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    Geotargeting for Language and Country targets


    Geotargeting has been available since 2005 but recently the SERP's are showing greater integrating into their results as Google strives to deliver more relevant end-user results. Many gaming, as well as other sectors, website are targeting more than one geographical country/region and language. There are many ways to tackle this. If you are targeting more than one language its always best to buy the TLD (Top Level Domain like .be ,.de ,.nl or even .co.nz) If that's not possible, go to Webmaster Central Tools within your account and be sure the geographical setting is placed on; no, I do not wish to set a georgraphical target. This way Google will show your website when the end-user speaks the relative language regardless of his location, which is determined either by his search term, or the manual setting all non-US based searches on Google offering language based results. This is well worth the investment to hire a translator to convert your content, and its a lot cheaper than paying for new language-based content to be created by someone that may not know the industry.

    The other option is that if you own a .com, .net, .org or any other non-country based URL extension, you can create top level directories such as /br/ /nl/ /es/ and once you verify the site is yours via WMC Google will automatically add the subdirectories without needing to individually verify them like you have to with subdomains. You can still do this on country specific subdirectories, but TLD's and subdomains with geotargeting set will always be stronger.

    The last option is to create subdomains such as be.yoursite.com, es.yoursite or nl.yoursite.com (this will not work for country specific TLD's). You can copy and translate the content from your main site without drawing any penalties from the search engines, just as you can if it was exactly the same content. If its within the same site you will not be penalised. For those of you in the US, UK, AUS, NZ with non-country based TLD's; Once you have these in place, personally I would host them in the target country, but if your unable to for whatever reason, still go into WMC and get a verification code for each and verify site ownership. (this is because Google sees subdomains as a separate website) Once you have done this go into WMC Tools and set the geographic region for each subdomain site. When an end-user selects the "page from _____" option you will rank much higher than if you implemented the subdirectory option above.

    In a perfect world I would not only create subdirectories for each targeted language on my main .com/.net/.info site, but, but I would also create subdomains with their respective languages and set geotargeting for the respective country. After you have done this, create a sitemap and manually submit it to all the engines. One last thing – do not use geotargeting for language. This is the reason I recommended subdirectories. Google will find them and deliver them higher in the result when the language preference is selected by an end-user prior to their query. If you were to use geographical targeting you would miss out on any person searching for language based results in a foreign county with a foreign IP.

    This is significant because the foreign based search for geographical AND language based is very soft right now. Implementing these tactics will help you to capture some of this market.

    GaryTheScubaGuy

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    Originally Posted by GaryTheScubaGuy
    Geotargeting has been available since 2005 but recently the SERP's are showing greater integrating into their results as Google strives to deliver more relevant end-user results. Many gaming, as well as other sectors, website are targeting more than one geographical country/region and language. There are many ways to tackle this. If you are targeting more than one language its always best to buy the TLD (Top Level Domain like .be ,.de ,.nl or even .co.nz) If that's not possible, go to Webmaster Central Tools within your account and be sure the geographical setting is placed on; no, I do not wish to set a georgraphical target. This way Google will show your website when the end-user speaks the relative language regardless of his location, which is determined either by his search term, or the manual setting all non-US based searches on Google offering language based results. This is well worth the investment to hire a translator to convert your content, and its a lot cheaper than paying for new language-based content to be created by someone that may not know the industry.
    If you target internationally then sure... if you are in the uk, targeting uk only, having massive volume from non-uk-based visitors is a little pointless especially if you're product-based and need to ship 'world-wide'... or local "tangible" service-based

    World-wide distribution sounds great but it's far cheaper if products from Germany came from Germany, or Argentina orders came from Argentina... intangible products that can be sent via email or download can gain the maximum benefit...

    This is significant because the foreign based search for geographical AND language based is very soft right now. Implementing these tactics will help you to capture some of this market.

