Search engine optimization can be difficult at normal times, but it can be especially difficult in Canada. Optimizing a website for a Canadian market needs a few factors to make the work easier. These factors include:
1. Language – Search engines factor in a website’s language so searches in English can be directed to your site. Canadian English is different from other variations like American and British English, however. Depending on whether you are interested in appearing on the results of Canadian or international searches, you should adjust your spelling accordingly. The same can be said of Francophones in Canada as their French differs from that of France. If you also want to make your site more accessible to other Canadians, you can design your site in French to cater to this particular group..
2. Domain Name – Many websites that target a specific country use the two-letter country code such as .uk for England or .au for Australia. A Canadian site may use .ca if it is more interested in catering to local needs, which might be the case for local businesses like clinics or plumbing services. But if you want to cater to international searches or American clients, then you can opt for the .com domain.
3. IP Address – Search engines also consider where you host your site. A site hosted in France usually targets a French audience, for example. However, some Canadian businesses host their websites in the United States, which can complicate search results. If you are more concerned with your local community, you have the option of hosting your website in Canada. This can help ensure that visitors to your site are people who are more likely to use your services.
4. Target Market – Your intended target market is another thing to consider when optimizing your website, especially in terms of how you arrange your domain name. If you aim at local clients, then .ca will attract more clicks since the name of the site will seem more relevant to them. Using .ca as a domain name is also more likely to get results from searchers looking for Canada-specific sites.
5. Branding – Sites looking to target an international audience use .com. If you used that yourself, you are giving the impression that you are aiming beyond Canada. But if you wish to focus your services on local clients, then you might be better off using .ca. This can work if you are a relatively small business, or if you have no intention of expanding beyond Canada.
6. Keywords – One way of optimizing your website is including keywords along with the name of your city. While this is a good way to make search results more specific, there are some city names in common between Canada and the US, like Ottawa. If you are targeting Canadian viewers, you will need to specify the keywords to make it easier for clients in the area to find your site.
7. Inbound Links – Links are always a way of getting more attention from search engines as it makes you sound more credible. But it helps to be linked from sites that get you the attention you want. Links from American sites may not do anything to make you more visible to potential clients for your business. On the other hand, using links from other Canadian sites can help narrow down search results so your site can appear on a visitors’ radar.