Depending on your target market it may be important for you to target country-specific search engines.

But for many people this adds a layer of complexity to their SEO that they’d rather not deal with.

The thinking goes that ranking in Google is a challenge on its own, so the last thing you want to do is start trying to figure out the SEO ranking factors in country-specific versions of Google.

Which is a shame because it’s actually incredibly easy.

This came up recently because I received an email from Danielle on this very subject. Danielle is a freelance SEO and social media management provider, and one of her clients wanted to target the UK market.

The specific question she asked was about whether purchasing an IP address based in the United Kingdom would help her client to rank in Google.co.uk.

It’s a good question but it also illustrates that this particular aspect of SEO is seen as something really intricate and that the tendency is to overcomplicate the whole process.

Let me show you how easy it actually is…

Ranking in Google.co.uk or Google.com.au, or any other version of Google, requires exactly the same SEO practices as anything else; the only difference is that you have to indicate to Google that your website is relevant for a particular country or territory.

You do this in just two simple steps:

1) Use a domain with the relevant country extension.

If you’re targeting the UK then you need a .co.uk domain, if you’re targeting Australia then you need a .com.au, and so on. You can find a complete list of country extensions at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains

2) Select the appropriate setting in Google Webmaster Tools.

SEO ranking factors

And that’s pretty much it.

Having an IP address in the targeted country is something that Google will see but is only really taken into consideration if it can’t figure out the best location any other way. If you’ve taken care of the above two SEO ranking factors then this step is redundant and an unnecessary complication.

At Melbourne SEO Services we host all of our sites in the US, even those that belong to our Australian client, and we have no problem ranking in Google.com.au.

Follow the above two steps and you’ll have no problem getting into the country-specific version of Google that you’re targeting. After that, it’s just a case of carrying on with your regular SEO practices.

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