Working hard to build your business and now feeling ready to go international because you have determined that international sales will bring back a good ROI. This is great!
Now you are looking into how to implement an international SEO strategy for your website to market your product in other countries. Where do you start? What do you need to consider before tackling your international SEO game plan?
Search Engine Market Share – Worldwide
Does your current website already have an international audience? Before you build your international SEO strategy, check if your current website is already attracting an international audience.
Invest Your Marketing Budget Wisely
Marketing internationally can be costly if it is done incorrectly. SEO strategy, especially internationally, should be backed by solid research to ensure that you’re putting your investments where they will make the most impact. Research is a critical part of forming your international digital marketing strategy.
Research Tips – How to Research for International SEO
- Define your business goals for marketing internationally.
Outline your international marketing goals and what accomplishing those goals looks like. If you’re unsure where to start, hire a consultant or company who is competent in digital marketing and has experience with international SEO strategy.
- Don’t Reinvent the Wheel.
Research the Competition. What are your competitors doing internationally? You can use a VPN to get insights on search results for your industry in other countries. Do you see any of your competitors in those search results? Take note of what they are doing that works. Consider adopting some of their strategies into your plan.
- Do not copy-paste
You will need to have a finely tuned international SEO strategy for each region you intend to expand your market. Taking shortcuts will be a waste of marketing resources. It is better to focus on one new international market at one time and do it well than to focus on ten at a time where the rankings will put you low on the results.
- Start where you already have an audience
Consider focusing your efforts first where you already have an audience. Do you have an online audience in Canada? Or Germany? Your Google Analytics or other SEO research should be able to tell you where your website is popping up in searches worldwide. Get these markets up and running first to generate the fastest return on investment and work your way down the list.
- Tailor the content to the culture
Don’t assume that simply translating your United States website into another language will render good results. Your keywords need to be tailored to what the people of that culture are searching for. Think about carbonated beverages; depending on where you live in the United States, this could be called “soda,” “pop,” “soda pop,” or even “Coke.” These types of language nuances are amplified on an international scale. You don’t want to market “soda” if your audience is searching for “pop.”
- Research user intent
Along with keywords, make sure that you also match user intent SEO strategy to align with the norm for the country.
- Avoid machine translators
The integrity of your business relies heavily on the image you are presenting. A typo or mistranslation can quickly divert your potential international customers to another website with a cleaner Auto-translators have their use, but they are still painfully limited. Invest in human translators who understand the culture and language of the culture you are marketing to.
- Acknowledge and address barriers in international sales
What are the challenges your business will potentially face with international sales? Identify and address each of these challenges while you build your strategy and brainstorm ways you will attempt to overcome them. Ignoring them and “hoping for the best” could be costly.
Other International SEO Considerations – Best Practices
Researching before investing in an international market is critical to making the most of your marketing budget, but here are some other things to consider as you build your strategy.
- Decide if you will use a domain with a different Country Code Top-Level Domain.
The ccTLD or the Country Code Top-Level Domain is an Internet top-level domain generally reserved for a country, sovereign state, or dependent territory identified with a country code. It is the domain name used to define the domain of a particular geographical area or country (e.g., .us for the United States, .ca for Canada, .uk for the United Kingdom).
There are benefits of ccTLD. Here are a few of them:
- It provides SEO advantages and local targeting. So, if you have a store based in the UK, you should consider having .co.uk as your domain extension. It will allow your site to appear on search results of those from the UK rather than in other countries.
- It instills buyer confidence. The ccTLD gives your customers confidence that they are buying from a local store based on the address.
- Host your site on a local IP
Business sometimes leads to people traveling internationally and they may prefer to access your site in English, even if they are visiting Italy. You can use an href tag in the coding to signal a page is offered in a different language based on where the user is accessing the website. Consider making this a pop-up option instead of an automatic redirect.
- Make sure all content is in the correct language and consider hiring content writers who live in the countries you’re marketing to.
- International SEO needs to integrate international backlinking. Not only should the content be in their language, but any links in the content should reference trusted sources in their own country and in their own language whenever possible.
- Focus on one market at a time and do it well. Make sure that you will be able to turn a worthwhile profit in each of the markets you focus on. It takes a tremendous amount of marketing resources and talent to implement an international SEO strategy that works.
If you’re struggling to do this on your own, hiring a consultant in your area could be a huge benefit to your business. So, if you are in the US, considering hiring an SEO marketing agency or consultant based in the US.
Building an international SEO strategy can feel overwhelming. There are many things to consider when figuring out how to integrate an international SEO strategy for your business.
Expanding into the international market is complicated and expensive if you don’t know what to do, and you won’t see solid results for roughly four to six months. That’s a long waiting time, and it won’t give you the guarantee that it will work as expected. Don’t let that paralyze you from moving your business forward into the international market.
Move Your Business to the Next Level
Let Techna Digital Marketing take your business beyond the borders and expand into new markets. Our team of experts understands the complexities of digital marketing and can help your business move to the next level. Contact us to see what we can do for your business.
If your website turns up the international ranking, where is your current audience from? You can gain insight by checking Google Analytics, using plugins, or coding on your website that will return these statistics; consider hiring a consultant to do the analytics for you.