May, 21st, 2014

Google Panda 4.0 update: good news for small business?

Google’s Panda update was first introduced in February 2011 to improve the quality of search results for their users to include more relevant and authoritative websites. There have been several updates since its launch to further improve this.

Today in USA, Matt Cutts announced on Twitter that Google has rolled out 4.0 version of Google Panda Algorithm.

Matt Cutts on Twitter announcing Panda 4.0 update

Is there good news for small business?

Not many details about Google Panda 4.0 update has been released yet.  However, Matt Cutts announced at Search Marketing Expo in March 2014 that his team is working on the “next generation” softer Panda update that should directly impact to help small businesses do better in the search results.

This would not be the first time that Google is softening the Panda update; they did soften the algorithm in their July 2013 Panda update as well.

Let’s wait and see what changes this new update has to bring for small businesses. We can expect more visibility in search results for small businesses in local results.

How Google Panda affected small businesses

Specifically, Google Panda filtered the low-quality websites with little or poor content. It was designed to tackle content farms that were being used to manipulate search rankings for a website in Google. As a side effect of this update, many small businesses were caught and lost their search visibility to big brands overnight, which created a big buzz in small business & SEO communities.

Some quotes by people at savingsmallbusiness.org

Getting hit by Panda is like having your business burned down, only in the real world you can rebuild. With Panda, there’s no coming back. Your business has been nuked.

I can remember my first weekend after Panda annihilated my site of 6 years… a site that I had put my blood, sweat, and tears into. At the time Panda hit my first child was less than a month old and it seemed as if my world was falling apart.

Small businesses complaining on Google's webmaster forum

10 tips on improving your website rankings

  • Write high quality original content for your website
  • Keep design and navigation of the website clean & well-structured
  • Don’t stuff keywords for the sake of rankings, build websites for users
  • Keep META data unique and relevant to the pages across whole website
  • Post fresh quality content on your website (blogposts)
  • Have the website properly geo-targeted to your targeted location
  • Don’t let ads takeover your content on the website
  • Don’t use any black-hat SEO tactics i.e. low quality links, content farms, etc.
  • Focus on a great content strategy that gets you natural links from authority websites
  • Increase your social media efforts, Google consider this as a strong signal that your content is high quality

Hopefully, this new Google Panda update will bring good news for small businesses/websites and help them get the leverage from Google search engine.

No responses yet

May, 19th, 2014

49 key insights on digital trends and future tech

Future tech and digital trends process diagram
Here is our list of key insights on digital trends and future technology.

