Domainmonster.com Domain Editorials
Search Engine Optimisation for Country-Specific Searches
A high ranking country-specific search engine results is worth chasing. Site visitors often feel most comfortable dealing with companies that originate in their home country. Certain things make them feel more at home (like, for example, British English for UK users). People would often rather patronise a local business than a distant corporation, and good rankings in local search engine results can give the impression (falsely or otherwise) of a cosy local firm. Finally, if you trade only in the United Kingdom, a smaller percentage of users doing a search for your products or services on Google.com is likely to want a UK dealer than someone searching on Google.co.uk. Therefore it's worth making sure that you top not only the .com search engines, but also the relevant country specific one.
There are two main factors that the most popular search engines look into when selecting results for local searches. The first is a country-code top-level domain (such as .uk or .ca). The second is local hosting, which is judged by your site's IP address. If you have one or both of these in place, you should be listed in your local search engine results. It's also worth making sure you have contact information displayed on your site which confirms your country location.
If you're targeting more than one country-specific search, or if you want to target .com as well as country-specific searches, have separate sites for each country you are targeting, and have the appropriate ccTLDs for each of these. Your usual search engine optimisation techniques should help to boost your rankings further.
Some evidence also suggests that links in from other local websites will increase your Google PageRank, even if they are not particularly relevant to your site. It may well be worth swapping links specifically with local countries to boost your search engine results. Finally, make sure that your site is in the local language for the site you are targeting.
By Natalie Catchpole