9th August 2013
Tips for International SEO – Part 1: Tips 1-5
If you are looking to attract visitors from a number of different countries, then you need to make sure that your website is optimised for a range of international users. Follow our tips on International SEO to ensure that your website isn’t limited to users in just one country.
1 – Note cultural differences in keyword usage.
Most importantly is that you know which keywords to target, when trying to attract visitors from other countries. Whilst your website may bring in plenty of visitors from your country of origin, it may not perform so well for others who don’t use the same terminology as you. For example, many people from the UK and USA speak the same language. However, when looking for charity work, a user from the UK may search for ‘charity jobs’, whilst a user from the USA is more likely to search for ‘non-profit jobs’. Do your research on keywords and terminology – it’s definitely worth the effort.
2 – Reflect the different currencies being used by your international visitors.
If you are attracting users from different countries and are running an e-commerce website, then the currency being displayed needs to reflect that. Visitors are rarely going to be aware of current conversion rates and the easier you can make a transaction for them, the better. When most people come across a website listing a different currency to their own, and without an option to alter currency, they will assume that the website in question doesn’t operate in their currency / geographical location. Make sure your website is accessible for all of your target audience.
3 – Remember that Google isn’t the only search engine.
Although internet users within the UK regularly rely upon Google when carrying out online searches, other countries may not follow the same pattern. For example, users in China tend to prefer the search engine Baidu. Russia leans towards Yandex, whilst Japan appears to favour Yahoo!. Make sure that you spend time researching the preferred search engine within the countries you are targeting – you may find some useful tips on optimising web content for each of them.
4 – Geo target your website(s).
If you have multiple domains or sub-domains for each different geographical location you are targeting, then make sure that Google and other search engines are aware of the location associated with each. You can use Google Webmaster Tools to configure your geographical target for each website or domain, so that it knows which audience should see which site. You can also use your Sitemap.xml file to implement ‘hreflang’ on each individual page.
5 – Check your rankings to see how your SEO is performing.
You need to know where your website sits within the Search Engine Rankings, in order to know whether your SEO strategy requires extra work. Even if you’re not situated within the country you are targeting, you can still check your rankings for that particular location. The first option is to use a proxy server – this hides your current whereabouts and allows you to browse websites as if you are within a different location. This therefore allows you to access search engines as though you are from a different country – in turn enabling you to see search engine results from another geographical location. The second option is to add parameters to Google search. For example, if you want to see how well your website is ranking for ‘SEO’ in Spain, you simply use the URL: http://google.es/search?q= SEO. ‘Google.es’ indicates that you are using the Spanish version of Google. ‘Google.co.uk’ of course references Google within the UK. For a complete list of Google domains, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_domains
For more information on International SEO, check back regularly.