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Starting a website can be a massive undertaking. Using search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, you can guarantee that the increased web traffic will make it worth the effort to make sure your site is curated to reach your international audience. To rank in search engine results, you need to structure your website content so that web crawlers, such as Google and Bing, can find and index it.

International SEO promotes your website in multiple locations giving you a wider reach across the globe. If, for example, your website is based in the United States, and you want web traffic from Singapore or Thailand, optimizing your content for international SEO can facilitate that. International SEO helps you penetrate new markets while braking multi linguistic barriers and cultural differences.

Optimizing, at this level is essential for global businesses as it allows greater access to your web content, expanding user access without going through the expensive process of recreating your site for different places. In this way, you can be assured that the right content is reaching the right audience most effectively.

There are Five Important Elements to International SEO

1. Decide What Locales to Target

Who is your audience? Are you going to need to translate content? Are you going to need to redesign your website for easier access in different locales? It’s also important to consider cost, not only for translation, but in the shipping process, customer service, or potential brick-and-mortar locations.

2. Determine the Website Structure

Your website structure is key to successfully ranking on search engines, like Google. At Google’s end, they send a ‘search engine crawler’ across the Internet that reads every websites’ content through its back-end HTML or XML sitemap. The crawler looks through the top-level domains, subdomains, and subfolders, assessing the quality of design, content, and SEO suitability.

Country-code top-level domains (ccTLD): www.example.com
Subdomains: www.de.example.com
Subfolders: www.example.com/de
Each of these options come with pros and cons which are worth exploring.

3. Localize Content

When preparing your site for the international plunge, you may find that some pages may be irrelevant outside of your primary market; some content won’t need to be translated or is in such high volume it is too costly or time consuming to do so, such as blogs and articles. In such cases, automated translation solutions including Machine Translation (AI), combined with human editing (MTPE) may be a viable option for translating large-scale SEO focused content which is lower down in the content value chain. Some content may need to be replaced altogether, such as contact information for a local office. This will be especially true if your website is promoting local services to specific locales.

That said, highly visible keywords that generate organic traffic are just as important in the new locale as they are for your home-base. You will likely need the assistance of native-language speaker or a translation and localization agency to help you identify and translate your most effective keywords for use on your satellite site. This holds true even if the language is the same, but the country is different. For example, in the U.K versus the U.S, many words are spelled differently or have different meanings altogether. For example, if you’re selling erasers in the U.S., you wouldn’t use the keyword “rubber.”

4. Let Search Engines Know

Search engines have formulas to associate certain language criteria with certain locales. By placing specific elements of content on your site, you ping the search-engine to recognize the relevance of particular locales, allowing them to redirect the appropriate web traffic to the local version of your website.

5. Help It Rank Well

Locale pages will inherit some of the value of your primary site (called a backline). By adding specific keywords (see the caution in step 3, above), local advertising, and backlines, along with social media promotion, you can help keep your website up-to-date and relevant to search engines.

Determining the Target Audience, Locale and Language

When defining your target audience, the most important thing to consider is your return on investment (ROI). This is the percentage of your profit compared to the cost of your investment. By viewing analytical data from your website, you can determine from what locale or what language your web traffic is from, to determine if it’s worth making a localized version of your site for that specific audience. Marketing Maven, Neil Patel suggests Google Analytics, using the “Geo” reports under the “Audience” section.

When defining your target audience, it should answer the who, where, what, and why:

  • Who is your target audience? (age, interests, habits, social class, cultural background, and spoken language)
  • Where are they?
  • What are their pain points? What are you offering your target market?
  • Why is your product the best solution?

Knowing your target audience will tell you how you can position your product. Not everyone is your target market; knowing yours will help you achieve a higher ROI.

If you are expanding globally, knowing how to speak and tailor fit your online content to audiences speaking disparate languages will make your business more relatable, thus, increasing the conversion.

Localization, Internationalization and Translation

The difference between locale and language is important to understand. Take, for example, Mexico versus Spain. Both countries speak Spanish (language) yet are obviously in different locations (locale). If your analytics show that your web traffic is from Spain and Mexico, you can choose to create a subsite that either references language, meaning that the content is simply translated to a more generic form of Spanish to cater to both markets (not recommended), or a series of local sites, meaning that one subsite will target Mexico, and another will target Spain. Both will have a backlink to your primary website for reference and ranking.

Localization and translation certainly come hand in hand, as curating a product for a specific locale will often require the use of a different language. Yet localization and internationalization takes it a step further by adapting to local customs, cultures and language conventions.

For example, as well as differing colloquial terms and phrases which occur between different dialects of the same language, at a more extreme level, in certain languages, text is displayed entirely differently; left to right (for example European languages), in others, right to left (for example Arabic). In addition, voltage, date format or currency may differ and require internationalization. By using international SEO, you guarantee that your product is properly presented to your target market, ensuring ease and clarity of use.

Andovar Solutions and Services

Andovar is a one-stop shop for all your localization projects regardless of language, size, or type. We are a global provider of multilingual content solutions. Our goal is to help our clients ‘Make Themselves Clear in Any Language.’

Let us give you the tools, education, and support to reach your full potential. International SEO takes product translation and streamlines it for better access to local markets. Andovar is here to help your company succeed and achieve optimal success.