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Multilingual SEO Tips – Part 1 – Geo-Targeting

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Chinese Newspaper

By Tracy Mu Sung – Director at MooMu Media


If you are managing a site for audiences who use different languages, and/or  who are in different countries, it is important to ensure your geo-targeting is as clear as possible to Google. Why? Because if Google knows who your target audience is, it is more likely to increase your rankings and visibility for that particular audience.


For example – if your site, or part of your site, is targeting French speakers in France, correct geo-targeting will give the relevant section of your site a boost in the search results of people in France.


So how do you signal to Google where and for whom your content is most relevant?  One obvious way is the language you are using in your content, but seeing as keyword selection and content optimisation is so important, we will have them as the subject of a whole other post.


This post will focus on some non-content ways to optimise your site for Google, more from a coding and administrative perspective. These are things you can do right now, or as soon as you start developing your language pages.


  1. The first is the most simple and obvious – make sure that Google can crawl all your language pages. Don’t use them in isolation, and don’t confuse Google with cookies or redirects (if possible)
  2. Make sure the language of a page is obvious. You should use only one language on a page (if possible) so as not to confuse search engines and/or users.
    • Sometimes menu structures or user generated content can be different to other content on a page. Try to minimise this.
    • If you have multiple languages in a rich media file like Flash (which are usually indexed as single pages), it would be helpful to separate the content into separate language files.
  3. Automatic translations can be bad for the user, and can also be considered automatically generated content by Google, which will label it as spam. If you do want to use automatic translation for your users, use Robots.txt to block Google from indexing it
  4. Cross link between your languages – e.g. have links or language drop downs sitewide and visible
  5. There is no preferred way to ‘name’ or structure your URLs, but for user friendliness and management, it is best to be consistent with your naming. E.g. all in a subdomain or subfolder.
  6. Internationalised domain names are ok, IF you use them correctly and remember to escape them when linking to them.
  7. If you are targeting a single country with your whole domain – consider a country code top level domain (e.g., .cn, .ca). If you are targeting multiple countries with one domain, consider a generic top level domain. (e.g. com, .eu, .asia).
  8. Use the Geo-targeting tool in Webmaster Tools to indicate to Google that your site is targeted to a specific country (unnecessary if you are using a ccTLD)
    • Do not use WMT Geo-targeting if you are targeting multiple countries
  9. Note that Google may use addresses, phone numbers, currencies and Google Places pages to determine appropriate geo-targeting for a site.
  10. Note that Google does not use meta or html tags in determining the appropriate geo-targeting for a site – so using them is not an indicator, but they won’t do you any harm.


Notice that nowhere in this list did I mention rel hreflang markup, why is that? That’s because the hreflang element is used as a connection between URLs, allowing Google to ‘swap’ the page currently shown in the search results with ones which are more relevant to the user. It doesn’t affect ranking, but it is important, so we have covered it in our second article on SEO for Multilingual Websites Part 2.


Dominating Search Results – Restaurant Marketing

By | SEO | No Comments

 By Tracy Mu Sung – Director at MooMu Media

I was just Googling “Laksa in Crows Nest” (because I have a hankering for Laksa, and Crows Nest has a tonne of restaurants) – and check out the total domination of the search results by Sam’s Laksa House! Does it inspire you to dominate your niche using SEO or PPC?  (Note that Sam’s doesn’t even have a website!)




Use Google+ To Improve SEO

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Do you want to improve your search engine optimization? Embracing Google+ should be on your short list of activities.  Here are some ways your Google+ activity could potentially help with your search rankings:


Old-School SEO Applies


Be sure to fill in the information for your profile completely and by using keywords in the introduction.


Note that the first 55 characters of your introduction are important for search results within Google+ itself, so don’t clutter them with keywords – make it natural and appropriate.


Format your Google+ posts to make them look more enticing so that people will be more likely to click on them in Google search. Post about content relevant to your products and your audience.
Create titles for each post using bold formatting. You do this by placing a * at the beginning and end of what you want in bold


Encourage +1’s


Do you have a +1 button on your website? The +1 button is Google’s much more powerful answer to the Facebook like because the number of +1’s a page gets will show up in search results, even if a searcher is not logged into Google+.  Having the +1 button prominently available is very important for Google+ SEO optimisation, so make it easy to find and use.