  1. Digital budgets up, understanding goes down of how digital drives profits. Back in 2010 Econsultancy found that 67% of companies rated themselves as “good” / “very good” assessing ROI. In 2013 that figure has dropped to 50%. (Source: forbes.com)
  2. As you ponder Gartner’s digital marketing transit map, think about how your organisation is bringing these neighbourhoods together, and the important role you play to make this happen! (Source: chiefmartec.com)
  3. Marketo/Altimeter Group – Jeremiah Owyang on the future of digital marketing: Paid, Owned, and Earned is converging into one single form of media. Couple of nice case studies. (Source: slideshare.net)
  4. Great customer experiences drive loyalty; here are 4 reasons why this matters: “Longer customer tenure, increased purchase value, relationships that are more efficient to serve, and more referrals which drive additional sales”. (Source: econsultancy.com)
  5. Two key aspects of agile marketing: #1 Testing and data over opinions and conventions. #2 Many small experiments over a few large bets. (Source: chiefmartec.com)
  6. Google Compute Engine vs Amazon EC2: Inter-regional file copy delivered at avg 15 Mbit/s on AWS, but took just 15 seconds on GCE (avg 300 Mbit/s). (Source: gigaom.com)
  7. Yes to agile marketing but don’t forget quality altogether: “It comes back to finding the right balance between super-slow perfectionism and super-fast sloppiness”. (Source: chiefmartec.com)
  8. We cannot help but wonder whilst ideas from discussion papers on Quantified/Sensored Self seem a distant possibility from “everyday normal living” right at this moment, in all but a few short years we will have moved very quickly to a new norm of accepted self monitoring (and sharing). – Continuous sharing of biometrics = real-time increase in life insurance premiums..? (Source: blogs.gartner.com)
  9. Two insights on agile marketing from HubSpot’s CEO: #1 It makes the marketing function more transparent. #2 Agile marketing manages activity, not performance (that’s done at a level above the execution of tasks). (Source: chiefmartec.com)
  10. Forrester/BMA: “Marketing must do things that it hasn’t done ever before to be successful” (n=117). (Source:chiefmartec.com)
  11. The most frustrating marketing analytics challenge? Acting on data to improve marketing performance (n=242, 2012). (Source: bufferapp.com)
  12. Nice, but what the report fails to mention is NZ’s disproportionally high budget allocation to traditional channels, when compared with AU. Still a lot of room for growth for digital. (Source: econsultancy.com)
  13. The end of competitive advantage? From IBM’s C-level Exec global survey (n=4,183): “CEOs now expect that new competition is as likely to come from other industries as it is their own”. (Source: chiefmartec.com)
  14. Real-world analytics that provides insight into pedestrian volume, allows for time-of-day analysis and gives retailers an associated “opportunity score”. Nice. (Source: cre-apps.com)
  15. eMarketer (US) is predicting that time spent on non-voice mobile activities will surpass time spent online on desktop/laptop computers for the first time this year. (Source: emarketer.com)
  16. 2018, the year mobile overtakes desktop ad spend? We’d certainly agree that “time spent engaging with advertising content on desktops is declining”. (Source: marketingland.com)
  17. mCom retail sales to represent 25% of total eCom by 2017, tablet share to make up 72% of this (US, eMarketer). (Source: orbitalalliance.com)
  18. eMarketer (US): “By 2017, 29.7% of all digital video ad spending will go toward mobile ads (including ads served to tablet devices)”. (Source: emarketer.com)
  19. 2013 Global Marketing Effectiveness Tracker (n=1,200): “78% of CEOs around the world believe Ad & Media Agencies are not performance-driven enough and do not focus enough on helping to generate the (real and P&L-quantifiable) business results they expect their Marketing departments to deliver” (The Fournaise Marketing Group). (Source: fournaisegroup.com)
  20. The principle of fair use has been upheld in the Google book scanning lawsuit (started 2005), substantiation being: “The crucial point is whether the use to which Google is putting these copyrighted works qualifies as ‘transformative’ – in the sense that it adds value or uses the work in a different and beneficial way. The judge decided that it clearly does this”. (Source: gigaom.com)
  21. “Most marketers create digital billboards and bumper stickers that are ineffective at getting the message across. Those that segment groups, target them effectively, and use digital tools and techniques to deliver a message of value at the right time will emerge as the winners” (Also called ‘Search’…). (Source: cmo.com)
  22. Google Trends now available for YouTube Search. Just as well, given YouTube has now surpassed the 1 billion monthly user mark. (Source: toprankblog.com)
  23. Google China <5% market share, Alibaba.com’s Aliyun will mean even more fragmentation. (Source: searchengineland.com)
