Most business leaders I talk to sell their products and services into other countries and all list organic search as an important part of their online marketing efforts and web presence. More frequently I hear this scenario, “My UK Sales Rep says we don’t show up at all in Google, but I see we’re ranked #1. What is he talking about? ”
This is a prime example of an international organic search issue. Once you’ve identified you have one then you need to figure out what to do about it and how to manage it.
Find out how to take control of and improve your organic search results in countries where you’re trying to do business.
So what is happening here and what do you need to know?
Google has multiple properties (.com, .ca, .uk, .fr, be,de, etc.) where the properties represent countries (US, Canada, UK, France, Belgium, Germany, etc.).
When you search on a keyword phrase Google wants to return to you relevant search results. ‘Relevance’ changes based on a couple of factors:
1. Which search engine property are you starting your seach from (i.e., Google.com versus Google.ca versus Google.uk)?
2. How you are connected to the Internet? This isn’t a post about how the Internet works, but basically you’re connected to the Internet with an IP Address. That IP Address is assigned to an ISP (Internet Service Provider like Verizon or Rogers). The ISP then assigned an IP to you to surf the web. Those IPs are known to belong to a particular country. Google can then conclude you are connected to the Internet in Canada, the US, the UK, France, etc.
3. Are you logged into Google in any way (Gmail, Adwords, etc.)? If you are logged into Google, then they are collecting data about your behaviour on line and are going to return search results that are more relevant to you. Yes, this is scary!
So, when you are physically located and logged onto the Internet in the US searching for your product in www.google.fr you will obtain a different set of results then if you are located in France looking for your product in www.google.fr. The implications of this are that you might think you are ranking #1 for something, but to your prospects, located and searching in France, are not being exposed to your company’s organic ranking at all. The further implication is that you are likely losing out on leads and sales.
What should you do? Firstly, don’t give up. Secondly, I have to tell you that international organic search is humanly impossible to manage and gain insight into on a daily basis. The reality is, you really do need an automated way to deal with this. Software exists that gives you the ‘raw’, non-skewed ranking results independent of country and IP address so that you can obtain timely insight into your web presence and position in countries where you’re doing business.