Q: I want to create a listings website in Panama but I also want to bring people from the US.A and Canada. Should I buy a .pa domain or use common TLDs like .com & .net?
A: You have to perform a local SEO that is way different from the traditional local SEO that any other listings website in New York is doing. It is all about showing up at the top of relevant searches, which have local flavor.
So, here’s what I recommend:
If you want to show up for searchers in Panama, a Panama domain extension is the right way to do it. When you want to dominate the local search, you should:
Have the TLD to match the country
Host the website that country
Set your domain target as Panama in the Google Webmaster Tools
To Show up in the USA & Canada for Local SEO to Panama
The catch here is that you also want to reach out to people in the U.S. or Canada or other areas where they are looking for information that you will be providing in the listings website. The very first step is to perform searches with keywords such as “listings website Panama”, “Panama city listings” to find out the top results. You can use tools such as http://www.ipaddresslocation.org to find out their hosting locations.
If you want to go global, I would suggest a .com or .net domain and hosting it in the largest market i.e. the USA. However, it is important that the objective behind must be clear. Determine if you want to get visitors from the U.S. who are looking for say “rental property in Panama City” or you want to attract businesses from all over who are looking for “real estate in Panama” for investment purpose.
Choosing .com or .net is good from speed & local aspect because Google prefers to show websites that are hosted in the U.S. For example, if you have .au in the domain, hosting the website in Australia will get your more preference from Google.
Next step will be optimizing for searches that include “Panama” in the keyword as searchers will be looking for things like “Panama City real estate listings” or whichever domain you will be catering to.
At the end:
Assuming that your target market is the US customers, you should:
Get a .com TLD
Host in the US
Optimize the website for phrases that include “Panama” and get links from USA and Panama sites also
In addition to this, I would also recommend:
Create a Google My Business account as it connects you directly with customers on Google+, Search, or Maps.
Your business NAP is important. Name, Address, and Phone Number citations are critical from local organic search results’ perspective. Search engines, especially Google take this data into account while showing up businesses for geo-targeted searches.