Why Do Swiss Customers Look for Audi in Germany?
When you are searching for some product on the web you want locally-relevant page to appear in your search results. If you live in Switzerland you have little use of the German page, although you speak the language. Audi uses country code top-level domains (ccTLD) to target different countries. However, It appears that the German version performs better in Switzerland for multiple queries like:
So, what’s the problem?
Weak local signals
.CH domain in this case doesn’t have a sufficient geo-signal. It is a pure example of when a stronger website outranks local website version. Weak local signals include:
Weak local back-link portfolio
As you can see amount of links from German IPs leading to the Swiss website is more or less the same as from the Swiss ones.
Missing NAP information
Official audi.ch facebook page does not contain NAP information and neither does the website itself. Since important information like address or telephone number is missing, Google cannot list it properly as a local business.
No locally specific information
In fact even the word Switzerland or Swiss is not mentioned. As a result a user has no idea he landed on a Swiss page and neither does have the search engine robot. Result: weak geo-signal.
No Hreflang tags indicating the targeting
Hreflang tags would certainly help search engines solve the puzzle of the actual website targeting here.
Lastly, images are not consistent
Audi.ch has images that feature audi cars with German license plate. It doesn’t influence SERP or anything but having website consistent is vital when it comes to brand communication.
Stronger versus weaker authority
.DE version is of generally stronger authority and in this case, outranks the weaker .CH version.
This is logical as the Swiss market is significantly smaller, so German websites will always have stronger authority. But in this case, they should not underestimate local signals. German website has a higher domain rank (65) compared to the Swiss website (58). Social signals are also stronger as well as the number of backlinks, which indicates a higher authority for the German sister.
How it can be fixed?
Option 1. One site fits them all
If Audi decides not to personalize content, they can use the .DE version to target users in Switzerland. In this case, they can use canonical tags pointing at the .DE version.
Option 2. Target markets separately
The following must be done:
- Localize content, add more locally specific information. Although prices are shown in local currency, they hidden under bookmarks so they aren’t instantly visible for users or search engines. Additionally, country indicator “Schweiz” is only in the title tag. In order to make this page more locally relevant it should be in the body or footer area as well.
- Facebook and Google+ pages must contain NAP information and be connected to the .CH website
- Hreflang tags
- Swiss page can be more locally engaged, get local backlinks from Swiss IPs and other .CH websites
- Audi can promote .CH website more in general. E.g. run a Google Adwords campaign, do offline campaigns targeted at the website.
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