Be Web Local To Anywhere From Anywhere
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
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.
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.