The key is to plan task and responsibility allocation between the headquarter and local offices such as:

Now, you may not have any offices or representatives in other countries, or no resources available in local offices.

In those cases, you need to consider whether you’d want to hire one or multiple outside resources.

Advertisement

Conclusion and Takeaway

International SEO is built on top of the standard SEO best practices.

The optimized website doesn’t always produce an optimized global website even after it is translated, and there are several key points in both technical and content optimization efforts that need to be considered.

In fact, adding more languages and content creates more work due to the duplicate content and geotargeting issues as well as the link building.

A global website is a great way to expand your market reach, but it also requires extra resources and budget to do international SEO right.

You do not need to target many languages and countries.

Research your business opportunities using your own data as well as market reports from trusted authorities to decide where you want to be visible in the search results.

Advertisement

More resources:


Featured Image: Sozina Kseniia/Shutterstock




Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

SEO

Google Clarifies Vacation Rental Structured Data

Published

on

By

Google updates their vacation rental structured data documentation

Google’s structured data documentation for vacation rentals was recently updated to require more specific data in a change that is more of a clarification than it is a change in requirements. This change was made without any formal announcement or notation in the developer pages changelog.

Vacation Rentals Structured Data

These specific structured data types makes vacation rental information eligible for rich results that are specific to these kinds of rentals. However it’s not available to all websites. Vacation rental owners are required to be connected to a Google Technical Account Manager and have access to the Google Hotel Center platform.

VacationRental Structured Data Type Definitions

The primary changes were made to the structured data property type definitions where Google defines what the required and recommended property types are.

The changes to the documentation is in the section governing the Recommended properties and represents a clarification of the recommendations rather than a change in what Google requires.

The primary changes were made to the structured data type definitions where Google defines what the required and recommended property types are.

Advertisement

The changes to the documentation is in the section governing the Recommended properties and represents a clarification of the recommendations rather than a change in what Google requires.

Address Schema.org property

This is a subtle change but it’s important because it now represents a recommendation that requires more precise data.

This is what was recommended before:

“streetAddress”: “1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy.”

This is what it now recommends:

“streetAddress”: “1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Unit 6E”

Address Property Change Description

The most substantial change is to the description of what the “address” property is, becoming more descriptive and precise about what is recommended.

The description before the change:

Advertisement

PostalAddress
Information about the street address of the listing. Include all properties that apply to your country.

The description after the change:

PostalAddress
The full, physical location of the vacation rental.
Provide the street address, city, state or region, and postal code for the vacation rental. If applicable, provide the unit or apartment number.
Note that P.O. boxes or other mailing-only addresses are not considered full, physical addresses.

This is repeated in the section for address.streetAddress property

This is what it recommended before:

address.streetAddress Text
The full street address of your vacation listing.

And this is what it recommends now:

address.streetAddress Text
The full street address of your vacation listing, including the unit or apartment number if applicable.

Clarification And Not A Change

Although these updates don’t represent a change in Google’s guidance they are nonetheless important because they offer clearer guidance with less ambiguity as to what is recommended.

Read the updated structured data guidance:

Advertisement

Vacation rental (VacationRental) structured data

Featured Image by Shutterstock/New Africa

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

Google On Hyphens In Domain Names

Published

on

By

What Google says about using hyphens in domain names

Google’s John Mueller answered a question on Reddit about why people don’t use hyphens with domains and if there was something to be concerned about that they were missing.

Domain Names With Hyphens For SEO

I’ve been working online for 25 years and I remember when using hyphens in domains was something that affiliates did for SEO when Google was still influenced by keywords in the domain, URL, and basically keywords anywhere on the webpage. It wasn’t something that everyone did, it was mainly something that was popular with some affiliate marketers.

Another reason for choosing domain names with keywords in them was that site visitors tended to convert at a higher rate because the keywords essentially prequalified the site visitor. I know from experience how useful two-keyword domains (and one word domain names) are for conversions, as long as they didn’t have hyphens in them.

A consideration that caused hyphenated domain names to fall out of favor is that they have an untrustworthy appearance and that can work against conversion rates because trustworthiness is an important factor for conversions.

Lastly, hyphenated domain names look tacky. Why go with tacky when a brandable domain is easier for building trust and conversions?

Advertisement

Domain Name Question Asked On Reddit

This is the question asked on Reddit:

“Why don’t people use a lot of domains with hyphens? Is there something concerning about it? I understand when you tell it out loud people make miss hyphen in search.”

And this is Mueller’s response:

“It used to be that domain names with a lot of hyphens were considered (by users? or by SEOs assuming users would? it’s been a while) to be less serious – since they could imply that you weren’t able to get the domain name with fewer hyphens. Nowadays there are a lot of top-level-domains so it’s less of a thing.

My main recommendation is to pick something for the long run (assuming that’s what you’re aiming for), and not to be overly keyword focused (because life is too short to box yourself into a corner – make good things, course-correct over time, don’t let a domain-name limit what you do online). The web is full of awkward, keyword-focused short-lived low-effort takes made for SEO — make something truly awesome that people will ask for by name. If that takes a hyphen in the name – go for it.”

Pick A Domain Name That Can Grow

Mueller is right about picking a domain name that won’t lock your site into one topic. When a site grows in popularity the natural growth path is to expand the range of topics the site coves. But that’s hard to do when the domain is locked into one rigid keyword phrase. That’s one of the downsides of picking a “Best + keyword + reviews” domain, too. Those domains can’t grow bigger and look tacky, too.

That’s why I’ve always recommended brandable domains that are memorable and encourage trust in some way.