  24. Most banking customers prefer to go online to learn about new products and services (Gallup, US). Are you dedicating sufficiently large budgets to the digital channel to maximise this opportunity..? (Source: businessjournal.gallup.com)
  25. HBR – When people are the channel itself, the rules change: “Top marketers know that they can’t put one over on the customer, nor can they control the message or their customer’s behaviour. It takes humility, appreciation, and an orientation towards openness and inclusion”. (Source: blogs.hbr.org)
  26. Forrester is probably right. Google does have the broadest set of affinity data (most varied by source): Spending time (YouTube), connections/sharing/liking (Gmail, G+) and let’s not forget the actual search index itself…(Source: venturebeat.com)
  27. Apparently Facebook Home’s “people first” OS experience has been available on Windows Phone for years. Unfortunately, that’s a bit of a moot point. (Source: marketingland.com)
  28. 81% of Inc. 500 now use LinkedIn, up from 73% a year earlier (n=170), though the survey does not define specifically what is meant by “use”. (Source: marketingprofs.com)
  29. Rapid (and agile) response marketing: Some great examples of reactionary campaigns. (Source: econsultancy.com)
  30. Digital ad spend to overtake newspapers in 2016? We’re predicting July 2015. (Source: stoppress.co.nz)
  31. The future of quantified self likely accelerated by implanted and ingestible technologies, with possibly far-reaching commercial consequences? – “Hi this is Sovereign. Let us monitor your body and we’ll give you a lower premium on your life insurance”. (Source: thenextweb.com)
  32. Consumer TV viewing habits are changing rapidly: “iTunes users have downloaded more than one billion TV episodes and 380 million movies from iTunes to date”. (Source: apple.com)
  33. eMarketer – In 2012 Australians spent an average of US$3,547 per person (who bought online) – the highest per person in the world and 54% more than the US. That is pretty good going really. (Source: marketingmag.com.au)
  34. Newspapers continue to struggle turning traditional advertising dollars into digital dollars: “In 2012, approximately $16 in print revenue was lost for every $1 in digital revenue” (up from $11 in 2011, Pew Research Centre). (Source: paidcontent.org)
  35. Congrats to Luke, Guy and the entire Torpedo7 team – May you always conduct your business in true entrepreneurial style! (Source: idealog.co.nz)
  36. APAC registering the strongest improvement in outlook in Global Marketing Index (n=1,225). (Source: marketingprofs.com)
  37. Fascinating to see what factors are affecting the value of Bitcoin. (Source: venturebeat.com)
  38. Skype is not slowing down: “Skype’s increase of nearly 51 billion minutes in 2012 is more than twice that achieved by all international carriers in the world, combined”. (Source: gigaom.com)
  39. Google’s user base, along with PayPal’s (?), will likely be the reason YubiKey Neo / U2F will gain widespread acceptance. (Source: forbes.com)
  40. We’re excited: Amazon has announced 30-minute delivery times using drones, subject to FAA approval. What could possibly go wrong. (Source: amazon.com)
  41. Choice, control, charm, connectedness and calibration (measurement) – Five core ideas that are shaping the future of advertising (Google / ad:tech). (Source: forbes.com)
  42. “The Drag and Drop utility provides users with an agile mechanism for engineering DNA” – The ultimate goal? Creating a marketplace for synthetic DNA. (Source: genomecompiler.com)
  43. The Apple unofficial official PR machine is in full swing. It better have biometric data. (Source: venturebeat.com)
  44. We’re quietly excited about The Internet of Things. Take ReelyActive’s cost-effective RFID solution, for example: “They have taken some of the smarts out, simplified the receivers, and moved the intelligence to the cloud.” (Source: venturebeat.com)
  45. Ok so Apple is working on iWatch, what other wearable computing will we be seeing in the near future? Interesting to read Google hoping for Glass to drive 3% of revenue by 2015. (Source: bits.blogs.nytimes.com)
  46. Interesting – Apple has hired Yves Saint Laurent’s CEO to head its special projects. (Source: networkworld.com)
  47. Google has acquired engineering company Boston Dynamics, which designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. Just in time for the reboot of the Terminator franchise…? – But seriously, this is exciting from the perspective of robotics gaining accelerated funding and consumer-minded focus. (Source: nytimes.com)
  48. Content provider fragmentation prevails for consumers even for “pure-play” digital providers: As we’ve thought about this, there isn’t really one “box” as yet that gives you Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube (and HBO) “native” and all on the same box? (Chromecast – sort of?). (Source: venturebeat.com)
  49. Heard the term “API” thrown around but you never quite figured out what that actually is? Here’s a good explanation, and why it’s important. (Source: blog.compete.com)

