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International SEO - How Not to Suck - MozCon 2011
 

International SEO - How Not to Suck - MozCon 2011

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International SEO presentation from MozCon 2011.

International SEO presentation from MozCon 2011.

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International SEO - How Not to Suck - MozCon 2011 International SEO - How Not to Suck - MozCon 2011 Presentation Transcript

  • International SEO:How not to Suck & A Quest to Challenge Conventional Wisdom
  • About Me Slide Will Go Here...
    • Lead SEO at Distilled
    • 11 years in marketing
    • 5 years – retail marketing (POS / Sales Promo)
    • 3 years – direct response (press / direct mail / sponsorship)
    • 3 years online – (SEO, PPC, CRO & other initialisms)
    • Hair changes colour a lot
    Email: hannah.smith@distilled.net
    Twitter: @hannah_bo_banna
    LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/hannahsmith
  • What I’ll Be Covering
    • Part One
    • Why you should care about International SEO
    • How not to suck
    • Part Two
    • Challenging Conventional Wisdom on local links
  • Part One
  • Good rankings in one country don’t necessarily ‘translate’ - even if there’s no language barrier...
  • UK Results
  • US Results
  • So if you want to rank internationally what do you need to do?
  • “Don’t mess it up & you’ll be fine”
    Duncan Morris, Distilled
  • Sadly, companies mess this up a lot...
  • Language and Location
  • Pop Quiz
    Which languages are spoken in Switzerland?
  • Stop!
    Before you go crazy registering domains and planning out
    your Information Architecture
  • Check Brand Comprehension
    Does your brand ‘translate’?
    Insurance.co.uk
    Insurance.com
    Insurance.it
    Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtrichardson/4626549119/sizes/z/
  • Process to Avoid Sucking at International SEO (Part I)
    Define languages
    Does your brand translate?
    Define countries
  • Now We Can Figure Out IA
    • ccTLD
    Or
    • Sub-Folders
  • Using sub domains to geo-target causes the
    needless death of hundreds of kittens
    every year.
    With your help, we can stop this madness....
  • I will tell you more about why I hate
    Sub Domains later...
  • IA Options
    • Country Code TLD - www.yourdomain.it
    Or
    • Generic TLD - www.yourdomain.com
    Plus
    • Sub Folder www.yourdomain.com/uk
  • Pros & Cons – ccTLD – www.yourdomain.it
    Pros
    • Strongest geo-targeting signal
    Cons
    • New site with no strength so it may not rank at all
    • You’ll need to put in some serious link building effort
    • Can be difficult to purchase ccTLD
  • Pros & Cons – Sub Folderwww.yourdomain.com/uk
    Pros
    • Domain strength is passed to sub-folders
    • A single site will normally be stronger than many
    Cons
    • Likely problems with the ‘wrong’ content ranking e.g. yourdomain.com ranking in the UK rather than yourdomain.com/uk
  • Why I Think Sub Domains Suckuk.yourdomain.com
    Pros
    • There aren’t any...
    Cons
    • Little or no strength passed from the domain
    • Likely problems with the ‘wrong’ content ranking e.g. yourdomain.com ranking in the UK rather than uk.yourdomain.com
  • Multiple Languages
    Don’t forget countries with multiple languages!
    ccTLD solution:
    • www.yourdomain.ca/en
    • www.yourdomain.ca/fr
    Sub folder solution:
    • www.yourdomain.com/ca/en
    • www.yourdomain.com/ca/fr
  • Process to Avoid Sucking at International SEO (Part II)
    Define languages
    Check your brand translates
    Define countries
    IA – ccTLD and / or sub-folders
  • Ways You Can Mess it Up
    • IP Detection
    • Make sure the search engines (US IP) can crawl all your content not just US versions
    • Do not use this to dynamically deliver content
    • Make sure users can override this
    • Not so awesome in countries where multiple languages are used
  • Ways You Can Mess it Up
  • Ways You Can Mess it Up
    Cheap (or just plain crazy) Translation
  • Ways You Can Mess it Up
    Failing to think locally
    • Toll-free numbers that don’t work outside of the US / UK
    • No local addresses
    • Prices not in local currency
  • Process to Avoid Sucking at International SEO (Part III)
    Define languages
    Check your brand translates
    Define countries
    Create language & country specific content
    Use local currency / phone numbers etc
    IA – ccTLD and / or sub-folders
  • Geo-Targeting via Google Webmaster Tools
    Image credit http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/pages/Geo-Targeting-Countries-For-SEO.aspx
  • Hosting
    Image credit : http://bodmas.org/blog/red-herring/a-red-herring/
  • Local Links
    Image credit: http://technbiz.blogspot.com/2010/11/hotpot-is-cheesy-name.html
  • Part Two
    Conventional Wisdom says you need local links to rank
    – but do you?
  • I believe in Unicorns
  • & the Loch Ness Monster
  • I would never say ‘Candyman’ five times
    in front of a mirror...
  • But I don’t like to accept Conventional Wisdom.
    My Mum says I’m at ‘that difficult age’
    and have been since I was 4.
  • Do you need ‘Local’ Links?
