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Top 5 things you can do to geolocate your multilingual websites

In a global marketplace, companies struggle when it comes to providing the best content to local search engines, many times insisting in having a main .com website, that often does not appear in local product searches.

There is no one solution to this problem, but, has a multi lingual SEO blog I think Multi Lingual Search is the right place to start debating some possible ones.

Basically companies have two options, when it comes to multi language websites:

– Build a massive .com website, with folders or sub domains for several languages (IBM, IKEA, CANON)

– Build local versions of the site, using the TLD of each country (Nokia)

The first option can be cheaper and easier to implement (only one backoffice), but it may not bring the best results. This is because geolocation is based in different factors, that, all together factor in when it comes to ranking in local search engines.

Those main factors are:

1. Language in which the website is written
2. TLD (.pt, .es, …)
3. IP Adress of the server hosting the website
4. Links from local TLDs
5. On-page address or other location info (Google Maps, …)

It is now also possible to select the geographic location using Google’s Webmaster Tools. But for now only full sites can be geolocated, not individual folders, although that is promissed for the near future, as was assured by Matt Cutts in this interview.

I would be happy to ear your comments on this issue, if you have any of course, as well as doubts and advice for SEOing global websites.

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Nuno Hipolito

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7 Responses to Top 5 things you can do to geolocate your multilingual websites

  1. Preventa says:

    Nice article, thanks for tips.

  2. Interpreting Service says:

    What you have pointed out is very effective and true because most of the companies fail to concern about TLD and links from local sites.

  3. […] Informative article about elements that can be of great importance regarding local search. Quick overview: […]

  4. New Frontier says:

    Nuno Hipólito has written an inspiring article highlighting the necessity and need for an Multilingual website.Language in which the website is written is not an issue and in my opinion the key issue is using the right kind of Multilingual content writers.Please post many such articles in future,Mr. Nuno.

  5. […] 5 stvari koje možete napraviti kako bi poboljÅ¡ali poziciju ne-engleskog sajta Informativan članak o faktorima koji mogu biti presudni u prikazivanjima meÄ‘u lokalnim pretraživanjim. Brzi pregled: 1. Jezik na kojem je sajt napisan 2. TLD (.hr, .si, …) 3. IP adresa servera na kojem se hosta sajt 4. Linkovi sa lokalnih TLD-ova (.hr, .si,…) 5. Adresa lokacije na stranicama Ono Å¡to se kroz tekst spominje je i Googleova usluga koju sam već spominjao u tekstu Napokon Google multi-language tool, koju isto valja uzeti u obzir. […]

  6. Nuno Hipólito says:

    Hi John, thanks for the feedback!

  7. JohnMu says:

    Hi Nuno – good summary of the possibilities! I just wanted to comment that you can in fact apply geotargeting information to folders and subdomains through Google Webmaster Tools; you just need to verify ownership of them separately. Keep in mind that it may take some time (it may be up to 2 months) for the change to take effect. You should also only do this when a site can legitimately claim a physical presence in those regions; if your site is for a global audience, don’t use geotargeting. Just to cover all bases — setting the geotargeting information in Webmaster Tools is only possible for sites on generic TLDs (.com, .net, .eu, etc); you cannot change targeting if your site uses a ccTLD.

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