Getting International SEO Right
Expanding your business into international territories can be a daunting task at the best of times – problems can arise around legal obligations, cultural expectations, understanding buyer behaviour, currency and tax issues to name but a few. Getting your research right takes time and effort while you may also have to consider getting to the market first if you have invented something new. Striking that balance between being first to market and not rushing is easier said than done.
SEO as a route to international markets
The internet provides a fantastic means of exploring overseas markets and testing the waters to see where the best opportunities lie but it is important to take a planned and well-structured approach to your international search engine optimization strategy in order to enjoy any level of success.
While your website is a cost-effective means of exploring new markets internationally, it is important to be aware that you have to be prepared to make a reasonable level of investment in order to succeed – particularly if you aim to enter several diverse international markets at once.
What do you need to consider in order to get your international SEO strategy right?
• Are you translating your web content into another language? If it is an English speaking country, look out for regional variations in how people speak. ‘Thongs’ is always a great example of a simple English word which doesn’t necessarily translate country to country. Also, keywords in English will not translate straight to keywords in Chinese, Spanish, French, Portuguese etc.
• gTLD or ccTLD? Generic Top Level Domains (eg .org) versus Country Code Top Level Domains (eg .co.uk, .de, UK and Germany respectively). This will depend greatly on the scope and depth of your business growth strategy. There is a generally accepted ‘best-fit’ for one-country expansion versus multiple country expansion and we will explore that in a future article but this question raises another question:
• How will foreign consumers react to a .com.au or .co.nz domain? If consumers are particularly loyal to concepts such as ‘Buy Australian’, then they are likely to favour a domestic domain over one they perceive as foreign. In Australia we actively promote the notion of buying Australian so expect other countries to do the same.
• In a similar vein to the last point your on-page SEO for foreign markets has to fit the local online environment for the country you are trying to rank in.
• What links can you secure in the relevant country? What links work best for you industry? Is your industry a specific niche in the market you are targetting – mainstream in Australia/NZ may not be mainstream in other climates.
• What about the IP Address? There is a school of thought which suggests that country-specific IP addresses can improve your sites visibility in the target country. This is currently a source of much debate online with no definitive outcome at this stage but we will keep you posted on the relevance of the IP address for geo targetting.
If you intend to explore international SEO and country-specific geo targetting, contact roi.com.au. Our effective SEO services can help you to devise an international strategy that works.