We are increasingly becoming a global marketplace, as the internet has opened access to talent and customers worldwide. It’s possible for a company based in one country to employ someone in another country and have them facilitate a sale with someone in a third country. And as that trend increases, having an international SEO strategy is highly important.
Google gets billions of searches daily, and you want to ensure that your website is accessible to as many people as possible if they reach it. An international SEO strategy combines the policies, processes, and practices you use to optimize search content for those from other countries. Here are four ways to set yourself up for success as you expand overseas.
- Keyword Research in Multiple Languages
One of the most important things to understand about search engine research for an international market is that you’re not dealing with one larger market – you’re dealing with countless little markets. Each with its search engine protocols and regulations, and each has its ranking for what works and what doesn’t. This can be affected by the culture and the government in each country.
To get around the challenges, this poses it’s important to research your keywords outside of your native market. Familiarize yourself with the translations of keywords and use content research tools like Ahrefs Tool Guide: Keyword Explorer for e-Commerce to dig deeper into the market. You might find that one country requires a completely different strategy and keyword.
- The Role of GEO-Specific Content
Much like keywords won’t be the same in every country and market, neither will the content that helps drive your product or service. It’s important to ensure that your content is relevant to the demographic you’re aiming at in each country.
For instance, a guide helping college students move into their place might not perform in certain Mediterranean or Middle Eastern countries where it’s common for young adults to live with their parents until they get married.
One pitfall many companies fall into is assuming that the same content can be recycled in every country – and cutting corners by relying on inaccurate machine-generated translations to save money.
If you have evergreen content useful in multiple countries, it’s worth investing in a professional translator to ensure you give the best first impression possible. But more often, original and relevant content targeted to each market will pay dividends in international SEO.
- Use of Localized URLs
This seemingly minor factor can make all the difference in whether your website finds its larger audience or gets lost in the shuffle. Each country usually has its domain name, with “.com” confined to the United States. A site that operates in multiple languages will usually have sub-directories that guide people to the right section of the site in their language if they use the appropriate ending tag for the country.
Another big factor in customizing your website for an international audience is the use of ‘hreflangs.’ These attributes tell Google which language you’re using on a specific page, allowing Google to provide results for you in that language. This ensures that your customers in other languages won’t be stuck sifting through a wave of popular English-language pages before they get to the section of the site that’s relevant to them.
- Building a Strong Backlink Profile in Your Target Location
How do you ensure people will find out about your product or service in a new market? It’s best to think of starting in each new market or starting from scratch because there’s a good chance no one there has heard of your current backlinks.
A robust international SEO strategy involves finding local press and bloggers who can help spread the word and popular websites you can arrange to trade backlinks with. This strategy works in almost every country.
Backlinks are one of the most important parts of any SEO strategy because they’re the gift that keeps on giving. You’ll keep seeing the benefit if you link to quality evergreen content on any website that gets consistent traffic. One strong backlink can do the work of spreading your company’s information without having to make investments in advertising.
A Global Affair
Are you ready to leap into a global marketplace? Your international SEO strategy might determine if you sink or swim. Each market is different, but many of the same skills will carry you to success across the board.
Finding the right keyword for each language is the first step. Then comes building your backlinks and content in each channel, plus ensuring that your url and website are accessible. Once you accomplish this, the door is open, and the potential is limitless.