Škoda Wars: How Did Slovak Version Beat the Czech One in the SERPs?

Škoda Wars: How Did Slovak Version Beat the Czech One in the SERPs?

Nooooooo! 

It actually happened. A Slovak version of the Skoda’s Kodiaq SUV page outranked its Czech equivalent, when searching from the Czech Republic.

Slovak website before Czech one

A Slovak version of the Skoda website appears before the Czech one in Czech SERP.

First off, there are two very similar versions of the SKODA Kodiaq page, one in Czech and the other in Slovak. Each one is supposed to target users in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, respectively.

So, how come the Slovak version appear when searching from the Czech Republic?

Yes, Czech and Slovak languages are fairly similar and no, it’s not a language detection issue. I actually checked that.

Slovak language

source: technicalseo.com

Let’s have a look at the authority of the individual URLs and their local relevancy using Ahrefs and SEMrush.

Czech version of SKODA Kodiaq page:

Czech version of SKODA Kodiaq page

Zero backlinks lead to this particular URL. Google gets very few location signals.

Don't underestimate the force of geo-signals. – Darth Vader

Slovak version of SKODA Kodiaq page:

Slovak version of SKODA Kodiaq page

URL Ahrefs rank 23 versus 14. The Slovak version is clearly more authoritative. Why is that? Let’s see…

There are a couple of backlinks leading from Czech forums as well:

Backlinks leading from Czech forums

Backlinks from Czech forums lead to the Slovak page.

Backlinks from Czech forums lead to the Slovak page

The Slovak page was published almost 4 months prior to the Czech one, according to archive.org. It clearly attracted a couple of links from the Czech forums when they launched the Kodiaq in Slovakia.

backlink monitoring

So, how can one track market inconsistencies in SERPs?

1. Search Console

Search Console Skoda

Search Console will give you an overview of searches filtered down by countries.

2.  SEMrush

semrush domain visibility in a country

SEMrush will show you which URLs appear for which keywords in a particular market, which comes in handy when doing SEO in Slovakia.

semrush keywords per country

 

What do I do when market inconsistencies occur?

1. Link replacement

obi wan kenobi links

You can ask the author of the comment to replace the links to the more relevant ones. Some can actually appreciate that you are trying to provide the audience with better content. Especially when there is no rival company involved.

2. Link matching

You can also reply to the particular comment, offering the correct country version of the URL. But how do I learn about the link in the first place? Well, you can use various SEO backlink monitoring tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush or Majestic.

3. Be cautious with Hreflang

Make sure that you are not beating your head against the wall, here. As we already wrote, Hreflang is not an ultimate geo-targeting solution. In this case, other geo-targeting signals overrode such a strong geo-signal as ccTLD (.SK versus .CZ). My estimate is that it would beat Hreflang as well. Before implementing Hreflang in your international website, make sure other geo-signals are in alignment with your strategy. This way no users or robots will be baffled.

R2D2

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Martin Kura

Founder & CEO at GFluence and international SEO strategist. Passionate about food, beer and cultures of the world.

Entries by Martin Kura