Technology has made it possible for both large and small companies to scale to a global reach. A small boutique in England, selling handmade goods, can acquire customers across the globe. The trick is understanding the search optimization in that country and creating a local influence to build sufficient awareness.
Google is Dominant but, not the only major search engine.
As your website optimization is heavily weighted by the target market it is critical to leverage the most relevant search engine for that specific market. Let’s take a look at some country-specific and international search engines.
Bing: the second largest international search with many similar optimatization strategies as Google. A key differentiator is that Social media plays a definite role in Bing rankings.
Yahoo: Third largest engine in the US.
Baidu: Baidu is the largest search engine in China, receiving about 60% of domestic search traffic. It is also the third most popular search engine in the world. It would be extremely beneficial to use and understand Baidu if the
Qihoo 360: Second largest search engine in China many say is easier to optimize than Baidu.
Yandex: Dispite growth from Google, Yandex is the dominate search engine in Russia and many surrounding countries. Yandex does a lot to help promote small businesses by using geo-dependent and geo-independent queires.
Naver: Dominate search engine in South Korea and it uses content from users, social platforms, and paid searches.
Specific Country Optimization
Now that we understand that we don’t want to throw all of our eggs into one search engine basket, here are some steps that contribute to growing international ranking success.
- Owning the proper domain extension (e.g., .com.au, .co.uk, .fr, .de, .nl) for the country that has your business’s target customer.
Beaus Boutique is a small home goods store that has strategically set proper domain extensions for the specific markets and target groups they are trying to attract.
- Hosting your website in the specific country you are targeting (with a country-specific IP address)
- Registering with local search engines
Continuing the example with Beaus boutique, their .co.uk and .net links were both top on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
- Having other sites from the same country link to you
- Using the native language on the site (an absolute requirement for usability)
- Placing your relevant local address data on every page of the site
- Defining your preferred region in Google Webmaster Tools
Final Thoughts and Considerations
As it is with Beaus Boutique the international reach may not mean every single country. When expanding, it is important to target the market and then set yourself up for success with the best SEO strategy. As noted in the previous section, understanding on the proper URL structure is important depending on the location of the target market. Language accuracy (delivery and content) and support are other factors to consider and deliver depending on the location of the target market.
To learn more, or to learn if you need to go international, click on the link.