Matt Cutts: it is best to keep French-speaking Belgium and France apart!
No, this is not about community problems. Besides, what would Matt Cutts know about Belgium’s complex political situation? Google’s SEO guru referred to the importance of having different IP addresses when you have international versions of your site, and the distinction between language and country. Here’s a word of explanation…
When Matt Cutts has something to tell, usually via a video message, it is best to listen to him. After all, the man is the SEO guru who knows all the secrets of ranking and referencing on Google. In one of his latest videos, he answered the following question: “Should I use a separate IP address for each site that was created for a specific country?”
Google takes many factors into account when it comes to search results ranking, and one of them is the IP address of the server on which the site is hosted. Based on this information, Google determines the location of the server, and thus also the targeted country. By the way, you can also use Google Webmaster Tools to indicate what country is the target group for your site.
So, if you have different versions of your site, you should actually host all of these websites on separate servers. But this is not always possible in practice. This is why Matt Cutts explains that, when the different versions have a domain name with a different country code (.fr, .de, .it, .es, etc.), Google uses the country code of the domain to determine the target group, even when all of these sites can be found on the same IP address.
Cutts adds that it is essential for Search Engine Optimization to have different versions for each country but not for each language. For instance, it is not recommended to have the same web page in English for the UK and the US, and in French for France, French-speaking Belgium, French-speaking Switzerland and Quebec. Because when it comes to SEO, it makes things very complicated to get maximum exposure in these countries.
So, when Cutts talks about a separation between Wallonia and France, this has nothing to do with community issues, it is just an SEO tip. Cutts advises companies to focus on a limited target group of countries and always create a separate website for them, with the adequate country code domain extension, and the right specific content for that country.
You can watch Matt Cutts’s video here. Cutts published more videos including very useful tips on his YouTube channel. If you want to find out more on SEO and get tips on how you can, with a few simple steps, increase the number of visitors on your site, you should definitely subscribe to his channel.
By the way, did you know that when you register a domain name with Combell, you get a free Google AdWords voucher worth 75 euros? This will help you get some immediate exposure to your new website in the digital world!