Country and Language Targeting for Multinational Markets
International SEO is an excellent tool for reaching foreign markets and an international audience, because it is relatively cheap, scalable, and effective. You may be looking to target specific country or regional markets, or taking on the whole world, but no matter where you are targeting, you need a tried and tested process to be successful.
Wellspring Search has extensive experience generating SEO success on the international stage, including here at home in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asian markets, the Middle East, and Australasia. We also are one of the few international SEO agencies to offer multi-lingual services with manual translation and content creation (as opposed to automated translators).
Our International SEO Process
Every successful marketing campaign relies upon a logical process to channel creativity and effectively manage execution and maximize results.
International SEO is no different, and though each client engagement is unique, here are the broad areas we will cover:
Client Discovery & Kickoff
Discovery is a crucial foundational step, helping to clarify and establish market objectives, while ensuring we have clear lines of communication and accountability with everyone involved.
International SEO discovery will include analyzing how your brand and positioning is viewed by international markets, particularly addressing cultural and linguistic sensitivities. We will work with your team to uncover your ideal customer personas and avatars in target countries and assess the market potential which can be leveraged by international optimization targeting.
While Google dominates global search, with a 92% of searches being conducted via a Google search engine, this is not a universal constant. Baidu dominates in China, while Yandex dominates search in Russia, and there are also demographic preferences which may mean we need to focus on other search engines such as Bing or DuckDuckGo.
Discovery helps build a solid foundation to position your website and digital assets, allowing laser-like focus to be applied on searchers who will become your next customers.
International SEO campaigns are strategic in nature, and executing successful discovery will ensure everyone is on the same page, particularly important with a global team which may be spread around upon different continents.
Website Audit and Digital Asset Review
We will work with your team to assess existing digital assets and websites for their effectiveness and suitability for inclusion in an international optimization campaign.
This will include a technical assessment and content review, and macro-factors such as working from a single domain with country sections (www.domain.com/germany), setting up sub-domains (www.germany.domain.com), or country-specific domains (www.domain.dr). Other factors will also be assessed, such as language targeting (hreflang) and the application of language and cultural nuance required for your web presence to be effective within targeted markets.
Multinational Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis
How do you target French-speaking customers in the UK, or Spanish-speakers in the US?
How do you uncover keywords and phrases in foreign languages?
Are English keywords which are effective in the US going to be work for you overseas?
Will the translated keywords work in a foreign market?
These and many other issues must be addressed, and while English-speaking international SEO is relatively straight forward between Standard-English speaking countries (UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland) there is a mountain of cultural differences to address. American-English with its unique spellings and phraseology, simply builds upon these differences even further.
For instance, one of our clients markets the leading endurance running hydration and recovery supplements, and in particular it prevents “bonking”, a condition athlete face when they hit the wall. For North American customers, this is a perfectly reasonable term, but for UK customers it is a sexual reference some may find offensive.
Another client, a global software provider, wished to market a product tentatively named “Follow Through”, which has a perfectly innocent meaning in the US, but for other English-speaking countries refers to defecation.
While perfectly understandable within the context, English speakers around the world are actually separated by a common language, but one where the same words have very different meaning!
Once we start looking optimization in other languages aside from English, the problem becomes even more acute.
Wellspring Search has the tools and experience to navigate linguistic and cultural barriers to research and optimize your website in any or all of the world’s major languages. We have in-house Spanish (Latin and Spanish), French (French and Canadian), and Russian speakers, and have access through trusted partners to all European languages, Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Hindi, Arabic, and Bengali.
Other content issues we will review and assess include currency, telephone number format, time nomenclature, and appropriate address and contact information formatting and placement. Different countries and cultures will also expect different placement, formatting, and color scheme of your content too. Delivering content in the manner your target international audience expects to receive it helps enormously because feel they are in the right place, and it also sends the right localized SEO signals to local search engines too.
The goals are to ensure you attract relevant users with content that is clearly intended for them and increasing their positive experience, and also making your digital presence unambiguously relevant to search engines.
Onsite Optimization for International SEO
Depending on the results of earlier discovery and research stages, we will work with your team to either optimize your existing website or help you create and optimize new country-specific ones.
We will blend technical and creative resources to ensure content is appropriately optimized for international users and search engines, and that technical factors such as hosting, load speed, Mobile, security, and code are optimized.
Of particular importance is ensuring that the right content is served by search engines to the right target audience. For instance, French Canadian content is served to French speakers in Quebec, while French content is served to audiences in France or French-speakers performing a search in the US.
Other onsite SEO factor will also be addressed including use of keywords and semantics, optimization of titles and meta descriptions, images, information and site hierarchy.
Offsite Optimization for International SEO
Link-building and the generation of authority and trust signals are vital for achieving and maintaining high ranking positions and broader search engine visibility. Creating and managing a rank-winning backlink profile requires creative strategy and deft execution.
Most organizations embarking upon an international SEO campaign have the resources to generate powerful ranking signals from their overall sales and marketing efforts. PR, thought leadership pieces, whitepapers, conference and exhibition attendance, traditional and digital media, and many other opportunities exist to develop positive ranking signals.
All optimization campaigns work best when integrated with your traditional and digital marketing mix, and international SEO is no different. To be most effective, international SEO must be aligned with your branding and messaging, both at home and in international markets.
Customers are much more sophisticated in how they find and interact with your organization online. They may find you in Google, check you out on Facebook, read a customer review site, and eventually responding to a CTA or making a transaction through a shopping cart, with a dozen or more interactions in between. This underlines how important it is to create an effective optimization campaign which is tightly integrated with all other marketing efforts.
International SEO Campaign Management and Reporting
Wellspring Search is unique among SEO providers in utilizing JobTraQ, a fully customizable workflow management platform that allows our internal team, external vendors, and our clients to gain secure visibility into the work being performed.
With JobTraQ we are able to manage our global team and collaborate effectively with yours – no matter where anyone is in the world. In addition, JobTraQ ensures quality control processes and standards are maintained, and marketing and editorial calendars are adhered to.
No other work management platform delivers such transparency and visibility into campaign efforts as they unfold, providing accountability and real-time monitoring for all stakeholders.
In addition, we will provide regular formalized reports on agreed upon metrics and KPIs, as well as a detailed assessment of macro- and micro-search events that affect international SEO efforts. This will also include in-person and virtual meetings to foster collaboration, skills and knowledge transfers, and change management as the international SEO campaign unfolds.
Meaningful reporting is essential to manage your marketing resources and budget, ensuring SEO efforts are correctly aligned and effective, and ultimately demonstrating ROI and justifying your investment.