A primary objective of localization is to expand your business into foreign markets. In today’s online world, that means making your presence felt on the web. That brings us to the topic of international SEO.

The right international SEO strategy can offer you a cheap and flexible solution to help you penetrate foreign markets.

However, there are a few key elements that need to go into an international SEO strategy to actually make it work.

Let’s have a look at what those elements are.

Research

All things begin with research and so does your international SEO strategy. Research is needed to determine where you need to start and what benefits you are likely to receive from each foreign market. This, in turn, will help you identify your prime target.

The first thing you need to do is look at your international organic search visibility, conversions, conversion rate, and traffic.

Ask questions as to which countries are offering traffic and organic search visibility, what the trends and volumes are of the traffic and visibility from each country, and what keywords and pages are most effective in driving these searches etc.

Then, determine the CTR, conversions rates, conversion volume, and trends that are coming from these markets.

This process will help you realize which of the foreign markets are most responsive. This, in turn, will help you understand the buyer behavior existing in these locations.

Prioritize markets that already show moderate to high organic search visibility. On the other hand, for markets that rank low for organic search visibility, lower your starting point. You will need more resources to tap into these locations.

Identify the Right Keywords

Collect insights from locals about how the market perceives your product and searches for it. For instance, locals may use your product very differently and search data might just point that out. Once you gain details about how the product is used, you can obtain more data from locals and tools such as Google Adwords.

You will also need to carry out competitor keyword research. You don’t have to do exactly what they do. However, you can use the data as a rough framework on which your own keyword strategies can be based on. For instance, look for gaps that haven’t been covered with regard to certain topics.

Use the search terms to monitor social media activity around your brand. For instance, identify which social media platforms are preferred by your industry.

Create a Targeted Site

Based on the insights collected so far, you can create a targeted site. This can either be country based or language based.

If you are going for country based targeting, use the right ccTLD. For example, for Germany, you will need to use www.xxxxxx.com.de

Make sure the content is optimized for the market as well. For instance, make sure translations are done accurately, taking into consideration context, spelling, syntax, and cultural expressions etc. The content must be fresh and original as well.

Make the web structure navigation friendly. Avoid redirecting by default to specific versions of the site. Your country and language specific versions must be linked properly with a crawlable menu.

For country targeting, you must use Geotargeting. This can be done through the search engine’s webmaster tools. Other than that, you can also host the site from a local domain.

Here are a few other points to remember:

  • Don’t forget to mention the physical address on the “Contact” page.
  • Use the HTML language (lang) attribute to indicate the language used.

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