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The Art of SEO by Jessie Stricchiola, Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge

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Best Practices for Multilanguage/Country Targeting

Many businesses target multiple countries with their websites and need answers to questions such as: do you put the information for your products or services all on the same domain? Do you obtain multiple domains? Where do you host the site(s)? It turns out that there are SEO factors, as well as basic marketing questions, that affect the answers. There are also non-SEO factors, such as the tax implications of what you do; for some TLDs you can get them only by having a local physical presence (e.g., France requires this to get a .fr domain).

Targeting a Specific Country

Starting with the basics of international targeting, it is important to let the search engines know where your business is based in as many ways as possible. These might include:

  • A country-specific TLD (ccTLD) for your domain (e.g., .co.uk)

  • Hosting in the local country

  • Physical local address in plain text on every page of your site

  • Google Webmaster Central geotargeting setting

  • Verified address with Google Maps

  • Links from in-country websites

  • Use of the local language on the website

If you are starting from scratch, getting these all lined up will give you the best possible chance of ranking in the local country you are targeting.

Problems with Using Your Existing Domain

You may ask why you cannot leverage your domain weight to target the new territory rather than starting from scratch—in other words, create multiple versions of your site and determine where the user is in the ...

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