5 Ways to Improve Your International SEO Strategy

11:12 AM
Liz Elting is co-founder and co-CEO of
TransPerfect, the world’s largest privately held
provider of language and business services.
Web users in the Middle East, Asia, the Americas
and Europe have embracedFacebook, Twitter
and other social platforms as vehicles for
communication, commerce, and revolution. If
North American-based businesses are to reach
this rapidly expanding, increasingly sophisticated
Internet audience, they must get smarter about
international search engine optimization (ISEO).
Just like domestic SEO, international SEO aims to
boost the likelihood that a particular website will
rise to the top of search results, thereby enabling
increased conversion rates. The challenge
internationally is selecting the right SEO strategies
for an enormous number of locales, cultural
norms and languages. Here are some key points
to consider when tackling ISEO.
1. Humans Beat Machine Translation
Even with adequate time for review and planning,
machines can make small errors in localization
that have significant consequences. The pressure
to get it right via social media is exponentially
greater, since time is short and engagement
expectations are high. Brands need human
experts who can quickly identify faults in
automated translations and repair them before
damage occurs in important markets. This is also
true for accompanying imagery, which can
convey unintended messages if not properly
vetted.
2. Learn Vernacular and Optimize Keywords
Accordingly
Whether a user seeks out information via a
regional search engine or through Facebook
pages or Twitter hashtags, the company looking
for that prospect must anticipate the phrases he
or she will employ. For example, a young person
in one part of the world may search for shoes
using a slang term, such as, “tennis shoes,”
“sneakers” or “kicks.”
No two search engines use the exact same
algorithm to produce organic results. The
techniques required to optimize for Chinese
search engineBaidu, for example, may be vastly
different from those needed to optimize for
Google. Businesses that want to reach targeted
users need expertise not only in language, but
also in culture and technology. This is one reason
why enterprises must adopt an integrated
approach to ISEO that determines the right
wording and creates consistent, relevant
messages in ads, landing pages, social media
posts and search engine marketing.
3. Make Every Character Count
Improving the visibility of a website abroad —
which demands knowledge of regional cultures,
dominant local search engines and top keywords
—starts with translation. Effective localization
requires more than plugging words into a bot
that spits out literal interpretations. This is
certainly true for global websites, but the
importance of connotation intensifies as
communication gets more compact. Twitter’s
strict length parameters, for example, make every
character choice a critical one, particularly when
you consider that English text can expand in
character count when translated into other
languages. Translating for this kind of platform
requires not only timesaving software solutions,
but seasoned human translators, as well.
Multi-language tweets can be a valuable tool in
numerous communities around the world, but
140 characters in English do not neatly translate
into 140 characters in Arabic, for example. To
communicate convincingly with multilingual
audiences via social networks, companies need
more human involvement. Engagement is key.
4. Register a Local Domain and Apply ISEO
Global search marketing requires local domain
and IP registration, as well as meaningful and
fresh content that is keyword-specific. It
demands descriptive tagging, rich media, social
media distribution and internal and external links.
These elements must take into account the search
habits of target audiences and the algorithms of
the search engines they are most likely to use.
There is little value in going live with a website
that is not optimized with these needs in mind.
Only when ISEO and design are done in
conjunction can a business be certain that
customers will find it online. This principle applies
to social media as well.
5. Get to Know Your Audience
Internet World Stats show that 86% of web users
live outside North America. Many of them speak
languages other than English, and capturing their
business depends upon quality website
translation, localization, and smarter ISEO.
Increasingly, that business opportunity also
hinges on extending multilingual campaigns to
social media platforms, such as Facebook and
Twitter.
To break into promising regions in the Americas,
the Middle East, Europe and Asia, enterprises are
applying these principles to all of their electronic
communication points with customers, and
therefore maximizing their prospects for success.
Know your audience’s lingo, its concerns and its
preferred platforms so it can quickly and easily
find and do business with you. Use social media
to show that your company took the time and
effort to communicate with global customers in a
meaningful and authentic manner.
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5 comments

  1. Great 5 tips, the basics are essential for online success!

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