    GaryTheScubaGuy
    Hindsight is everything, if one could look into the future and show any company their future dividends on any or every new market penetration... most companies would jump at the chance... but in light of that... risking investment in any current "off-market" especially when the return is seen as "soft right now"... isn't useful investment without enormous investment in new market research.
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    Nice post gary. To the point and IMO 100% correct.
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    great post......... useful information
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    Wonderful explanation about territory methodology. I have recent asked a similar question like this. In other words if I wish to target a website on google.com and google.com.sg what I can do is to use the xxx.com and create xxx.com/sg to target both content on different search engine? Will google really recognise xxx.com/sg should appear in more priority on google.com.sg?
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    Exclamation Advanced Geotargeting if Your Market is International


    I'm not sure if I posted this here or not so sorry if I have. I've been neglecting my role here because of things that are out of my control.

    I hope this give ya'll something to run with. I wrote this for Casino Affiliates Program for my session at CAP Euro.

    If you want a 'first hand' case scenario PM me and I'll send you the results of my first shot at this last year with Bingo.com. Or you can read it and believe it.

    The waters are getting rough in the gaming industry and as always it’s full of sharks and whales. What can you possibly do as an affiliate to compete with these guys?

    With the big bankrolls behind corporate SEO and now PPC, the landscape is changing more rapidly than ever. The question is, what can you do to stay competitive in this market that the big guys aren’t doing? The answer – Google Geographical Targeting.

    Nothing new you say? I beg to differ. Google has made it possible to use one website and effectively target every geographic region and every language. This worked in the past to a degree, but now the website owner now has control over it and it represents a huge opportunity for affiliates, sme's and an average guy like me with a website that I want to monetize better.

    In the past you could create a subdirectory or a subdomain in the native language and Google would eventually sort out that the content is targeting a specific language. The results were very dodgy and unpredictable. In Google’s never-ending effort to delivery relative results they have come up with geographical targeting within their Webmaster Central console. Here you can verify ownership of a subdomain and get the option to target a specific country or region. You can also go a step further and host the subdomain within your target region and your ranking will significantly increase. The subdomain is actually seen as a completely different site and if you have good Page Rank on the maim website you can pass link juice through to the new subdomain site at get it ranking better as well.

    In the United States Google goes as far as to look for addresses within the website content in order to determine the location, and will deliver a local website (in relation to the end-user’s IP) higher in the results than a non-local website. Especially if you have a brick-and-mortar business and the end-user is using Local Search. In the US version of this tool on Webmaster Central, you will have an additional step where it asks for your actual physical address.

    Now for the complicated part.

    I will do my best to try and explain why you get the results that you do when using these different regional Google searches and how the different language and regional based filters that they offer work, and how they affect your rankings. I’ll also attempt to explain the different attributes the algorithm and the human editors look at, and finally what the best solution is for you depending on your circumstances.

    Keep in mind that in my testing this information applied about 70% of the time and did make a significant difference in overall traffic and conversions, but I think that when there is a lack of relative websites/pages that match the algorithmic parameters a different set of rules are applied either automatically via the various algorithms, or it is set aside for a human editor to rate. This could be good or bad depending on the quality of the site/page and the relative information that is present, and comparative websites in the same set of results.

    Human Editorial Guidelines That Influence Google Rankings
    A internal General Guidelines document produced for Google editors that was written in April of 2007 has recently been circulating in certain forums. In this document Google explains that there are two elements to consider when they are manually rating a website/subdomain/web page;
    1.The Task Language (was a language-based filter selected on the search page?)
    2.The Task Location (was a geographic-based filter selected on the search page?)

    When one of the (assumed and widely acknowledged) 10,000+ University students/human editors come to your website or a page within your website, these are the examples that Google gives to manually differentiate or assign interpretations when the optional settings or obvious directories or a native languages is not present;

    The following language based searches could inherently have two different meanings;

    Query
    Dominant Interpretation in the Task Location
    [football], English (US)
    The dominant interpretation is American football played with a brown oval ball
    [football], English (UK)
    The dominant interpretation is the game Americans call soccer which is played with a round ball

    Query: [Java], English (US)
    Dominant Interpretation:
    The planet
    Possible Interpretation:
    An island in Indonesia
    Possible Interpretation:
    Coffee

    And;

    Query: [mercury], English (US)
    Dominant Interpretation:
    The planet
    Possible Interpretation:
    The chemical element (Hg)
    Possible Interpretation:
    The Car

    This is only one single guideline under consideration when they are researching and understanding the query and subsequently rating/ranking the website/page. They will use these guidelines to determine the most relevant market to rate you for. When this is taken into consideration in soft markets you can dominate!