Connect Your Page With Your Website


Connect your website directly to your profile. This can be done by adding some simple code in your website, which you can find in the Google help centre. This is likely to become even more important when Google Direct Connect rolls out.


Authors – Own Your Content!


If you create content on the web, one way to promote and ‘own’ that content is by claiming authorship. Simply add authorship connections from the blog post and other Web pages to your Google+ profile. This is something that is showing up in the search results, even when people are not logged into Google+.


There are two options for adding the authorship connection from your blog posts to your Google+ profile. The first is to add your email address on each page of your content and have that email address listed in your Google+ profile. Alternatively, you can link your content to your Google+ profile.


Regular Social Media Rules Apply – Create and Share Great Content


Like most things search related, Google values fresh content and this is even more important in social media, where the idea of social is also to be current. Company Google+ pages should add information, articles and posts regularly, to ensure freshness.


Growing Your Audience – It’s Not Just For Branding and Social!

Another way to keep your profile relevant and current is to participate in discussions, post to public, respond to engagement, create conversation and cultivate engagement.


This will also, hopefully, help grow the number of people in your circles – which in turn means that if they are searching for things relevant to your profile, you are more likely to turn up in their results. Search results influenced by ‘social’ like this means that your rankings can indeed be improved for relevant searches by your Google Plus audience.


Google Plus and Google Places

If possible, use the same Google Account you use for Google Places for your new Google Plus account.

Google Local Business Centre (or Google Places, whatever you like to call it), has now been merged into Google Plus – so all Local Business Listings are now Google Plus Places pages (aggh! Confusing!).


There is a bit of confusion on how to link your existing Google Places page with your Google Plus page, but Google says they will slowly be connecting them and it helps to have the same email address on both. If you don’t have them on the same address – you will have to wait for further Google advice.



Many of these tips – like growing your audience and adding the Google + button – will have limited success depending on the adoption of Google Plus by your audience, and how adept you are at interacting on the social level. But other suggestions, like the initial setting up of your profile, populating it with keywords, linking it to your website – these are all things which don’t require audience participation, and which could still help your SEO.


SEO Myths – Spamming Up The Web Helps SEO

By | SEO | No Comments

It’s sad that so many myths surrounding SEO are related to the idea of webspam, it’s a misconception that SEO’s have to battle all the time. One of the reasons these myths persist is because Black Hat SEO’s still sell them. This is why we need to get more knowledge out about the difference between high quality SEO and spammy SEO.

If someone has given you any of the following advice to help with your SEO – be careful, it is the proverbial snake oil.


The key to SEO Success is having a million links


Has someone recommended you join their link network, saying links are the key to success in Google and that they will instantly provide you with thousands of links? Forget about it. Link networks are bad for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Google is on the hunt for them already, so even if it works now, it is unsustainable.


Also, think about it. If you join a link network, you are tied in to that link network – so that you have to keep paying forever, and if you leave that agency or provider, you will lose the value.


Finally – Google knows how many links you have, and if you turn on 10,000 links all of a sudden or even over a month or two – they will know that isn’t natural, and could investigate.


Google is devaluing spammy links, if not full on penalising them – so don’t risk your site.


The Meta Keywords tag is important for SEO

Here’s a reality check about which meta tags are important
Which Meta Tags Are Important for SEO?

Meta titles are important for SEO, meta descriptions are important for Click through (not really SEO) and the ‘keywords’ meta tag is not useful for anything!


Lots of Keywords!


I’m not sure if people still believe this, but hidden keywords or keyword stuffing are manipulative practices, and Google can see them. You don’t need to overload your pages with keywords, put them in hidden divs or hide them with text the same colour as the background. Your site could get penalised for these kind of actions and it adds little or no value.
Submission to over 100 Search Engines!

This isn’t really spam, but it is snake oil. If someone is telling you they are going to submit your site to 100’s of search engines, or even just say they will submit you to Google – stop listening right there. Search engine submission is unnecessary and definitely not something you should pay for. Search engines will find your site without you submitting it, you just need to start publishing. Sharing on social media and other sites should also help to speed up the time it takes for Google to find you.


Spammy practices are not actually good for SEO – and while you might say “Hey, but it works for my friend Bob”, your friend Bob should probably sell up while he’s ahead, because Google will catch up to him. In fact, if you are doing obviously spammy things, any of your competitors could report you to Google for spamminess, and Google could start an investigation. No one wants that.


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