International SEO is an important part of any global marketing strategy. In a recent webinar, international marketing experts showed how to optimize for new markets. International SEO has always been a hot topic for enterprise-level brands and global corporations. But the increasing ease of connecting with people around the world means that these tactics are becoming vital to a growing number of companies. Here are the top three tactics from the board on how marketers can avoid international SEO mistakes.
Develop an international strategy based on your business
As marketers, the most important thing we can do for international SEO is to understand who our customers are and when and how they buy. “When you enter new international markets, you are more likely to create target personas.” If these characters are different from your primary markets, that’s okay. In fact, they probably are. Most of these new customers aren’t ready to buy right away, so marketers need to guide them through relevant content and experiences before paying to make a conversion. To aid this process, Heflin recommends using customer personas when accessing international markets. This can help marketers better understand the needs of their new audience.
However, to ensure that these personas accurately reflect the audience, marketers must look to international search data to identify market opportunities for their brands. We’ve found that a good tool for measuring this is Google Keyword Planner. “It’s great to gauge market interest. We recommend using the chart to research keywords both locally and regionally in these new markets.
Improve the international user experience
As much as we consider user experience locally, it is often overlooked in international SEO. We’ve customized our user experience based on what Americans like, and having that level of concern for what users in new markets want their journey to be like is critical. Consider using a market tool for your product or service.
In particular, mobile has a significant share of the organic search market (61% by Q2 2021). And while there are certain industry sectors where more people are searching through the desktop, marketers are smart to improve on these devices. There are a number of updates from Google that focus on the importance of the mobile user experience and the impact it can have on brands that don’t prioritize it.
One way to improve your user experience is to follow the Google Page Experience Guidelines
The Page Experience Update, released last June, rewards sites with higher-quality user experience cues, such as trusted security, improved page speed, mobile compatibility, and more. Marketers can check the Page Experience Report in Google Search Console to ensure that their content offers good experiences for international users.
Furthermore, marketers should focus on optimizing desirable activities among their international audiences: “For low-converting or converting content, it’s a good idea to test a range of cultural UX considerations on key landing pages, especially when you’re a new market and you’re not 100% sure. % of the best types of design elements to use depends on your target audience.Paying attention to text styles, color palettes, image types, and language used on your landing pages can help ensure your content is aligned with these new audience groups.
Improving the user experience with the language for an international audience
In international SEO, make sure technicals are aligned Marketers should work closely with developers when optimizing their content for international audiences, as ignoring technical issues can often derail campaigns. Start reviewing your site to see where you can improve your technical setup. Fill out this list for your developers to remove items.
We all know how important page speed is to your SEO and monetization efforts. We don’t want to waste media money sending someone to a site where they will inevitably bounce back. Tools like PageSpeed Insights (discussed below) can help marketers measure the performance of their sites based on Google’s core web fundamentals and recommended load times.
Page speed is not the only factor marketers need to consider
Looking at the international markets, the multilingual CMS and plugins have the ability to make or stop campaigns. These technology frameworks must be able to adapt to the researcher’s region and language to avoid bad experiences. The content management system and translation components can have a huge impact on how effective search campaigns are, and can affect the amount of optimization and testing. Depending on how the CMS and localization tools are built, you may not be able to fully optimize technical aspects and this may affect search performance.
At a minimum, marketers should use a content management system that allows them to set language and region information in the hreflang tag. This helps search engines understand linguistic and geographic context and, ultimately, deliver the most relevant results to your international audience. Our world is more connected than ever, and an increasing number of brands need to ensure that their content caters to searchers outside of their home markets. Ignoring international SEO considerations can result in wasted search efforts and missed opportunities.