“We will get you in all the foreign search engines!”

Last week we looked at a common spam email that has been circulating the Internet for years and discussed the fact that Google only has one index.  So if you are in Google in the U.S., you are in Google Spain, Google Germany, etc. This week we are going to look at directly promoting your business online to specific countries, and what it takes to do it right.  You will quickly see it is a lot more complex than what the scammers and spammers would have you believe.

Buy A Domain: The first thing to consider is whether you can buy a country-specific top-level-domain for the country you want to target.  For sake of argument let’s say you want to target consumers in Brazil.  If your current domain is google.com, then you would want to buy google.com.br.  But if you don’t have a physical office in Brazil, the government of Brazil will not allow you to purchase that domain.  (Cue sad trombone: wah, wah, wah…..)  If you do have a physical office location then you are on your way.  Google will typically give country-specific domains preference in their results because they believe they are more relevant to the searcher.  Makes sense, right?

Hosting: Google knows where your website is hosted.  If your website is hosted in the United States and your audience is doing a search on Google Brazil, that would devalue your website in Google’s results.  That means you are going to have to find a respectable hosting partner in Brazil.  That can be tricky depending on which countries you are targeting.  Between your web development company and your staff in Brazil, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Targeting Your Audience: This is where most businesses fall short when trying to target an audience outside of the United States.  Using Babelfish or some other automated translation tool will not adequately target your audience.  It will be blatantly clear to your audience that you either do not have the staff who speak their native language, or you don’t care that your website is not targeted to them.  Have your website professionally translated for your audience– I mean, properly targeting your audience is Marketing 101, is it not?  This in of itself can get pretty complex if you are targeting a country like China which has up to 13 main regional groups of spoken languages, each of which are completely unintelligible to one another.

As you can see, getting on the “foreign search engines” has far-reaching implications.  It is not as easy as someone submitting your website to a secret place it has never been submitted before.  As with all marketing it takes appropriate planning, thought and the right group of experts to help you break into a new market!

Watch our Facebook page for the next installment of our series.

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