Sometimes, SEO needs to go beyond getting your website to rank in local search results. If you are ready to go to the next level and start serving an international clientele, then you need international SEO optimization. This entails targeting a specific language and country, as well as making the website user-friendly for that audience. International SEO will get you ranking in places others have not yet reached!
How to Know if You are Ready for International Business
Before you take the plunge on international SEO, you will need to do a little research and answer these questions:
- Is there a need for my service or product in this country?
It’s probably a good move if you are able to fulfill an existing need. Find your customers, then sell to them.
- Do I have the resources to support an international move?
There is a lot that goes into expanding your business overseas. From financing to legal advice to proper infrastructure and staffing, make sure you have what it takes before you take the leap!
- How is my business different and better than those already serving this region?
If there is already a competing business in the country you want to move to, consider how you are different and how you will stand out. You need to be better in order to attract existing clients.
- Am I ready to fully optimize my website for an international audience?
International SEO is so much more than merely translating your website copy to a different language. You need an in-depth, researched SEO strategy to make this happen.
What Goes Into an International
We will start by using our handy tools to research how your business is currently ranking internationally. If you are already getting decent traffic from another country, our focus will begin there – by optimizing what is already working for you. From there, we will move on to other countries that you want to be ranked in.
We will also decide whether we need to focus on targeting a specific country, or a specific language (or both). Sometimes, if the product you are marketing is different depending on the country, then we might focus on optimizing for that country.
However, if the product is the same regardless of where it is being shipped to, optimizing for the language of that country might be the best fit.
We always look at the specific needs of the individual business before deciding on a strategic approach. Because your business is unique, your SEO strategy will be unique, too.
Aspects of International SEO Targeting
International SEO requires a sort of a four-pronged approach. We look at four different potential elements when building your SEO campaign:
If you are targeting a specific country to expand your business to, the best way to quickly build an online reputation there is to get a Country Code Top Level Domain. This is a domain specific to the country, meaning you would need a different domain for each country. Think of it like a local phone number: if someone calls you from a number with your own area code, you are more likely to pick up then if they call from a number you don’t recognize! This country-targeting strategy can be very effective. However, it is also time-consuming and expensive. Besides having to support a different domain for each country, you will need a specific SEO strategy for each domain, as well.
While country targeting uses different domains for each country, language targeting utilizes subdirectories to help your business rank in different languages. This is the ideal fit for businesses who are selling the same product or service everywhere.
Proper Language Translation
It goes without saying that you will need the language on your website translated if you are going to be ranked in a non-English-speaking country. What might not be so obvious is that you should never rely on software (Google translate, for example) to do this for you. Language is very nuanced, and your audience will immediately recognize if the content is not written by a native speaker. Think of how you respond when you read a blog post that is clearly not written by a native English speaker - you know the difference immediately! The same goes for translating your website copy into another language. It needs to be done by a skilled translator. Someone who can take phrases, idioms, and words and make them into a beautiful work that will be understood and accepted by the local audience. If you have an E-commerce site, this is even more important, since monetary conversions will be necessary.
Optimizing for Local Languages
Many countries have more than one spoken language. This complicates things for an online business going international. You will need a strategy that shows search engines which language is appropriate for a specific part of the country. This obviously requires extra translation work, but there are tools that make it easier for the right language to appear when your website is searched.
Handling Duplicate Content
When you have the same website copy in multiple languages, a search engine will see that and might recognize the duplicate content as spam. This isn’t good for your rankings.
To prevent this, we use tools such as hreflang tags to specify to search engines that the content is in various languages.
All of these aspects of international SEO are very nuanced, and can be challenging for many businesses to implement. This is why hiring a skilled SEO expert is so important for your business!
Creating an Effective Strategy
International SEO is a whole new world for most business owners. Getting it right is important. Don’t just translate your keywords; create an effective strategy.
Everything on your website, from videos and images to graphics and copy, needs to be evaluated. You also need an effective internal and external linking strategy.
Your strategy will also need to be constantly adapting over time, to account for changes in search engines algorithms and other advancements of technology. The strategy that has worked in the past, may not be effective anymore.
Find the Experts
As a business owner, chances are, you don’t have the time or expertise to create a powerful, international SEO campaign! That’s why business owners just like you have been leaving it to the experts.
At Project Local Downunder, we know exactly how to create an effective international SEO strategy that will get your business ranking around the globe. If you are ready to get started, get in touch with us today!