How can you promote your website to overseas markets and visitors? How can you get found in the French, German, etc versions of Google?
There are a few simple steps to follow:
1. Create foreign language content
It sounds obvious, but you need entire pages in the language of your choice. My top tip is ensure these pages are search engine optimised including relevant Title Tags, meta tags, and keyword rich content. Don’t forget to include these foreign language pages on your site map.
Do not even consider using those nasty web-based translation sites; this is one time it will be worth investing in a good translation service. And remember to re-use the translated material on other marketing collateral to get your money’s worth.
Your content needs to extend to your foreign office address and phone numbers, if possible. Don’t be shy – put this foreign address information on every page of foreign language content, perhaps in a footer.
2. Domain names
If you want to trade in the USA, get a .com domain name. If you say “.co.uk” to a Yank, they’ll say “dot what?”
If you want to invest in a top level country domain name (.fr, .de) then you will need an address in that country to have entitlement to the domain name.
And how to manage the international language content? If resources can stretch that far, then create an entire site designed for your foreign market. Duplicating content on websites is bad practice for search engine optimisation, but if your content is translated then you should have no problem.
3. Foreign hosting
To stand the best chance of ranking well in the foreign versions of Google (www.google.fr, www.google.de) then you will need content in the language, but also a website hosted in each respective country.
If you want to find out where your website is hosted, then here’s a very useful little tool that checks your website IP address and country.
(and don’t forget that you want your UK website hosted in the UK!)
4. Inbound linking
You’ll need inbound links from foreign partners, and these links should go to your foreign language content. It’s just a mini search engine optimisation exercise.
These steps won’t make a dramatic change in your rankings in Google over night, but they certainly will improve your chances.