optimize for the geographic audience you desire. Here are a few tips to help you sell
more of those yellow umbrellas:
DO make sure your landing page is written in the language of the country you
want to target.
And your page titles and meta description tags should be in the
target language too. Even though there’s an HTML meta tag that allows you to
specify which language your web page is written in, the search engine robots will
probably ignore it and look at the web page text to make their own determina-
tion of language. Don’t confuse the search engines by sticking substantial por-
tions of several different languages on the same page.
DON’T use your home page for the sole purpose of selecting a language.
are creating several subsites or site sections in different languages, don’t waste
precious home page real estate on choosing a language. Instead, include quality
content in your most important language, with links to other language choices.
DO use a country-specific domain.
Your site will get a lift if it has the appropri-
ate country domain: This is a big clue to the search engines that the site should
be shown to a searcher in your target country. And major search engines often
allow their users to request only documents from their own country, so having
the right domain will put you in the running.
DO consider building separate sites.
Some sites redirect their international
domains to their .com domain (for example, babyfuzzkin.co.uk and babyfuz-
zkin.de could both redirect to babyfuzzkin.com), and this is OK. Of course, it
would be better—for your site and for your user—to create separate sites in sep-
arate languages (or in the various “flavors” of English), especially since key con-
tent like pricing and contact information may be different for each country.
DO seek inbound links from sites that are in your targeted countries.
sure to request links in the appropriate language!
DO explore locally popular search sites.
Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask have a
major presence worldwide, and if your site is in their indices, it will also show up
on the international versions of their search sites (for example, google.co.uk). So
you could focus on those four search engines and let it go at that. But there may
be smaller search sites that play an important role in your country of interest. For
example, Voila.fr is a major search engine in France. Your soggy Parisian seeking
a “parapluie jaune” is just as likely to go there as fr.Yahoo.com, and perhaps
more so. It’s a little heavy on the exclamation points, but
has a long country-by-country list of international search engines.
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