Building a search presence globally might seem like fighting through mobile and laptop screens one at a time, but it’s actually much easier than that.
Around the world, in the realms of a number of search engines are billions of internet users, across 201 potential markets.
Businesses with global aspirations will have plenty of options for growth, but wildly hammering duplicate pages across numerous websites and changing the page title obviously isn’t going to work, so what is?
1) Cross country research tactics
Use every SEO tool at your disposal to build up an image of how a website is performing across regions, this includes the geotargeting section of your analytics, any ranking software used and link location/IP tracking.
In the first instance it gives an immediate insight to how a website performs multi-nationally, beyond this it allows for the creation of keyword targeting and user profiling. Each essential in their own right.
In the end you’ll want an understanding of how the website performs in each target location separately, with a view to identifying common trends in each location for improvement.
Build a strategy out from here covering each element or measurement you are after, start with the basics:
You can expand this to include lead types, landing/exit pages, interaction on site, abandonment and even PPC campaign success. Look at each location individually initially and then pair information across regions and countries to identify strengths and weaknesses in particular areas.
2) Seasonality and cultural differences
Getting the desired result in any SEO campaign takes an element of planning alongside seasonal trends, global SEO is no different.
Think about the different breaks in search volumes in each market, search trends, top search engines used and user journeys.
Different markets will mean users have different routes to eventual conversion. A fantastic starting place for managing this is to use Google’s Journey to Conversion tool per region. This will give immediate insight to average search to sale trends and aid in attributing budget accordingly across target markets.
The two above examples show the routes to conversion for Business and Industrial customers in both US and Germany – two of the top 15 markets outlined earlier.
Notably, the initial awareness of both begins in different locations online, and paid quickly follows. However, the big difference is where organic search falls into the mix.
Understand the role organic search plays in each target market and utilise the space effectively.
3) Go multilingual
If you’re targeting multiple languages, then ensure the website runs in this way and add hreflangtags to each page to ensure the right website is showing in the right location.
This is the greatest and most immediate signal to send to search crawlers to let them know the site offers different options.
In the above mentioned research you’ll also have a bunch of key phrases and search trends per country, so it’s possible to adapt and update page information based on the user intent and the types of searches likely to draw leads in each market.
Multilingual-ness also works in content. Build up internal linking and strength of the website in content or blog sections of your site. Building authority takes time, but stick with it.
4) Domain extensions
Beyond the hreflang tagging, it is important to also include the use of domain extension. Simply owning a redirecting to the relevant hreflang extension allows for you to control the brand presence around the world.
For example, software company Talentia Software uses multiple domain extensions to manage the different types of output across European markets.
As such, dependant on location, we see:
5) Link building
Link auditing, link building and eventually content marketing should take place in each target location.
The main approach here, like any link building campaign, is to split target linking websites into target campaigns.
Each country should have a pool of websites worth targeting to increase the content that engages users to do something on a page: those that provide resources, those which offer a platform for a brand to be heard and finally those which are simple listings.
Splitting five target locations, in to four broad boxes, gives you 20 options for global link targeting and makes the entire process much more manageable from an inside source.
Any global SEO campaign is going to take effort and time, the varied nature of markets and user trends is a tricky variable to manage. Simple steps and an outward facing approach make the entire approach simpler, easier and much more manageable.
Keith Hodges is an Account Manager at POLARIS and a contributor to SEW.