David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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Archive for May, 2010

Pros and cons of country-specific domains

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Many times I have seen questions posted at forums similar to…”I want to sell to these three countries.  Should I set up a domain in each country, or should I just have a different section of my website for each language?”

I know this might seem obvious, but often it is not: language and country are not the same thing.  Spanish is spoken in many countries.  English is, too.  Canada has two official languages.  There are two languages in the USA, too, even if the second one is not official.  The point being, you cannot segregate nationality on your website by language; you can segregate it only by country.

How you approach a multi-national, multilingual market will depend on a number of factors:

  • Languages you can serve them in
  • Countries you can ship to
  • Countries you wish to target
  • Currencies you can accept
  • Whether you can appear local enough that a country-specific website will appear credible
  • Whether you want to manage multiple websites.
  • Which countries you are marketing to (read on to see what a difference this can make)

This post addresses strictly the aspects related to country domains, such as .ca for Canada or .es for Spain.

How search engines view country-specific domains

I recently wrote a guest post on whether to adopt a .ca domain for a Canadian website.  I provided examples of the advantage a .ca domain has with Google.ca rankings beyond where it would rank at Google.com.  A country-specific doain is likely the clearest signal you can send the search engines that your website relates to a specific country. There is no question that for many searches, a country-specific domain helps reach searchers in a local market.

How people view country-specific domains

Does that mean you should set up a domains with .fr, .de, .ca, .co.uk, etc. for every country you serve?  That could be an effective strategy, but there are obviously drawbacks, too.  From an SEO perspective, it is probably worth your while to have a country-specific domain for any major market. But SEO isn’t everything.  You really need to know your market and how you plan to promote your domain.  In Canada, for instance, word-of-mouth traffic, including people who hear a domain on the radio, will tend to type .com even if they hear .ca .  This even happens sometimes when they see a URL in print.  Canadians are so accustomed to websites beginning with “www” and ending with “.com”.

Not so in Europe, where people expect to see their own country domain.  In fact, in many countries the domain tells them whether they are likely to be able to read the website – whether it is even worth visiting.  For instance, wander a little around Budapest and observe how many website URLs are advertised – every one a .hu domain.

Beyond language, consider the alternative to a country-specific domain, that being every country and/or every language on a single .com site.  (Here is where it is wise to consider which markets you are addressing.)

In Latin America, .com means “international”.  There is a certain trust level that comes from dealing with a big international company that in many countries would be seen as above the local corruption.  .com is not the way to go if you wish to appear local.

In Europe, .com is very often seen as “American”.  And in Europe, that generally isn’t good.  A site likely will have a lower trust level, given the American image of being out for a fast buck.

And as I said earlier, in Canada .com is simply seen as the default for a website, just as it is in the USA.

There is no simple answer whether to choose .com or a series of country-specific domains.  Like so many things in running a business, there are many factors to consider and the final decision can be no more than a guess.  But with the information above, at least it will be an educated guess.

 


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Four unique social bookmarking gems

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Once again, we’ve improved The Bookmarketer by adding four very unique social bookmarking gems: BizSugar, MMO, Tipbo and Kirtsy.

TheBookmarketer is a blogger’s best friend, making it easy for readers to spread the word about blog posts they like.  Two lines of code posted into the template for single posts, and they have instant access to post a link and recommendation to your blog on 75 websites.  In addition to popular social bookmarking websites like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Mixx and Delicious, your blog posts can now be easily added to these four new social bookmarking gems.

bizsugarbannerjpj

BizSugar is a vibrant community of bloggers and others who share blog posts and news stories related to small business and sales.  They typically share stories related to managing a small business or freelance operation, marketing both online and off, human resources, motivation and more.  One thing that makes this a vibrant community is that submitters don’t just sub and run;  many take the time to look at others’ submissions, vote and comment.  Only small business related articles.

mmobanner

MMO is a young community of mostly bloggers interested in sharing tips and stories related to making money online.  Although fairly new, it is quite vibrant and for that reason has been added to The Bookmarketer.  As with BizSugar, what makes this already a vibrant community is how submitters don’t do hit-and-run submissions;  they take the time to review, vote and comment on other people’s submissions, too.  Only articles or posts related to working online, please.

tipbobanner

Tipbo is a unique social bookmarking service.  Although it does not cover a single niche – you can submit articles about knitting, hockey, dental fillings, closing a sale, or the best way to pickle and iguana brain – it accepts only one type of article: tips and advice.  So news articles, stories, biographies, funny videos and images are all out. 

kirtsy

Kirtsy is also a somewhat unique social bookmarking service.  Although it accepts the full range of topics and in pretty much any form, you don’t have to be a member to vote (although only members can submit items and leave comments).  And there is no voting button.  A simple click on the title is all that is needed to vote.  In many ways, this makes it a must-use service for bloggers who can share the submission via Twitter or FaceBook.

And I should not miss an opportunity to remind you that if your blog is Canadian, you really should be submitting posts also to http://www.Zoomit.ca (and voting for other good submissions while you are there).

 


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