Spin a Global Web
Search engines need to know the language of your page. If your page is not correctly identified, you could be losing valuable referrals because the page will be missing from searches that should have included it. There are several different methods that search engines use to determine the language of your page.
The first is language encoding. It is crucial for translators to use the correct language encoding to ensure that text displays properly. This is a major concern for languages such as Chinese, Japanese or Arabic, which use non-roman characters. When the language encoding is done incorrectly, not only will your searchers have difficulty viewing your page, but search engines may also have problems categorizing your site.
For this same reason, it is also critical that your site uses the correct meta tags. Meta tags appear at the top of the HTML code view, and identify the language of your Web site. Search engines simply check the tag and display the site for the appropriate language.
Unfortunately, meta tag usage on the Internet is spotty at best, and even when sites use the tag, the syntax often is incorrect or the language designation is wrong. As a result, search engines look at the tag, but do not consider it the only factor when determining a site’s language. They also look at the language encoding. If both the language encoding and the language meta tags are correct, it’s safe to assume that the site will display correctly in that language.
Hosting your Web site in your target country can also greatly improve local visibility because local sites tend to rank higher on search engines. If your Web site is hosted in Spain, for instance, a local search engine will find your Web site more relevant to a searcher in Spain than a similar web site hosted in China. Having a top level domain and hosting your site in your target country/region are widely considered the most search engine friendly ways to achieve visibility.