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After a few opinions on what's the best approach to SEO for a worldwide target audience. Have done some reading about the subject but not enough to convince me of a good approach.
Obviously, the ideal is to have separate domains, and separate sites, all hosted in each individual country. But that's not a good solution in this case - we're talking very specialist and small volume services market - < 3000 searches per month across all keywords.
The starting point would be a .com domain hosted in the UK.
From what I've read so far, the next best option would be to get other country domains, and 302 redirect them to the .com, whilst being careful with site structure - only using relative links so the change in domain doesn't effect absolute links.
There's also geographical targeting in Webmaster Tools, but I think you can only use this to set one country per site? (it would be useful if you can set country per subdomain or subfolder).
Another thing I've read is to link build with other sites with that specific ccTLD, which enhances the idea that your content is useful to people in that country.
Any other ideas / opinions / help?
You certainly could have myriad local sites, but compare the resources you'd need to apply to build, maintain, market, seo - and avoid duplicate content.
Rarely worth it. Even if you want to accept different currencies, that can be done on one site. This advice does not apply if different languages are required.
Should you decide to proceed, however, don't go down the 302 route - use 301 permanent redirect.
But seo-ing one site has to be easier than seo-ing a bundle.
You can always consider one or two 'local' ones if REALLY needed - for example, (and I could be wrong), Australia favours .com.au significantly more than the UK favours .co.uk - but even so, .coms can still do well.
And it's about branding and, lets face it, it is the world wide web; I'd always argue that the default for an international site is one .com; if local needs or conditions or your market suggest otherwise, then go with that. But .com IS international.
my question was... would buying say a .com.au, and a .co.nz then forwarding them to the .com, help rankings in australia and new zealand respectively (for example)? more so than it would without...
some reading i've done elsewhere on the web suggested that using a 301 to do that re-direct would render the initial new domain useless, as the spider will only index the end domain, where as a 302 isn't permanent, so would render both...? although the article was 2 years old...
would buying say a .com.au, and a .co.nz then forwarding them to the .com, help rankings in australia and new zealand
It's good to have control of related TLD's from other countries but in my own experience there's no discernible ranking boost from that kind of redirect.
Something that would help a lot more would be to start getting links from sites which are located within the countries where you'd like to rank well. If you want to convince Google that you deserve to rank well in Australia, for example, cultivate some links to your .com from sites that are themselves hosted in Australia and and/or on .com.au domains. Earning clear endorsements from sites in Australia will do a lot more to help you rank there than just redirecting a .com.au domain.