SEO: How to Target Countries

SEO: How to Target Countries

SEO: How to Target Countries

1. Set up separate sites or sections for each country

To ensure a site ranks in organic search results in more than one country, the options are:

  • Create a separate site for each country using country-specific top-level domains (e.g., .de, .uk, .in). Registering all local TLDNs might not be practical, given the cost, restrictions, and unavailability.
  • Use a subdomain for each country (e.g., Setting up subdomains requires development and search-optimization resources, such as building links to each subdomain.
  • Set up a subdirectory for each country (e.g., Creating directories for each country is often the best approach because the single domain receives all the authority.

2. Use hreflang

Google introduced hreflang in December 2011 to replace its geo-targeting settings inside Webmaster Tools (now Search Console). Hreflang is an HTML attribute — “lang” is language — that helps search engines recognize localized versions of web pages.

3. Translate content to local language

The language of your content is another key indicator to Google as to the country you’re targeting. Google auto-detects language easily. Beyond investing in quality (human) translation, there’s no further action required.

If you are targeting same-language countries, use a region-specific variation for each. A local translator can help.

4. Include location info on the website

Including in the website an address in the country you are targeting helps Google recognize the importance of that locale. This presumes your company has a local physical location or your content addresses one.

5. Attract inbound links from local sites

Google still relies on inbound links to determine the popularity of a website and where to rank it in results, especially when a query has local intent. When targeting another country, launch a local link-building program, perhaps focusing on local journalists.


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