If your website has a global audience, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about organizing and optimizing it to become international SEO in different locations in the marketing channel.
When presenting your work to a global audience, you must make a number of important decisions. It’s critical to determine the domain structure you’ll require, but there are a few best practices to remember when doing so, especially if your content is in a foreign language.
In the sections below, we’ll go through your domain structure options in marketing channel, how Google sees them, and some unique studies and advice on how to get the most of overseas SEO.
Technical SEO may aid in the optimization of your website’s performance. Start by doing this audit.
Related: What is search engine optimization?
Types of Domain Structure
There are three fundamental ways to set up your international domain architecture:
There Is A Country Subfolder After The gTLD.
If your domain is domain.com, you’d make a subfolder called domain.com/german/ to cater to German speakers, and domain.com/uk/ to cater to visitors from the United Kingdom.
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The subdomain is what comes following the generic top-level domain (gTLD) in marketing channel, which is often referred to as the “.com” (or “.org,” “.net,” and so on). You may use them for more than just country notation; for example, as you can see, we have a subfolder that indicates you’re on the “/marketing/” blog.
One thing to remember when conducting URL targeting is that you must use the vernacular of each nation in order for the search engines to understand what the string signifies. The terms “United Kingdom,” “uk,” “England,” and “GB” are all acceptable, however “UnitedK” and “GrBr” are not.
There Is A Nation Subdomain Before The gTLD.
While a subdirectory implementation is a straightforward and inexpensive option, marketing channel consumers may struggle to understand the destination site simply by looking at the URL.
This brings us to the place where you may choose your subdomains. uk.domain.com, for example, may be used to target the United Kingdom, whereas es.domain.com could be used to target the Spanish language.
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Subdomains, like subdirectories, are frequently straightforward to set up, but they might make it difficult for consumers to understand what content will be shown at that URL. They may also be more expensive to create than a folder structure.
To Replace The Generic Top-Level Domain, A Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) Was Created (gTLD)
In this scenario, a Canadian website would be domain.ca, while a Mexican website would be domain.mx, with the “.com” gTLD being completely phased out.
This strategy may be the most complex and expensive to implement due to the necessity for a domain for each target country. Furthermore, although a.com domain may be purchased for about $10, certain TLDs might cost over $1,000 and require you to establish a local presence in the country.
We’ll go through this more challenging option in a moment.
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Including Them In Your Long-Term SEO Plan
If you’re translating information in a marketing channel that already exists in a different language and on a distinct subfolder or subdomain, you can be assured that Google won’t penalize your site for duplicate content. Google is aware of your activities and will permit you to continue!
Duplicate content is not punished by most search engines; instead, it is vetted. This means that if you create an article in two languages, each international reader will see both of them in the search results.
So, keep the following in mind as you pursue one of the three URL styles stated above:
SEO Meta Tags in Multiple Languages are Required
Meta tags are also necessary since subdirectories and subdomains do not adequately separate country-specific web pages from one another in the eyes of readers and Google.
Meta tags are lines in the HTML of a web page that provide Google the information it needs to index it. Headers, keywords, and other article structure elements are among the most important. Language, on the other hand, is one of your most powerful multilingual SEO methods.
In HTML, the language meta tag for English is html lang=”en”>. This tag appears around all text published in that language, allowing Google to figure out what it’s reading and who it’s for. More information on how to utilize meta tags may be found here.
Your meta tags should include both the country and language abbreviations provided in your subfolder or subdomain in looking for a marketing channel. If your Mexican subdomain is mx.domain.com, for example, the meta tags you use in each blog post under this subdomain will be html lang=”es-MX> to indicate that the page is for Spanish speakers in Mexico. The HTML meta tag for your country and language may be found here.
This adds another layer of information to Google’s analysis of republished content for other areas’ search engine results pages (SERPs).
ccTLD Domains Are Desirable, But They Need A Hefty Investment.
