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strategies for international seo in the chinese new year

The Chinese New Year is a time for loved ones to be together, and if you can’t go back home in Asia to celebrate with your families, or are looking for some other kind of festivity, then London is the place to be.

London hosts the biggest Chinese New Year party (also known as the Spring Festival) outside of Asia. Since it is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, the date changes from year to year. In 2016, the New Year is on 8th February, and with the festivities starting a day before the New Year and continuing until the 15th day of the New Year (known as the Lantern Festival), businesses have an opportunity to cash in if they focus on International SEO.

Strategies for International SEO

International SEO is just as important for a small business with a single location but worldwide sales as it is for a global company with multiple offices and employees across the world. So, for a small business targeting an international audience this Chinese New Year, how do you convince Google and other search engines to include your business in their international rankings at the country level?

The challenge

Google provides a multitude of country code top level domains (ccTLD), each with targeted search results for a specific country and in its native language. Bing, on the other hand, does not use separate ccTLD domains. Instead, they set location and language cookies on www.bing.com.

That said, not all countries rely on Google or Bing as their top search engine. China, for instance, uses ‘Baidu’; Japan, ‘Yahoo’, and Czech Republic, ‘Senzam’. Each search engine employs its own set of best practises and ranking factors. For example, on the top search engine in China, Baidu, you will want to be listed in the ‘Baidu Directory’. In addition, you want to ensure that Baidu has the right region settings for your website.

Taking these considerations into account, the following ranking factors should help with your international SEO:

1. Local search registration

Whereby you register each of your websites with Bing Business Portal, Google Places, and their local equivalents, like the Baidu Directory

2. Geographic targeting

While you have the option to target your audience by their language, Google favours country targeting. So, designate a geographic target by going to the settings option in Google Webmaster Tools. You can also register new subfolders and assign a separate geographic target for each of them. Note that you must register the subdomains separately for Google Webmaster Tools to recognise them

3. ccTLD for target countries where Google/Bing are not the top search engines

Compared to subdomains or subfolders, ccTLDs are the best option for competitive link building in the long-run for international SEO. Each site should also receive frequent updates of compelling content. If your website is fairly new and doesn’t have sufficient authority among international ccTLD sites, then you may need to switch to a subfolder strategy for benefits attributed to domain wide authority.

Final note

One other thing to take into consideration when targeting an international market is to create local content in the native language. Include local contact information and addresses, as well as local keywords in proper phrasing and grammar – instead of doing direct translations.

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