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April 4, 2009

Cindy Krum, Rank-Mobile

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The 3rd session in the Technical SEO Track is "International SEO" by Cindy Krum, Founder of Rank-Mobile. Cindy is up for the second time today – SMX are making the most of having her out!

Rank-Mobile provides mobile marketing consulting for companies who want to drive traffic, sales and loyalty through the mobile channel focussing on mobile development and search engine optimisation but can also offer advice on mobile application development etc.

Multinational brands/websites have issues like multiple currencies and different ecommerce laws even before they consider international SEO issues. So what’s a webmaster to do if you want to rank for thousands of keywords across multiple engines worldwide?

You have 3 Site architecture options

Location detection software serves content suited to the main language of that country/location

It provides a good user experience; one URL that serves different languages. However risk of inaccurate location detection via IP can occur and it can be tricky to setup technically eg: may require URL’s with query strings that contain lots of variables.

Cindy Tip: Always check the IP translation. This allows users to override and specify their own language/country and save this option as a cookie, buy country specific domains eg: .de for German and use this to set the language cookie to immediately display content in the correct language

One site Approach - Sub domains/directories are easy to setup. The same content in different languages is never duplicate content and you can create sub domains/directories by country or language. If you do end up using sub-domains eg: germany.company.com can host them in that country to get better rank in local Google/yahoo etc

Disadvantages: it’s bad for targeting multiple countries that speak the same language (duplicate content risk), home page only ranks for the chosen default language
Cindy Tip: spell the name of the subdomain or subdirectory in the appropriate language eg: www.espanol.website.com rather than www.spanish.website.com, avoid SEO and user unfriendly “Choose a Language” homepage

Multiple Sites Approach – Multiple sites have incrementally lower startup costs, they rank better in country specific search engines faster and allow country specific hosting options.

Disadvantages: are that its a higher cost to maintain and design so many sites, harder to rank in .com search engines and forces you to target countries instead of language. Strategy Tip – Add all the sites separately in Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer

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