The drawback of using ccTLD domains is that Google will not transfer the page authority from your original domain to the translated one. However, if you optimize your content in other places well, you may be able to quickly regain that organic power in the marketing channel.
Subdomains and subdirectories with the same TLD, on the other hand, receive significantly more organic SEO credit from Google.
ccTLDs are also utilized to develop nation targeting, according to Google. If you have the financial and technical resources, using a ccTLD might be a good choice.
However, because a ccTLD may be costly, and the setup can be complicated, many webmasters will only consider a ccTLD if it would improve their business line.
In that case, either a major shift in search results in favor of ccTLDs (which Google has not documented) or a ccTLD must be favored by users in a way that has a large impact on website click throughs would be required.
What Others Have To Say About Your Domain
Because there is no better way to predict user behavior than asking people what they like, I decided to run a survey using SurveyMonkey’s Audience tool, which collects data from a pool of millions of respondents throughout the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Respondents are picked at random, and because the sample is statistically significant, it should closely represent real user behavior – this type of poll was even used to successfully predict election outcomes in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
To construct and assess the questionnaires for this study, I collaborated with Sam Mallikarjunan, an Executive Strategist at HubSpot. We created two surveys, one for a representative sample in the United States and the other for a representative sample in Australia, that were nearly similar.
Here’s what we found out:
Users Are Familiar With ccTLDs.
Before we could figure out how users interacted with ccTLDs in marketing channel, we had to make sure that people were even aware that generic TLDs exist. Marketers may be too concerned with whether their domain ends in a.com,.info, or even.com.mx, but users are unlikely to notice.
We asked respondents to indicate which TLD they think a charity would use as a starting point. Almost all respondents correctly identified a TLD ending in.org as the one most likely to be used by a charity. Surprisingly, just 4% of Americans, compared to 13% of Australians, were unsure about which TLD to choose.
In The United States, There Have Been A Variety Of Reactions.
A bar graph depicts responses to non-profit website domains in the United States.
A bar graph illustrating how Australians view a non-profit website, adjusted for international SEO.
To elaborate on this understanding of ccTLD in marketing channel, we wanted to explore if respondents realized the connection between ccTLD and nations. Respondents were instructed to utilize the.ca TLD extension to signify a local company’s location. The majority of individuals properly chose Canada.
Surprisingly, Australians choose the correct answer 67 percent of the time, compared to only 62 percent of Americans. Furthermore, Americans were more prone than Australians (23 percent) to fall for the California trick answer (15 percent ).
People are aware of ccTLDs in domain names and are typically aware of the relationship to local nations, according to prior surveys. However, without understanding if customers make purchasing decisions based on TLDs, a country’s TLD may be little more than a vanity component of a URL that isn’t worth the effort.
As a result, how TLD selection impacts ROI is the ultimate test. Of course, since customers aren’t really buying items, this type of data point is tough to quantify in a survey, but we wanted to see if there was a way to track purchase choices as well.
Revenue Impact of ccTLDs
To arrive at this result, we compared two online stores and asked respondents to pick the one they thought would give the most trustworthy and quick delivery. Respondents were expected to assume that an in-country store would be able to ship items more quickly than an out-of-country shop.
In the US survey, we compared Amazon.co.jp against BestBuy.com. In the Australian survey, we compared Bigw.com.au, a well-known physical and mortar shop akin to Target.com in the United States. (Fun fact: Target Australia is not affiliated with Target USA, and their website is target.com.au – more on that later.)
The purpose of the study was to see if visitors were more interested in a well-known brand name or a specific domain extension.
While 39 percent of respondents in the United States feel that both websites would ensure reliable delivery — meaning that both TLDs can ship from the United States — 42 percent say that Best Buy with the.com TLD would be the better option. Because 61 percent of Australians believed both websites would provide reliable delivery through marketing channel, yet 34 percent chose Big W, the erroneous Target website may have baffled them.
Despite the fact that the data on this topic is uncertain, we may conclude that a major portion of the marketing channel of the population believes this.