ARTICLE: HOW TO RANK BETTER IN GOOGLE?
Growing the business internationally is a natural step in the life of a company and surely one that may keep founders awake at night. The Internet is often your golden ticket to grow globally, but do not rush into it before having defined an international Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.
Charlotte Prieur, Digital Marketing Consultant and a Beeleever, writes about this essential strategy.
On the Internet, trends come and go very quickly, but one is definitely here to stay. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been receiving a lot of attention in the past few years. It can be defined as the optimization of your website organic or natural ranking in the results of search engines such as Google. To give you an idea of its importance, organic traffic represents from 30% to 50% of website’s visits.
You may ask why ranking on top of search results is so important. Because 58% of internet users are going to click on the first 3 websites that appear on Google. This simple stat should put ranking on top of your priorities.
You wouldn’t launch on a new market without studying it first, right? The same happens with SEO, what means that a marketing strategy is needed on that front too. As many factors need to be thoroughly studied before jumping into it, we’ll talk about the most significant of them.
Figuring out what Works for You
Are you going to work on different websites or on just one? It depends! If you are targeting a specific country, you might want to create a specific website. If you are not sure, an English version might be the way to go. You have different options:
- Distinct domains, also called ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain): It means that you have to buy a different domain in each country and that you need to start from scratch each time. Google automatically recognizes the targeted language and country, which gives you a great base in terms of ranking. People also tend to trust more a local website. However, the strategy is time and money consuming.
Example: www. yourwebsite. it
- Subdomains: It only gives one main domain to work on. It is still local and remains less expensive than the first option. However, if you want to optimize it to its full potential, you need more technicalities when it comes to the use of linguistic and localization tags, like Hreflang and Canonical.
Example: it. yourwebsite. com
- Directories: This option allows to easily create different versions of the same website. Although it is the cheapest option, it is rarely advised in terms of SEO, due to its poor efficiency.
Example: www. yourwebsite. com/it
Don’t get Lost in Translation
Once again, are you targeting one country or multiple ones? In the first scenario, choosing the local language is strongly advised as it will build up trust in your company, products and/or services. If you are not sure or targeting several countries, working on an English version is usually the way to go.
About the language itself, remember that everything has to be translated and optimized. I really do mean everything. For instance, do not leave out the contact part or things that seem minor to you untranslated. In general, search engines aren’t huge fans of having multiple languages on one website, mixing them is not recommended for your ranking.
Translating is good, but adapting is better! When it comes to choosing keywords, don’t just translate the ones you are currently using in your home country. And if it isn’t for your local customers, do it for Google. If you want it to work its wonders, you have to adapt your content. There are lots of tools like Adwords or Keywords Planner to help in the choice of your keywords, with local suggestions.
Always keep in mind long tail SEO techniques. They consist in highly specific search terms (more than 2 words) that are going to make the difference at the end of the day. For example: if your company sells cookies, you would be tempted to use « cookies » as a keyword. But how about considering one of your products instead and going with « milk chocolate peanuts cookies ».
Entrepreneur, Meet Targeted Country
In order to be successful, you can’t just adapt the language, you have to think about the market, the culture and the use local people have of the internet. All those factors differ from one country to another, even from one region to another. In the U.S., targeting New York is going to be completely different from targeting Wisconsin. And for the language, a French-Canadian website is not going to do so well in France and vice versa.
It is also important to consider search engines. Yes, I have been talking about Google, it is everywhere but it doesn’t mean it is the only search engine. If you are planning on developing in China, you’d better get familiar with Baidu which represents 80% of the market share. Study your market and take into account the specificities of the principal search engines. For instance, and on the contrary to Google, Baidu uses the meta-keywords in its SEO as well as mobile optimization.
No one will ever say it enough: CONTENT IS KEY. It is the one thing that is as true in any country, no matter which search engine is the most used. Adding new content on a regular basis is one of the essential step in working on your long-term SEO. And, of course, being on social media helps! Not only for your online presence but for your ranking, as you will be using netlinking strategies. And that is as technical as we will get today.
Last word of advice: always keep in mind that creating a SEO strategy takes time and perseverance. For small companies, it is an investment, but you should really consider making it. Results will not appear overnight, but they will be worthwhile in the future. Even with no-immediate effects, SEO is still considered the most efficient and durable promotion action for a company.
If it gets overwhelming, you can always ask for someone’s help!