5 Quick Shortcuts to an Effective Global SEO Strategy
While your SEO tricks may seem to apply across all global markets, attempting to box international markets into the parameters of U.S.-specific SEO basics won’t earn results. Just like each international market requires a specially honed marketing strategy, each geographic location benefits from an adapted global SEO strategy as well.
1. How Will You Accommodate Region-Specific SEO?
SEO is not one size fits all for international markets. Customer search habits and diverse languages impact the usefulness of your existing SEO tactics. As Information-Age’s post on creating a global SEO strategy posits, a customized plan for each local market will earn the best results.
Customizing SEO for each market involves adapting your original approach to the habits of the new consumer base of the target market. Languages vary, as do the primary interests of different demographics.
Also, search engine usage varies in each country, as Information-Age’s post notes. Google may dominate the U.S. market, but in China, it’s Baidu, and in Japan, Yahoo. Depending on your target market location, you may need to navigate SEO for search engines other than Google.
Background research on your target market should include this type of information.
2. Ensure On-Page SEO Results
On-page SEO requires more intricate changes to adapt to global markets. Your meta title is the main SEO tag that drives traffic. Its accompanying meta description is poised to attract clicks, so while it doesn’t rank for SEO, it can entice customers to click.
Header tags highlight the main topic of each page, and the actual copy on the page should contain your SEO keywords as well. As important as SEO optimization is, we should remind you that the result is readable, customer-facing copy that just to happens to include strategically placed keywords.
The idea is not to write for search engines. The goal is to write for the customer while still considering search engine optimization.
Image alt tags are the icing on the cake of the SEO keyword world. Optimizing these tags for additional search engine reach, as well as for their intended use as a means of captions for people with visual impairments.
3. Determining International Keywords
Within Google Analytics, you can refine your statistics to show relevant keyword searches for specific geographic locations. This is useful for determining what keywords are already bringing international visitors to your site and offers a way to improve that pull.
One challenge of localizing your brand through SEO strategy is the linguistic barrier. Translating keywords is risky when you’re not familiar with the dialect, and machine-translation software often skips over colloquialisms and slang. Likewise, using crowdsourced translation platforms won’t give you the results you want. Tread lightly with this step, or consider hiring a professional translation company to do this work for you.
Another perk of this international keyword search is the ability to find the keywords that your competitors rank for in a given target market. As Semrush’s article on developing an international SEO strategy explains, running an analysis of competitors’ rankings in your target zones helps define those sought-after keywords.
4. Before Acting, Check Your Analytics
Find out how you rank with Google in the U.S. and worldwide. This is a quick way to determine which keywords are active on your website, and whether there’s room for improvement in specific markets.
While checking international keywords is important, as previously mentioned, you also want to consider the top keywords ranked for the U.S. market. Is it possible to use these keywords in your target market, in the vernacular unique to that region?
However, don’t stop at Google. As mentioned, while the U.S. favors Google as its primary search engine, every country is different. It pays to consider search engine optimization for multiple search engines to cover your bases.
Part of adapting your SEO strategy for global applications is learning what alternatives there are to the U.S.’s defaults.
5. Snoop on Successful Competitors
If nothing else, this gives you an idea of what not to do! Not every company has its thumb on the pulse of global SEO.
Find companies that do it right, and glean what you can from what’s visible on their website. When performing your keyword searches, keep an eye out for these competitor pages. While you don’t want to attempt to duplicate their content, their ranking shows you how effective their SEO is.
Also, you may find other strategies to imitate for your global outreach. For example, some businesses utilize international geotargeting, which Search Engine Land’s post on global SEO success explains as creating alternative websites based on each region.
Basic multilingual targeting, Search Engine Land’s other suggestion, is duplicating your site in that country’s primary language. This involves the use of hreflang, which Moz defines as a tag that communicates to Google that your website uses a particular language.
When using hreflang, you’ll need to specify language and region codes within the tag, but tag generators exist online to simplify the process.
Bonus: SEO for Startups in Under 10 Minutes
And for a few more valuable tips to beef up your global SEO strategy, watch this video from Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead from Google, where she shares her advise as if she were your SEO consultant for ten minutes.