Q and A: Do you need site hosting in each search market you target?

QuestionHi Kalena

I have a client who is going into different International markets. Here are my questions:

1. Does he need hosting based in each country for each project? (please refer to a Google backed up answer)

2. If yes- can you recomend an Aussie based company that can assist with his .com.au site?

Best regards

Paul

Hi Paul

1. As far as Google is concerned, no.  In October 2007, Google released a new feature in Google Webmaster Tools that allows you to associate each of your sites with a specific regional location. Apparently, this works on a per-domain, per-subdomain, or per-directory level, but I haven’t tried that yet.

When used correctly, the tool ensures your site is displayed in country-specific search results and relevant search results for specific geographic / regional queries. From what I understand, this takes a lot of the guesswork out for Google in determining your site’s market, whereas before Google would use the location of your site host and other factors to determine this. So my recommendation would be for your client to set up sub-domains for each country/region they are targeting.

As for a Google backed-up answer, please see Matt Cutts’ post Subdomains and Subdirectories, particularly the comments section where I asked Matt:

“What about sites that target different regional markets? Does it still make sense for them to use sub-domains e.g. australia.site.com, uk.site.com and use the new Regional Association tool in Webmaster Tools to indicate which searcher region each sub-domain should be associated with?”

and he replied:

“Kalena, using subdomains for stuff like fr.example.com or de.example.com is still a great approach, because those sites may be similar in idea, but the language is usually completely different.”

2. Yes, I can recommend lots of lovely SEO helpers located in Australia. If you still need these, please email me again via the big red button.

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Q and A: How do I optimize a web site for its geographic location?

QuestionHi Kalena…

I would like to optimize a website for its geographic location. In order to do so, I think I should preface certain home-page keyphrases with the name of the city. I’m wondering if I should repeat this practice throughout the website for better effectiveness, or would this be unnecessary? I’m also wondering please, what is the purpose of the Distribution Meta tag. Please let me know.

Thank-you
Peter

Dear Peter

First up, you should be aware (or perhaps you already are) of Google’s new feature that allows webmasters to associate a web site with a region/country.

Regarding how best to optimize a web site for different geographic locations or languages, sub-domains seem to be the way to go, as recommended by Matt Cutts of Google.

But if you are only optimizing for a single city, you should treat that city as another keyword on your page. That is, don’t repeat it ad-nauseum, only where it makes sense to do so. I would recommend no more than 5 repetitions of a target keyword or phrase on a single page. If your whole site content is about the city then it should naturally rank well for city-related phrases anyway as people will be linking to your site using the city name.

Regarding the Distribution META tag, as far as I am aware it is not a valid META tag, is unsupported by any search engine and the myth that you should include one has simply hung around like a bad smell like the Dublin Core META Tags. Skip it – otherwise it will simply contribute to your code bloat.

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