    Algorithmic Elements That Affect Ranking
    Beyond the obvious on-page considerations, different searches will deliver (in most cases) a different set of results. The results can differ greatly depending on several considerations;
    1.The IP of the end-user
    2.The server location of the website
    3.Any geographically targeted settings in Webmaster Central
    4.The relationship between the search filters and the resulting web pages (I.e. Did they search for Pages from [region] or Pages in [language]
    5.If the end-user is searching a different extension than the defaulted engine (I.e.they manually enter Google.com searching for US or English results from a non-US region).

    The other elements that will effect rankings will be back links;
    1.Are the links from a TLD (top level domain) that matches the destination URL (I.e. .nl linking to a .nl website)?
    2.Is the IP linking website located in the same region as the linked URL?
    3.Page rank, linking anchor text, additional outbound links on the page linking to you
    4.On-page relevancy
    5.Language based meta-tags
    6.Everything in the above 5 items relating to the linking website/page

    So any one of these elements can give you a serious edge over your competition. If you can incorporate all of them the can dominate the results.

    Searching any of Google’s (non-US) datasets will generally return a variety of websites when no language or location filter is selected. These can include internal pages in a website, subdirectories (www.yoursite.com/french), subdomains (www.french.yoursite.com), and various TLD’s (top level domains like .com and .nl). All 11 of the above factors are present in the automatic algorithm.

    The problem is that no one really knows which approach is best, or which algorithmic attribute is the most effective, so what can we do with this?

    What we want to do is to look at the existing results using the available search filters, and the existing websites that are ranking high and determine which is the best strategy for your website. This takes deep page analysis of these competitors. Most sites that rank well using subdirectories and subdomains, or even have a language-based directory have no idea why they are ranking so well in this demographic.

    The important thing to note is that there is a hierarchy between one and the other in terms of which is the best solution. Every website has its own individual solution based on their demographics, site mechanics and available resources. What you need to consider are;
    1.Your target market?
    2.If you need or don’t need geographical targeting?
    3.If you need language based subdomains or subdirectories?
    4.Should you move hosting?
    5.Is it worth the time and money to do?
    6.Can I afford to do it all?

    How & When To Use Geographical Targeting
    (keep in mind that this strategy is added onto what you are already currently doing so if you have a TLD these techniques will enhance your positions there as well)

    Here’s what to do if you wish to;
    Geographically target a region
    1.Create a subdomain or a subdirectory in the native language and use Webmaster Central to geographically target it
    2.Host the subdomain on a server in the native region and use geographical targeting
    3.Build back links from similar TLD’s

    Target a specific language?
    1.Create a subdirectory in the native language (I.e. www.yoursite.com/nl/)
    2.Build back links from same language websites and TLD’s
    3.Do not use geographical targeting
    4.Build SBM’s (Social Bookmarks) in the native language (I.e. http://www.mister-wong.es)

    The reason that you do not want to use geographical targeting along with a language-based strategy is that if the end-user searches in the native language on Google.com, a site using content in that language will be stronger than the same site with geographical targeting in place. (this isn’t dependent on whether you use subdirectories or subdomains unless you hosted the subdomain in the target region).

    The answer for me is that I want it all…and NOW!!
    I’ve recently had subdomains rank with geographical targeting turned on and in the native language rank top 10 in 6 weeks. I’ve had brand new websites with the appropriate TLD’s (I.e. .nl, .de & .es) show up in 8 weeks. I’ve even had a .com hosted in the US without geographical targeting show up in the top 10 results for “Hollywood” terms when they had never been in results in the UK.

