Not ranking for any keywords in your country? Here’s what to do

When trying to rank for keywords in your country it’s always best to use a country-specific domain extension. For example, trying to rank for keywords in the UK would be ideal for a .uk TLD (Top Level Domain).

There are some cases where business owners may purchase a .com domain and intend on ranking internationally, which is completely fine and able to do. However, if you are using a .com domain to target visitors in a country where .com is not often used and your website is still fairly new, there are certain things you need to do if you intend on ranking for keywords in your city or country. We have listed them below:

Google Search Console International Targeting

This is probably the most important thing to do and many website owners forget to do this or have no idea that this is possible. If you are using a .com domain but would like to rank in your city then you need to notify Google where it should show your website. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Open Google Search Console

If you haven’t verified your website in Google Seach Console you will need to do this first.

Step 2: Click International Targeting

In the main dashboard, go down to Legacy tools and reports on the left and click on International targeting:

Step 3: Select The Country Tab

This is where you will select what country you want Google to show your website in:

Click save and let Google process the change.

Verify a Google My Business Listing

Registering a Google My Business listing is the most important you need to do if you want to rank in the maps and target locals in your area. Without a Google My Business listing, you will not show up in the map section on Google.

Thankfully, Google My Business is free and fairly quick to do. You will need to verify the listing to ensure you come up in the map section, this can be done through a postcard or sometimes by phone. The reason why this is going to help is because you are directly telling Google where you are located and where visitors can find you.

To set up a Google My Business listing, I recommend reading this guide

Add Local Schema

Adding local schema markup to your website is a great way to inform Google on where your business is located. There are many different types of local schema, selecting the correct one will be just as important as making sure the address is included. Here is how to add schema markup to your website:

Step 1: Use a Schema Markup Generator

A great one is by Hall Analysis. Simply select the type of markup you want to create and then select the category. For example, an Accounting service would look like this:

From here, you just need to populate each filed with your business information. Make sure you get the exact address in there. The markup should look something like this:

Step 2: Validate the Schema Markup

Before adding the schema markup to your website, you need to validate it. Google recently removed the structured data testing tool, so the next best thing is using the Rich Results Validator.

Copy the markup and paste it into the tool:

Make sure there are no errors:

Step 3: Add the schema to your website

Now that it’s validated, you need to add the schema markup to your website. It does not have to go on every page if it’s general information about your business. Adding it just to the homepage will work. There are a number of ways to do this, watch this video for an easy step solution:

Build Local Citations

Local citations are essentially business directories such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, Hotfrog, and more. They are online business directories that include information for businesses. They are a great way to indicate to Google where your business is located, the contact number, founder, and much more.

Having your business listed on a number of high-quality business directories will allow Google to understand where your business is located and it will associate your address with your business. The first thing to do is find online business directories for your city/country. Once you’ve done that you will need to create a listing on each of them and submit your information. The more directories your business is listed on, the easier it will be for Google to understand where you are located.

Extra Tip: Domain-Specific Redirect

Here’s an extra tip to implement (only do this if you have experience and know what you are doing). What you want to do is find an expired domain that is relevant to your business and has a country-specific domain extension for your country.

For example, if you are an accounting firm in the UK, you would want to find an expired domain that use to provide accounting services in the UK. Make sure to check that the domain is clean, has good backlinks, and check the Wayback machine. Once you are happy with the metrics, 301 Redirect the domain to your .com website. This is just another way to get Google to see your website in a specific location. Again, this takes know-how and SEO experience, so only do this if you know what you are doing.