    • Pretty much anyone who’s anyone preaches the need for local links
    • But what relationship do they really have with site rankings?
  • First Things First
    • Is there a relationship between PA & ranking?
    Image credit: http://trevorloudon.com/2011/05/you-will-respect-my-authoritah/
  • Illustration of Strong Correlation – THIS IS NOT REAL DATA
    (Graph is fake, well actually the graph is real, it’s the data that is fake)
    Fake Page Authority
    Fake Google Rank
  • Page Authority / Rank – Real Data
    PA correlation co-efficient is just under 0.3 which means it PA would account for ~9% of
    Google’s algorithm
    (Graph shown for French results)
    Page Authority
    Google Rank
  • Methodology
    • 15 keywords with commercial intent
    • Armani jeans
    • Diesel jeans
    • DVD
    • Buy DVDs
    • Car Insurance
    • Mortgages
    • Loans
    • Life Insurance
    • Music Downloads
    • TV Downloads
    • Kindle
    • iPhone
    • iPad
    • Cheap Hotels
    • Cheap Flights
  • Methodology
    • Translate into 9 languages
    • Find out the percentage of local links the sites ranking in the top ten for those keywords have
    • See if there’s a relationship between % of local links and ranking
  • Conceptual Limitations
    • Small data set
    • % of local links may not be the best measure
    • OSE might not have picked up all of the external links to a given page
    • Doesn’t weight links for quality
    • Doesn’t take into account overall link profile of a site
    • Doesn’t take into account any other ranking factors
  • Issues!
    • Trying to figure out whether or not a link was ‘local’ was so hard it made me cry...
  • Harder than you might think
    • Hosting does not indicate location
    • Generic TLDs are used all over the place
    • So we had to settle for looking at language links
  • Marvellous Machines
    • So we built a tool which looked at the title tag of the top 1000 linking pages to determine the language of the linking page.
  • Technical Limitations
    • It can be difficult to determine language from the title tag
    • Language tool is not 100% accurate but it’s pretty good
    • Agrees with Google translate 81% of the time at >30% confidence
  • And, this is still more scientific than conventional wisdom 
  • Illustration of Strong Correlation – THIS IS NOT REAL DATA
    (Graph is fake, well actually the graph is real, it’s the data that is fake)
    Fake Page Authority
    Fake Google Rank
  • Page Authority / Rank – Real Data
    (Graph shown for French results)
    Page Authority
    Google Rank
  • % Local Language Links / Rank Real Data
    (Graph shown for French results)
    % Local Language Links
    Google Rank
  • Additional Validation
    • We were worried that pages with very few links were skewing the data so we ‘binned’ it*
    *I am assured that this is a mathematical term which does not mean dispose of
    Image credit: http://d.imagehost.org/view/0613/oscar_the_grouch
  • % Local Language Links / Rank Binned Data 0-200 Links
    (Graph shown for French results)
    % Local Language Links
    Google Rank
  • % Local Language Links / Rank Binned Data 201-400 Links
    (Graph shown for French results)
    % Local Language Links
    Google Rank
  • % Local Language Links / Rank Binned Data 401-600 Links
    (Graph shown for French results)
    % Local Language Links
    Google Rank
  • % Local Language Links / Rank Binned Data – 601-800 Links
    (Graph shown for French results)
    % Local Language Links
    Google Rank
  • % Local Language Links / Rank Binned Data – 801- 1000(+) Links
    (Graph shown for French results)
    % Local Language Links
    Google Rank
  • Huh?
    • The data we’ve gathered suggests that local language links do not correlate well with rankings
    AND
    • Local language links correlate less well with rankings than pure link strength
  • Illustration of Strong Correlation – THIS IS NOT REAL DATA
    (Graph is fake, well actually the graph is real, it’s the data that is fake)
    Fake Page Authority
    Fake Google Rank
  • Page Authority / Rank – Real Data
    (Graph shown for French results)
    Page Authority
    Google Rank
  • % Local Language Links / Rank Binned Data – 601-800 Links
    (Graph shown for French results)
    % Local Language Links
    Google Rank
  • What Does That Mean?
    • It looks like ‘good’ links are perhaps more important than ‘local’ links
  • Recommendations
    • Concentrate on getting good links
    • You can perhaps worry less about how ‘local’ or otherwise they are
  • Disclaimer
    • Local links may become a stronger ranking signal in the future....
    Image credit: http://lolcat.tumblr.com/post/29862288/warning-may-contain-nuts
  • But don’t take my word for it... We’ll be releasing the data & the tool – we’d love to hear your thoughts
  • A Massive Thank You To:
    Lovely Distilled People - Tom Anthony, Alice Murphy,
    Phil Nottingham, Duncan Morris, Will Critchlow &
    Kate Morris
    Amazing ‘Beyond the Call of Duty’ Buddies – Rob
    Nicholson, & Gianluca Fiorelli
  • Questions?
    Email: hannah.smith@distilled.net
    Twitter: @hannah_bo_banna
    LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/hannahsmith