An optimized Website is a key to successfully marketing your product or service. A Website that is optimized for your home country, however, may not necessarily be giving you the most traffic in another country. Localization, as well as an international SEO strategy, can boost your global presence and, ultimately, sales.
Research Keywords and User Behavior
Translating your keywords is only the beginning. Because customers in different cultures might search for the same product or service using different keywords, a smart e-commerce vendor will research the keywords in each language and locale. Use a translation team native to the target market and an international SEO agency to identify relevant keywords. Then weave these keywords throughout your copy.
Likewise, avoid assuming that potential customers in other cultures will use the same search engines as your customers do in your home country. Research this as well, and then optimize your page based on the algorithms those search engines use. Also, research which Websites each culture considers to be authoritative so that your text aimed at that culture links to those sites. Remember that each culture has different groups within it; each group may use different search techniques. Including all those who might be your target audience is important.
User behavior can change over time or by seasons. Research again at least once a year.
Consider Domain Structure
You may want to consider a structure that enables you to segment parts of your website for easy geotargeting. Generally speaking, businesses have two options.
Country-code Top-Level Domain
A country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is the domain suffix that associates a website with a particular geographical area. An international company using this structure would buy country-specific domains for every country in which it operates. Some search engines rank sites with these suffixes better when people conduct searches in those countries. One potential disadvantage to this structure is that SEO management and analytics tracking might be a little more tricky with this structure than others.
Another strategy is to use a generic top-level domain (gTLD) that can be geotargeted and use subdomains to allow for different server locations. A business using this strategy buys one non-country-specific domain that will host all the site's multilingual versions. The company then sets up subdomains with gTLDs such as fr.site.com. These are relatively easy to set up, maintain, and update. One positive aspect of this scheme is that the site can benefit from existing rankings that the source domain already has achieved. A potential negative is that users may have difficulty recognizing that the site is geotargeted from simply looking at the URL.
Avoid Duplicate Content Penalties
Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in multiple places. Search engines determine place by URL. Duplicate content sometimes can cause a Website to appear lower in search engine rankings and negatively affect Website traffic. To avoid a search engine determining you have duplicate content on sites created for different countries, you use a hreflang tag in the XML setup. This tag tells the search engine's algorithm that the page is optimized for users in different countries and not duplicate content.
Use Localized or Nearby Servers
The rate at which a site loads is also important to customer satisfaction and retention and its search engine ranking. Faster sites rank higher. One way to maximize load speed is to use servers close to your target audience, within the same country, if possible. Some search engines also may rank Websites better simply because the server is local.
Write Engaging Content
Content quality is the No. 1 factor in how sites are ranked, regardless of language. Quality, as search engine algorithms define it, is original content that is frequently updated. The definition can vary by search engine algorithm, so researching the search engines used in the country is important for this SEO aspect, as well. Videos and media also typically improve search engine rankings as well as customer engagement. Pairing multilingual videos with multilingual SEO will further boost Web traffic.
Ensure Quality Translations
Quality translation and localization (or ensuring the content is relevant to the particular locale) is critical to an effective international Website. Free translation tools cannot capture the nuances of languages and regions. Having access to and using competent human and machine translation resources are important.
Ask for Help
Developing and managing an international SEO strategy is a big task and can be time-consuming. International SEO also is a specialty. Engaging an international SEO company may yield financial benefits in terms of additional customers and revenue that far exceed the cost.
Andovar Offers Customized Translations and Localization Support
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