Don’t Limit Your SEO Strategy: Go International

globe internationalIs your company engaging in an international SEO campaign? If it isn’t, you are missing out on a wide array of opportunities for business. Limiting yourself to one nation or region may seem simpler, but it also confines you from gaining potential customers who could find you online.

Think you’re already targeting the most profitable market? If you’re campaigning in North America, you’re right, but only for now. A recent study projects that the Asia-Pacific region will overtake North America to become the largest market in the world for B2C e-commerce sales.

Tips of the Trade

So how should you deal with this shift in the e-commerce market? By jumping on the international SEO bandwagon, of course! Stop limiting your visibility outside of your home region and start developing a smart plan for targeting other nations and cultures. Your North American SEO campaign is not going to directly transfer to other regions, so you have to figure out how to tailor your content for new audiences.

Local businesses shouldn’t assume that they have no international potential, either. Your particular brand may appeal to a niche market in another country where there is little competition.

The most important first step towards a successful international SEO campaign is to ensure that searchers land on the appropriate page. If the wrong page appears in a foreign language, searchers will immediately return to the SERPs. Next, develop a site that is fully capable of handling traffic from global visitors that want a quick, accessible page.

Common Concerns About International SEO

The most common worry about international SEO is that it will be too expensive for the ROI it requires. Yes, the investment can be costly, but if you do the right research first, your business will likely recoup your losses quickly.

Before you jump into international SEO, look into which international markets will be receptive to your products or services. Google Analytics can detail your current international traffic. In some cases, you may find that you have organic potential in an international market. However, developing an understanding of the native culture will allow you to create a connection between your business and your international clients.

You can’t just transfer your online strategies directly to websites optimized for other countries. Take time to research any unusual SEO parameters for your target areas so that you don’t make any unnecessary mistakes. Often it is possible to repurpose content for international sites, but you will probably have to create new batches of content that address the cultural differences of a new region.

Translation is clearly one of the greatest concerns for new international SEO campaigns. Tools such as Google Translate can assist in the translation process, but seeking counsel from a native speaker is the best SEO practice.

When choosing which languages to focus on, you might not always want to choose a nation’s official language. If your ideal client is more often a speaker of a secondary language, you might find a niche with little competition if you choose to translate to that language instead. Targeting a culture can be just as effective as targeting a country.

Looking for a beginner’s guide to setting up an international SEO strategy? I find Nick Paterman’s recent article on the subject to be insightful and helpful.

How does your business target an international market?

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Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth Wiltse earned her BA in English at Boston University. Though she currently lives in Dallas, TX, she spent a year in Paris, France after college, cultivating her love of the French language and a passion for travelling. She has spent much of her life developing her skills in the arts, primarily as a ballerina, violinist, and pianist - and now, a writer! Follow her on Twitter!

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