To remain consistent in today’s business environment, you have to expand your business abroad, and for this to happen, you need to put is a little more effort into your expansion strategy. So, to begin with, let’s have a look at some data.
According to the Global E-Commerce Playbook, the retail e-commerce sector is expected to reach by 2021 almost $5 trillion worldwide. In 2014 the global e-Commerce sales were situated at only $1.3 trillion. This means that businesses have expanded their reach to foreign countries tremendously in the past several years. But how have they succeeded?
Since we live in the digital age, we can easily assume this expansion took place mainly due to a better Internet connection and wonderfully-built websites. The keyword here is SEO, so let’s see how you can improve your efforts to master international expansion. Generally speaking, international SEO efforts have to be treated just like domestic ones. This increases the odds for your website to perform incredibly in local search engines. And also, it increases your businesses’ conversion rates abroad. But let’s get down to details, shall we?
Let’s face it, even though your foreign audience might be able to read and understand English content; it’s still better to offer them content in their native language. According to this Harvard Business Review article, users still prefer to use their native language when consuming online content.
Moreover, The Guardian says over 80% of Internet users speak other languages than English, at this day and time. While this is a reality that content writers can’t escape, more than half of the online content is still in English.
To meet your SEO needs, consider hiring professional translation services. As you can already anticipate, human translators still do a better job than robots. You always want to make your content appealing to a wider audience.
- Have your translator take care of all SEO elements, including alternative text for your images.
- Translate blog posts and adapt these to local trends, culture, preferences, Neil Patel says. Make sure to adjust your keywords, too. You can’t translate English keywords to a foreign language. They might be unfit for local search patterns.
- All SEO and marketing content should be optimized and translated. Include here emails, newsletters, meta description, and titles. The last two will be those who appear in search results, so they are very important.
The translation is one of the most important things you should take care of to boost your international SEO efforts. But, localization is what will help you isolate and reach customers in foreign countries. Sometimes, you have to pay attention to the cultural differences of countries who share the same language. The most convenient example is the USA – UK dichotomy.
- The US has soccer; the UK has football.
- Americans are more inclined to show patriotic tendencies, while the British are embarrassed by doing so.
- Americans are more optimistic, while British people are ever so pessimistic.
- Date formats are also different, although both countries speak the same language.
Ultimately, you have to pay attention to all these small cultural and behavioural differences, when localizing your content and SEO efforts.
3. Targeted Keyword Research
Let’s get back a little to why human translation is so important when trying to improve your international SEO results. When trying to expand to foreign countries, ensure you perform thorough multilingual keyword research. Although you may have an extensive list of relevant keywords for your business, these might rank poorly in other countries. Again, generating higher traffic to your website depends on slight cultural and linguistic differences. We will take the example of the “market research” keyword, for more convenience and relevance.
- The literal translation from French to UK English is “market study”.
- “Market study” only generates 170 searches monthly in the UK.
- “Case study” is a more popular search phrase, with 5,400 searches a month, in the UK.
- “Market research” is the most popular keyword, with 10,000 searches monthly.
Using the right keywords will help you rank higher in search engine results. Besides, your content will sound more natural for the local audience, helping you reach and connect with them easier.
4. Web Design Matters
When trying to improve your international SEO ranking, it’s more than just finding the right keywords and having some high-quality, targeted content. Your website, as a whole, matters. According to this case study, it takes about 50 milliseconds for users to decide if the page they land is what they’re searching. More than half of the Internet users interviewed in the same study say they won’t recommend a poorly designed website to their friends or family. Follow the pieces of advice below, for the best results. We base our suggestions on the data found by the mentioned study.
- Mobile-friendly web design – 85% of adults think mobile-friendliness should be just as good or better than the desktop version.
- Responsive web design – web design agencies believe unresponsive web design is one of the most significant weaknesses of business owners today.
- Secure websites
- Use the right colours – in different cultures; colours evoke different feelings. It’s important to pay attention to the overall symbolism of the colour palette you choose when trying to reach the audience in foreign countries.
5. International Link Building
To improve user experience and boost the success of your international SEO campaigns, you should have a multilingual website and translate all the important landing pages. This is why you should invest heavily in international link building. Visitor landing on your page from other native language websites should have access to content written on their native language. This increases your chances to retain visitors once they land on your page.
Besides, search engines rank higher those links that come from the same language, and preferably, from the same country.
When you ask your translation team to take care of your web pages, you should pay attention to your link building strategy. This will help you in two ways.
- Ranking – when you link to local domains, your SEO ranking also increases. Make sure to your links that end in the right termination for the said country (.uk, for the UK, .de for Germany, etc.);
- Recognition – visitors will be able to identify your country when you use localized domains. For instance, your British visitors can identify the country of origin thanks to the .co.uk domain termination. When you develop your link building strategy, make sure to swap from general domain to more local, high-authority ones. This will also boost your SEO authority.
Improving your international SEO efforts is a complex matter, but it can be easily achieved if you pay attention to the key-points presented above. You want to ensure all your high-quality, researched, and helpful content is translated in such a way to meet foreign reader’s expectations. Pair this with a stellar localization strategy and apply it in all areas that matter: keywords, your link building strategy, and your web design. Users and search engines will respond better to your website, this way.