For a website with an international target audience, how do I indicate to search engines and others that my website is also geared towards the European market?

  • What's the difference between US SEO and worldwide SEO?
  • i edited the question to focus on SEO like the title said. Feel free to ask the other questions separately so you can get more answers,
    – John Conde
    Mar 24 '12 at 13:06

Make sure you don't use a country specific TLD like .co.uk or .eu. They tell Google you're targetting a local market. Top level TLDs like .com and .net will tell Google your audience is international in scope. See Google's blog post on working with multiregional websites for more.

If you have multi-lingual content you should follow Google's new multi-lingual guidelines. Basically, you use subdomains for the different translations:

To explain how it works, let’s look at some example URLs: http://www.example.com/ - contains the general homepage of a website, in Spanish http://es-es.example.com/ - is the version for users in Spain, in Spanish http://es-mx.example.com/ - is the version for users in Mexico, in Spanish http://en.example.com/ - is the generic English language version On all of these pages, we could use the following markup to specify language and optionally the region:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="http://www.example.com/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-ES" href="http://es-es.example.com/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-MX" href="http://es-mx.example.com/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://en.example.com/" />

If you specify a regional subtag, we’ll assume that you want to target that region. Keep in mind that all of these annotations are to be used on a per-URL basis. You should take care to use the specific URL, not the homepage, for both of these link elements.

Otherwise the SEO is essentialy the same (quality content, semantic markup, quality links, etc.)

  • support.google.com/webmasters/bin/… is very useful too.
    – unixman83
    Mar 24 '12 at 13:26
  • Would there be any value in using audience specific sub-domains for internationalisation like cnn does? i.e. edition.cnn.com for overseas users us.cnn.com for US and mexico.cnn.com for mexico etc. Mar 24 '12 at 16:45
  • From an seo point of view not really. From an organizational point of view, it does if you have a high traffic site. Then offloading content into subdomains would make load balancing a lot easier to do.
    – John Conde
    Mar 24 '12 at 16:49
  • @JohnConde interesting, I had always assumed that there would at least be an SEO side benefit Mar 26 '12 at 1:27

You can set a geographic target with google webmaster tools.

  • The website is international though. I am targeting UK and US users equally.
    – unixman83
    Mar 24 '12 at 12:40

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