Earlier this month, we have introduced you to the essential SEO strategies for ecommerce stores, and explained the advantages of having a solid, structured plan in order to reach better results in search engines.
Today, we will focus on the international SEO and see what changes when you need to allocate your resources in order to enter the global market.
If your online store hasn’t crossed borders yet, maybe it is time to start thinking about it. Considering only the first two Latin American biggest markets, Brazil and Mexico, they held together approximately USD 25 billion in online sales in 2017, with Mexico leading an incredible growth of 25%, comparing with 2016. They have been attracting investments from all over the world and are certainly an excellent opportunity for ecommerce, now or in the future.
Do your ecommerce need International SEO?
Companies that have already a relevant international customer base or that intend to expand their businesses worldwide should definitely think about international search engine optimization.
However, if you are just beginning or thinking about selling outside the country, it is important to understand your real potential and which investments would be more appropriate for the moment, so you won’t waste any time and money in vain.
For those that can’t wait longer to learn how you to reach more clients through international SEO, just keep reading the article.
Defining International SEO
First of all, you must know international SEO is not another type of SEO, thus it has the same main activities, such as data research and analyses, link building, generation of relevant content, keywords and other technical adjustments. The difference is on how you will use these strategies, according to the countries and goals you want to achieve.
It is not a easy process, and it will require time and capital from your ecommerce. However, it is well worth it, as international markets can be a great source of growth.
So, let’s help you to get prepared for this challenge!
Where to start?
In order to have a successful strategy, you will need to do lots of research, not only to identify the potential of international regions, but also to establish your main ecommerce targets and discover possibilities for future expansion.
Before anything, you should measure your website’s traffic, its relevance to international markets (foreign visits and conversions), and your current position in search engines in other countries. Also, take a look at the volume of you store's keywords searches in different locations and languages.
Summing it up:
- Discover your current status in organic searches worldwide;
- Identify the most relevant results. From which countries and in which languages international visitors navigate?
- Find out which keywords are the most searched by visitors from other countries;
- Understand your user’s behaviors and delineate their needs.
The search engines preferences that your public has can also have a big influence in this matter. If you are thinking about expanding your business to Mainland, China, for example, Google would not be an option, as the website is blockeds there.
No doubts of how this first step will be valuable for the planning and execution of all following activities of your international SEO strategy.
Hosting and Domain Names
Sometimes hosting a website too far apart from your global targets can impact your SEO results, as it takes longer to load and people do not like waiting online. To solve this issue, you can consider getting a good local hosting company to support it.
We also know it is much easier to deal with only one website data rather than 2, 3 or more, as they need different web structures. Still, when having specific global targets, having different domains names is often a good advantage for international SEO.
Some extra tips on that:
- If possible, use their local country domains: “ecommerce.es”, “ecommerce.br”, etc.
- In case of language you can create subdomains or subdirectories for its language versions.
Targeting Global Markets
If you realize you have enough traffic coming from a specific country and the location is an important factor for your ecommerce, it might be the case of prioritizing this place and creating a focused strategy for the country in question.
If not, you can think about targeting the language instead, so you can work with a wider public and reach different countries that speak the same language and use equivalent keywords, attracting traffic and making the website relevant for search engines, especially for initial SEO efforts.
There are many ways to implement a strategy converged in language or country parameters, depending on your store's resources and objectives.
The Language X Country Targeting
You should consider the differences of written and spoken languages among countries that share the same language. For example, when thinking about selling to Brazilians, it would be a big mistake to use the Portuguese from Portugal to reach the public, and vice-versa.
Besides the language, it can be necessary to go extra-mile to capture customers from another countries. If you navigate a bit in foreign websites, you probably will see there are different nuances in their design and structure. Depending on the country you want to target at, users are more sensible to local esthetics standards and it can be interesting to follow its parameters in order to facilitate navigation and be emerged in the country’s culture.
As an example, you can see the coffee online store Illy’s in different countries (U.S., China and Brazil):
Before starting creating layouts or launching an website abroad, look for a local web designer or someone that is an expert on your target country to help you with that.
You should be aware about the currency and the local payment methods, as they are an essential part of the purchase process and can define your success abroad. Understand how other countries consumers prefer to buy online and offer the best options for them to do it smoothly and safely.
It is also very important to adapt the content accordingly to your target. Start by the local addresses and contact information, but also think about the images and texts you are using on it. Do they represent local reality?
About the translation of your website’s content, rather use professional native speakers to do it, as they know the daily use of the language. Besides, only the simple translation may not be enough for the good performance of your website, and if you want to increase visibility and increase the opportunities of link building, you can also create specific content depending on local needs and trends. As we already said before, the keywords are an important source of ideas of what you can write about in each country.
Finally, develop the options for local customers to interact with your brand, allowing them to create more content for you, through reviews and social media. Local word of mouth campaigns are definitely an excellent and strong boost for any ecommerce that want to expand globally.
As you could see, international search engine optimization follows the same principles of single-markets SEO. Still, it requires a different view – that approaches different markets styles and cultures – along with more investments, especially in translation services.
Organize your team to work towards you ecommerce global goals and after this bigger initial amount of work to research, creating new pages, content, and being up-to-date with international SEO tools, you will see that it is simpler to maintain the webpage and improve its results in the course of the time.