Episode Overview: Managing web migrations and expansions often require hard work and in-depth collaboration amongst teams to ensure migrations run smoothly, especially for international expansions. Join host Ben as he concludes his discussion with Orainti founder and international SEO specialist Aleyda Solís about how to carefully manage web migrations and expansion to ensure the process runs smoothly.
- Before starting a web migration, it’s important to evaluate whether a migration is absolutely necessary to accomplish your goals as it can be a time and resource consuming project.
- In every international ICO process it’s crucial to conduct market research on competition and to understand how the local audience searches to better match specific audiences.
GUESTS & RESOURCES
- Aleyda Solís: Website // LinkedIn
- The Voices of Search Podcast: Email // LinkedIn // Twitter
- Benjamin Shapiro: Website // LinkedIn // Twitter
Ben: Welcome back to the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro and today we’re going to be wrapping up our conversations about how to manage SEO agency relationships across the globe. Joining us again today is Aleyda Solís who is the founder of the international SEO consulting firm Orainti, which is an experienced and world renowned international mobile and technical search marketing practice that helps their clients establish and optimize their mobile and international websites through audits, strategy, product management and in-house training. The last two days Aleyda and I talked about some of the differences between agencies around the world and how to manage remote agency relationships, and today we’re going to talk a little bit about one of the most commonly used time for an SEO agency or remote SEO agency; managing a web migration and expansion. Okay. Here’s the last part of my conversation with Aleyda Solís, founder of Orainti. Aleyda welcome back to the Voices of Search podcast.
Aleyda: Hello, Ben. Thank you for having me.
Ben: Great to have you back on the podcast. Excited to continue our conversation about managing agencies around the world. We’ve talked a little bit about the differences between some of the agencies around the world, how to manage agency relationships effectively. I want to double click into one of the most common times where people are looking for SEO agencies that are not in their local market. It’s when they’re expanding, right? When they’re going to different geographies, different cultures and a lot of the times doing some sort of a web migration. Talk to me about some of the best practices when you are going through a web migration, a site expansion, a new country, and how do you work with an agency to help you support that?
Aleyda: Yes, indeed. I think that that is a very common scenario, right? Realizing that for example, I don’t have many clients that are for example British clients that have had a ccTLD dot co UK during, I don’t know, since they started and then they realize that they want to target the U.S. and they want to target Australia and they want to target Spain, France and doing it so that additional ccTLDs will be too complex or not cost efficient or expensive and it will be much more reasonable for them to consolidate all of their web properties in a single gTLD, in a single dot com, and having sub-directories for example, to target every single country and they will geo-localize each sub directory through the Google Search console and use the [inaudible] and localize the content to better target and connect with the way that each audiences search in each one of these markets.
Aleyda: So, this is a very common scenario how doing internationalization connects with the needs sometimes of having to do a web migration. And here, the most important aspect I will say, to start with is asking the question right at the beginning, do you really need to migrate to achieve the desired goal? Because it always happens for web migration. Sometimes people tend to propose them in some way, and it’s even not needed to implement a structural change as ambitious in order to achieve the expected goals. So it’s very important at the beginning to validate if it is really, really necessary to migrate, and so how the migration can be done in a way that is not necessarily as impactful or that the last structural change is needed in order to achieve the desired change right, the desired goal.
Ben: So, it seems like with migrations and internationalization, this is one of the scenarios where you really need to have some local expertise. Talk to me about the process of finding the right team, finding the right people to go through the migration process when you’re potentially doing this in a culture that you’re not familiar with.
Aleyda: Yes, well I think that in every international ICO process, of course you need to do market research like your research, competition research, understand how the local audience searches. For example, it’s not just to replicate your current URL structure that you have in the U.S. to all the new markets because maybe these are not necessarily the same type of products or services that are searched there for about you maybe. Or maybe these are searched in a completely different way. So the URL structure should be different to better connect and better tackle, and have different types of categories, sub-categories, hub pages, topical areas, et cetera that will better match that specific audience. So yes, it’s indeed fundamental to have a native person to do this type of validation of research and based on that, to define the best possible web structure, to target that market, to better connect with that type of audience.
Aleyda: And the depending on [inaudible] particular market is very interesting, right? Because there are certain room of towns like for example, if you are targeting, let’s say, the German speaking market, why would you need to have an English version for Germany, right? People in Germany … They search in German. You don’t need any English version. Or, it depends, maybe you are in one of those very specific markets where your audiences or your potential customers or clients are expats. For example, if you are a car rental type of company or platform, a high share of those audiences will be tourists. The same if you’re doing SEO for hotels. It’s not only Italians that you look to target in Italy, but also people from all over the world and even English speakers who are in Italy at that point and want to look and will look for your products and services in English too.