Advertisement

Read the post on Reddit:

Are domains with hyphens bad?

Read Mueller’s response here.

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Benny Marty

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

Reddit Post Ranks On Google In 5 Minutes

Published

on

By

Google apparently ranks Reddit posts within minutes

Google’s Danny Sullivan disputed the assertions made in a Reddit discussion that Google is showing a preference for Reddit in the search results. But a Redditor’s example proves that it’s possible for a Reddit post to rank in the top ten of the search results within minutes and to actually improve rankings to position #2 a week later.

Discussion About Google Showing Preference To Reddit

A Redditor (gronetwork) complained that Google is sending so many visitors to Reddit that the server is struggling with the load and shared an example that proved that it can only take minutes for a Reddit post to rank in the top ten.

That post was part of a 79 post Reddit thread where many in the r/SEO subreddit were complaining about Google allegedly giving too much preference to Reddit over legit sites.

The person who did the test (gronetwork) wrote:

“…The website is already cracking (server down, double posts, comments not showing) because there are too many visitors.

…It only takes few minutes (you can test it) for a post on Reddit to appear in the top ten results of Google with keywords related to the post’s title… (while I have to wait months for an article on my site to be referenced). Do the math, the whole world is going to spam here. The loop is completed.”

Advertisement

Reddit Post Ranked Within Minutes

Another Redditor asked if they had tested if it takes “a few minutes” to rank in the top ten and gronetwork answered that they had tested it with a post titled, Google SGE Review.

gronetwork posted:

“Yes, I have created for example a post named “Google SGE Review” previously. After less than 5 minutes it was ranked 8th for Google SGE Review (no quotes). Just after Washingtonpost.com, 6 authoritative SEO websites and Google.com’s overview page for SGE (Search Generative Experience). It is ranked third for SGE Review.”

It’s true, not only does that specific post (Google SGE Review) rank in the top 10, the post started out in position 8 and it actually improved ranking, currently listed beneath the number one result for the search query “SGE Review”.

Screenshot Of Reddit Post That Ranked Within Minutes

Anecdotes Versus Anecdotes

Okay, the above is just one anecdote. But it’s a heck of an anecdote because it proves that it’s possible for a Reddit post to rank within minutes and get stuck in the top of the search results over other possibly more authoritative websites.

hankschrader79 shared that Reddit posts outrank Toyota Tacoma forums for a phrase related to mods for that truck.

Advertisement

Google’s Danny Sullivan responded to that post and the entire discussion to dispute that Reddit is not always prioritized over other forums.

Danny wrote:

“Reddit is not always prioritized over other forums. [super vhs to mac adapter] I did this week, it goes Apple Support Community, MacRumors Forum and further down, there’s Reddit. I also did [kumo cloud not working setup 5ghz] recently (it’s a nightmare) and it was the Netgear community, the SmartThings Community, GreenBuildingAdvisor before Reddit. Related to that was [disable 5g airport] which has Apple Support Community above Reddit. [how to open an 8 track tape] — really, it was the YouTube videos that helped me most, but it’s the Tapeheads community that comes before Reddit.

In your example for [toyota tacoma], I don’t even get Reddit in the top results. I get Toyota, Car & Driver, Wikipedia, Toyota again, three YouTube videos from different creators (not Toyota), Edmunds, a Top Stories unit. No Reddit, which doesn’t really support the notion of always wanting to drive traffic just to Reddit.

If I guess at the more specific query you might have done, maybe [overland mods for toyota tacoma], I get a YouTube video first, then Reddit, then Tacoma World at third — not near the bottom. So yes, Reddit is higher for that query — but it’s not first. It’s also not always first. And sometimes, it’s not even showing at all.”

hankschrader79 conceded that they were generalizing when they wrote that Google always prioritized Reddit. But they also insisted that that didn’t diminish what they said is a fact that Google’s “prioritization” forum content has benefitted Reddit more than actual forums.

Why Is The Reddit Post Ranked So High?

It’s possible that Google “tested” that Reddit post in position 8 within minutes and that user interaction signals indicated to Google’s algorithms that users prefer to see that Reddit post. If that’s the case then it’s not a matter of Google showing preference to Reddit post but rather it’s users that are showing the preference and the algorithm is responding to those preferences.

Advertisement

Nevertheless, an argument can be made that user preferences for Reddit can be a manifestation of Familiarity Bias. Familiarity Bias is when people show a preference for things that are familiar to them. If a person is familiar with a brand because of all the advertising they were exposed to then they may show a bias for the brand products over unfamiliar brands.

Users who are familiar with Reddit may choose Reddit because they don’t know the other sites in the search results or because they have a bias that Google ranks spammy and optimized websites and feel safer reading Reddit.

Google may be picking up on those user interaction signals that indicate a preference and satisfaction with the Reddit results but those results may simply be biases and not an indication that Reddit is trustworthy and authoritative.

Is Reddit Benefiting From A Self-Reinforcing Feedback Loop?

It may very well be that Google’s decision to prioritize user generated content may have started a self-reinforcing pattern that draws users in to Reddit through the search results and because the answers seem plausible those users start to prefer Reddit results. When they’re exposed to more Reddit posts their familiarity bias kicks in and they start to show a preference for Reddit. So what could be happening is that the users and Google’s algorithm are creating a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

Is it possible that Google’s decision to show more user generated content has kicked off a cycle where more users are exposed to Reddit which then feeds back into Google’s algorithm which in turn increases Reddit visibility, regardless of lack of expertise and authoritativeness?

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Kues

Advertisement

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending

Follow by Email
RSS