Though the housing market continues to plummet in the United States, “real estate” on the search results page is as competitive as ever as marketers try to nab as much as possible. But accomplishing this in foreign markets can be challenging. For example, even if you have a dot-com version of your website that ranks well for branded terms in foreign markets, you could still be losing out on a lot of traffic because it can only occupy two places in the search results, and the balance is usually comprised of fan sites or Wiki type websites.
But what if there was a way to occupy more search listings in international markets, and to do it in a way that would directly appeal to the users who are searching for your brand in their local market? Fortunately, there is, and the five tips below should help you do just that.
- Country-level domain name. Having a country-level domain name serves three purposes: First, it lets the search engines know what audience the site is directed to. Second, as search engine users look through the search engine results, it lets them see that this website is specifically for them in their market. Lastly, it helps to differentiate the domain from the dot-com domain. A great side benefit of that is that if your dot-com domain is already ranking, the country specific domain can help you nab additional page real estate.
- Country-specific domain hosting. Having a well optimized, in-market specific domain has numerous benefits, including doubling your listings in the search results. In doing so, it increases your ability to capture a user’s click, and helps ensure that they will find your brand when searching on your most important keyword phrases. Moreover, an in-market specific domain also helps the search engines identify the website as relevant and located within that specific country. In fact, when spiders are determining which site is most relevant to a user in that market, this element is weighed heavily in its favor.
- In-market external linking. While it is important to make sure that your website is optimized for the local language, it is crucial to have in-market external users pointing to it and endorsing it as it will impact how the search engines assess its authority and relevance. Fortunately, there are several options to quickly gather quality in-market external links, including utilizing directories like Yahoo!, and leveraging existing in-market business partnerships. Either can help you quickly jumpstart your optimization.
- Language revision. It is important to make sure that the content and language of the website is geared towards how users search within a particular market. For example, depending on the brand, product, or service, users may search in the local language, or they might elect to use English. Understanding local market search behavior is not only important to developing relevant content for the search engines, but also for tagging and descriptions that can appeal to users and entice them to click. Ultimately, you want to be able to speak to the users in a specific market in the language that they feel most comfortable communicating in.
- Localized Blogging. One of the biggest advantages of having a local domain is being able to speak to your audience in their specific language. The nuance of how local users search and identify content plays a large role in their willingness to continue to engage with a website. Beyond translating your existing content into the local language, one of the best ways to create fresh local content is through blogging. A local blog updated on a fairly frequent basis can help to create a significant amount of local content quickly, show users and search engines that your website is committed to providing content specifically for that market, and give users a reason to continue to engage your new website and thus helping to create external links.
Securing search page real estate in foreign markets can be a challenge, but savvy marketers who follow the above five tips will be off to a good start. Not only will they help marketers occupy as much page real estate as possible in their foreign markets, but these tips will also help them capture more traffic and increase their chances of getting in front of their users in their international markets.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.