We are discussing how to increase traffic through Geo-Targeted Search Engine Optimization.
If you are familiar with google analytics then you had already noticed hike of genuine visitors from a particular country. So how to make penetration more valuable in that country.
This post is, as per business needs, increase web presence in international locations. It is not to IRRELEVANTLY target for upscaling website visitors.
All the factors now encompassed in the world of search engine optimisation are both varied and simple, however time and again website owners fail to see some of the most recent ‘commonsensical principles’ behind an effective and successful SEO strategy. This article aims to bring to light the most recent change in SEO, GEO-Targeting.
There are a countless number of directories, information portals, articles, FAQ’s, Top 10 listings, and other resources that repeat each other about the most important factors of SEO and it’s benefits. Many of them however fail to explain some of the more recent changes in the ‘formula’ of successful optimisation.
It has long been the case that users will open a search engine, search for a product or service e.g. “Office Furniture” and make use of that company to make their purchase or gain information.
Over the past few years’ consumers and businesses have started to make many more purchases directly online, as the general attitude towards online transactions has changed quite significantly.
As the consumers and businesses have begun to accept making a purchase online as a normal course of action, the places that they look for these products and services has started to come under consideration.
If a company wants to purchase some office furniture they will no long simply search for “Office Furniture”. Why? Because the term is too broad, brings up many irrelevant results and often the companies listed are not in the same geographic region as the company looking for the furniture.
When searching for products that are going to be purchased online, the customer ideally wants to be dealing with a ‘local’ company or business. This helps them feel more ‘secure’ in making the purchase as they know that the supplier is covered by the same laws, easier (and sometimes cheaper) to communicate with, and other factors such as delivery costs and language barriers are far more manageable, making the entire purchasing experience more streamlined.
It is during these searches that geo-targeting comes in as a factor of the search. If a customer is looking to buy office furniture and they are located in the USA, it is very common for them to append ‘USA’ to their search, so instead of looking simply for “office furniture” they will search for “office furniture USA” or a similar variation on this.
The effect of this is that the search engine results returned with be mostly UK based as ‘UK’ is a term used within the sites on their contact details, delivery information pages, legal disclaimer, and often company description pages.
Geo-targeted searching is the act of refining your search by including the name of a location within the search term. Examples would be “office furniture UK”, “jewellers in Berkshire”, “UK Office Supplies” etc.
If you are genuinely interested in targeting such users relevantly then make nation specific sub-domains: country.example.com or simply create country specific folder like www.example.com/country. Remember to inform google about this new development. In Google WMT (webmaster tools), you can set country targeting for specific domains or folders.
Subdomains deserves separate SEO campaigns for each of them and maintenance cost exceed to manifolds. Folder strategy make sense as one cumulative SEO effort would push main domain and enhance its authority, managing is also not that difficult.
Use local content and possibly local meta data to make search engine aware of the fact that specific folder represents content directed only for a particular country.
Why Geo-Targeting based SEO?
As explained earlier, users are changing the way that they search for information to find results close to their location. Many sites that are currently indexed do not really have a large amount of information to help search engines deem them ‘relevant’ to the appended location term, often because they simply don’t have their intended geographic area for marketing mentioned on their site enough.
By including the intended geographic market in the keywords used with an SEO campaign and the optimisation performed on a site, it is possible to have a dramatic and successful increase in both top results, traffic to your website, and indeed potential customers finding your products.
It is very simple to include geo-targeted terms and phrases within the normal action of search engine optimisation and will go a long way to increasing the revenue a website can generate for it’s owner. Remember to use localized content in respective placeholders – subdomains or folders.
Disadvantages of Geo-Targeting Search Engine Optimization ?
Trials, Errors and what …
Targeting multi-country visitors is not easy, implementation should be bug free. Minimal redirections, scripts – keeping usability at bay.
Alienation of potential customers is always possible. If a user in the US is searching for simply “Office Furniture” and your website happened to show up with “UK Office Furniture” in it’s title, it is more than likely that the searcher will skip visiting the website because it states that it is targeting the UK.
This can be seen as a positive in the sense that it actually has had the effect of qualifying your traffic even more. So it means your geo targeted SEO is working but need some minor tweaks. It just successfully stopped a user visiting your website that would have found out that your products are UK specific and that they could not purchase their requirements from your website anyway.
Of course this could also be a negative. If you ‘mainly’ target the UK but indeed sell to overseas clients this may have just lost a potential sale.
Should Geo-Targeting be used at all ?
This brings us to an important decision. Should geo-targeting be used in an SEO campaign? The answer depends solely on the target audience or geographic region of the products and services provided. Do not push for international markets in a greed to increase visitations of a website. This might backfire big time.
Should your product be for a specific area or country, or you tend to only deal with local businesses then yes, you should certainly look to at geo-targeting SEO to genuinely increase your sales.
The second situation is that some of your products or services are available to many areas while others are not. In this instance simply use selective geo-targeted optimisation within each of the products or services sections. So instead of targeting several countries, choose top 5 or top 3 that impact your business.
Lastly, if your target market is not constrained by geographic regions and is available anywhere, such as online services or products that have worldwide delivery, then more than likely geo targeted optimisation is not an option. Of course, it could be that producing several “global market” sites that are tailored for your most prominent geographic regions could help improve sales as each of these additional sites can be optimised with geo-targeting separately.
Are ccTLDs Good ?
All above discrepancies and disadvantages can be taken off while creating ccTLD sites for instance, example.co.in for India. It is costlier considering server costs, management, development and maintenance. But if you are seriously thinking of scaling up your business in such countries then only ccTLD is the best option to go for. Do inform Google WMT accordingly once the site is up and running.