Thinking about going international? Need some International SEO tips to make an impact in new markets?
If you’re expanding markets or just starting your online efforts, using SEO to reach multinational segments is a vital part of your site’s success.
Our business and marketing professionals have outlined 5 important international SEO tips. They include:
- Identify Your Target Audience
- Do International Keyword Research
- URL Structures for International Pages
- Translate Content
- Find an International SEO Consultant
But first off, let’s go over what international SEO is.
What is International SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher on search engine pages. International SEO is the process of targeting this knowledge to countries, markets, and localized websites.
Now that we’ve covered definitions, let’s get started on our international SEO tips!
1. Identify your Target Audience
The most important part of any strategy is identifying your target audience!
A target audience is a specific group of people with shared characteristics who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
For an international SEO plan, you’ll need to fully understand your target audience and their customs and culture. Put in the time and effort to research targeted countries and markets.
This will give you a better understanding of how they would react to certain designs and content.
A common misconception is that all markets in a country, region, or language have similar behavior. This could not be farther from the truth.
For example, there are tons of Brazilian cultural differences that may not be apparent on the surface level. Characteristics of citizens from Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul differ based on their dialect, time zone, values, and more!
Now, how exactly do you determine your target audience for international SEO?
How to Determine Your Target Audience for International SEO
To determine your target audience, answer the following questions:
- Which country am I trying to enter?
- What are their demographics? And what demographic groups are most likely to buy my product?
- What language or dialects do they speak?
- Where do they spend their time online?
- What are your consumer’s tendencies and behaviors?
So, you’ll need to make sure that your site is properly formatted towards this audience. This can be done by immersing yourself in the culture to provide your audience with a better experience.
You may also hire a professional translation native from the country you are expanding to so you can ensure that your content is culturally appropriate and relevant.
By doing this, you’re sending users and search engines a strong message that they should check out your site!
2. Do International Keyword Research
Keyword research is super important for both regular SEO and international SEO. Keywords are a crucial part of our international SEO tips because these specific words are what searchers use when they look up a problem or topic online.
First off, you’ll need to conduct localized keyword research. This is a crucial step because high-volume keywords may differ across markets, even those with the same language. This allows you to target country-specific website traffic for each target market.
There are many different tools you can use to find the right keywords such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, and keyword planner. Let’s explore these individually.
Ahrefs is a popular keyword research tool for content creators. It’s recognized as the backlink checker and has a huge database of live links. Some of its advantages include:
- Accurate keyword difficulty score
- Search volume
- Supported in over 171 countries, with a breakdown of competition specified by the country
- Click metrics to raise CTR
Ahrefs has four pricing plans. They provide a 7-day trial for $7 for the lite and standard plans. Explore more on the Ahref homepage.
SEMrush is one of the best keyword research tools and provides many advantages. Some of its advantages include:
- Ability to uncover long-tail keywords
- Provide yearly trends
- Shows what keywords your competitors are ranking for
- Keyword difficult analysis and organic traffic insights
SEMrush is used by digital marketers around the globe! It provides a seven day free trial for the pro and guru subscription when you first sign up. Check it out today!
Google Keyword Planners
Google keyword planner is one of the most reliable sources of keyword data on the market because their information comes straight from Google! Some advantages to Google keyword planner are:
- Visualizing mobile trends
- Access historical data for the last year
- Suggestions for daily budgets
- Ability to save keywords and easily add them to upcoming Google Ads campaigns
The best part about keyword planner is that it’s a free platform for new and experienced advertisers to explore and use!
Ideally, you should work with a professional or native of the region to signal out correct keywords instead of relying on machines.
Don’t rely on a translation machine to translate the keywords into the language of your target market. We’ll soon dive into why you should use a professional native translator instead of machine translations. So keep reading!
Conducting localized keyword research is a critical tip in helping you reach new markets!
3. URL Structures for International Pages
Some URL structures webmasters employ to get the best results with their international SEO plan include ccTLD, subdomain, and subdirectory. Let’s take a closer look at each one of these URL structures!
ccTLD stands for country code top-level domain. A ccTLD is a two-letter code generally used or reserved to identify a country, sovereign state, or dependent territory.
It’s great to use for geographic targeting. Attached below are examples of the top ccTLD registries by domain name base.
An example with a ccTLD from above for Germany could be “example.de”
A subdomain is an additional part of your main domain name. This domain is specifically for your international pages. An example could be “us.example.com” with “us” being the subdomain.
A subdirectory is an even more specific URL structure. Internationalized content is placed in a specific subdirectory of the main domain and is dedicated to a certain language or country. An example could be “example.com/us”.
Using certain types of URL structures give you an advantage while implementing an international SEO plan. You’ll be able to create different sites for your diverse target markets and ensure that each international client is on the right website.
4. Translate Content
Translating your content is one of the easiest ways to rank higher in search engines for international markets! You’ll raise your SEO ranking which will result in you being able to reach more valuable leads.
To do this, make sure to duplicate and translate your content. By translating your information into different languages, you’ll provide great content to all members of your audience.
When you publish your content in a different language, Google understands your purpose and allows you to create your content in many languages. When you duplicate your content, make sure to localize it.
This means that you should translate AND adjust your content to each region you want to target.
For instance, some phrases and terminology used to target Mexican Spanish-speakers would not necessarily work for Castilian-speakers in Spain, although both countries technically speak Spanish. So, you’ll want to make cultural alterations when duplicating and translating your content.
Example: Just between Spain and Mexico the word “Torta” has very different meanings. If you’re writing an article on how to make a “Torta” for Mexican consumers, you’ll be referring to a meat and vegetable sandwich. On the other hand, if you’re targeting Spanish consumers you’d be referring to a pastry. Big difference!
Pro-tip: To avoid mistakes like these which may confuse your readers, check with native speakers to make the correct cultural adjustments.
Now, when translating your content here’s a shortcut you should definitely avoid: machine translations.
Avoid Machine Translations
Machine translations, those carried out by a computer, often prove to be faulty. Although using them can be more cost-effective, you should avoid machine translations for reasons like:
- Lack of personal touch which is often necessary for translating content into the target language for reasons such as humor, music, and poetry
- Risk of your company’s confidential information being collected without your consent
- Rough translations that lack dependability
- May not respect the culture and dialect of the audience
As stated before, you are better off hiring a professional translation native to translate and adjust your content to each region you want to target.
5. Find an International SEO Consultant
Still unsure about which international SEO tips your company needs in order to reach more consumers online?
Reaching out to an international SEO consultant gives you the upper hand in reaching new markets and potential profits.
Here are some reasons why you should invest in an international SEO consultant!
- Professionals are experts on which tactics work best for different industries.
- Consultants have the right tools and experience to recommend the best plan of action for a business to improve their online presence.
- Provide professional language translation services to optimize your content for each target market.
- They are knowledgeable on how to monitor and track KPIs, digital marketing metrics, and more data when comparing different types of international SEO strategies.
- They are experts in identifying the right keywords your company should use across different markets.
Lucky for you, Colibri Content is here to help!
Ready to Go Global?
If you are thinking of expanding your business into new markets, message our global marketing strategists at firstname.lastname@example.org today. Our talented and international team of freebirds will expand and take your SEO plans to the next level!