This is another geo-targeting case study I decided to discuss at SEJ. Say you have one product and you plan to target two same-language countries: USA and UK. Which options do you have?
- Set up only one .com website and promote it for both territories (e.g. build both US- and UK-related links). Really there are plenty of occasions when .com sites hosted in the USA do very well in Google.co.uk. Drawback: you’ll have problems delivering country-specific content (e.g. prices in US dollars and/or UK pounds). Besides, that won’t still be easy to rank in the UK with the American based website.
- Set up two sites: domain.com and domain.co.uk and run them separately. Drawback: two sites mean twice as much effort needed. Besides, it will be hard to handle duplicate content as both websites will be dedicated to one product and target same language. There is an opinion that this method won’t bring any dup content issues as this is general practice but still it is hard to predict. In this case you can either host them separately (but in this case, duplicate content issues will be even harder to avoid) or host them in the USA (but in this case you risk losing “Pages from UK” search traffic). Real-life example: Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
- Set up one site on .com domain and the other one on a subdomain(uk.domain.com)/ subdirectory (domain.com/uk). Same drawbacks as in the above one. Real-life example: Apple and Apple (United Kingdom) (which by the way do have some issues with geo targeting).
- Set up two sites on two subdomains: us.domain.com and uk.domain.com (same drawbacks as the above two).
- Set up one site with two subdirectories: /us/ and /uk/ and use IP delivery to redirect visitors to the geo-specific direction. Drawback: that’s not very SEO effective as Google crawlers usually visit from the USA and they won’t rank your other version in the UK.
The SEORefugee post that inspired me to bring this up for discussion also lists the following tips to geo target properly:
- run country-specific promotions (for UK/US holidays);
- use British spelling to cover relevant traffic;
- get more links from .uk domains;
- cover topics that are interesting only to the British;
- tailor content to the British, their interests and values (British humor, for example).