In 2006 we ramped up on international webmaster issues and particularly tried to support Eastern Europe. We opened several offices in the region, improved our algorithms with respect to these languages, and localized many of our products. Should I find only one word to describe these markets, I would say they are diverse. Still, they have two things in common: their online markets are currently in a developing phase and a high number of webmasters and search engine optimizers work there in a variety of languages. We are aware that a certain amount of webspam is generated in this region and we would like to reinforce that we have been working hard to take action on it both algorithmically and manually. Since I have seen some common phenomena in a bunch of these markets, here are a couple of suggestions for Eastern European webmasters and SEOs:
  • Avoid link exchanges. If a fellow webmaster approaches you with some sketchy offer, just refuse. Instead, work on the content of your site. Once you have the quality content, you can use the buzzing blogger community and social web services in your language to get nice linkbaits. Creating good content for your language community will pay off. Help the high-quality people in your language community and they will re-power you.
  • Use regional and geographical domains in line with their purpose. First, a sidenote for the Western webmasters: some Eastern European countries like Poland and Russia have so-called regional or geographical domains. Imagine that all the states in the U.S. had their official second level domain and if you wanted to open your webshop delivering to Kentucky, you could do it cheap or for free on eg. ky.us. This could help Google serve geographically relevant search results. In case you wish to sell organic soaps to people in Szczecin, do open your webshop on szczecin.pl. If you are from Kalmykia and would like to show the world the beauty of your area, go ahead and set up your Kalmyki travel site on kalmykia.ru. If you like a region, support it by hosting your site on the related regional or geographical domain. Be aware that webspam on these regional domains violates the correct use of them and prevents the development of your country's web culture.
  • Say no to Cybersquats! Sneaky registering of strong online brands with Belarusian, Estonian or Slovak top level domains is just bad. While it will not particularly help you boost the ranking of your site, cybersquatting often has created disappointed users and legal actions as side effects.
  • Think long-term. You have your share of responsibility for the development of your market. Creating quality sites that target users who search for highly specific content in your particular language will help you get your market into a more mature status -- and mature markets mean mature publisher revenue too.