“How can I optimise my website for a global audience?” It’s a question more, and more portals are asking and if not, it’s something they should be asking.
There are many different strategies that go into getting more traffic to your site from a global audience. If you’re a European portal targeting your country or a U.S. portal with customers in multiple countries, the information on how to optimise your website is scattered and hard to find. Here are some quick and very effective things to do.
- Use country extensions: Build language, or country-specific sites at each respective domain extension (.co.uk, .ie, .nz, etc). If you would rather not to have separate domains for each target country or language, buy the domain extension and redirect it to a subdirectory, e.g. http://yoursite.com/uk.
- Set up cross-domain canonical tags: Google now supports using the rel=“canonical” link element across different domains. This means that you can have similar content on both the .com and .co.uk extensions of your site, and use the canonical link element to indicate the exact URL of the domain preferred for indexing. This will make duplicate content a non-issue. Also, keep in mind that this is not required when using different languages. Google does not consider foreign-language translations to be duplicate content.
- Setup local servers: In the past, Google has stated that the country within which a website is hosted is a very small factor in their international ranking algorithms. So try to have servers set up in your target countries. For example, if your company is based in the UK and you have a .fr extension of your site, have the .fr domain extension site hosted on a server in France.
- Get a local mailing address: Establish a physical location or mailing address in each target country if possible. Then add this mailing address to the “About” section of each local site.
- Set proper geo-targeting in Google Webmaster: Google allows webmasters to geographically target certain websites or sections of your website to certain locations and regions via Google Webmaster Tools. You can find these settings by logging into your Webmaster Tools account, looking under Site Configuration, and changing your geographic targeting in the Settings tab.
Are there more things that portals can do? Sure, but these are the first steps that every portal should be taking. It’s become more, and more a global marketplace, and portals have to ensure that they are not left behind .