Recently I got a project which is single .com domain and it needs to be targeted to different countries. It`s an e-commerce site and had good rankings in US, now it needs to improve rankings in UK and AU also. I went through some webmaster forums to get the best picture how to start it with single domain to target multiple countries. And I got few interesting points, thought to put it here so that it might help you.
Initially starting with the domain structure
Its not a good decision to target different countries with same domain URL (www.example.com). Though you have three options for that.
1. Go For Different TLD(top level domain)
If you want your money site to target different countries then intially go for different domain with local extension like www.example.co.uk for UK and www.example.com.au for AU.
Be sure that product description and content on the pages differs.
2. Take Sub-domains
It is also recommended that you can take sub domains for different countries like www.uk.example.com for UK & www.au.example.com for AU.
And same as above make sure content differs from one other.
3. Create Folder For Multiple Countries
It is very common way to handle targeting different countries. Like www.example.com/uk for UK & www.example.com/au for AU.
All these 3 types are recommended in Google web-masters site.
How To Optimize These domains for Different Countries?
Here the real task comes. Lets say that you have chosen first version i.e different TLDs. The main problem arise when your .com domain ranks well than .co.uk domain in Google.co.uk for this go for geo-targeting in web master tool.
Also I asked regarding this on Google groups to confirm it, how to rank well in UK using .com domain (Webmaster help)
- Adding geo-targeting in Webmaster tool
- Building backlinks from local site like .co.uk for uk domain and .com.au for AU domains.
- Using local (UK or AU) proxies while doing link building (this will help you in some way but not sure about it)
- Hosting you server in that country (optional)
How to Add Geo-targeting In Your Google Webmaster Tools
After adding your site to Google webmaster tools you find a option to select targeting country.
Site configuration–>Settings–>Geo targeting
How to add Different Domains to Google Webmaster Tools
1. If you have chosen different TLDs for different countries then go adding webmasters for all domains.
2. For subdomains also you need to add it manually as you addit for TLDs
3. If you are trying with folder option then leave it to Google it will handle.
If you have any more tips on optimizing single domain to multiple countries please do share here comments.