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?
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.