If you or your company are looking to expand into different countries there are a few tips you will want to keep in mind when attempting international SEO. As a precursor to the tips, I will give a few insights I have gained from my experience. Google’s core algorithm seems to be a bit behind the US algorithm, I don’t think they would admit this but there is a difference. Competition is not as difficult online however it is the opposite locally. Service areas tend to expand into several cities or villages, unlike most US based companies. When it comes to business owners comprehension of SEO it is like taking a 6-8 year back. This isn’t meant discourage but better give domain understanding of where to start.
1. Proper Domain
Having the proper Top Level Domain (TLD) is key in establishing immediate trust with users in different countries. Naturally a .com or .net can be just as effective but don’t quite carry the same trust recognition has to have a .de or a .nl domain do for users in that country. Another benefit to having a country specific domain rather than a general .com or .net is the ability to manage it easier on a micro level. This could also be a curse depending on the resources and time you have to manage multiple domains.
2. Proper Hosting
Hosting is a dead giveaway in determining if a site is locally based and operated or not. While this won’t kill any campaign it can be a deciding factor between you and several other relevant sites. Hosting also has another potential benefit in the sense of being faster for the user. This could be mere seconds or even milliseconds. With how user expectations have morphed over the past few years, you can be sure they will spot the difference and in turn prefer a site if it is even just marginally faster.
3. Local Citations
If you are looking to establish a local presence this is paramount. Not only will this help expose you and your business to potential customers but it helps establish a trust between you and the search engines. This is an important factor for any local business. Local citations help create an established and verifiable presence that search engines use to rank and recommend businesses.
4. Proper Domain Links
If you are looking to rank organically or don’t have a local location your primary concern for establishing external trust should be proper domain links. This has all of the regular benefits that come from any link building. Things like another doorway to your site, potential brand exposure, and of course search engine trust. The need for domain specific links is due to the need to having local relevance. It stands to good reason that if you get a link from a source with a country specific domain that they have some local basis and expertise.
5. Proper Language
The biggest requirements I have learned from performing, diagnosing, and implementing international SEO campaigns. Is the need to create content that is natural and legible to whatever country you’re targeting. If doesn't have the means to write the content yourself I suggest hiring a native writer who understands the culture and content necessities. This will not only make your life easier but it will also help tremendously when it comes to ranking in a foreign country. **Note that Google Translate is ok, but it is not a replacement nor is it perfect.**
6. Preferred Location
This is something you can set in your Google Search Console settings. This is something that you can declare to help push you in front of the right audience. It can also help you get indexed into the right foreign index. If you are using a general .com or.net domain this will have a greater need than if you have a country specific domain.
It is my belief that anything you watch, listen, read, or do, always provides value. It is because of this belief, I think I have learned the secrets to creating a value story. Specifically I have learned these skills from watching Southpark. That’s right, I'll be showing value from a rowdy and raunchy television show.
If you pay close attention or binge watch any season there is a common trend in each episode. Where at least 1 or 2 of the boys share a lesson they have learned through their adventures and mishaps. It is through these self-discoveries that we can learn how to ALWAYS create a value story especially when it comes to SEO.
Kenny – The Humble and Silent
When it comes to marketing, especially SEO there are times when waiting or ‘giving it more time’ are the best options. This is not out of laziness but out of a need that comes when work with an unknown (Google) or third-party (agencies) to achieve something. Sometimes it takes time for things to take hold. This shouldn’t surprise anyone in the SEO space or even those looking to do SEO on their site. It is a fairly well-known fact that SEO is a long-term strategy requiring time investment over a budget.
The other important thing we can learn from Kenny is his humbleness. This is important to keep in mind especially when boasting success because it can be an important strength when it comes to failure. Humbleness can create a safety net when things are progressing slower than expected or even if something needs to be re-done. If you consistent with our approach from the beginning humbleness can create a safety net when things are progressing slower than expected Even if something needs to be re-done or reviewed. If the humble element is present from the get go it can create the tone and patience needed to be successful in SEO.
Stan – The Hardworking and Positive
Stan is by far one of the most neutral characters when it comes to Southpark. This neutrality comes from his set ways and how he deals with situations. He tends to be very matter-of-fact and relies on what is planned or what has happened to get out of a bad situation. Similar to Stan are very few marketing fields that can rely almost entirely on the work they give to clients when it comes to marketing. This is where SEO has a very distinct and unique functionality. Most SEO companies provide a guarantee of ranking or at least showing positive movement. The one thing people buy the most from SEO’s is the guarantee of certain type/s of work. Things like info-graphics, link building, social outreach, content and much more are integral to any SEO campaign before it starts.