 

No responses yet

May, 14th, 2014

41 key insights on paid and organic search

FIRST Process Diagram on Paid and Organic Search
Here is our list of key insights on paid and organic search.

  1. An average of 12.8% of mobile searches result in a conversion, 5.3% call a business. Sounds like there is still a lot of scope to increase usage of the AdWords click-to-call ad template. (Source: adwords.blogspot.co.nz)
  2. As a retailer, should you be running AdWords even if your website is not mobile optimised..? – Consider this sobering stat: “82% of (in-store) smartphone shoppers use mobile search to help make purchase decisions” (Source: googlemobileads.blogspot.co.uk)
  3. We’d say this is bigger news than people realise. Google CPC Email will extend person-specific search re-targeting on a massive scale. (Source: news.cnet.com)
  4. EA Battlefield (3?) gaming case study: “After cutting television’s share from 80% to half and boosting spending on video and paid search, sales of the new version jumped by 23%.” (Source: economist.com)
  5. The AdWords auction insights report now runs across groups of Keywords, Ad Groups or Campaigns, revealing “how often your competitors’ ads are appearing above yours, or whether one of your competitors has a higher impression share than you.” (Source: adwords.blogspot.co.nz)
  6. Improve paid search performance with Facebook ads: Kenshoo study shows a 30% lift in ROAS and a 4.5% drop in CPA for paid search audience segment also exposed to Facebook ads. (Source: searchenginewatch.com)
  7. Yep, successful PPC requires a focus on specificity and granularity, as well as regular text ad changes. (Source: searchenginejournal.com)
  8. Fairfax SEM case study from the FIRST NZ team. (Source: firstdigital.co.nz)
  9. Great. This will push up CTRs nicely. (Source: searchengineland.com)
  10. Check your Quality Score KW level reporting for better context on how to improve QS. Note: Ads not affected, reporting change only. (Source: adwords.blogspot.co.nz)
  11. Google Product Listing Ads accounted for over 14.7% of total paid search spend in Dec 12 (Adobe, US). (Source: ppchero.com)
  12. AdWords Remarketing Best Practice #5: Create Custom Combinations. For example, incentivise a return visit for those consumers who added a product to their basket, but did not complete the checkout process. (Source: verticalleap.co.uk)
  13. AdWords dynamic remarketing is an absolute must for eCommerce sites: Retarget prospects who have viewed a specific product, with a display ad for that exact same product, across the entire product catalogue – dynamically (display ad builder). (Source: wordstream.com)
  14. 2012 avgerage CTR for smartphones 107 percent higher than desktops… – This will be quite different for 2013 given the recent mobile-on-by-default change for AdWords. (Source: m.clickz.com)
  15. The new AdWords mobile bid multiplier can be turned up X percent of your desktop bid for high-value keywords in the right location at the right time (mobile). (Source: venturebeat.com)
  16. The study doesn’t really address SEM performance, but interesting to see clear links to how weather may affect performance. A bit more background on the data sources would have been useful. (Source: searchengineland.com)
  17. eCommerce post-transaction retargeting of existing customers is now possible for Google search ads also, no longer just GDN. (Source: adwords.blogspot.co.nz)
  18. Marin Q4 report puts Australia at the top for highest percentage of clicks from mobile devices: 26% from smartphones and tablets (combined). (Source: marketingmag.com.au)
  19. The new AdWords Keyword Planner appears to make setup even easier, but don’t forget about AdWords Editor – useful for fast copy-paste account structuring. (Source: searchengineland.com)
  20. Google’s structured data mark-up tool has been given new powers: This rich snippet data highlighter can now handle articles, events, local businesses, movies, products, software applications and TV episodes. (Source: searchengineland.com)
  21. Good intro to SEO for business owners. (Source: moz.com)
  22. Hotels, check your Google+ Local Page! (Source: searchengineland.com)
  23. With respect to organic search keyword [not provided] we’d have to agree with this statement: “If it really meant the explanation given about privacy, they [Google] not only wouldn’t be giving up paid keyword data, but also could have found a sensible middle ground of what to share instead of removing it all.” (Source: econsultancy.com)
  24. GA organic search keyword (not provided) to approach 100% by end of year (Conductor, US). (Source: venturebeat.com)
  25. BeyondD’s Group GM Jon Ostler interviewed by ABC’s Four Corners. (Source: abc.net.au)
  26. Organic position #1 drives 33% of total clicks of top 15. Sites listed on the first Google search results page generate 92% of all traffic from an average search (Chitika, US/CA data). (Source: chitika.com)
  27. Read this slowly: “According to a survey of over 72 Million customers shopping on 86 retail sites, Email is the number 3 source of customer acquisition.” (Custora, June 13). (Source: marketingland.com)
  28. The FTC has sent another batch of letters to search engines re-emphasising the continued need for “visual cues, labels, or other techniques to effectively distinguish advertisements, in order to avoid misleading consumers”. We’d say that’s a good thing. (Source: getpocket.com)
  29. Customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the last 4 years: An increasing number of eCommerce retailers are using lead-gen tactics to acquire email addresses, and then converting these into paying customers (Custora). (Source: blog.custora.com)
  30. Non-paid search continues to be the primary way people find websites (Forrester, US/CA, n=30,000+). (Source: marketingcharts.com)
  31. Google Now has been released on iOS. (Source: searchengineland.com)
  32. Good outline of how to maximise exposure for YouTube videos. In addition, consider Promoted Videos via AdWords. TrueView will ensure only actual views are payable; optimise for max views at min CPV. (Source: clickz.com)
  33. Search is substantially better at driving eCommerce traffic than any other digital channel, especially social. (Source: marketingcharts.com)
  34. Ignoring Google+ is not an option: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification” – Schmidt. (Source: searchenginejournal.com)
  35. You might have heard of Caffeine, Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. But do you remember Jagger, Big Daddy and Vince? (Source: blog.hubspot.com)
  36. Tip #5 for scaling content marketing: Focus on discovery by establishing your brand as an authority on community sites. (Source: kaiserthesage.com)
  37. For this to yield any meaningful results you will need to be seriously disciplined and also work with a large enough team to execute control tactics vs test group simultaneously. Not for the faint-hearted… (Source: blog.kissmetrics.com)
  38. Social signals correlation with higher search rankings continues to increase. (Source: searchmetrics.com)
  39. If you want to know what “SEO” looks like these days, this is a good summary. (Source: searchenginewatch.com)
  40. Some serious link baiting going on here. (Source: nzherald.co.nz)
  41. Google rejects over 30% of information requests the Australian government makes. (Source: google.com)

