Web localization is a powerful tool and when used right can create a strong presence in countries both near and far. That’s why creating the best online experience lies at the heart of many global marketing strategies. There’s so much more to web localization than what was mentioned before; this includes the use of techniques such as, but not limited to: SEO and geo-targeting to accomplish the goals.
International SEO: What Does it do?
Every search engine available on the internet uses an algorithm to rank the shown results for every given search. A perfectly optimized website will have the right blend between the usage of keywords and natural flowing content; these will also have a lot of natural backlinks. When planning to implement SEO, the key components you need to take into consideration are: building quality natural backlinks to your website, anchoring text in those backlinks and on page optimization. However, multilingual sites tend to obtain better search results on any search engine since they provide information in different languages, having the searches in each given language land on the same site.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in any search engine’s unpaid results. This is one of the main concerns of any enterprise when trying to position themselves in the market. The only problem being that not all search engines are alike or show the same results, so an understanding of how and where customers across the globe search is a must. For example, Google has a 70% search rate in the US; outside the US however, the picture is very different with google accounting for less than 50% of total searches.
We strive to understand the behaviors of the different search engines across the globe, such as Yandex, Baidu, Naver and others. This is an important step because not all of them work as google does, for example: Google focuses on link quality, where Baidu focuses on quantity. Even more, Google sorts links by type, Naver however, delivers universal results putting everything on one long scroll page.
Understanding and Tailoring Your SEO Experience.
To get started with International SEO, the first critical decision is to decide what kind of website is going to be offered to the customers, there being three options to choose from:
Multi-regional: Geared towards users that speak the same dialects but live in different countries. A country code top level domain (ccTLD) is advised here, for example: .au for Australia.
Multi-Lingual: For users in different countries that speak different languages like Europe. A generic top level domain (gTLD) is advised to avoid any specific country determination, such as: .com, .info.
Hybrid: Aimed for users across different countries, some of whom may speak the same language. A gTLD with country or language specific subdirectories.
These are very important aspects that need to be taken into consideration when planning a website; remember, it’s easier to apply SEO if you plan for it rather than applying at the end. One big advantage of using ccTLD is that users believe they show information relevant to their country, making the trust factor high. A ccTLD approach makes it easy to separate sites and send search engines a strong geo-targeting signal, which makes server locations less relevant.
However, there are several disadvantages to take into consideration. Depending on local restrictions, not all business can gain access to a ccTLD. Besides, ccTLD domains are not always available for each location you operate. Also, this route is very expensive because of additional infrastructure and site maintenance demands. Despite this, most SEO experts recommend the ccTLD for global website optimization. A perfect example of this would be Amazon; not only using different domains, but changing language, currencies and product grouping to match local norms.
The Goal of Correct SEO Application on Your Sites.
As mentioned before, search engines work on a constantly changing algorithm that ranks sites and results; it also tracks the language used for the search. When a set of keywords gets inputted in the engine, it first determines the language used and then organizes the results based on that language, keywords used, relevance, and relation between content and keywords and some other parameters; this is why language services as a whole are so important. When a site is correctly localized and optimized, the search engines algorithms will give them a priority over poorly optimized or single language sites as a multi-lingual site can cover more people’s needs: this in exchange returns a better positioning on the search ranking at an international level.
For the most part, consistency is key when dealing with SEO for a website. It’s important to pick a solution and sticking to it if you want to get the maximum out of any SEO campaign. If global reach is one of your company’s objectives, then a proper SEO campaign, accompanied by a quality global localization service will be the key to success in the international market.