These days, an international SEO strategy is vital if you want to drive traffic to your site at the lowest possible cost and boost your international sales. While technical considerations should not be ignored, the main challenges now lie in producing content adapted to the local culture of your target market. We offer three tips to help you build an effective localized SEO strategy that will bear fruit across the world.
1. Choosing the right search engines: the key to any SEO strategy
It is important to find out which search engine is the most widely used in your target market: it won’t necessarily be Google in every country! In Russia, for instance, the most popular search engine is Yandex. In China, it is Baidu. Each of these search engines has its own algorithms and rules, which means that your keyword and SEO strategies will have to be adapted to ensure you rank well in its results pages. To help you anticipate all these subtleties, it is always a good idea to work with a local expert who can guide you through the process.
2. Keywords: translation is not enough
In an international context selecting keywords is much more complex than simply translating each term literally. Terminology differs from one country to the next, even between countries that share the same language.
- Example 1: Synonyms
Vocabulary can vary from one region to another and this can have dramatic effects on your incoming traffic. You might be very highly ranked for a particular word, and wonder why your traffic remains so low. For example, if your online clothing store sells sweaters in the United States, the relevant keyword will be “sweaters”. In the United Kingdom, this keyword may enjoy a high ranking, but that position will be of little use, as your British customers will search for the same item by typing in a different keyword: “jumpers”.
- Example 2 : English vs local language
In many cases, English words have become more popular than their local translations. In Germany, for instance, the word “Computer” is more commonly used than the word “Rechner”. This preference for English words varies from country to country. In South America, jeans are called “jeans”, whereas in Spain, they are known as “vaqueros”.
A step-by-step guide to choosing your keywords
In order to refine your keyword research and optimize your content, there are a number of stages to follow:
- Translate your most commonly used keywords and their variants to have the widest possible choice of options.
- Research the keywords used by your competitors using tools such as SEMRush (Google’s keyword tool)
- Compare the popularity of the terms in your new list of keywords and select the most relevant.
You should then create a glossary of the keywords identified and provide your translators with a clear and detailed SEO briefing.
3. Localize all your content
A partially translated site can have serious consequence on SEO. A webpage that contains several languages will be considered less relevant by search engines. It is therefore important to localize the whole of your site, not forgetting essential elements such as images, URLs, menus, etc.
A partial translation will also affect your credibility with visitors: it is vital to appear as local as possible in order to win over your audience.
Above all, establishing a successful international SEO strategy requires patience and perseverance. It is important to regularly publish localized content and to keep up those efforts over time. Maintaining an effective SEO strategy is a key factor in growing your international sales.