Technology has evolved immensely in the last few years, allowing us to share information at the speed of light and to perform trade almost anywhere in the world, without the constraints of physical location. A vast number of enterprises have, of course, jumped at the opportunity. However, there are those businesses that are frightened by the idea of internationalisation and are not sure how to go about it.
With such a large chunk of the world buying online, promoting your services or products worldwide in key market areas will result in the best possible return. Exposure is the key, so knowing where to begin is the first step towards success.
Of course, with countless sellers promoting their products and services, you’ll have to strive even further to introduce your web space into the mix. Setting up an international website alone will not yield sales.
In today’s world there are millions of web savvy punters using numerous channels to make their products and services available; this is a huge challenge to first time expanders, considering that consumers are smart and looking for the best deals out there.
To be successful, you need to adapt your strategy and find out where your buyers are. The following steps serve as a guide to internationalise your SEO strategy
1. Expand Your Marketplace
A multichannel strategy is most likely to be the very best solution. Besides adapting your own website, marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon are leading channels for worldwide eCommerce, with a significant percentage of their sales coming from overseas shoppers. Specialist sites, such as Etsy and Fruugo, are also flourishing internationally, while country-specific sites are the key to reaching many markets, such as Asia and Australasia.
The first step to reaching global customers is adapting your website. Some marketers favour country-specific sites for each market, with top-level domain names such as www.iaminternational.gr for Greece, while others recommend subfolders of a single international site e.g., www.iaminternational.com/gr.
The first option is best for some markets, such as Greece, where a country-specific domain name is seen as more trustworthy. Subfolders need to be set up to geotarget each market correctly, but once this is done, they can be easier to manage. Many businesses experience a drop in traffic when they move their website to an international domain. Setting up redirects correctly and taking time to geotarget each market can help you avoid this drop-off.
2. Learn the Mother Tongue
Language is a vital factor to give consideration to when targeting overseas market places. Analysis by the Common Sense Advisory found that most people are resistant to buying goods without important information in their native tongue.
Watch the Google Webmaster guide to expanding your site to more languages:
3. Keyword Research
For search engine optimisation purposes, it’s important to research keywords in the local language, rather than simply translating them, and use native-speaking expert translators to incorporate them seamlessly into your site published content.
4. Become a Local
As well as translation, it also pays to localise your site for each target market. This involves considering everything from the preferred payment methods and currencies to any cultural quirks in your target market. You might choose to adapt the style and level of formality, or select different images, depending on the culture.
Language translation and geo-localisation will both help your website appeal to search engines as well as possible consumers. Search engines like Google uses signals such as the currency and addresses to recognize the relevant country your site is targeted at. And all things being alike, an expertly translated website will rank higher than one with inadequately written or machine-translated content.
5. Integrate Your Channels
Once your websites or subfolders are ready to be launched, you’ll want to promote them through strategies such as social media and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. One advantage to targeting non-English-speaking markets is that a relative lack of content can often mean that PPC advertising is more cost-effective.