SEO can get a little confusing. After all, there’s general SEO, local SEO, international SEO and on and off-page SEO. If you’re online business caters to a market outside your country, understanding and using International SEO tactics can help you compete in those countries.
This week, I asked work-at-home experts to share their opinions and advice on international SEO Tips .
Amy Medeiros, Broadband Search
Make sure you have an online presence in other countries by geo-targeting your content, creating Local NAP (Name, Address and Phone) listings and expanding a variety of geographic top level domains or TLDs by securing .ca, .eu, or .uk, etc.
What factors should be taken into account when pitching international clients? I think businesses need to consider how well they know that new target market. For example, if they are targeting a Spanish speaking country, does their collateral meet the needs of these clients? Are there individuals who speak the language? Are there translators who can fill in the language gap? It’s also important to consider the company’s business presence in this new market, i.e. people who work in that space and/or an office location that clients can visit or at least have the opportunity to meet people face to face.
What should the e-commerce industry keep in mind while marketing to a culturally diverse demographic? How certain products and services translate in different cultures and demographic regions. It’s important to understand the cultural norms in order to reach the right target audience in new geographic regions.
Sam Williamson, CBDiablo UK
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers or hire a native. If you’re targeting local customers, it’s easy to imagine the way that they interact with the World Wide Web. Chances are you’re probably a local yourself. But dealing with an international audience is an entirely different ball game. They have different tastes, a different sense of humour, and might even speak a different language. So there are two ways that you can approach this issue, both of which will require some investment on your behalf. Firstly, you could try to immerse yourself in the culture of the country you are targeting. Read their blogs, watch their comedies. Email locals and ask them what makes them tick. Modern SEO requires a huge amount of content creation and outreach, and if you don’t understand the nuances of the audience that you’re promoting this content to, then it’ll probably fall flat on it’s face. Alternatively, you could hire a local writer to produce the content for you. This is usually the best choice, and is especially useful if the country that you’re targeting speaks a language other than English.
Alex Reichmann, iTestCash
A useful SEO strategy for international businesses is to pitch article topics to websites relating to your industry. To do this you can simply search and read about websites relating to your business and think of a topic to write for them that displays your expertise and provides original and useful information for their readers. The SEO benefits of doing this are that Google will see after a while that you are getting linked to from international websites which boosts your credibility for search engines. Another benefit of this strategy is that you will also get your brand in front of other customers from around the globe.
Christopher Seeger, CSeeger & Partners, INC.
As you can see, almost everything changes when you target a new language. In addition to developing a new lead generation strategy, you subsequently need to think about link building. It’s unlikely that the sites you use for your English language domain will hold any value for your other country-specific domains. As always, make sure you follow link building best practices to maximize your efforts. This means focusing on both popularity and relevancy.
Scott Glazer, Unibank
Select a Country-Specific Domain: While the United States typically uses .com, .net, or .org domain extensions, other countries tend to use country-specific top level domains. For example, if you want to target French users, www.website.fr would rank higher than www.website.com in France. If you don’t want to create an entirely new website, you may be able to create a dedicated landing page for your site that looks like www.website.com/fr.
If you’re targeting international markets, then the most ideal URL structure would be to have CCTLDs (country code top level domains) for each country where you could successfully operate. SEO performance is generally better with a CCTLD in the respective targeted country, but the authority of each domain has to be built separately. There are a few things to consider:
- Do you have a presence in the geography you are looking to target? If you don’t have a regional agent or office / address / phone number then it may be a better idea to look at the Sub Directory structure. Trust is key to SEO and having local contact details and a phone number is key to this.
- Do you have the resources to manage another domain effectively?
- Will you host each CCTLD in each respective country? If you can, it will be a positive local ranking signal.
Joanna Kercz, Geek Squad
Include the language of your pages in the HTML code. The language is ideally included as an addition in the <html> tag and concerns Bing and Baidu specifically. To signal content in several languages or local variants to Google or Yandex, use the ‘alternate hreflang’ links.
Jamie Bagley, Tri-Mack Plastics Manufacturing
Find out about points of sale in a country in ‘Google My Business’ (address, telephone number, opening hours, website link). It gives your clients important information, while solidifying the local SEO positioning of the brand’s website.
Erica Curtin, Time Inc.
Respect different browsing habits. For example, when Chinese users click on a link, they expect it to open in a new tab in many situations. In Germany, visitors want feel reassured that their privacy is protected and that the services provided are up to standards.