Aleyda: So, for those particular scenarios, I will recommend double check, double validate how many of the queries are being performed also in English, not only in the local language to identify further opportunities. And the same with not only travel, I will say, but also for example, accommodation work-related searches for there are a lot of, for example, British people looking to work in Spain or in Barcelona. So, there are a lot of cases like this. I will say double check, verify, to identify how people from your target market who are the potential audiences actually search from within those markets that you want to target.
Ben: Makes a ton of sense. I think the big question is how do you find the right person for the markets that you’re expanding to when you’re not there. When you think about the vetting process and you know, onboarding the agency talent to go through a migration, to go through an expansion and what are some of the ways that you can gauge whether they have the prerequisite knowledge of the market, the language skills, and also the technical chops to be able to pull off an expansion?
Aleyda: Well, I have to say it’s tricky and many of my clients, I have to say have come to me after supposedly having hired an agency that could do it all, who handled it all. And then they realized, “Oh my God, we have to spend so much going to this market and we have seen nothing,” right? And we haven’t seen any traction or the expected traction. And they have come to me and then we have made things happen in this other way. In my case for example, I am very straightforward, I’m very honest to clients and say, look, these are the markets I can handle directly. And I am a native Spanish speaker and I am originally from Latin America, but I have been living 12 years in Spain so I know also how they be here. I also speak French, but I am not of course a native French speaker.
Aleyda: So, in those cases, I always have a network of people, of usually copywriters who have very strong SEO knowledge, who can directly connect with the client to give the content support that is required to do this type of pure research, validation research. So having someone native and the client can directly work with and validate with, I think is critical. So in this case, I solve this in a very straightforward way and this is the beauty of being a consultant, right? I don’t need to have it all myself or provide it all myself, but in a very straightforward way, “Oh, you have a … You need a British native speaker to develop this content or to support or give input and you don’t have nobody else. I can definitely connect you with this person or a couple of persons and you will select of course, but then we will work all together to make this happen.”
Ben: So, talk to me about some of the biggest issues or challenges that companies face when they’re going through these type of expansions and migrations.
Aleyda: Yes. Oh my God there are so very common ones, for example, there is always this concern of having complication issues between markets. So sometimes when doing migrations, the previous configuration is not kept. So, for example, before maybe the websites were spread across different ccTLDs and they were all sort of canonicalizing, the dotcom was self-canonicalizing and targeting the U.S. The dotco UK was self-canonicalizing targeting the UK markets and so on, and when they are all migrated to a single gTLD, somehow … Sometimes, this previous configuration tends to get lost and then all of the different international versions end up canonicalizing towards the … Supposedly to the original one for the U.S. right, of the U.S. to a single one only. And this is not correct if you want these pages to start raking in for their own markets they should be self-canonicalized of course.
Aleyda: And then of course the typical redirects type of issues I have … This particular scenario actually a few weeks ago of a client when implementing the redirects, implementing them by going through all of these hubs and it was crazy. Like for example, a former newly-targeted page that was redirecting to a URL that contained only view you see as the ID of the CDN. Then this URL, again redirecting to another one that say beauty in English, but then the [inaudible] in English one ended up redirecting. That wasn’t the final canonical, original indexable page that was [inaudible] in English. So sometimes it’s because of the language variations and how this is handled even in the platform right. And if the redirects are set in a straightforward way that goes to the final meant to be in that destination, page destination. So there are so many of these issues going on besides the typical of not redirecting role, leaving pages out or redirecting all to the home page, things like that.
Ben: I think that this is a great example of some of the places where you can find specialization around the world. Aleyda, you’ve been working in international SEO. As I mentioned in our introduction a couple of days ago, you know I continued to be the world’s most renowned voice of international SEO and going through this migration process and the internationalization and expansion process is something that really can be very technical and you can find experts like Aleyda all around the globe. Maybe not everywhere, but Aleyda might not be in my local neck of the woods. It’s still the person that I’d want to talk about when I’m going through my expansion. Aleyda, thank you so much for being our guest and for sharing the knowledge of how to manage SEO agency relationships around the globe and talking to us a little bit about expansion.
Aleyda: Thank you very much for the opportunity. It was a pleasure.
Ben: Okay, and that wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Aleyda Solís, founder of Orainti. We’d love to continue the conversation with you, so if you’re interested in contacting Aleyda, you can find a link to her LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can contact her on Twitter. Her handle is Aleyda, A-L-E-Y-D-A. Or you could visit her company’s website, which is Orainti, O-R-A-I-N-T-I.com.
Ben: Just one more link in our show notes I’d like to tell you about if you didn’t have a chance to take notes while you were listening to this podcast, head over to Voices of Search dotcom where we have summaries of all of our episodes, contact information for our guests, you can send us your topic suggestions, your SEO questions. You can even apply to be a speaker on the Voices of Search podcast. Of course, you can always reach out on social media. Our handle is Voices of Search on Twitter and my personal handle is Ben, J Shap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P. And if you haven’t subscribed yet and you want a daily stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, we’re going to publish episodes every day during the workweek. So hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back in your feed next week. All right. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.