6 Tips to Stay on Top of International SEO
It’s safe to assume you’ve spend time and money to plan and execute a stellar SEO strategy for your company. Good SEO is ROI-efficient after all, and it should lead to increased site traffic as well as brand awareness. But that is only the first step if you are going global. The next step is to also take advantage of these benefits with the non-English versions of your website. This is where international SEO (ISEO) comes into play.
In this post we will discuss six basic tips that will help with search engine optimization for your multilingual website. With keywords declining in their SEO efficiency and search engines becoming smarter about selecting the most relevant content for searches, the need to understand local markets and target your content to them is becoming more and more important. A word-for-word translation will not cut it nor will a one-search-engine strategy solely focussed on Google to reach all your target markets.
With these six steps you will be able to improve your international SEO:
Step 1: Prioritize
If you are not sure where to start when prioritizing SEO for your multilingual website, Google Analytics can narrow things down for you. Once in the Google Analytics dashboard, go to the “Overview” of your website and you will see “Country” listed under the Demographics tab.
Once you’ve selected the “Country” option, you will be shown a list of the countries stating where your website gets the most views. You can use those data to decide which targets to pursue given your resources.
Step 2: Diversification
While Google is clearly the dominating search engine in many markets, it is not the be-all and end-all in terms of SEO around the world. There are quite a few countries where Google is not the number one search engine. In China, for example, Baidu holds prominence and the algorithms it uses are different from Google’s — and your SEO should account for that. In some cases, quantity might trump quality, or keywords could still be of paramount importance. It is important that you know the rules of the most popular search engine in your target market and adapt your SEO strategy accordingly.
Step 3: Content
For most search engines, quality matters. Having high-quality content that is useful to your customers and not packed with more or less random keywords is in many cases the most important ranking signal. While the definition of what quality content actually is may vary according to different search engines, not to mention different search engines in different countries, the universal truth remains that your main goal should be to produce content that generates meaningful interactions with your users.
Step 4: Expertise
Make sure experts are looking at your translated content. Having a linguist who lives in your target country and is up to date on all current slang, industry terminology, and relevant news will give you an edge. Sadly, even if you or one of your team members learned a language in school, you are still not likely to understand all the cultural nuances the way a native in-country linguist does — which can very well make or break your campaign.
Step 5: Connections
Just as it is in the U.S., having high-quality inbound links to your site is one of the biggest drivers for good international SEO. Take the time to figure out which online media outlets, blogs, and thought leaders are relevant in your industry in each target market. Getting these sites to link back to yours will not only give you credibility with local consumers, it will also help drive your site to the top of the search rankings.
Step 6: Technical Strategy
Make sure that your website is as up-to-par behind the scenes as your visible content is. The behind-the-scenes details also tell search engines what language your site uses and what country it is targeting. Global site maps with proper hreflang values, localized directories in URLs, proper use of locale codes (ie. EN-UK not EN-GB) and other technical strategies will further strengthen your SEO.
Now that you’ve learned the basics of SEO for multilingual websites, feel free contact us with any questions you might have today. You can also get a complimentary quote for your next project here.