Does your website rely on traffic from a specific country? If so, you should optimize it to rank high in the search results for searches performed in that country. A traditional linear search engine optimization (SEO) won’t work in this case. Google may rank your website high in one country and low or not all in your preferred, targeted country. To achieve high search rankings in your targeted country, follow these website optimization tips.
Choose a Country-Specific TLD
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Search engines look at a website’s top-level domain (TLD) name when determining which country or countries its targeting because some TLDs are associated with a specific country. Known as a country code top-level domain (ccTLD), they consist of two letters and are designated for a specific country or sovereign region. Some ccTLDs are open, meaning that anyone can register them, while others are closed, meaning that only people in the region for which the ccTLD is designated can register them. If possible, use a ccTLD designated for the country that you are targeting.
Common ccTLDs include the following:
• .au (Australia)
• .br (Brazil)
• .ca (Canada)
• .cn (China)
• .es (Spain)
• .eu (European Union)
• .fr (France)
• .gb (United Kingdom)
• .it (Italy)
• .mx (Mexico)
• .nl (Netherlands)
• .nz (New Zealand)
• .us (United States)
Host Website in Targeted Country
The geographic location of your website’s server can also affect its ability to attract search traffic from a specific traffic. Google, as well as anyone else, can see the location of your website’s server by looking up your domain name’s Internet Protocol (IP) address. If Google sees that your website is hosted in a specific country, it may assume that you are targeting search traffic in that country, thereby increasing your search rankings for your targeted country. If you already have a web hosting service, contact them to see where their servers are located. If it’s not in your targeted country, consider switching to a different web host.
Acquire Backlinks From Country-Specific Websites
Try to acquire backlinks from websites of the country that you are targeting. Google has long used backlinks as a factor in its search ranking algorithm. It doesn’t just look at the quality and relevance of a backlink, though; it looks at a backlink’s physical location. Building backlinks on websites related to a specific country will increase your chances of ranking high in that country.
In Google, you can search for websites with a specific domain extension, such as the ccTLD that you are targeting, by using the operator “site:EXTENSION.” If you want to acquire backlinks from Australian websites, you can search for “site:au,” and Google will only return websites featuring the .au extension.
Enable International Targeting in GSC
You can tell Google which country you’d like to target using the Google Search Console (GSC). Available at Google.com/Webmasters/Tools, GSC is a free web-based suite of SEO tools that specifically relates to your website’s visibility in Google. In addition to providing search rankings and backlink data, it allows webmasters to target specific countries. To use this feature, log in to GSC and click your website. Next, click Search Traffic > International > Country. You can then click the box for “Target users in” and choose the country that you’d like to target.
Create Content in the Country’s Language
One of the most important things you can do to target country-specific search traffic is to create high-quality content that’s tailored for your targeted country’s audience. If you’re targeting U.K. search traffic, for example, use British spelling and grammar. If you’re targeting U.S. search traffic, use American spelling and grammar. On the other hand, if you’re targeting Mexico, create content in Spanish. You want to create content that’s relevant for users in your targeted country. Otherwise, they won’t read it, and you’ll probably discover low search rankings for your targeted country.
Add Website to Google My Business and Bing for Business
Both Google and Bing have online directories for local businesses. If your website is for a local business — and your business operates in the same region that you are targeting — create a listing on Google My Business and Bing for Business. These listings are primarily used to display a business’s information, but you can include your business’s physical address and its website URL in them. Search engines will see that your business operates in a specific region, and they’ll associate that region with its website.
Add Geo Metadata to Website Images
Another tactic that can help you attract more country-specific search traffic is to add geo metadata to your website’s images. This involves editing your images to specify the latitude and longitude where the image was taken. It doesn’t affect the appearance of your images. In fact, most visitors will never see this metadata. However, search engines will notice the latitude and longitude of your images when crawling your website, and they’ll use this information to index and rank your website in the appropriate country. To add geo metadata like latitude and longitude to your images, you’ll need to use geotagging software. Alternatively, you can use an online geotagging tool like GeoImgr.com.
Create Social Media Profiles
Social media marketing can help you achieve higher search rankings and more organic traffic from your targeted country. In your social media profiles, you can specify your website’s URL and its physical address. This encourages higher rankings in your targeted country while also attracting more direct traffic from users in that country. Keep in mind, however, that Facebook isn’t the leading social media network in all countries. In China, for example, QZone is the most popular social media network, boasting more than 632 million monthly users. Promote your website on social media networks that are popular in your targeted country.
Optimizing a website for country-specific search traffic takes time. However, the value of high-quality and relevant organic traffic is well worth the investment. Once you’ve secured a top ranking for your website in your targeted country, you’ll experience stronger user engagement and more sales or conversions.
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Last Updated in February 2022 by Lukasz Zelezny