March 28, 2013
Most websites aim for a global audience – the more the better. However, in certain cases where you may be selling a product or service of particular interest to a specific demographic, SEO has to be shaped accordingly. This is somewhat easy when you are wondering how to get country targeted traffic instead of a more precise description of audience in terms of age, gender or economic status. In the latter case, placing Facebook Ads based on data gathered from Quantcast is probably the most popular option. In case of country targeted SEO, follow the simple steps outlined below to achieve your objective. Be aware, however, that when you are optimizing for country specific traffic, it may be difficult to rank globally unless you have truly exceptional content.
The most important step is to get a country specific domain name. Even though .com, .net and .org are ordinarily the most preferred Top Level Domains, it helps if you get a .uk when selling primarily to a UK audience or an .au domain when you have targeted Australian buyers. This automatically alerts the search engines that your site is geotargeted to specific locations, and everything else (about SEO) remaining constant, you are more likely to appear in local SERP.
Google Webmaster Settings
The next step would be to use the Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard Configuration > Settings to ‘Target Users in’ your country of choice. This helps even .com .org domains to reach a country targeted audience better.
When choosing a hosting for your site, it is best to look for one that is both reliable and situated in the country you are targeting. This leads to faster loading time, and a local server IP that is readily recognized by search engines which leads to an automatic listing (again, provided your overall SEO strategy is sound) in local search results.
If, for some reason, you are not able to get local hosting, investing in a CDN (Content Delivery Network) would be the next best option. This is a service with servers all over the world so that your site always loads at optimum speed no matter where it is being accessed from.
Off Site SEO
Backlinks, as we know, are an important factor used by search engines to gauge a website’s trustworthiness. When you are manually creating backlinks (as most site owners do), be sure to find blogs or networks that are located in or cater to the country you have targeted. This would tell the search engines that you are, indeed, a local presence.
If you are going to target users in the UK, write your content in UK English – and in US English for an US audience, and so on. This is not all important; content is what really matters, and if you site has that, your visitors will be interested. However, since getting content written in a country specific version of English is not an insurmountable problem by any means, you should certainly try to have that edge. Think of what might happen if another website, with equally good content, is using a local accent to sell. Obviously, people are going to feel more at home and may even want to support what they see as a local enterprise rather than going for something that clearly sounds foreign. Outsourcing articles to expert content writers is your solution, and you should really take this measure into consideration.
Google+ Local Places
This is an improved version of Google Places. If you can further geotarget your audience, you can use this to get a more focused listing both in Places as well as in SERP since the results are indexed.
A significant part of your strategy when you are wondering how to get country targeted SEO traffic should be to announce your presence to the local audience through social media sites. Create country and interest specific groups of friends to build your brand, and you should receive a very favorable response, especially if you also have a local store. Even if you don’t, using just two or three social networks like Google+, Facebook and Twitter and being ready in your posts / twits and responses should help a great deal.
Eventually, to increase your goodwill, it would help if you could collect testimonials from customers with local addresses who found your services satisfactory. These might show up on SERP, and in any case, should certainly serve to supplement your overall marketing strategy and increase conversions.
Jason Smith is an online manager for Inbound Marketing Company. Jason likes blogging about online strategies that are related to SEO, Content, PPC & Lead generation.