    You can start with subdomains. Look at your logfiles to determine where the current traffic is coming from to tell you what to do first. Bounce rates can also tell you a lot. If you are getting traffic from Spain and the bounce rate is high, you should build a subdirectory in Spanish and you may even want to add IP identification and send the end-user directly through to the front page until you can verify that the bounce rate is coming into line.

    Another example is; if your secondary traffic source is Germany and you have a high bounce rate, start with a language-based subdirectory, then maybe move onto creating a subdomain, hosting it in Germany, then set the geographical targeting to Germany in Webmaster Central. Then go back and start all over again using the region that has the next highest contribution.

    Case Study
    A secondary benefit to implementing this strategy is that you will start showing up on Google datasets everywhere. Take Bingo.com for instance. After 70 days a newly developed subdomain (es.bingo.com) is not only ranking in the top 10 result for their top keywords on Google.es, but they are ranking top 10 for their top terms in Spanish on Google.com;

    And here are other Google engines (so far) that have picked it up;

    Important Things To Remember!
    TLD’s are the most effective strategy when targeting a regionTo target a language using only subdirectories do not use geographic targeting
    You can target a language with both subdomains and subdirectories but if you have a top-level TLD (.com) use subdirectories versus subdomains.
    You can use Google geographical targeting on subdomains and subdirectories but remember that a subdomain is considered to be a stand-alone site that can rank alongside your TLD listing. You can also host these subdomains in the targeted region and get better rankings.
    Your title and content should be in the native language and/or use regional slang terms where they apply.
    Use language-based meta tags whenever targeting language-based searches
    Host subdomains that are for geographical targeting in the target region
    When you implement the subdomain strategy, link to it from the original website
    Create new xml sitemaps for each subdomain
    When creating meta descriptions and content be sure to use native slang. (If you sold pants in the US and the UK. Pants are referred to as trousers. Sweaters are referred to as jumpers.
    Get back links from same TLD’s (get a .nl link to your .nl site in the native language)
    If you have a TLD (like .nl or .de) do not use geographical targeting. These domains are already associated with its designated region

    So in a nutshell, I recommend that if you already have an existing website with a TLD like a .com or .cu.uk, and those are your target market, do not use the geographical targeting option. Start building subdirectories using the top native language determined by looking at Google Analytics or your log files. Identify your top referrer language. If the languages are close, as it the case between the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia, use native slang in the title, metatags and content. Build a new xml site map and manually submit it through all the main search engines.
    The next step is to create a subdomain and get it hosted in the region that you are targeting. Build content in the native language and get back links from other domains with your same extension. Put some links on the primary TLD and point them at the new sudomains.
    By implementing this strategy, you will have a significant advantage over most of your competition (or a little less after this article is released ). Whether the search is initiated in the region or outside the region, whether your site ie located in the region or just hosted there, or even if they search in the native language or manually enter a specific Google engine like Google.com.mx or Google.es, you will have better saturation. If the end user uses the built-in filters, you will also have better saturation.

    So in closing I mention that it’s the small things, the details, that can get you higher in the Search Engine food chain. This may take quite a bit of work on your end, but the markets are generally soft for language and regional based searches in any industry. This the time to start implementing these techniques to give yourself an advantage and a head start in the international landscape.

    I hope in some way this makes up for my lack of participation here ya'll.

    I do still moderate the spam warnings you all send, but we have great moderators and they always seem to beat me...and thanks for that. It's the only way to moderate a board like we have.

    Kudos to those of you making the effort.

    P.s. I'm working on a post on the Brandy Update but info is coming in very slow. Its a tough one. All I know now is watch where you link from and to, and header tags have lost quite a bit of steam...but don't stop using them.

