Multiregional SEO enables you to create an optimized website content for specific regions while Multilingual SEO enables you to optimize your website content in several languages. Here are multiple tips on how to get the best results from your SEO efforts.
You need to firstly determine the target regions and offered languages before you begin the actual SEO project. Next, you need to select the structure strategy that you plan to pursue based on domain or URL. Google states that it is better to consider utilizing a URL structure which makes segmenting pages of a site easier for geotargeting since it is not easy to implement geotargeting on a page to page basis.
You thus need to decide on your location structure first. However, there are several advantages and disadvantages in using the domain or URL option and you need to study each in detail by getting this information from Google before you make up your mind.
You hence need to look at the plus and minus points of using ccTLDs, subdomains with gTLDs, subdirectories with gTLDs, and URL parameters before you devise a final strategy. Specifying your goals of the website along with those that you plan to target by using these SEO techniques will help you pick the right option.
There are several domains that are generic while others that are specific to specific locations. A few generic gTLDs or generic Top Level Domains that are not specific to any country and can be geotargeted with Webmaster Tools include .biz, .com, .edu, .gov, .net, .org, .travel, and several more.
Regional Top Level Domains or rTLDs include .eu and .asia. As per Google’s search engine gccTLDs or Generic Country Code Top Level Domains include .as, .bz, .fm, .la, .me, .nu, .tk, and many more.
On the issue of choosing between subdomains or directories, Google recommends that in case of limited resources and time, you should buy a non-country specific domain that will host all versions of your website. You can opt to do either of the following. You can insert the content in each chosen language in different subdirectories. Your site would then contain example.com/en/, example.com/es/, etc.
On the other hand, you can insert the content of each chosen language in different subdomains. You would then have en.example.com, es.example.com, etc. Since subdomains do seem to be somewhat more separate in terms of content segmentation than a directory structure, you could opt for that option.
While opting for the ccTLD option can be a good choice to attract search engines and users, you can also face several problems, especially if you use multiple ccTLDs. You can opt for manual geotargeting of gTLDs by using the Set Geographic Target feature.
You merely need to click on the chosen site on the Home page of Webmaster Tools. Next, you need to click on Settings under the Sire Configuration option and then select the required option in the Geographic Target option. You need to choose the Unlisted option in case you do not plan to target any specific region or country.
While many SEOs assume that location of the server impacts multiregional and multilingual search results, Google states that although server location is usually near the users, some websites make use of CDNs or distributed content delivery networks or are hosted in countries that have better infrastructure in terms of web-servers. Hence, Google does not rely merely on the location of the server.
You also need to specify your intent to Google as to which URLs need to be displayed for specific regions or languages. You need to use the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” annotation to achieve this aim. Google states that you can either achieve this markup by adding a HTML link element in the header, or for non-HTML files opt for a HTTP header, or provide the language information in a Sitemap instead of utilizing markup. You must remember that there are specific hreflang values that are supported for different languages and regions.
You should use the new “x-default” option offered by Google to ensure that people from an untargeted region do not end up on a landing page not created for them. This option allows you to specify the default page for visitors from unspecified regions in case you do not have a landing page for a specific region.
In addition, optimizing on features such as user agent detection and IP location detection will help deliver content that is best suited for specific devices and IP locations. Your multiregional and multilingual strategy too can benefit from this optimization and will result in reduced bounce rates and increased conversions as visitors get an improved user experience.
You may also have considered using Rel author, but may have been confused since it may not relate with your entire target market. However, you can certainly implement rel author by way of specific articles or by specific language or region. On the other hand, you will still need Google+ profiles that command good authority and even then may take some time to reflect in SERPs. You need to consider all aspects of your strategy and your specific needs before implementing the rel author option.
Alternatively, you could consider Rel publisher, especially if you have a decent region and language strategy. The rel publisher option will help display an impressive Google+ page together with updates during search results and you can even segment circle-based updates.
In case of other major search engines such as Bing, you must remember that they prefer the language meta tag, although they also keep an eye on HTTP headers, reverse IP lookup, and top level domain. You should make use of the Content Language meta tag when you want to embed document location within the <head> section of all your documents.
You will need to use the 2 letter language code along with the matching geographical code for the Content attribute. On the other hand, you can also use the <title> or <html> element to embed the chosen document location.
Bing specifies that only ccTLDs influence the location of documents from TLD categories decided by the IANA and you can learn more at the IANA website. Bing indexing also involves a reverse IP lookup, which you should bear in mind.
Your multilingual and multiregional SEO efforts will certainly bear fruit if you implement the above tips. Use them to impress search engines and targeted markets, and watch your website deliver better results on all fronts.