Be Web Local To Anywhere From Anywhere

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Be local to a customer next door — or the other wide of the world

Local optimization is about getting a website found for search queries made nearby, for for small scale, metropolitan area, and regional queries

A website optimized for customers at local, city and area level

Your website can target customers at local, city and area level

But “localization” can be applied on any scale, from a street up to global. With the right combination of content, on-page and technical optimization, you can be Found and Followed for cross-border, continent-wide, and global queries.

A website optimized for customers in multiple regions and in multiple languages

Your website can target customers in multiple regions and in multiple languages

The benefits of localization are usually described with an (overused) example of a pizza parlor’s website or Facebook page being findable by anyone who’s hungry within a 5 mile radius. That’s part but not all of the local optimization story. The same methods used to target search queries down to a few miles can also be used to target wide areas from city and region to national or international level. Different techniques come into play — some page-level or on a social profile, others on the server or site-wide — but the principles remain the same as the scale grows.

Options for local optimization

  • using hyper-local place identifiers, maps, coordinates
  • local business listings and back links
  • adding structured data markup to provide specific location or area data
  • leveraging review and recommendation sites, social endorsements and ratings, directories
  • adding rich snippets, micro-formats, schema
  • making technical changes to indicate broader geo-targeting factors
  • declarations, attributes
  • serving content in multiple languages, with correct handling of translated pages
  • a multi-region domain strategy across multiple countries
  • configuring server and site-wide settings to optimize cross-border or global content delivery.

Localization works at all distances

Localization can help businesses of all sizes, no matter the size of their customer catchment area.

  • a local customer base, say a 5 – 10 miles radius
  • customers across a metropolitan area, say a 10 – 25 mile radius
  • to regional customers over a 50 – 100 mile radius
  • nationally, to any in-country customer
  • internationally, to any customer anywhere.

Multi-regional and multi-language localization

With more nuances, the right localization techniques can support businesses who sell online from an office in one country

  • to customers in another country: a holiday rental site targeting UK customers for bookings in France
  • to customers in many different countries but who all speak the same language: a US investment adviser selling to English-speaking Canadian retirees around the world
  • to customers in the same country but who speak different languages: a European fashion brand selling to China, which has two main languages, Mandarin and Cantonese, and seven distinct major dialects
  • to customers in the same country who speak similar languages but with important regional variations: a publisher targeting subscribers in the USA (American English), the UK (English), and Ireland (Irish English — and Gaelic)
  • to customers around the world who create a lot of their own content in one language on your interactive platforms, requiring you to handle the template (footer, navigation) differently from the main content: a global not-for-profit organization using own-branded BBS, forums and social networks to build community and donors

Local means different things to different people. For one, it might be finding a pet-care service nearby. For other, it could mean finding a supplier thousands of miles away. These, and everything in between can be called out on a website or social profile in such a way that search engines understand. So use the tools at your disposal to leverage localization, whatever scale your business targets.

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