The latest UK economic news may be gloomy, but more companies are discovering the benefits of online marketing overseas. Translating your website is the first step – but it’s not much use if no one can find it. That’s where international search engine marketing comes in, helping your unique services stand out from the crowd.
This might seem daunting at first, but the good news is, there’s a lot less competition in other languages. An estimated 50 to 80 per cent of all web content is in English, yet more than half of Google searches are in other languages. This means it’s much easier to climb the search engine rankings in Chinese, Russian or Portuguese.
The secrets of success include researching your target market – and not underestimating the power of local knowledge.
First, research keywords
It’s not always as simple as translating your keywords from English. Do German holidaymakers tend to search for “Hotel”, “Gasthof” or “Ferienziel”? Multilingual SEO specialists can help you find the most commonly searched-for keywords in your target language. It’s best to bear these in mind at the beginning, so they can be slotted effortlessly into your website.
Localise, localise, localise!
Don’t just assume a German website will work equally well for the Austrian market. It’s best to localise websites for each country, not just each language. Just as US English differs from UK English, French Canadian is not exactly the same as the French spoken in France. Employing native-speaking localisation experts can ensure cultural references are right, and the website has an authentic feel.
Identify search engines
Google may dominate in much of the English-speaking world, but that’s not the case everywhere. Most Chinese users prefer a homegrown product, Baidu, while the market leader in South Korea is Naver. In Russia, Yandex is the key player, while the Japanese prefer Yahoo. A basic understanding of how they work will help determine your international search engine marketing strategy. For example, Baidu pays less attention to in-bound links than Google.
Building links to other websites
For many search engines, building links to high-profile websites will help improve your rankings. It’s best to target local links, in the country and language you’re working in. Start with web directories and relevant industry sites – and remember quality is more important than quantity!