No responses yet

May, 6th, 2014

28 key insights on digital strategy and eCommerce

Process Diagram for Digital Strategy and eCommerce
Here is our list of key insights on digital strategy and eCommerce.

  1. Digital programme performance is slowly but surely being recognised as a key driver for corporate performance: 31% of CEOs now personally sponsor digital initiatives, up from 23% in 2012. And yet: “Only 36% say their companies have a top-line metric for monitoring their digital programs’ overall progress” (McKinsey). (Source: mckinsey.com)
  2. Another thought-provoking post from Avinash, as always: “CPC is a profoundly silly indication of your search strategy success. It causes companies to make silly decisions, which leads to poor results (both for the digital strategy and your career).” (Source: kaushik.net)
  3. A nice and succinct definition for omnichannel retailing: “Online, offline, it’s gotta be the same” – Angela Ahrendts, SVP of Retail, Apple (soon). (Source: econsultancy.com)
  4. Custora Pulse has launched. Benchmark your eComnerce performance against the aggregate and find out just how good your digital marketing really is (% orders by channel breakdown, eg SEO) – 70M consumers, 1B revenue data pool (US only). (Source: blog.custora.com)
  5. Nice move by Shopify to give bitcoin currency a go. Merchants can now apply to have this payment option enabled on the gateway. (Source: coindesk.com)
  6. Clearly, Google is serious about monetising product search. (Source: forbes.com)
  7. Note: The lifetime value of new customers acquired through Paid Search (SEM) and Display Advertising drops by about 13% over the Dec/Jan period, compared to the channel average for the same period (Custora). (Source: blog.custora.com)
  8. “Oh, hi there Amazon, we’re just practising our logistics/integration” – from Google, Costco, Target and friends. (Source: wired.com)
  9. The median load time for the top 2,000 retail sites is 7.25 seconds for a first-time visitor (March 2013) – 22% slower than last year (Infographic). (Source: getelastic.com)
  10. eBay knows that a key driver for the number of product listings is seller convenience. “Sell it Forward” is a brilliant initiative to achieve this goal, whilst also making a small difference in the world (San Fran only).(Source: venturebeat.com)
  11. Suburban Brisbane retail at its finest..? – Aussie small shop charges $5 “just looking” fee: “If you are going to be asking bucket loads of questions, you are going to have to pay for the information…we are not a charity.” (Source: techcrunch.com)
  12. From your roots in digital through to “experiential high touch retail” with one of the nation’s top stores. Seriously good work Michael & team. This will work well. (Source: retailbiz.com.au)
  13. With so much scope for integration, as a marketer it might be difficult to focus on the actual end-goal itself: A great customer experience (that drives profit). Nevertheless, here’s the latest rundown on the marketer’s software toolkit for 2014 across Internet services, infrastructure, “backbone platforms”, marketing middleware, marketing experiences software as well as marketing operations. (Source: chiefmartec.com)
  14. PrepPad: A scale that let’s you quantify your diet with actual data. Understand exactly what you’re going to eat via info from the iPad app (using data the PrepPad sends via Bluetooth) – before you eat it. Watch the video, very cool. (Source: gigaom.com)
  15. Google Maps as an analysis and commercial decision-making tool? – Yep. We also like the idea of every user being thought of as a cartographer. (Source: thenextweb.com)
  16. Strategic planning: Fancy plans and little action? – Try using the levels of strategy approach, borrowed from the architectural design process. (Source: blogs.hbr.org)
  17. Gartner’s spin on the world: Every company will ultimately be a technology company and every business will ultimately become a digital leader. Agree? (Source: gartner.com)
  18. Nice write up of the interesting investments being made in some of the promotion, amplification and optimisation players operating in the content marketing ad ecosystem by Nick Gregg, CEO of StrategyEye. (Source: venturebeat.com)
  19. eMarketer is estimating Amazon’s 2013 global ad revenues after traffic acquisition costs (TAC) at over US$800 million. Where’s the value? Post-transactional targeting data. (Source: emarketer.com)
  20. AmazonFresh is coming to LA and San Fran. Interesting to read Bezos mentioning “getting the right mix of economics and customer experience”. Given they’ve been testing for five years in Seattle it sounds like they are just about ready to scale it up proper. (Source: reuters.com)
  21. Shel Israel is correct when he says: “Advertisers [need to] understand and measure the loss of goodwill that occurs when they produce more noise than signal across all communications channels.” (Source: blog.hubspot.com)
  22. What exactly is digital transformation? It’s an overall change of process, change of organisational design and a commitment to employee education. (Source: econsultancy.com)
  23. Altimeter research report on the strategic use of content marketing: What scalable organisational models exist for addressing content needs across the enterprise, what are the models for governance and distribution? (Source: web-strategist.com)
  24. The three V’s of Big Data, forming the basis for competitive advantage: Volume, velocity and veracity (truthfulness). (Source: marketingmag.com.au)
  25. Tim Cook: Yes we do have a bit of cash. Key projects for using up some of that 137B include investing in R&D, supply chain and infrastructure (9B), saving it for possible acquisitions (“we’re disciplined and thoughtful”) and investing in retail (30 more stores in 2013). (Source: gigaom.com)
  26. The more subscription-based content deals Apple can close, the more attractive this product will become. (Source: bloomberg.com)
  27. And this is why Apple needs to work out fairly quickly how to turn some of their spare cash into a greater competitive advantage. Google will be waiting to slap some (more) ads on whatever Apple comes up with. (Source: venturebeat.com)
  28. Device-optimised streaming video: Amazon continues to build out AWS, it’s obvious to see how this will play an important part in many existing businesses and ones not even launched yet. (Source: venturebeat.com)

