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SEO for a Swiss Site

September 2, 2009
Hi Jill,

I hope you're having a great summer and getting some time outdoors. I have a question that I'd love to get your feedback on if you can spare a minute.

I have a corporate client that is planning to purchase a company in Switzerland and they are wondering if I can do the SEO. My first instinct was to tell them SEO is SEO – no problem.

But then it dawned on me, there may well be some problems. For example, checking their rankings with a U.S.-based IP address might deliver different search results…do you think?

You must have some experience with this! Can you let me know what your thoughts or advice might be?

Thanks so much!

Lori


++Jill's Response++

Hi Lori,

Yes, that's one reason why you shouldn't be using rankings as your measure of success anymore. It's not just for international results, but ALL search results can be different at any computer, at any given time, by any given user in any given location.

See my article on the topic here:

Why Rankings Are a Poor Measure of Success

When you're done with that, please read the follow-up article:

Using Analytics to Measure SEO Success

That should get you on the path to what really counts.

If you can show your potential client how you will be measuring their success, it shouldn't matter what country they're in.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Jill
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Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Services company.

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 Alexandra Farkas said:
Hi Lori,

Localizing SEO is something that my company, Eriksen Translations, is starting to get into. We already do site localization -- meaning translation and all the back end stuff -- and have been working with a partner to start doing keyword localization, etc. You don't want to just translate your keywords since people search differently in every language.

Switzerland is a fun example, because while they have four languages, they're used differently in Switzerland than they are elsewhere, so it comes with its own set of challenges. Just the kind of challenges we love!

If you'd be interested in discussing your project, I'd love to hear more about how you're approaching the project. You can reach me at alexandra.farkas (at) eriksen.com.

Good luck!
-Alexandra
 Ann Donnelly said:
It's important to think about where the target audience is more than where the company is located. Many businesses in Europe target other European countries or an even wider audience. Many companies in Europe target the US audience online because it is so much larger -- if the product/service suits, of course.

If working in a language other than English, your challenge may be keyphrase research. Are there any keyphrase research tools for languages other than English? It's important that you consult 'native' experts in the industry the client is in, rather than just translate the English keyphrases you would use. (I am based in Ireland and even though we speak the same langauge, we have to consider that a lot of terminology is different - i.e. holiday vs vacation.)

I've have some tricks to see how search results appear in the US, UK and other countries (search engines know where you are based on your IP address); but I think Jill's advice is finally sinking in and I'm not spending too much time worrying about positioning - though the urge is still there!
 Jill said:
Good point, Ann. Thanks for contributing!

Now say it with me, "RESIST THE RANKINGS, RESIST THE RANKINGS!"

And Alexandra, I'm not so sure I'm happy with you self-promoting on our "blog" but will leave it for the time being.