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Is there a preferred list of directories and search engine spiders that I would be able to look at in order to reach people in french, spanish and german speaking countries?
Likewise we need to create web pages in French, Spanish and German. Does our site have to be in those countries in order to be listed in their directories, or does the fact that we provide information in their native language good enough?
Does our site have to be in those countries in order to be listed in their directories, or does the fact that we provide information in their native language good enough?
That really depends on the directory in question. Some will only allow certain TLD's, other might check whois info, and for others the language might be enough.
You could start by having your site translated by native speakers, preferably professional translators. Avoid machine translation if you need to look professional.
Then you could set up extra domains to point to the new language parts of your site and submit these domains to the engines and/or directories for the countries you find relevant in the list you mention.
If you want to generate contacts, make sure you are ready to take phone calls in French, Spanish and German. Your new audience might not be fluent in English, and that is a frequent mistake.
As suggested many times in the posts of this forum, it is also recommended to try and get advice from a professional SEO from the country you want to target.
True, on most european countries TLD is not a requirement for directory inclusion.
A local TLD, as well as a local IP, are just a safer bet for any future (and current) attempts at geo-targeting from the search engines.
Totally agree, but sometimes it's just not possible. For example, in Spain you have to be locally registered in some way (local VAT number, trademark, registered company etc.) to get a .es TLD