Recently I was presented with an opportunity to optimize a site for www.Google.co.cr (Costa Rica). Since I do not speak Spanish fluently, I knew it would be a challenge, but I was up for it. My only concern was translating content into Spanish, but we worked with the client in Costa Rica to help with that.
My past experience includes search engine optimization of websites targeting the 3 major US search engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN/Live, so I figured it couldn’t be that much different; or could it?
Basically the same SEO best practices still apply; however, there are a few things I learned while going through the optimization of the website that are a little different.
- First, it is best to have a country specific domain name and have your website hosted in the country you are targeting, but not necessary
- Create a Google Account and within Google Webmaster tools, submit an XML sitemap and geo-target your website under “Settings” to the country you wish to target (Note: You can only target one country)
- If the country you are targeting is not English, make sure your site is in both English and the native country language
- Optimize both English and Spanish versions of the website, many “non-English” speaking countries have large populations that do speak English
- When link building, choose websites and directories that are in the country you are targeting
- Country Specific Search Engines have multiple directories to search:
- The Web: This is typically the default setting. Google will display the most relevant websites to the users search no matter what country or language the website is in.
- Pages in “Country”: The user must choose this option under the search box and Google returns the most relevant websites specifically targeting that country
- Pages in “Country Language”: Again, the user must choose this option under the search box and Google returns the most relevant search results in the country’s native language only
- Optimize for other search engines in the country you are targeting. Google is an international leader, but there are other search engine leaders in each country, so don’t forget about them.
If you know of any other best practices for optimizing for a country specific search engine, we’d love to hear from you.