The world’s changing. Our border lines are fuzzier than ever.
We buy from countries all over the world. We have easy access to sell just about anywhere. With a website and a shopping cart, if they can find you, they can buy from you.
And while an “accidental” purchase – one you may never have expected – might delight you, what do you do if you want to target places beyond your local community? Is it business as usual? Will your normal SEO strategies work just as well to attract people in Stockholm and Saint Lucia as they will in Seattle?
Yes. And no.
The key is in keeping it simple. If you want to attract people from around the world, you have to think globally. What works locally will also work globally, as long as you consider the nuances available in different parts of the world. Google likes things clean and simple, no matter where in the world you are.
Where most people start thinking about international search is when they visit their Google Analytics page and take a look at the demographics report. Here you’ll see what you expect: a lot of search results based on where and what you’re targeting the most.
But as you dive in, you discover even more. Down at the bottom, you find a few searches from Spain, Germany, Brazil. They aren’t much, but how did they get there?
Keep digging, and you’ll discover even more. You’ll find current visits, conversions, keywords, pages used, and trends in both countries and languages. This can be an eye opener, especially if you notice a particular country again and again.
If you’re getting results in Spain, what if you targeted it? If you’ve had several months of results from Stockholm, what if you added that to your SEO strategy?
Let’s Talk Keywords
Maybe you’ve noticed a sudden spike in visits to your website from a different country. Not much; it’s not like you’re bringing in a full time income from that geographical location. But what if you targeted that location? Could you bring in even more?
Let’s take a moment and talk about keywords. When people found your site, it’s because they typed in certain search terms and your site popped up. If you’ve done your research from above, you might have a list of what those search terms are.
They might have found you using your English version of the keyword. But what if you gave them what they wanted in their native language? And how would you ever know that keyword in the first place?
That’s where you can use a keyword suggestion tool that will convert it for you. Ubersuggest gives you the option for searching a keyword not only in a different language, but also selecting a geographical region. Is Spanish in Mexico different than from Ecuador or Peru? In some cases. And that slight variation can be the difference between a lot of traffic and none at all.
Of course, Ubersuggest isn’t the only keyword tool that will help you look for keywords in different languages. Try Keyword Tool. Or KWFinder. Or the Moz Keyword Explorer. When you’re looking for new approaches to a new target audience, keep exploring all the time.
Will You Need Different Websites?
In some cases, you will. There isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to reaching out to your target audience. And it can change from industry to industry. It’s a matter of finding what works best for you.
Have you ever been on a website that asks you to pick your country or language, and then converts you to a new platform that’s built for you? Yep, these companies are focusing on their global client base. They want to deliver content to the reader in the best way possible.
They realize international SEO strategies are different. And so they build for the specific audiences they choose to target.
But that’s sophisticated marketing. And if you’re a smaller business, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Don’t base your decisions on what’s right for you. If global is your goal, do what’s best for your target audience.
Define Your Market
You might know who your customer is right here locally, but how does that convert when exploring a new location? Luckily, there are websites for that too. Sites like SimilarWeb can help you identify your competitors in your new target location and help you understand what popular products already exist in that marketplace. Just like you might check in with other websites here locally, this gives you a chance to study thinks like their marketing strategies, sales offers, how they’re reaching out to their audience, and what they’re doing to build a community.
This gives you a list of strengths and weaknesses to work from. It gives you a game plan to build up your new community.
In some cases, you might have a very strong campaign already built locally. It’s just a matter of converting it to a different language and using that to attract an entirely new audience.
Content is probably the most important part of the entire user experience. If a new audience found you, it’s often because a multi-language speaker in that country went out searching.
The content they found isn’t built for them. But on some level, they found what they were looking for and accepted the results. Now imagine if the content was built for them.
This means optimizing the content for your international audience that includes the appropriate keywords, is interesting, and connects with your visitors. That’s fundamental in international SEO strategy.
That may mean validating your content with a speaker from your target audience. They not only know the language better, but they’ll also understand slang and cultural differences too. You’ve heard someone say something that’s technically correct but just a little bit off. You get it. But there’s a difference. If you correct for that “difference”, you’re more likely to connect with your audience.
Just like you keep up to date on what’s happening here locally, you should also start seeing what’s trending in your new community. Google Trends can help with that. Twitterfall can also let you see what’s happening in real time using geotargeting features.
Where To Go From Here
So what does your international SEO strategy look like? Whether you’re still at the gate trying to figure out how to reach your very first customers, or are ready to start building for a global future, the best course of action is to develop your strategy.
And that’s where we can help. We offer tools and strategies that can help you reach out to a brand new target market, whether they’re local or international, ambiguous or well defined.