Geo-targetting your website

Does your company have a local presence in many different countries, or do you run a site where it makes sense to keep visitors from different countries away from each other?

There are a number of follow-on questions here. Does it matter if visitors from one region can access all parts of the site, or should the regional split be invisible to them? Essentially you can choose between having the same URL (web address) for all visitors from all regions, or you can have a different URL for each region.

One Site for All

If you use the same URL then your web server code needs to be able to determine your visitor's region automatically - or force them to select a region. There are usability and/or programming issues here, so you may not be comfortable with this.

In terms of analytics - knowing more about your visitors - you will be able to use demographics segmentation to see how each region performs. Webmaster tools (for learning about your site from a search engine's perspective) may also be able to report on individual regions.

You will not be able to tell search engines how people from different regions will see the site, since the search engine robot will see only one version when it drops by. Your SEO (optimization) will be restricted as you will not be able to identify the regions you want to individually target.

Different Region = Different Site

There doesn't have to be a different domain for each region; you can have each region in a subdirectory (or subdomain) of the main site. This gives you the option of really tailoring each mini-site to its region. As a bonus you can tell create a separate webmaster tools profile for each mini-site, and tell the webmaster tools exactly which region, or geographic target, that mini-site is for.

I would recommend using subdirectories rather than subdomains, as search engines will treat each subdomain as a brand new site - and give it no historical value as a result.


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