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International SEO: The path to global success

Looking for ways for your products and services to conquer international markets? SEO can be a powerful way to see your company recognized outside your own country. In the webinar “International SEO” with Svetlana Stankovic, Digital Strategy Director at Amplexor, find out how businesses can grow from being a local player into a global one.

If you’re looking for support with your international SEO activities or you are trying to adjust your SEO strategy, our Digital Strategies Group consultants would be happy to lend a hand:

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As economic globalization continues to expand, international SEO is becoming more and more important for companies. Internationalization of a website goes beyond simply translating a website: it’s critical to consider country-specific characteristics such as culture, mentality or preferences of the respective audience. In our webinar, “International SEO”, industry expert and Amplexor’s Director of Digital Strategy, Svetlana Stankovic, explains an SEO strategy that will help you to effectively expand into new markets.

Webinar topics covered :

  • International SEO best practice
  • Tips on how to structure your website for global success
  • How to ensure content resonates well in different languages and cultures

Our Experts

 

svetlana-stankovic-03-2020

Svetlana Stankovic

Digital Strategy Director

Amplexor

christina-eurich-2020

Christina Eurich

Junior Digital Marketing Manager

Searchmetrics

Missed the webinar? Take a look here:

Questions and answers about International SEO

Following the webinar, attendees had more questions. Svetlana has answered these questions below. If your question was not included here leave us a comment below with your question.

Can you please describe ‘transcreation’ in more detail?

Transcreation is a process of adapting translated message to a different culture, so it resonates with an audience by respecting cultural differences and brand identity.

Hi, I have a furniture e-shop in Polish. I am thinking about entering other European markets. Is it worth trying to translate all product descriptions using google translate? I would like to test 3-4 European markets and I have around 5 000 products.

I would suggest defining top products and main company pages and translating it via human translation. These days it is not hard to find affordable freelance translators on various online platforms. Results of Google Translation can vary from OK, to a complete mismatch and I would not sacrifice rankings and user experience just to achieve full translation very fast. The second question is, how will your user get in touch with customer support if they have questions in a local language?

I saw many cases of low-quality machine translation, and websites are not ranking well and are not performing well in other markets, so the question is why would you harm your website? Even if it is for free?

When choosing an international market for expansion, how would you use SEO to decide which one has the biggest potential? How would you approach this analysis?

I would analyze the topic, competition and current performance in other markets. Topic and keyword analysis can show how popular certain terms are in other markets. Competition research can show us amount of traffic in other markets that your competitors are already receiving, and you can already get the list of countries that could be your secondary markets.

And last but not least, your website is already receiving visits from different markets, so you should use analytics to find out where are those visits coming from, where is the highest CTR etc.

What tool do you suggest checking for plagiarism?

There are many great plagiarism tools online, and they fit to different needs. I would not suggest any free online tool, because most of them have really small databases and their results are not accurate and cannot guarantee not having duplicates. What free tools do is simply crawl the web for similar keywords and process some level of data, but not much.

If your content is covering medical topics, I would look at the tool that would look into online data, but also scientific studies and books where content can be taken from. Overall, I am really happy with Grammarly, but I know there are plenty of other tools on the market that are equally good.

For SME with single website, will you recommend some new options?

If you are a small and medium business, this usually means that you do not have a lot of resources and large teams dedicated to content and SEO. I would keep one website, and suggest having all under the same domain, respecting hreflang tags and optimization for all different languages present on the website.

Would you advise on optimizing for English versions as well as local language version for each country? Or would you advise on adding the English popular term on the local language page as most local speakers may use the English business terms? Thanks

I would check keyword search volume for both English and local translated keywords. If English keywords have higher search volume and are more present in local markets, I would use them as a primary term, but I would make sure to include secondary, more local keywords in body of the text and mention it throughout the text.

What do you recommend? Using hreflang tags only or do you also recommend using the country targeting in your URLs? For example: https://www.fatboy.com/nl-nl.

I would recommend using both combined if you have a single domain with multiple languages and country targets.

