SEO is the digital tool that takes any business to another level. But going international with your company must be handled accordingly since markets are different, and keyword research involves new strategies and optimizing locally can be challenging.
International SEO is more than increasing website traffic within different geographical regions and linguistic groups, of which two SEO branches are called multiregional SEO and multilingual SEO. If you want to expand your company’s offices and succeed, you should check out markets from China, India, and the US, where the number of internet users is more extensive than anywhere else. However, considering these leading countries have distinct cultures and expectations from companies, you must adapt your strategy to each region.
This is what international SEO helps you achieve ― approaching worldwide markets with custom strategies and methods but maintaining the brand image while enhancing the global user experience. Your plan of attack needs to consider plenty of aspects, so here’s a brief introduction to international SEO.
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The importance of international SEO and the difference from local SEO
International SEO helps an organization increase product or service exposure within different markets, and the main goal is to expand the customer base. Still, in the meantime, you can notice how the business is getting an advantage over the competition and experiencing a boost in brand recognition.
The international approach involves considerable effort compared to local SEO, but the results can outshine the struggles. The costs are rising, the content changes and research becomes more difficult to develop, considering that your brand must align with customer expectations for each country. For example, using an SEO Germany strategy when approaching the German-speaking DACH region formed of Germany, Switzerland and Austria will help your business cater to the German competitors and help you stand out.
What does an international SEO strategy include?
International SEO is more complex concerning policies and practices than local SEO. Although your business is located in the US, for example, you still need to abide by both the regulations of your country and the areas where you expanded. Legal matters also get more complicated, and you must ensure to comply at all times, for which you require an international legal expert.
But briefly, an international strategy prioritizes creating applicable content and starting a special website structure that makes it easy for the engines in that country to recognize your input. In Germany, almost all internet users rely on Google, but in China, Baidu is the most used search engine that may have different views on SEO.
Many aspects of an international strategy must be covered, such as where you’re headed and thoroughly exploring its opportunities. Think about whether to target language or country, depending on your goal. Then you can get to the actual strategy development, from social media to keyword optimization. That’s because doing link-building Argentina differs from in Europe.
Steps to successfully implement international SEO within your company
Broadening your organization’s coverage needs to focus on only two elements: the where and the who. Where is the place you consider good enough as an innovation hub to accept your business? And who will be willing to try out your products and return with reliable feedback?
After deciding on the aspects, it would be best to ask for the help of an international SEO agency to help you with the most tedious business tasks, such as keyword research.
Handling keywords to reach a foreign audience is the most challenging because translating them won’t help. Sometimes, you can use English terminology in IT or health, for example. Still, most of the time, you’ll have to know exactly what terms citizens and local businesses use to appeal to them more and break out the language barriers.
Another essential aspect is choosing an international domain structure. Some options can include the following:
- Country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) are the last two letters in the domain assigned to each country. Including them on your website will increase credibility and efficiency in users finding you;
- Generic Top-level Domain (gTLD) showcases three or more letters at the end of the website domain, and the IANA maintains them. This option might lead to reduced total traffic as users trust websites with their country code more;
- ccTLDs and gTLD combined at the domain website’s start and end. This is also known as a subdomain that holds the benefits of both a country code and a gTLD;
- ccTLDs and gTLD with subdirectories through which you can change the location of the country code;
Finally, make sure you optimize the content on all your sites and check aspects like TLDs, translations and content assets. A thorough introduction to the country’s searches, local traditions and culture will help shape the social framework you want to achieve online. Be wary of the holidays in that country and famous events to appeal to people by creating posts celebrating them, but also try to shape your products and services marketing campaigns.
Example of how a company adapts to entering a new market
Oatly, one of the most known Swedish companies making milk out of oat as an alternative to regular milk, took the marketing strategy very seriously when entering China. The organization created a special character by mixing the element of a plant and the Chinese symbol of milk to appeal to Chinese customers more. But that’s not the only exceptional method of entering a foreign market.
Oatly revealed, in a study, how citizens of Hong Kong associate the word milk with regular cow milk, and only 2% of the respondents made the link with a plant-based link. The study further showed that customers don’t have other alternatives on the market and how they would consider changing their milk preference to leverage the benefits for their health and the environment. Oatly adapted to the Chinese market by offering insight into the company’s goals and providing educational materials.
Approaching international SEO when you want to expand your business is tough work. However, your company can lean into local nuances with little research, the help of international agencies and the right tools.