Many websites have content in multiple languages or might show different content depending on the country you are in. Often, the GEO-targeting is either not correctly used or unfinished. We developed two new free tools to simplify the GEO-targeting of websites.
Why you should care about the GEO-targeting of your website
A user, let us call him Marty, lives in London and wants to buy a new lounge suite for his living room. He decides to use Google and searches for the keyword [lounge suite black]. Even though Marty notices that the first organic result is a .ie-domain, he clicks on it, as both the page title and Rich Snippets match his search request. Now the following happens:
- Marty gets all the prices displayed in Euro
- free shipping and installation of the lounge suite are included
- the delivery is limited to Dublin
Instead of the online shop taking advantage of their potential top placement in the UK search market and converting Marty into a paying customer, they have now managed to frustrate their user thanks to bad Geo-targeting. And, to top it off, the entire ordeal will also not have any positive influence on the business either, as Marty will not buy his lounge suite here.
A godsend for the online shop
If the shop had used a GEO-targeting solution in the first place – by having the CMS automatically detect that Marty is searching from the UK, for example – they could have shown Marty a “We noticed you are currently searching from the UK. Would you like to switch to our British shop?” message, which would very likely have converted him into a paying customer.
In our example, the online shop was lucky to even get Marty’s click in the first place. Most users will not click on a result with a foreign Top-Level-Domain (TLD), or those that do not make it clear for which language or country the site is for.
We really should not have to stress how important it is to have regionally relevant content in the search results for your websites. Luckily, the above online shop could leverage the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” markup as a cure.
Correctly allocating the right language- and country-versions for a website is largely influential on Google and should be taken into account by every multi-language website.
The hreflang-guide For international SEO
Google uses the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” markup to show users the correct language- or regional-URL in the search results. Another useful feature is that, by using this markup, you can solve the Duplicate Content problem that can occur with multilingual content.
According to John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google Switzerland, there are many cases where the hreflang link-attribute markup is either not used correctly or incomplete.
In order to make using the hreflang-markup easier for any webmaster, we created the hreflang-guide for international SEO.
We will give you extensive information on Google’s GEO-targeting signals as well as a comprehensive explanation of the hreflang markup itself. Additionally, we created the hreflang link-attribute markup validator and the hreflang link-attribute markup generator, two free tools that validate the existing hreflang-markup on a page and help you create the correct markup.