This guarantee of work is pertinent especially when creating client expectations. SEO can be a tricky beast especially to new or small businesses. Things like roadmaps or work guides can create the back bone for proper expectations and goals. This can ensure no-one feels blind-sided or neglected if progress isn’t reached. When things become chaotic and emotional a roadmap can help may the gray situation black and white showing what is needed and who was responsible to provide it.
Kyle – Always Learning and Adjusting
Regardless of what you do you will always make mistakes, this is simply a part of life. The real challenge is how you handle these mistakes. When it comes to Kyle he is the first to acknowledge any mistakes or misdeeds made and reflect on what he has learned. When it comes to services provided especially marketing this reflection and learning is just as critical. Unfortunately for SEO this could not be truer speculation is the name of the game when it comes to ranking on the search engines. There are the obvious things we know you need to have, things like authority, content, and usability. The real speculation is how much, this is where learning and always adjusting comes into play.
If you see a failure with one customer or ranking that doesn’t mean the end of the world. It simply means something needs to be adjusted or modified for the future. This could be doing link-removal, adding a blog, or even just letting things sit. It is this constant need for adjustment and learning that requires a professional when it comes to managing or growing your SEO. Something valuable today can become the bane of a company over night. So when things seem their darkest do like Kyle does and reflect on what has happened and what you learned from it. Then simply move on and improve on future projects or endeavors.
Eric – Finding a Story No Matter What
Lastly we come to Cartman who is a personal favorite from Southpark. His almost unnatural ability to work his way out of any situation is something to be desired. He is by far the most brilliant when it comes to finding some sort of positivity out of any given situation. This is a culmination of all of the tactics provided above with the solid conviction that what you have done is providing something positive no matter what. Marketing is the industry where this kind of belief is a requirement. Considering that we cannot measure every aspect or even the reach of what marketing provides it will eventually come down to showing what you can and holding steadfast faith that what you did is providing some value.
A perfect example of this can come from SEO and helping something rank. While showing up on the first page for a keyword doesn’t always yield immediate ROI it does provide branding. This by itself and be a huge driving force for any business. A true example of how branding can yield results regardless of price, product, or innovation is Apple. They have almost a cult following due to their consistent and unyielding branding and product awareness.
Learn From the Boys!
Hopefully you can walk away from this article with a better understanding of how to always find a value story. I used marketing and SEO but in reality these tactics can apply to almost any situation or business.
The First Question is mean to help focus what you want to provide online. There is a good chance that there are a few people providing the same services you are offering. Because of this it becomes vital to understand and promote what sets you apart or makes you different from everyone else. This is your unique selling point (USP) and it truly should be one of a kind. In the world we live in today things like “best customer service” or “free quotes” have become so common place they are expectations. You may have to think outside of the box or even expand what you can or will provide service wise.
Who are we targeting?
This is vital when it comes to how you can promote yourself. This market identification is crucial in understanding those that would be interested in your product. As an example let’s say that I am looking to sell crafty shelves for your home or business. If you are targeting stay at home moms I would be able to target the craftiness and even maybe get some natural links if they like the product. On the other hand if I targeted fortune 500 companies I will likely come up short since interior design is not a core focus. Once you have found your customer segment. You can create different campaign strategies to reach them with content, product giveaways, niche information, and much more.
What do I want people to do on my site?
Another portion of your search engine strategy becomes how people interact with your site. Specifically as stated in the question “What do you want people to do on you site?” are you looking for leads, purchases, information, submissions, etc.? This becomes key in molding your site to get these crucial site interactions. If you were looking to have your site generate leads then you may want a submission form on the pages of your site. Furthermore you could look at giving something away with every submission. Things like e-books, videos, white pages, and other related information are great for such lead captures. Regardless of the intent it is crucial that you understand how you want traffic to interact with your site. With this you can help modify your site to capture that user’s attention in the way you want to.
What are my available resources?
Once you understand what you have and don’t have at your disposal some sort of pace or timeframe can be set. As an example if you have a few people on staff that can write blogs then you might be able to accelerate your plans of expanding your website. Where the opposite is true if you are the only one working on your website. It is also good to think about how you could potentially expand your resources. For instance you could open your site up to guest blogging. This would allow others to provide you pertinent content for your site usually for a link or something to that effect. Other ways to expand this would be delegating site or content needs.
Who are my competitors?
Have questions about your search engine strategy or other online endeavors? Send me a message and I will get back to you personally.
I have always had a fascination with search engines and how they work. SEO allows me to interact and impact search engines in a positive way.
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