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How to Rank in Ireland With a .com Domain Name

Local SEO
Where is my local SEO, aargh!

This was a feisty one.

And it’s not only Ireland, it’s all countries. Targeting Google.ie (or another Google TLD) is a tricky operation.

Still, here’s a starter list on how to rank locally for a .com domain name:

  1. Set up the country in Google Analytics

    As Google Search Console doesn’t allow international targeting in the new console, the only “official” way to do it is via Google Analytics.

  2. Use hreflang attributes

    Use an alternate hreflang meta tag (see below).

  3. Add local details schema

    Add your local business details schema (see below).

  4. Add person details and person location schema

    Add your own details and location via HTML microdata (see below).

  5. Add the country or location name in your page’s content

    Use details such as “Built with love in Ireland”, “Crafted in Ireland” or “We help small and medium businesses in Ireland grow”.

  6. Add as much localised content as possible

    Content is king, so add as much content targeted to your desired country as possible (see below).

The hreflang attribute 2

Target your country via a link attribute in your site’s header:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.example.com" hreflang="en-IE">

The local and personal details schema 3, 4

<meta property="business:contact_data:locality" content="Dublin">
<meta property="business:contact_data:country_name" content="Republic of Ireland">
<meta property="business:contact_data:website" content="https://www.example.com/">
<meta property="business:contact_data:email" content="name@domain.com">

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
    <small>My name is <span itemprop="name">Ciprian Popescu</span></small>
    <small itemprop="jobTitle">(SEO/CRO Specialist)</small>
    <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
        <small>I live in <span itemprop="addressLocality">Dublin</span></small>,
        <small itemprop="addressRegion">Co. Dublin</small>
    </div>
</div>

Localised content 6

Add articles, tutorials, how-to’s related to your targeted area/region/country, such as “How to rank for these keywords in Ireland” or “What’s the price of these services in Ireland”. Try to be as specific as possible.

Bonus options (WordPress only)

If you’re using Yoast SEO and you’re located in Ireland, note that there’s no Irish international Open Graph locale, it simply defaults to en-GB. In my case, I have removed the Open Graph locale altogether:

add_action('template_redirect', function () {
    global $wpseo_og;

    if (isset($wpseo_og)) {
        remove_action('wpseo_opengraph', [$wpseo_og, 'locale'], 1);
    }
}, 1000);

Different languages for different pages (WordPress only)

If you need to rank different pages for different countries, here’s an experimental way of doing it (I’m still measuring results).

First of all, add a new hreflang function to your functions.php file

function get_hreflang() {
    $hreflang = (is_page('malta')) ? 'en-MT' : 'en-IE';

    return $hreflang;
}

And then in the head (header.php):

<html lang="en-IE">

...

<?php
if (is_category) {
    global $post;

    $category = reset(get_the_category($post->ID));
    $category_id = $category->cat_ID;

    $permalink = get_category_link($category_id);
} else {
    $permalink = get_permalink();
}
?>

...

<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="<?php echo get_hreflang(); ?>">
<link rel="alternate" href="<?php echo $permalink; ?>" hreflang="<?php echo get_hreflang(); ?>">

Note that my example uses Ireland and Malta language codes.

Added by Ciprian on Monday, July 15, 2019 in Blog, Search Engine Optimisation

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