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International SEO: Ways to Scale Performance

Posted by peterzmijewski | Filed under Seo Techniques

The Internet offers brands an unprecedented way to reach their customers across borders and regardless of language or cultural barriers. Reaching different populations requires an understanding of whatpeople want in these different countries and then producing content to meet these needs.It’s not a matter of simply translating content into different languages, but of applying basic SEO principles of relevancy and localization on a global scale — while also ensuring technical SEO content is delivered in the correct language to the appropriate population.

Your international SEO strategy, here are some ways you can scale your practices to maximize your potential.

Understand demand variations from region to region
When completing a global search, you will find that even within Google, content types and SERP layouts will vary from country to country.For example, a particular keyword might trigger a Quick Answer in one country, but in another it will not.In each region, Google models its SERPs based upon local trends and interests to provide an optimal user experience.Different regions have different expectations frombrands within the same industry in terms of what they want to see before they make a purchase decision.As you develop an international search strategy,you must understand that ranking well for a particular term in one country does not mean ranking well for related terms in another.You must optimize locally and build content and user experience precisely for that local audience.Before taking any steps toward building an international search strategy,you must understand keyword demand and traffic within that country.

Build a global framework for your international SEO
As you create an international search strategy, you’ll find that incorporating technical aspects of SEO will be necessary.Primarily, you will need to employ hreflang tags.A hreflang tag is a piece of code that helps Google understand the intended language and country for your content.This will ensure your content is displayed in the right region.For example, a Spanish language site written for an audience in Argentina will not provide the optimal user experience for those in Spain because there are differences between the two countries in the vocabulary used, even though both speak Spanish.The hreflang tag helps to ensure that the consumer audience sees the content that has been written specifically for them to provide the most relevant and helpful experience.

There are three main strategies to ensure content is correctly marked with the hreflang tag.
*Place the tag in HTTP Header and ensure it is present on every page.
*Place the tag in the site map.
*Mark up the page itself.

Localize the content you create
Once you understand how to create the framework for your global audience, you must also create content for the region-specific site.Recognize that you do not want to simply translate content for one site word-for-word into another language.The content itself should be localized so that it appeals to the audience within the new region.This means creating content to reflect local search trends and interests and performing keyword research specific to each country.You also want to incorporate local vocabulary and slang, and work with native speakers to ensure your content resonates with those reading it.

Unify differing strategies
For an effective global strategy, you must bring together your global, local, and mobile optimizationstrategies.Rank countries in order of where you are most likely find customers.Use these rankings to help you identify priorities.Use your global framework to ensure search engines understand where to display your content to maximize your relevance to the intended audience.Your local and hyperlocal strategies will then guide your content creation process.With local keyword research and by working with a native speaker to identify regional dialects and vocabulary, you can then produce content that appeals to the local audience.Finally, make sure your content is available for users on mobile devices.Globally, mobile now outpaces desktop, and in some regions, it represents a large segment of the population.

Measure your results
As with all SEO strategies, expanding globally requires you to take careful measurements of your progress.You can use the information from your metrics to see where you still need to improve and build a more effective international SEO strategy.

*Take measurements of your presence and ranking in different countries before, during, and after you implement a concrete global strategy.This will allow you to clearly see your progress throughout and narrow down potential areas for improvement.

*Track your page rankings to assure pages rank correctly in each country.Errors with your hreflang tags and keyword rankings, such as ranking a term common in the US in the UK, can reduce your relevancy to the local consumer base, ultimately hurting your rankings and ability to engage prospects and leads.

*Measure success and impact of alternate digital channels, such as the Twitter account for a particular country.

*Consider the potential for PPC when expanding into new markets.When you begin your international SEO efforts, it may take time to gain high rankings for your site.Using PPC can help you gain traction in a new territory.Measure your success with these efforts to better understand search behavior andconversion rates in new territories.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy.His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

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