1. Qualify Your New Expansion
CHECK YOUR ANALYTICS TO SEE IF YOUR WEBSITE IS GENERATING SOME OVERSEAS INTEREST ALREADY. IF S0, WHICH COUNTRIES? BREAK IT DOWN BY GEO SEGMENTATION.
CHECK TO SEE IF YOU ARE RANKING FOR POPULAR YET RELEVANT SEARCH TERMS IN THIS COUNTRIES BY UTILISING:
- Google Web Master Tools
- Search Metrics
Conduct keyword research with the countries and languages you have already identified to scope out the search volume for big head and long-tail keywords pertaining to your business. Always research keywords according to each country’s natural way of searching, do not translate from one language to another directly. Use someone who understands the foreign language as the search behaviour will differ between languages.
Also consider keywords that have a decent amount of monthly search volume, high in one country, might be low in another, so always compare.
Google - Google Keyword Tool / Keywordtool.io
Baidu (China) - Baldu Index Tool
Yandex (Russia) - Keyword Stats Tool
Naver (Korea) - Naver Keyword Research Tool
There’s also this cool tool that translates keywords into their relevant counterparts in other languages and finds search volume for them in other countries. Be sure it’s the right translation! Check with your local language expert always unless you’re fluent yourself.
Global Market Finder
TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THE RESULTS AND THE POTENTIAL, IS IT ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY A SEPARATE WEB PRESENCE AND FURTHER INVESTED RESOURCES? IF SO, PLEASE PROCEED.
2. To Country or not to Country?
Choose your Focus - Countries or Languages
EVALUATE YOUR OBJECTIVES AND ASK YOURSELF ARE THERE ANY CAVEATS TO TARGETING PARTICULAR COUNTRIES SUCH AS YOUR WEBSITE OBJECTIVES, SERVICES AND/OR PRODUCTS?
a. Language targeting - this is common amongst E-Commerce websites and hotels whereby they serve a global client base under the presence of one website where their location is not a limitation to their objectives, services and/or products.
b. Country targeting- if location IS a factor in relation to your objectives, services and/or products AND there is enough potential as per your research above to justify the resources into a separate website for country-specific targeting. In an ideal world, you would have one website, per country - but this is just simply unfeasible for most businesses.
3. One for All, All for One
Localisation - Customise your look
DEVELOP YOUR INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE BASED ON YOUR SELECTED TARGETING OPTION
Best Practice for Web Structure
N.B. It is necessary to have individual web structures for each language and country so each is crawled, indexed and ranked separately.
Put text in another language in picture format on the website, Google cannot read pictures (yes, we’ve seen this twice, people do it).
Use code or plugins to convert your chosen language to another within the same website.
LOCALISE YOUR CONTENT & STRUCTURE
Carry our your basic SEO onsite with regards to page Titles, Meta Descriptions, Menu, <h1> <h2> tags, content images, currency and locations.
INCLUDE IN YOUR MENU THE ABILITY TO SWITCH BETWEEN LOCALISED VERSIONS OF YOUR WEBSITE
USE <HREFLANG> TAG TO ANNOTATE EACH LANGUAGE AND COUNTRY OF YOUR PAGE BY ADDING THE TAG IN THE HEADER OR SITEMAP & INCLUDE CONTENT LANGUAGE META TAGS</h4>
FOR COUNTRY TARGETING
GEO LOCATATE YOUR WEBSITE VIA GOOGLE WEB MASTER TOOLS FOR YOUR RELEVANT SEARCH ENGINE (BING, YANDEX ETC. HAVE SEPARATE TOOLS)
USE A LOCAL IP ADDRESS TO HOST YOUR WEBSITE
4. Track Your Success
TRACK YOUR INTERNATIONAL SEO CAMPAIGN VIA SEPARATE PROPERTIES IN ANALYTICS GOOGLE WEBMASTER TOOLS
USE RANK CHECKING TOOLS TO CHECK YOUR RANKINGS IN EACH COUNTRY FOR YOUR CHOSEN KEYWORDS