    Gary
    Last edited by GaryTheScubaGuy; Mar 9th, 2009 at 05:29 PM.
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    Wow .. Great one. Well researched and tons of info never heard off.. Thank you for your time and for sharing your wisdom
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    Originally Posted by mynotion
    Wonderful explanation about territory methodology. I have recent asked a similar question like this. In other words if I wish to target a website on google.com and google.com.sg what I can do is to use the xxx.com and create xxx.com/sg to target both content on different search engine? Will google really recognise xxx.com/sg should appear in more priority on google.com.sg?
    Yes G will. Language-based subdirectories have always been useful as long as you set the meta-data to the target language and your desc tag is in the targeted language, but since Nov 2008 Google has turned up their geographical "tweak" and geotargeting has now become a very, and I mean VERY useful tool.

    TLD's will always have the best opportunity for top rankings, but subdomains with bigger, badder and better backlinks can beat that race.

    Target language with .com's or TLD's. Target regions with geotargeting, localised hosting and backlinks from TLD's. None of these are required elements but each is another bullet.
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    Red face


    One additional note...

    .com.sg or .com.anything are fed off language based searches so use these to target that and don't use the goetarget tool. Create a new subdomain and set the geotargeting at your region.

    .com.whatever has the same influence as any .es or .de. The TLD's just haven't been assigned for various reasons.

    At the end of the day Google looks at user IP unless a filter is selected and 87% of the time they aren't selected (As an example, if your in Germany using Google you get "Seiten auf Deutsch" and "Seiten aus Deutschland" or "in" and "from") So the results are varied, but that means the landscape is also weak and open to an advanced strategy.

    I have done this on Bingo.com. This is the best client in the world. Open to anything and I talk to the guy that does the IT so my changes are implemented immediately. I should be paying him.

    If you need any further direction please feel free to ask. I've been neglecting this forum when its been responsible for much of my success for far too long.

    I just need to find more time
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    Gary... I have a .ca version of my .com US site but am not ranking in Google.ca at all even after almost a year... should I be using some country specific META tags (currently I am just using the basic Title, description and keyword tags)?

    Do you think it is possible that I am beeing penalized for duplicate content since the .ca site is the same as the .com?

    site is pennytalk dot com
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    Originally Posted by emmaonline
    Gary... I have a .ca version of my .com US site but am not ranking in Google.ca at all even after almost a year... should I be using some country specific META tags (currently I am just using the basic Title, description and keyword tags)?

    Do you think it is possible that I am beeing penalized for duplicate content since the .ca site is the same as the .com?

    site is pennytalk dot com
    Hi Emma,

    Guessing, I would have to agree with you that you are getting penalised. .com and .ca are both drawing results from the same dataset. Both are english.

    Set geotargeting in WMC for your .ca. domain to Canada and it should solve your problem.

    I'm not 100% on this because there is a very grey area with Google when you mix targets with the same language.

    We are looking very hard at this because Google has more than 20 engllish-based datasets that they use for many search queries; i.e. english based searches on .com.mx, australia, new zealand, and many others.

    For now I think that's your best route.

    I would also get some links back from .ca's.

    Cheers
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    Not sure wtf happened to my post here but this one is a bit old. This is the correct one; http://forums.seochat.com/google-optimization-7/advanced-geotargeting-if-your-market-is-international-239918.html

    Comments on this post

    • fathom agrees : looks like a "mod job"
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  25. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by emmaonline
    Gary... I have a .ca version of my .com US site but am not ranking in Google.ca at all even after almost a year... should I be using some country specific META tags (currently I am just using the basic Title, description and keyword tags)?

    Do you think it is possible that I am beeing penalized for duplicate content since the .ca site is the same as the .com?

    site is pennytalk dot com
    Take a look at your cache [specifically the links on the page]
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    Thanks Gary... I am going to do a little work here and see what I can do... also just watched this video on the subject from Google... interesting stuff:

    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogsp...your-site.html
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    This was a great post. I am new here so try to answer my question during your flames but if most my business is in the United States (not all of it as I ship internationally) would it be beneficial to set the geogrpahic target in my webmaster tools as United States or should I just leave it alone? The reason I ask is because I am wondering if you don't set it to a specific country does this in a sense water things down as it spreads the "juice" across the entire world as opposed to just the United States or does it have no bearing at all?

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