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
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
Use subdomains rather than
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.