Today, as part of his International SEO series, Ben Morgan, Head of Partnerships at Pricesearcher, explores the key considerations of international SEO to help boost global online sales. If you missed his first blog on Web Domain Authority you can check it out here.
This part of the article will focus on the most important areas to ensure that Google can crawl your site efficiently and understands which parts are for which different territories and in which languages so they can be surfaced to relevant consumers.
The normal SEO guidelines will still apply and so it’s vital to remember that user and audience must remain at the forefront of your mind. If the required investment to generate quality local content, build links and domain authority aren’t in place then there is little point undertaking the technical SEO elements – this may well explain why a lot of companies in our research don’t submit sub-folders to Google.
Set-up your geo-location using the sub-folder option and submit these via webmaster tools. If you do move to a ccTLD in future, then new sites will have to be re-submitted but in both cases you can designate a specific geographic region and language. Our research has shown that a lot of companies have a .com but don’t go down this route but it does help SEO ranking outside of the UK.
Put simply it’s a snippet of code in the header (meta data) that tells Google which country and language the content is relevant to. Google has a special tag it suggests using for those targeting other languages. The “hreflang” tag can be used to tell Google which URLs it should index and display for searchers in different countries and means you don’t get hit with duplicate content penalties.
There are multiple places where you can use the hreflang tag, including:
You can also submit the hreflang code via a language-specific XML sitemap again to improve Google’s understanding.
A minor (and disputed) ranking factor is the host IP address of your site. Hosting your domain in the country it serves will give Google more confidence that its relevant to users in that country and may well improve the speed of the site. For websites in China hosting them inside the ‘’great firewall of China’’ (HK or mainland China) is important for page speed.
The advice above is based on Google Webmaster guidance but be aware that across the world different search engines are prominent and each has its own nuances:
Check in next Thursday, when we will be looking at International Keyword Research
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