I have 4 domains offering video content, ww.domainname.com/us, www.domainname.com/in, www.domainname.com/gb and www.domainname.com/ca.  They have the same content, but each website serves a different geography. I have implemented Meta hreflang on all pages. The hreflang work for traditional organic result, but don’t work in the video carousel section, where www.domainname.com/in/sports/live/page1 ranks in US; instead of us.domainname.com/sports/live/page1. Does Google consider hreflang tag in video carousel?

I cannot see the page example to tell what the problems are, but for non-html pages I would always suggesting implementation of tags in HTTP Header and testing it with some of the free tools suggested during last webinar. Google is not perfect, and they are trying their best to improve search results in understanding where does content belong, but sometimes mistakes happen. With content pages, it happens that Google concludes that the page from other country is more relevant, and then it is up to us SEOs to understand why, and what can we do to improve weaker page.

If I have a domain with .com, are there good chances to rank for pages in different languages like German and Italian?

If you have a top-level domain, and different languages on the website, with the correct implementation of hreflang tags Google will be able to understand the differences.

Hi, if you have two languages and different urls like .es and .com but common content in both, are they on risk of being duplicated? Bearing in mind of course that both are in English, .com and .es.

You can still tag the same content for different markets and languages. As far as both have proper hreflang implementation, they will target different markets. If Google does not find markups for different local targets, then they will be treated as duplicates.

Do not forget that you can also use hreflag tags to tag the same page for several different markets, if the content is exact, you do not have to create multiple pages.

What are the main SEO actions to take If you offer a product worldwide in French (for example) language to expats and French speakers in non-French speaking country?

I would suggest language instead of country targeting, offering content in French and perhaps in English if this is your main language.

What would you suggest for href tags on an ecom site with 2 stores: UK store = target the UK ROW store = target everywhere apart from the UK – with different prices?

I would suggest using a popup whenever a user comes from outside of UK, suggesting visiting an international website instead of UK one. That way you will not be forcing geo targeting but will improve user experience by offering users a more suitable version of the content.

Do you recommend translating EVERYTHING – e.g. image ALT tags

I recommend translating image alt tags, since they can boost your rankings and rank for images, featured snippets and other rich results. When translation of tags is not possible, I would consider having a translated website without alt-tags. Having tags in a wrong language can look spammy and misleading from a user perspective.

We are facing issue in submitting one of our sub-domain URLs. We have similar content [i.e. products] on 4 different websites for different regions and have implemented hreflang tag as well. Below is the website structure: – www.example.com – Australia us.example.com – United States. Now Google is not indexing a certain product for US website stating that Google canonical is Australia page.

If I understand correctly, Google is indexing an Australian page in AUS market instead of USA page. This may happen even if hreflang tags are implemented correctly, and it happens when Google for some reason concludes that the USA page is more relevant. I would suggest analyzing all factors that may lead to a wrong conclusion: history of canonicals, internal links between different country pages, quality of content etc. I would also suggest making pages more “local” by incorporating local keywords (e.g. “Australia”) on your product pages or finding what else could give a signal to Google to use the correct page for rankings.

Do you approach link building for international SEO?

I would not call it link building, as it refers to old SEO tactic that is now punishable by Google. Building strong relationships (and links) in local markets is still very important. I think nowadays it is very important having a person in charge of PR and communication, even if it’s an external agency, helping in building an authority, good relationships and expertise in local markets.

We have a current site across multiple countries and languages – we have made many of the mistakes you mentioned. Is it worth fixing them, or starting again with new sites?

My preferred method should be keeping the website and fixing all mistakes one by one. Although the technical SEO part was maybe wrongly implemented, you still might have good content and queries that you rank for now.


Whatever SEO challenges you’re facing, our Digital Strategies Group consultants are here to help:

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Patricia Meißner

Patricia Meißner

Hello, my name's Patricia and I'm a Content Manager working at Searchmetrics' Berlin office. I previously held a content marketing positions at a traditional B2B industry firm where I built up experience in numerous content-related fields, including campaign management, newsletter marketing and corporate communications.

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