International SEO strategy – 5 Pitfalls to Avoid

Wifi

SEO Pitfalls

SEO is a tricky business, whatever level you are doing it at. It is based on extremely simple principles, but the technical elements involved are complex and often misunderstood. International SEO campaigns take this to the next level, bringing even more confusing factors which can be hard to put into practice successfully.

If carried out correctly, international SEO can deliver fantastic results and open your business up to a worldwide market. However, there are many pitfalls which need to be avoided to achieve maximum success.

5 of these key pitfalls are highlighted below:

Translation
– It’s crucial to do keyword research for the international market with a native speaker so you can identify specific phrases which are suitable for the target market, rather than just translating your English keywords into the relevant language.

In many cases, simple translation won’t actually mimic search behaviour in different languages so you need to start from scratch with any new market. This also goes for your website copy – invest in producing quality copy in each native language, not just translating the copy used on the English version of your site.

Content Strategy
– If you’re planning to attack a wide range of markets which use different languages then your content strategy needs to lead the way, not be an afterthought. If it gets forgotten about then it can lead to a big hit on the budget when you realise that you need to create hundreds of pieces of content in different languages.

It’s surprising how many companies think that creating your website’s copy in English and then feeding it through a translation system will suffice. If that’s you, then you need to think again…

Overlooking Local Links
– Many companies embark on an international campaign thinking that they can rely on creating content and pages which target a particular country or language and powering that off the strength of their domestic link profile. Wrong. If you want to rank in specific countries you’ll need to incorporate a link building campaign which acquires links in that market.

You’ll need links on TLDs of that country and on pages which use the target language. Without that, you’ll rarely gain search success internationally.

Using Analytics to Choose New Targets
Google Analytics is a fantastic source of data and can be used to shape many business decisions. However, it can sometimes be misleading, particularly when looking into potential new markets to target with your international campaign.

For example, you may see visitors coming from a particular country and think you can increase that number with a new, targeted section of the site. However, people in that country are already finding you, and it may be that their search habits are already in tune with searching in English.

Likewise, there may be a country which isn’t finding your business at all as they only search in their native language and so have no presence in Analytics, but are a huge potential market if you had an SEO campaign in place targeting that language.

Analytics wouldn’t highlight either of these scenarios, and as such shouldn’t necessarily be used in this case to drive business decisions. Focus your efforts in instead on market research and keyword research in different countries and languages.

Lack of Research
– Following on from the previous point, in depth research is key to the success of an international SEO campaign, and is often the root cause of failure on this front. Take the time to carry out thorough, global market research to highlight where there is the most significant demand for your product.

Once you’ve established those target markets, carry out thorough keyword research in the native language using native people to do it so all nuances and opportunities are picked up. Only then can you start to look at on site updates and potential link building campaigns on an international scale.

Avoid these major pitfalls and you should find yourself on the way to a successful international SEO campaign. It’s a long road, but if you take the first steps in the right direction, all you’ve got to do is keep on walking.

Image Credits:DocPOP

Article by Tom Mcloughlin

Tom has written 2 articles.

You can follow webtrafficroi on Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter here. Subscribe to WebTrafficROI feed via RSS or EMAIL to receive instant updates.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Becca April 17, 2012, 10:43 pm

    I’m glad this post could help you define where do you need to focus on. But it’s what we think helps us the most. We all act differently and either way could help someone become better and achieve their goals.

  • Jasmine April 17, 2012, 11:21 pm

    I have not seriously done any international SEO on any of my websites, but this article look really interesting and international SEO does sound great to pursue further. Will do more study on this.

    The 5 pitfalls definitely need to be avoided!

  • Aasma April 18, 2012, 2:53 am

    Hey Tom,

    Informative article, I think targeting native keywords is real challenge as generally you don’t have enough knowledge about it. Plus building links from targeted region is also very difficult task, which is really crucial to rank on local search engines.

  • Goa trip April 18, 2012, 3:26 am

    Yes no doubt in that we need to continue it because if we will make a little mistake in SEO then it could be prove costly for us and in that Keyword research is very important part on which we target our site if keywords will not perfect then there is no use for SEO for our site/blog.

  • Nanvy @ CRM Software Solutions April 18, 2012, 5:23 am

    It’s always good to get the way directly on which you want to achieve your destination. SEO, really, is the process where one needs to confirm which are the factors he / she should avoid or go on.

  • Roof Painting April 19, 2012, 1:41 am

    Seo is a tricky business especially when there are alot of sharks out there.An seo course would be great.

  • Brentwood Newsletter April 21, 2012, 11:16 pm

    This is a very interesting information, we must have SEO strategies to avoid us from falling down. And in order for us to succeed not to be failed or to be a loser.

  • What is SEO April 22, 2012, 11:20 pm

    I think targeting native keywords is real challenge as generally you don’t have enough knowledge about it.

  • Funny JPG April 22, 2012, 11:21 pm

    I think targeting native keywords is real challenge as generally you don’t have enough knowledge about it!

  • Digital Agency Dublin April 23, 2012, 6:53 am

    Over optimization is also a thing to avoid in SEO. With Google’s new strategy about overly optimized sites, it is clear that sites with over optimization and irrelevant back links may face serious problems on future.

  • Md Imran Mondal April 26, 2012, 10:32 pm

    First of all a blogger have to add attractive post so that visitor does not feel bore and they will come again and again . So update your blog regularly and build natural link for seo advantage. Thank you