Search Engine Optimization encompasses most if not all targeted audiences. In line with the increased competition locally and internationally, SEO for websites either focus on local traffic or the global traffic (international). A simple evaluation if your need local SEO or Global SEO are the products and services that you offer. Knowing your audience through the products and services you offer will lead you to understanding what type of service you need.
A great example of a business that needs to have a Global reach in terms of SEO is Software Sales also known as Software as a Service (SaaS). This type of eCommerce products will inevitably lead you to go Global as the software offered gains ground in the international scene. This will also help your software grow as it will be able to cater to multiple languages and location-based users. The best example of a Global SaaS is probably Google. They offer their products in multiple locations and languages. By doing this, they are able to “localize” the software features such as languages and options. It also gave them the flexibility to comply with country regulators with regards to the software.
International SEO (Global) targeting involves a very specific list of optimizations paired with the generic optimizations that we all know about. On this article, we will learn 10 of the specific Global SEO you can on your website:
1. Research about Different Country Opportunities for the Business
When doing business research with regards to international SEO, always focus on the products or services that you are offering. It would not be difficult to identify the countries to target for SEO. Google analytics data also provides useful insights on the countries that you are currently generating traffic in. In addition, identify top landing pages and queries where users from different countries come from. This information will help you prioritize the pages that would be need International SEO.
2. Keyword Research
In doing the keyword research targeting international SEO, it would be wise to create a map of locations based the countries you are targeting plus the main keywords. An example below will highlight this concept:
|Main Keyword||Location 1||New Keyword 1||Location 2||New Keyword 2|
|Online Sports shop||Spain||Spanish online sports shop||france||French online sports shop|
Based on the table above, it’s fairly easy to identify the right keywords to target based on the locations you want to rank for. In addition, try to look for relative keywords out of the keyword map you did. You can do this research through the Google Keyword Research tool or online tools like SemRush.
3. Website Adaptation
When creating or optimizing a website for Global Reach, there a are a lot of things to consider. This includes the following website development concept:
This coding principle allows website owners to use different languages on the website with relation to the specific website link for it. A sample code is presented below to properly present this concept:
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es” href=”http://es.example.com/” />
The code will guide search engines like Google that you have a spanish version of the website. Knowing this will also aid your website developers on the proper redirections if you are to implement it based on the user location.
Much is known that when it comes to UX optimizations a standard is being followed. To properly cater to the needs of your different users, you can test designs (A/B testing) for your targeted countries. By doing this, you and your developer team can work on designs that fits the needs of your users.
Optimizations for Mobile should go hand-in-hand with your international SEO. Contents length may vary among different language and UX versions of your website. Mobile optimizations should be included as a priority when implementing your Global SEO initiatives.
4. Content Targeting / Translation
Content Optimization gets a little tricky for Global SEO. If you are targeting countries outside the main English language, investing in content development and optimization is the way to go. Creating a multi-language content involves SEO in multiple folds as well. This will involve keyword research, content mapping, and optimizations. You will have to focus on the top countries you want to rank on first.
Translation might be a simple solution to your content problem. Google has a reliable translation application that can be used on any website. Even Though these applications provide much of the solution. Getting the best results through this content optimization will not be achieved. Better create meaningful and helpful content from scratch than relying on translation for your content optimizations.
5. Optimizations for NOT-only Google
Since you are targeting multiple countries, it would be best to also optimize your website for search engines other than Google. For example in China, Baidu is the top search engine that Chinese used. It would be wise to follow certain guidelines from this search engine in this part of the world. Here are 10 of the best search engines and their respective country where they are popular:
- Naver – South Korea
- Baidu – China
- Seznam – Czech Republic
- Eniro – Sweded
- Onet.pl – Poland
- Orange – France
- Spiegel.de – Germany
- Bing – US
- Yahoo – US
- Duckduck Go – US
6. The Power of Social Media
In addition to the different Search engines that you can target for Global SEO, social media also takes it fill with regards to Search Engine Optimizations. Promoting your products or services through Social Media should be either targeted or with a global approach. Consider the use of targeted ads for your main products to gain a foothold on the market in a specific location. You can also put in work on creating country based Facebook pages and groups. This is to allow you to manage different communities in your business or launch country-specific marketing campaigns and offers. On the other hand, this will bring about more work on your marketing team but the returns would be great overall. It’s all about bringing the right people to do the right job.
7. “Global” Linkbuilding
One of the most difficult and time consuming task in SEO is probably linkbuilding. It involves many man-hours and much analysis. This gets amplified when doing on a Global level. As a best practice, effective and targeted content marketing is the way to go. Promoting your business through your content is the best way to succeed in SEO and stay on top. Make use of different resources (Infographics, podcast, videos, presentations, memes, etc) that you can share content with to have a far broader reach. In addition, knowing your targeted countries’ news and current events will help you in researching for the best content to make and market.
8. One Brand Mentality
Branding becomes an issue in long run as more and more countries are being targeted and more people come in to do your business marketing. It would be in your best interest to focus on a single business mantra to have a more consolidated approach. What you can do is focus on a single about-us page message that will transcend to all your targeted countries. Also consider an All-hands meeting once a quarter to have all your employees on the same page with the same goal in mind. SEO is certainly a part of this one brand mentality approach.
9. Choosing the best Site Structure that fits the business
In implementing an International SEO, there are 3 site structure to choose from:
Country-Code Top Level Domains or ccTLDs (ex. domain.uk)
This is probably the best site structure to use when targeting the international scene. This allows any website owner to clearly target the right location. The domain readily targets the country with its server location. On the other hand, this site structure is difficult to implement and maintain. It requires more resources and sometimes some country specific requirements and regulation. In simple terms, if you have the right resources and manpower to use this site structure then this is the way to go.
SubDomain (ex. uk.domain.com)
The use of subdomain allows any website owner to create a different website within the same domain. It’s easier to implement and manage. The issue with regards to this site structure is its geotargeting. It might not target the right country just by the subdomain extension itself. (de.domain.com , might be misinterpreted as a country or a language extension). In simple terms, if you can allocate a team to manage a whole new website going for subdomains can be your option.
Subfolder (ex. domain.com/uk)
This is the easiest way to implement an international SEO. It needs minimal resources and still has the capabilities similar to that of the subdomain. One glaring fact about using subfolder is that domain rating is maximized all throughout. You no longer have to worry about having a good ranking for keywords if the domain is already authoritative. Although it cannot surpass the SEO effect of having a ccTLD implemented as your international domains. In simple terms, if you have limited resources but still pushing to get your international SEO going then subfolders would be your best option.
10. Learn from your Competitors
As the saying says, stand by the shoulder of giants to have their views. Analyzing what your competitors are doing right and wrong will lead you to most if not all of the optimizations you need for your website. It pays to create a comprehensive Competitive analysis of two or three of your main competitors. Focus on their International SEO efforts and ways to which you can mimic their success.