I noticed recently that Microsoft Live does not display my website or page on Australia specific searches. My TLD (Top Level Domain) is a .com however I have made numerous efforts to tell the search engines that my site is primarily for the Australian audience. Unfortunately Microsoft Live is the only one of the major search engines that doesn’t understand where my real target audience lies.
Live not SEO Friendly
The whole aim of Search Engine Optimization is to get quality visits from organic search results. In essence this means appearing in a prominent position in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for the keywords and regions relevant to your page or website. Google make setting the ‘Geographic Target’ very simple through ‘Google Webmaster Tools’ and now both Yahoo and Google are using RDFa / Microformats / Rich Snippets data in a meaningful way which assists in determining the target region. Unfortunately Microsoft Live still doesn’t appear to be able to determine the target region well and there is no means of manually updating the error by Microsoft.
Here is what Microsoft have to say about how they determine the target region of a website:
‘If your website is located in a different market, your website might rank much lower in your target market’s search results than it does in your local market’s search results.
Live Search uses information such as the website’s IP address (A specific numeric address for a computer on a network, such as the Internet.) and the country or region code top-level domain to determine a website’s market and country or region. You can alter this information to reflect the market that you want to target.’
What Microsoft mean by ‘alter this information to reflect the market that you want to target’ is; get a host with an IP address in your target region and get a TLD for the target country. Let’s hope that Microsoft Kumo does a better job at the basics like understanding what region/s a website serves!
Region SEO Basics
Here are a few tips to get your site as region specific as possible:
- Host your website in the region you are serving e.g. if targeting the U.K. the get your website hosted in the U.K.
- Include your target country in RDFa/Microsofmats/Rich Snippets information on your website.
- Advise Google of your ‘Geographic Target’ through Google Webmaster Tools.
- Get links / backlinks to your website from sites in your target country.
- Include your URL in region / country specific directories e.g. Google Local and Yellow Pages.
- Ensure that the language meta information of your website is set to the targeted region e.g. you should see lang=”en-AU” for Australia, lang=”en-UK” for the U.K., lang=”en-US” etc. A list of valid entries may be found from the ISO (if you are using WordPress then check out Installing WordPress in your language).