View Full Version : Ranking Well In Non-US Searches
06-09-2004, 08:46 AM
Yes, we supposedly work on the World Wide Web, but localization and micromarketing (a term I learned from a Stuart Elliot column describing a marketing pitch by Sharper Image to one area of Soho in New York) increasingly segment and complicate results, especially across foreign search portals. So here are some suggestions - from the Search Engine Watch forums (http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/forum/) - for reaching potential clients who live in countries other than yours.
I'd like to start with some advice from Ian McAnerin, (http://webpronews.com/authors/ianmcanerin.html) who spoke with representatives of the major search engines at the recent Toronto SES conference.
He heard that "all the major SE's look at the TLD first for geolocation, then at the secondary characteristics of IP and link analysis."
In addition, "Google is the only major one that looks at IP address. Yahoo, MSN and Teoma all use link analysis instead."
If you have a .com/net/org domain that's when Google looks at IP and server location, while Teoma and Yahoo look at your "hub/authority" membership.
He spoke at the conference and asked the reps directly as he wanted to be sure he had the straight facts.
Danny Sullivan (http://www.searchenginewatch.com) gave some suggestions too. If you want your site to appear in Australian searches then you should host in Australia. If you're hosting in the US and have a .au site then you should still appear Australian. If you're hosting in the US, have a .com domain and want to be seen as an Australian site then in all likelihood your sole recourse is links from .au or Australian hosted sites.
Ian McAnerin, as mentioned above, noted that Yahoo, MSN, and Teoma pay attention to the hub and authority sites linking to yours (and, to a degree, that your site links to).
One poster, who goes by "doppelganger," made an interesting point based on his experience in running global search campaigns - many countries are not "in the age of crawlers." Especially, he said, in South America and Asia. You'll have to find country-specific directories.
"Character encoding" too can be an issue the poster said, but made no specific mention of why. I'll investigate this.
Chris D stated that, "a DMOZ regional listing is also worth gold if you don't have a country extension domain."
I wrote some time ago of ranking well in German search engines (http://www.webpronews.com/insiderreports/searchinsider/wpn-49-20040204GettingListedInGermanSearchEngines.html).
Thanks to Barry of SEORoundTable (http://www.seoroundtable.com) for the tip.
06-09-2004, 01:18 PM
For me the problem is the other way round. We are based in Austria and have madur.at as main site. In this type of commerce you can completely forget outside links. Why should anyone link to our company, we don't link to any company except our distributors, who are lucky and get a link from the German pages and a link from the English pages. I have invested considerable time in improving the English site, but with very little direct effect. The only result I have seen is an increase on the German site! The increase in ranking has moved us up so anybody searching under "German language only" or "sites in Austria" is more likely to find us. Trying to get a better ranking in the English machines is more difficult from here. Forget links, except for directories. These are one of the two methods I have for increasing links. Most of them are in English language areas, which gives me a good choice and may help in the long run.
The other method is the free sites you can set up in most countries. A couple of pages of relevant text and a handful of links. I forgot to mention writing articles. In a good week I place about 4 articles around the world. It will take time, but will get there.
There are international lists of directories, so you can usually find one in most language areas. Getting into the German or Polish Open Directory is much quicker and simpler as well, provided the quality is up to it. These are the best ways I can find to get links from abroad.
06-09-2004, 03:01 PM
I've been thinking about it on the way home, and I am sure it is best if you register a name with a German ending. Either .de, .at, or .ch. Godaddy has .at sites, I don't know what else they have. Place the German text there and go for the directories.
06-10-2004, 10:23 PM
Thank you for this article. It hooked me into the fora and I feel a serious addiction is beginning to bloom.
If I am understanding the crux of the article correctly, it seems that a USA-based (i.e., .com extension) will have a difficult time ranking highly on overseas search engines. This is very disappointing to me as I just dropped some serious ducats to an overseas SEO’er to start improving our site in the rankings. My question, then, is this: Shall I buy the domain names with .au, .de, .tv et alia extensions and then have these sites point back to the main site in .Com Land? This, too, seems counterintuitive given (what I've read are) every search engine's proclivity to regurgitate redirecters yet I cannot think of any other method.
06-11-2004, 02:31 AM
As I said, I have the same problem in reverse. I have a .at site and all the work I have done to boost the English language section has simply boosted the German section. I am convinced you need a local ending and local hosting to get anywhere. Which countries are you trying to focus on?
06-11-2004, 05:59 AM
This may be part of the problem - in the last month we sent products to 21 different countries in six different languages. The sales team is very competitive and each makes a case for optimizing in their own region of the world. Personally I see the best opportunities in the Middle East but our biggest orders come from Chile and Argentina.
