Tips to take your product worldwide through a global SEO strategy. Taking a product international once meant organising complicated shipping structures, delivering products worldwide, or setting up depots, warehouses, or offices in the countries you were going to trade in.
Yet now, in a digitally driven era, marketing an app, a service, a system, or a new technology doesn’t have to include those things. With video conferencing, online communication, file sharing, high-speed transfers and connections, the world has become a much smaller place to do business.
However, whether our working world and products exist online or in the real world, business growth into new regions is still a direct route to tapping new markets. Attracting new customers in other countries via the Internet takes expertise and understanding.
Welcome to the world of global SEO.
What Is Global SEO?
In this blogpost
The first question we will answer is: What is the difference between local and global SEO?
SEO optimises your website and content to attract customers through organic reach and other unpaid traffic opportunities. It delivers the information customers and new leads want to read. Your content will be packed with the keywords and phrases you’ll find in their searches.
Yet SEO is much more than that. It includes a range of technical measures that ensure security, an acceptable speed, and a quality experience. There’s information buried in the code; page titles and descriptions add to the fight, as do your domains and the URLs of your pages. It’s about who links to you and how you link your digital domains together.
SEO is a broad playground; it takes an expert to create a system that drives high-quality traffic to your site, converting it into worthy leads, conversions, and sales.
Local SEO aims to raise your online visibility in local search results and promote a physical location throughout a geographical area.
Global SEO optimises your website to appeal to customers in other regions and countries. Many of the same techniques apply, but when it comes to appealing to new customers in France, India, China, or Brazil, it takes an advanced level of expertise.
It takes a specialist operation to understand alternative cultures, languages, how people live, work, and think, and the differences you have to apply to your website’s structure and content to appeal to them. Then there are the regional regulations, currencies, policies, and technologies to consider.
Fortunately, we’ve been operating as a global SEO company since we opened our doors, and we’re here to help in any way we can.
Why is global SEO important?
Even if all of your customers are based in English-speaking countries, there’s a strong chance you won’t hit half of the markets you hope you will.
Trading in UK£ with an English address and phone number with a .co.uk domain, all point to a single market. What about selling to the United States? Or Australia? What about Jamaica, South Africa, or the Philippines? How will you let those English-speaking markets know you’re open for business and ready to sell to them too?
More importantly, how will you persuade the search engines that you’re open across all boundaries?
Why is a global SEO strategy important?
Did you know that if you type a search into Google.co.uk, you’ll get the same results as you would if you typed it into Google.com (USA), Google.es (Spain), Google.co.jp (Japan) or any of the other search engine URLs Google has in its arsenal?
That’s because Google decides your most appropriate content by how you ask for it and where you are, not by which of its search engines you use.
And that’s why global SEO is crucial when expanding your brand and building awareness in other countries.
Our top 10 global SEO tips
1. Assess profitable overseas markets
Different countries offer different opportunities. For example, swimming pools and hot tubs will be far more popular in hot, affluent countries than in cold, wet, snowy regions. Burger chains are the heart of fast food outlets in the western world, yet in India, where the cow is sacred, and their diet is predominantly vegetarian, well, that’s a model that would require adaptation and thought.
Your goal is to find out which markets offer opportunities for sales and provide plenty of relevant traffic. So who’s already converting in your marketing funnel? And who’s already showing interest in your brand and product internationally?
You can research such matters by looking into who your competitors are selling to and where their international outlets and selling strategies are aimed. Additionally, are there industry analyses and marketing reports you can access or magazines and trade journals that reveal your best global growth areas?
At this stage, gathering intelligence is vital. Once you’ve got your list of best-ranked opportunities, you can start looking at how you’ll market to them.
2. Identify appropriate search engines
Google, without doubt, is the majority force when it comes to search engines, but it’s not the only one. Depending on which country or countries you’re hoping to expand into, you could be barking entirely up the wrong tree following their ideal protocols.
Searches in specific regions are best optimised for the search engines that hold the most clout and have the most users.
- Baidu – China
- Yandex – Russia
- Naver – South Korea
- Seznam – Czech Republic
- Yahoo! – Japan and South Korea
- Bing – the USA and several other global markets
Once you’ve decided on your most appropriate engines, you need to understand how they work and optimise accordingly. The first obvious point is language. Does your chosen engine have an English version you can work with? If not, you will need a native translator to manage each process and interpret the data.
3. Research your customers and your competitors
Customers – Who is your target audience? Where do they hang out? What forums do they connect with? Are they social media users? What websites do they visit, and which blogs are their favourites for gathering new information?
When you paint an accurate persona of your ideal customer, you have a far better idea of how to target them—including where, with what keywords, trends, and languages.
Competitors – Competitor research will give you a good idea of what lies ahead. You’ll be able to piggyback any obvious opportunities they’ve already engaged in, know what relevant content looks like, and any legal policies and practices a website needs in their location.
Check their search traffic, backlinks, websites, and social media avenues to build intel into your new market.
