Q and A: How do I boost traffic from other geographic regions?

Question

Hi Kalena,

A friend of mine with a sailing business in the U.S. has found that many of her current clients come from Canada. Can you suggest ways for her to concentrate more SEO efforts in Canada? She’s reaching them via social media with FB and Twitter, but wonders if there is more she can do via SEO to encourage this Canadian trend.

Thank you!

Amy

Hi Amy,

It’s great that your friend understands enough about her customers to realise that a significant proportion of them are coming from Canada (I’m often shocked by just how little some of the business owners I come across know, or even care about their customers).  It’s not clear from your question though whether Canadian customers make up the majority of her business, or whether she is just trying to increase the volume of Canadian sales.

If you want to boost the Canadian sales I would suggest looking a bit deeper into your analytics to determine any differences in the behavior of the Canadian vs US customers. If there are certain keywords, or certain areas of the site that are favoured by the Canadians,  optimising the site for these is likely to result in improved traffic and sales from Canada.

Adwords Pay per Click is also an obvious strategy for targeting specific geographic markets.

If Canadians outnumber U.S. Customers then perhaps the site is not showing up well for more localised searches, and your friend may be better focusing on Local Search Optimisation to improve local (U.S) customer sales.

There are obviously all sorts of other factors that may influence whether your website or the service you offer appeals more to Canadians or U.S.  customers, but the better you understand your customers, their search behaviours, their motivations, and what influences their decision to buy, the better placed you are to improve your sales and enquiries from both markets.

Andy Henderson
SEO Brisbane

Q and A: What Does “Not enough data” mean in the Google Keywords Tool?

Question

Dear Kalena…

Any idea about this: When i select USA as a country in Google keyword tool and I search for ‘link building’ as a keyword… after data get displayed, from show and hide option i have selected show ‘local search Volume’.

When I scroll down a bit more, I see this: for key ‘affordable link building’ there is ‘Not enough data’ under local searches, but I can see ’260′ monthly searches under global searches. What does it mean?

Does it mean – that keyword is no one searching from USA (as I selected my local country USA) but globally it’s being searched by some small portion of people around the globe but not from USA, because it is showing ‘not enough data under ‘local search volume’?

If that is a case, than it means I shouldn’t target those keywords for USA which are showing ‘Not enough data’ under local search volume, because there is no one searching that keywords and I will waste my time isn’t it?

What is your opinion on this? Thanks in advance!

Arshad

Hi Arshad,

The Local Monthly Searches column in the Google Keyword Tool provides an approximation of the number of monthly searches for a particular keyword, averaged over the last 12 months, for the “locality” specified. The “Not enough data” message (which in the current version of the tool shows up as a “-”) does not necessarily mean that the search volumes are too low to report, it indicates that (for whatever reason) there is insufficient data to calculate an average. This may mean that there are low search volumes for your selected area – but could also mean that for some reason the data over the last 12 months is incomplete.

Any decision you might make on whether or not to target a particular keyword phrase within a particular region, should not be based solely on search volumes. If a keyword phrase is highly relevant, and/or if it has a high conversion rate, you don’t necessarily need high traffic volume for it to be a worthwhile phrase.

Keyword Tools provide an approximation of historical search volumes, but it is often the relative volumes between keyword phrases which is more important than the actual volumes themselves.

Your question does highlight though that whatever tools you use, it is VERY important to understand the source of the data, and what rules have been applied in gathering and collating it. Without an understanding of this, any analysis you do, or any interpretations you make from the data may be invalid.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting (Brisbane)

Q and A: Why isn’t Google showing my Backlinks?

Question

Dear Kalena…

I am a dentist who owns his own practice. My website (domain provided) currently has a page rank of zero and zero backlinks. This is despite many attempts to optimize my site, requests for backlinks, etc. I believe I do have a few linking sites with Page Ranks greater than 3. I don’t understand why they won’t show up in google backlinks? (Yes, i have the toolbar.) Any advice you could give me (in lay terms, i’m a website novice) would be greatly appreciated. thanks.

Ryan

Hi Ryan,

I’ve had a quick look at your site and you have a reasonable amount of keyword rich content, but the dentist niche (like many others) is rapidly becoming more competitive.  It’s not clear how long your site has been active, but with the PageRank of zero I’m guessing that your site has only been around for a relatively short time.  These days Google only updates the published PR of sites a few times a year so it probably doesn’t reflect the “real” PR value of your site.  Don’t be too concerned over this – it is likely to improve over the next few months.

Google is notorious for only publishing a very small subset of backlinks.  You are better to use Yahoo for checking your backlinks – use a search query of linkdomain:yourdomain.com -site:yourdomain.com , which will show you most sites that link to your domain (excluding your own internal links).  For your site, Yahoo is currently showing 29 backlinks.   Yahoo still only shows a subset of your links – but it is typically a lot more than Google shows.  For a more accurate list of backlinks from Google you should register your site with Googles webmaster tools.