No responses yet

May, 1st, 2014

Top 5 things to consider for international SEO Strategy

SEO across the globe
International SEO is the phrase used for optimising websites targeting multiple countries or multiple languages or both. Have you thought about how Google and other search engines will treat your website when you want to appear in search results for multiple countries? Here are five of the most important things to consider when building a website for multiple countries and languages.

 

1. Domain & URL Structure

When you think about international reach, this is the very first factor that you must consider. Making a decision on URL structure can be vital. There are many factors that you may want to consider when looking at improving your reach internationally. Here is a chart to explain the pros and cons of each from Google webmaster:

URL structure Example Pros Cons
ccTLDs  example.co.nzexample.com.au
  • Clear geotargeting
  • Server location irrelevant
  • Easy separation of sites
  • Expensive (and may have limited availability)
  • Requires more infrastructure
  • Strict ccTLD requirements (legal)
  • Expensive (and may have limited availability)
  • Requires more infrastructure
  • Strict ccTLD requirements (legal)
Subdomains with gTLDS  nz.example.comau.example.com
  • Easy to set up
  • Can use Webmaster Tools geotargeting
  • Allows different server locations
  • Easy separation of sites
  • Users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone (is “de” the language or country?)
  • Users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone (is “de” the language or country?)
Subdirectories with gTLDs  example.com/nz/example.com/au/
  • Easy to set up
  • Can use Webmaster Tools geotargeting
  • Low maintenance (same host)
  • Links to all the pages count towards domain authority
  • Users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
  • Single server location
  • Separation of sites harder
  • Users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
  • Single server location
  • Separation of sites harder
URL parameters  site.com?loc=nzsite.com?loc=au
  • Not recommended.
  • URL-based segmentation difficult
  • Users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
  • Geotargeting in Webmaster Tools is not possible
  • URL-based segmentation difficult
  • Users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
  • Geotargeting in Webmaster Tools is not possible

The selection between ccTLDs and gTLDs comes down to the resources and time available for SEO of the websites and availability of domains. If you operate in more than two countries, we recommend that you look at sub-directories with the gTLD (.com, .org, etc.) option. These are easy to manage and have a clean structure. Moreover, from an SEO point of view, the efforts put into building links to any part of the website will benefit to build overall domain authority of your website in search engines.

 

2. Geotargeting of websites

The use of ccTLDs (example.co.nz) is generally considered as a strong signal to tell users and search engines about your targeting location of the website. But as mentioned above regarding the cons of using ccTLD and limited availability, most of the SEOs prefer subdirectories or subdomains.

So, how to approach geotargeting for gTLD (.com, .net, etc.) with different locations? You may also have your servers located outside New Zealand due to your infrastructure needs. So, by default your website geotargeting may be totally wrong to search engines.

This is not very hard; you can always use Google webmasters tools to tell Google about your targeted location of the website. Here are your options:

a)  If you have a .com or any other gTLD and want to target users in NZ only:

  • Set up Google Webmaster Tools
  • Go to the specific URL after logging in
  • Click on the settings button in the top-right corner
  • Go to “Site Settings
  • Set country to “New Zealand” under Geographic Target

b)  If you have .com or any other gTLD and want to target users in multiple locations:

  • Submit different sub-directories/subdomains as different sites in Webmaster tools, i.e. example.com/nz, example.com/au, etc.
  • Now you will have different sites under Webmaster tools dashboard
  • Set specific locations for each as shown above
  • This will tell Google that any pages or content on these sub-directories/subdomains targets different locations, i.e. example.com/nz targets NZ users

Remember, you can register subfolders separately in Google Webmaster Tools and designate a different geographic target for each subfolder.

Find more information about geotargeting here.

Also, there are many types of global-TLDs that you must be aware before picking your domain. You can find a complete list of geotargetable domains here.

 

3. Duplicate Content

Websites built for different regions and in different languages may present content that is the same or similar and available on different URLs. According to Google, this is generally not a problem as long as the content is for different users in different countries. But, we recommend that you should use the previously mentioned techniques to differentiate geotargeting of the content.

If you are providing the same content to the same users with different URLs, you should pick a preferred version and redirect appropriately (i.e. if you have .co.nz domain and .com/nz version on gTLD with same content). You can also use rel=canonical link element. But we prefer to set 301 redirects to the preferred version, so that you carry over the SEO value from the old version if there is any.

Moreover, make sure that the content is tailored to the specific audience. For example, if you are an e-commerce store, use local terms and addresses where possible. Here is the list of major On-Page elements you should consider updating according to the targeted country:

  • Title
  • Description
  • H1 & H2 Tags
  • Copy on the pages
  • Internal linking on country-specific directory/domain
  • Easy navigation to switch to other countries
  • Currency & forms
  • Local content

 

4. Different Languages

Language is critical to the success of international SEO of the website. When you want to provide content in different languages with the different locations, you should be looking at this carefully.

According to Google, the best way to target users for that language is to use visible content in that language on a specific URL. Don’t just translate the content with an automatic translator and create multiple pages — content must be translated by professionals to make the most sense out of it. Google suggests using robots.txt to block search engines from crawling automatically translated pages on your site if you still want to use automatic translators to generate multilingual content.

You should also perform a native keyword research to target the best keywords for targeted countries. There are even different types of English languages available for different countries i.e. UK English and Australian English are different. Use of local words and phrases enhance long tail SEO and improve visibility in search engines.

Language Meta Tag

With the help of rel=”alternate” herflang=”x”  tags, you can specify multi-language URLs in the same domain as a given URL, or use URLs from a different domain.

Find more information on this topic here.

 

5. XML Sitemaps

When optimising your website for different locations, make sure that each version uses an XML sitemap and register this with search engines. For the gTLD websites using subfolders/subdomains, create a separate sitemap and submit it in Google Webmaster Tools as a different website under a specific profile for each country.

 

In conclusion, SEO for multi-regional and multilingual websites is the key to get more qualified traffic to your website from different locations across the globe. Getting your basics right is very important, so that you have the best chance of success.

Should you want to expand your website internationally or you have any issues regarding your international online presence, talk to FIRST today for expert advice.

 

No responses yet

« Prev - Next »

© 2014 FIRST, part of the BeyondD Digital Marketing Group a wholly owned subsidiary of Beyond International.