4. Building backlinks into your regional strategies
Links are a big deal with Google. Search engines learn a lot from who associates with and recommends your content. So if you can nail down enough high-quality links in the country you’re targeting, you’ll improve your visibility towards those all-important new leads.
High-authority links (government, university, big brand, etc.) garner credibility, while social media, influencer, and popular page links deliver acceptance and commerciality.
Density is critical, so building backlinks as you deliver more pages needs to go hand in hand. For that, it’s essential to know your resource pool, from events listings to product reviews, business directories, communities, forums, and blogs.
5. Examine local laws for pitfalls
We’re so used to seeing cookie approval pop-ups, privacy policies, and data protection statements we’re almost oblivious to them, but the laws overseas vary from country to country.
If you’re trading online, there are further regulations to consider. They include sales and returns, shipping laws and practices, the depth of company detail you must provide, and any local laws that could trip you up about the topics you discuss, your views, and opinions.
6. Pick the best URL structure for your project
Domains and URL structure are a big part of global SEO. Google likes to match languages, so do you choose a domain that speaks to native language speakers or navigate around that with a brand or term that’s universal?
Creating content in the native language is a must, and they must match meta-descriptions, page titles, and full-page URLs.
Both location and language targeting rely on URL structure. Hreflang tags will help Google see which languages are relevant, backing up what it reads on each page.
Location targeting leans heavily on your domain level and how languages and locations are utilised.
Country code top-level domains (ccTLD) communicate that you operate solely in that country. However, you’ll need a complete website for each one you’re planning to expand into, which is costly to create and maintain.
- exampledomain.fr – France
- exampledomain.ca – Canada
- exampledomain.br – Brazil
Global top-level domains (gTLD) cover a range of locations. With appropriate subdomain or subdirectory implementation, backed with appropriate hreflang tagging, you can feature the regions and countries you need in your URLs.
- fn.exampledomain.com – global domain with French subdomain
- br.exampledomain.biz – global domain with Brazilian subdomain
- www.exampledomain.org/uk/?lang=en-GB – global domain with UK subdirectory, and GB English language tags
- www.exampledomain.com/es/?lang=de-ES – global domain with Spanish subdirectory, but for German speakers in Spain
- www.exampledomain.com/es-mx – global domain with a subdirectory for Spanish speaking Mexicans
7. Carry out keyword research for regional strategies
Your local research will uncover a true insight into what and how users will search for your content and products; however, keyword planners and tools are still a significant part of top-level SEO.
Your research should include data from keyword planners and tools from Google, Yandex, and Bing, relevant to your country choices, and across each of them to solidify strategies or increase search potential.
Specialist tools allow you to access more market data, tracking keywords over dozens of countries in various languages.
And finally, there’s real value in partnering with a native-language-speaking webmaster to pinpoint regional variations and local phrasing, narrowing down potential pitfalls.
8. Localise your pages in your target languages
Recreating the most dominant pages in your target country’s national language is the first step, but it’s also necessary to include head and language tags dictating the nationality metadata. Finally, don’t forget image alt tags and accessibility options that make your site easier to navigate and your content to digest for those with alternative needs.
Rewriting your FAQs in the native language requires your expert translator, yet some AI-driven chatbox options for customer support operations in every language imaginable. Again, a native language speaker is a must when it comes to customer support. Depending on the level of support you plan or need to offer, you might have to make local hires or take on bilingual staff in your existing support department.
9. Ensure your technical global SEO matches your content
Pages rank higher for being mobile-friendly and for using SSL yet are downgraded for slow loading times and duplicate content.
Global SEO caters to search engines’ needs from country to country, so site registration becomes as essential as ever for the most accurate and speedy crawling.
10. Content is still king – just make sure it’s authentic and in the correct language
Within the world of SEO, the phrase ‘content is king’ is a true telltale sign of what Google considers above all of its other measures when ranking its websites.
That doesn’t change just because of location. However, Google also expects its content to be delivered in an authentic, well-written manner.
To ensure your content is ‘king’, you’ll need a native-speaking translator. They’ll check that every last sentence makes sense, delivers your brand tone (appropriate in that market), and there aren’t any social or behavioural oversights or misinterpretations that will have you on the front pages for all the wrong reasons.
Data, data, data – tracking your global SEO strategy performance to streamline your success is vital.
Implementing our tips (and then a whole load more if you’ve done your job correctly, uncovering all kinds of regional additions to your plan), you should have an excellent foundation to break into new, overseas markets.
But that’s only the start of your journey. SEO, like your business, will need monitoring, tweaking, and updating to match trends, stay in touch with your markets, and expand on your campaign, growing your leads.
If it all sounds like something you should leave to a professional after getting to the bottom of this page, we’re right with you.
Our global SEO services include auditing your sites, researching customers, competitors, search phrases, and so much more. Finally, we track each project using the ideal analytics tools and trackers for every keyword, page, and practice—and we’re ready and waiting for your call.
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Last Updated in 2022-08-11T01:02:39+00:00 by Lukasz Zelezny