Technology is allowing us to advance at a rapid rate, meaning that many companies no longer see themselves as just local or even national – with the use of the internet we are all competing in a global market. If you take a look at every large company out there, from Apple to Microsoft, they have done well because they have focused on attracting customers from all over the world. At SEO MCR we know that this is a great way to ensure your business is successful as it gives you a much bigger pool of customers to draw from, meaning you are opening yourself up to a much larger revenue stream.
However, this global thinking does not always translate to SEO. A lot of clients come to our agency asking about local or national SEO, when they should really be thinking about international SEO. Here are just some of the things we have learnt about global SEO over the years:
Localise your content
The easiest way to globalise your site for SEO is to translate your content. If you look at some of the most popular languages across the globe you will see that English ranks 2nd behind Mandarin Chinese (1.1 billion speakers) with other popular languages including Spanish (527 million speakers) and Arabic (422 million speakers). However, just translating it isn’t enough, you need to make sure it is focused on the locality you want to target, as there will be small language differences between each area. There are plenty of online sites where you can hire a translator, but you need to proceed with caution. Ideally you want someone who not only speaks English as well, but who speaks the local language you have chosen, knows the area well and understands your business too. This way they will be able to understand your goals and the market you are going after, and tailor the translation to that.
Keyword research is critical
You can’t just set one lot of keywords and use them blanket like across the board, as a keyword that is popular in one language may not be so in another. Doing some serious keyword research will help you to create new content targeted specifically at the international markets you are targeting – rather than just translating existing content for them. You can find local search terms that are relevant and performing well for each particular market and produce high-quality content targeting these keywords in order to gain some quick traction in that area.
Don’t forget to build links
English link-building campaigns can be quite difficult, compared to international ones, as no-one overseas tends to send out emails asking for links so when you do it can have really positive results – as long as you use the correct language of course. Never pay for links, avoid spam sites if you can. And remember, in international markets SEO is not as competitive as here in the UK so you should be able to get rankings pretty easily.
Use subdomains rather than subdirectories
Common thought suggests that subdirectories are better for each country/language as they allow more authority to flow through your site, but actually this isn’t the case. It is actually easier to rank if you use subdomains, as they are treated as a separate site.
Don’t forget about browser redirects
Google Analytics is a mine of useful information for us SEO types, such as which browsers people are viewing your site on and the countries they are viewing from and what their first language is. This can be really useful when it comes to setting browser redirects up to ensure you are not only sending people to the right page but that it is in the language they prefer to use as well. If you don’t set redirects up automatically, it will take Google a long time to realise that they should be crawling the country and language specific versions of your website as well as the English one.
Take your time
International SEO works in the same way as UK SEO in that it will take time to build rankings, so don’t expect to get fantastic results straightaway. It shouldn’t take as much time to build global rankings as it does in the UK or USA, but it will still take time. When you start getting good results, don’t take your foot of the pedal though, you can just as easily lose them again.
As SEO consultants Manchester we think it is fair to say that SEO should no longer be about getting rankings for your site in the UK only or even just English-speaking countries. To really succeed as a business you need to think from an international perspective – as there is less competition at the moment and so you should see results a little quicker.