A website that can be all things to all countries: achievable?
06-11-2004, 06:52 AM
I thought it was, but it does not seem to be. As I mentioned, my main site is madur.at. I have done a lot of work on the English section with absolutely no result at all. I also have madurusa.com. These two were identical, but I have not done any work on madurusa.com for years, but it ranks way ahead for any search terms now. Forget it is my advice. People in Argentina will mostly search inside Argentina, but possibly search in Spanish. I am now convinced that the meta language tag is worthless and your language is solely defined by your ending or IP. Get an Argentine site and things will look up. I am going to reactivate madur.com and transfer all the data and links back to there. We will see what happens.
06-12-2004, 09:56 PM
In my experience, go for .com (if you have a global product/service) but host in your 'secondary' country. My main focus is actually the us and most of my customers are US but I also rank very well in the UK (google wise) and get quite a lot of traffic from the UK. It must be because I decided to host the site in the UK so it really helps..(I never marketed actively and never even submitted to any SE in the UK) I'm thinking about switching to a better hosting deal but this server is located in the US and this is the exact reason why I wouldn't go for this deal in the end. I guess this could work the other way around as well; have your local country extension site (i.e. .de or .at) hosted in the US..Although I think it won't have the same effect.
Just waiting for some good affordable hosting in China now.. Add 1 billion prospective customers !
06-13-2004, 10:34 AM
I am pretty convinced that the ending is the most important thing and then the IP address if you have dot com etc. Go take a look at http://www.madur.at/index_gb.html and guess how many clicks I get per day. There is information on there and the English is fine, but it just does not show in English language searches because it is dot at. Take a guess and we can discuss it afterwards.
06-16-2004, 06:23 PM
I have been racking both my brain cells on this one, since it is very relevant for me. The engines index and rank pages not sites, so surely the IP of the page is important, not of the homepage? Does this mean I can place the relevant pages in a directory in, say Portugal, and get those pages rated as Portuguese? They would have a completely different physical address after all, even if they are logically part of a dot at site.
I hate to keep bugging everyone with this topic, but, as I said, it is fairly vital for me. I can get directory space fairly easily in most countries, but registering a separate domain is money and work.
Are you certain you are looking at the problem from the right end?
While most countries have local search engines, stats seem to indicate that the local versions of search engines like Google still command a respectable search market share in those countries, and all these engines have the ability to allow you to search either the entire web or only the local pages.
I have no experience regarding the number of german searchers who would click the search only german results versus using the default of searching the entire web, but in many Asian countries the default option seems to get the most use.
I thus suspect that it is more mportant to be ranked well in the .com version of google, which would seem to argue for a .com domain and an English language site, but that you develop a secondary site in the local languages you deem important.
I recognize that its probably harder to get ranked well in google.com as opposed to Google.at, but if you have a worldwide market that may IMO be the better route.
If you only are interested in a local market this approach may not be intersting.
06-18-2004, 03:08 PM
The problem seems to be that a dot at site does not seem to get ranked well under the English language results. My main customers are people who do not have university education, so I would expect them to search in their own language. About 80% of people that I know here do that.
I do not think that google.com takes an English language site with dot at ending seriously. It is indexed and can be found, but I do not know any that come high in the rankings. I have no evidence for my suspicion, but I have the feeling that I am swimming with a weight belt here.
06-18-2004, 04:41 PM
Do you have a local search directory in Germany. I thought it would be really hard to get indexed into Google worldwide here in New Zealand so I just started off by submitting to New Zealand search directory such as NZSearch and SearchNZ. The great thing about this was before I knew it google had found my page.
Okay it is in google worldwide somewhere but in Google New Zealand which is where I tend to start any search I do it is on page 2 for our most competitive key phrase and on page 1 spot 3 for a less competitive phrase.
My theory is that as I keep improving the page the ranking in Google NZ will slowly move up ... and this has been happening (never used to be on page 10 even .. now page 2) and eventually this will translate into improved rankings in Google.com.
06-19-2004, 04:17 PM
Yes, but you have an ending that is recognised as English speaking. I think that makes a difference.
Web Designer Leeds
06-22-2004, 08:13 PM
I am a uk based web developer. I am just about to get my first dedicated server which is geographically located in the US. Would the location of the server influence ranking for UK searches even if the site uses a .co.uk tld?
06-23-2004, 06:44 AM
I have no real evidence about it. I think it will make no difference in your case, since you have the correct ending and everything is still English language. I could be very wrong about the whole matter.