As you are probably aware, establishing links to your site from external websites is very important to your rankings, so you should always be on the lookout for related sites that might be prepared to link to you – and don’t be afraid to ask.  There are many strategies for link building, and many agencies that offer a link building service.  You can even learn how to do it yourself via Search Engines College’s Link Building Course.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting SEO – Brisbane

Q and A: Will my Foreign Language site be considered Duplicate Content?

Question

Dear Kalena,

We have a website written in English that we like. However, it cannot be seen in China. In order to generate Chinese business, we will have to write a new website, and have it hosted by a Chinese hosting company.

The site will be written in Chinese characters. The layout of the site will be different, as well as the pictures, picture description and alt tags. It will also be done on a template, as is our first website. However, we really do like what the English website content says. We used Google translator on the content of our site, and discovered it gave a very accurate translation of the English site. We would like to use this translation, with a few modification, but really do not want to have a problem with duplicate content on Google. Our intent is just to do business in the Chinese market. Any advice you can give us will be most appreciated.

Best regards, Tony

Hi Tony,

Duplicate content is certainly an issue that website owners need to take into consideration when creating their sites.  Whether content is sourced from third parties (which may often be the case for product based sites), or re-used from another of your own sites (which you have effectively done) care needs to be taken.

There are some specific circumstances where duplicate content will not be a problem – and you have touched upon two of them in your question.

Translated Content

Even though 2 separate pages may be saying exactly the same thing, and the content is effectively “the same”, a Chinese language page, and an English language page will not be considered duplicate content by Search Engines – even if they are on the same domain and hosted on the same server.

As you are probably aware, automatic translation tools are notoriously unreliable, and although they can often give a translation which provides a reasonable understanding of the original content, I’ve rarely seen a perfect translation – some manual adjustment will almost certainly be necessary.  I suggest that you have the content reviewed and updated by a native Chinese speaker before you include it on your Chinese site.


Country Specific Domains / Hosting

It’s a surprisingly little known fact that sites with different domains and hosted in different countries, are unlikely to incur duplicate content penalties – even though they may contain the same content.  At SMX Sydney last year – this was confirmed by both Google and Microsoft.

So even if your Chinese hosted site with a Chinese specific domain was in English, you would be unlikely to encounter any duplicate content issues.

So, in the circumstances that you describe – i.e. a translated site, with a separate domain and hosted in a separate country, you will be quite safe and will not incur any duplicate content penalties.

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

Q and A: Adwords, Negative Keywords and Match Types

QuestionHello Kalena!

I have a question regarding Google Adwords.

In one specific ad group I have a keyword that receives a lot of impressions and a low amount of clicks. It is a general keyword but one we don’t want to miss out on. I have it set for phrase match (the keyword is ‘wire cutters’). I want to be able to manage it by using negative keywords.

I do have a lot of negatives set up already, but I suspect there are more I could be using because ‘wire cutters’ can be used in so many applications. We have a website for a very specific niche market.

My question then is this: is there a way to see what keywords/phrases were searched on triggering an impression for my ad but not a click?

Hi Jackie,

As you are no doubt aware (but for the sake of our other readers) “phrase matched” keywords will allow your Ads to be potentially displayed for any searches which include the specific keyword phrase. Negative keywords allow you to block your Ads from showing if specific keywords are include in the search.

So for example if you have “wire cutters” as a keyword phrase, with the negative keywords “-cheap” and “-UK”, then your Ads could be displayed for searches of “jewellery wire cutters”,  “wire cutters USA”, “Australian Wire Cutters Jewellery”, but NOT for searches such as “cheap wire cutters” or “wire cutters UK”.

Negative Keywords

Using negative keywords can be a very effective way to prevent your Ads from being displayed (impressions) for searches that are unlikely to lead to sales, and at the same time improve your click through rate (and probably quality score).  However, as you have pointed out, there could be a huge list of negative keywords that may be relevant, and identifying them all can be difficult.    Unfortunately I am not aware of a simple way that you could identify keywords that give you impressions, but don’t result in clicks.  It seems like a reasonable requirement, and perhaps one of the existing Adwords reports may be able to provide this, but off the top of my head I’m not aware of any that provide what you need.  If any readers have a suggestion, please add a comment below.

Extend Target Keywords

Rather than increasing the negative keywords, you may like to consider extending your target keyword phrases by including niche specific keywords rather than general ones (this could be the best option if your niche is very specific as you have suggested).  You may also like to change the wording of your Ads to make them much more relevant to your niche. This is likely to improve your conversion rate per click, but won’t reduce your impressions, and will probably also reduce your click through rate (and possibly quality score).

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing