You’ve had a good SEO marketing campaign and are seeing the kind of results you planned for in the national campaign. Now you’re considering channeling your efforts wider to a regional and even international audience. There’s a lot to be considered before you can settle on how best to run your international SEO campaign, but one thing is clear, you must have a detailed foundational plan.
The world is much bigger than the ‘us and them’ mentality most of us approach it with. Each market, no matter how small, is a diverse ecosystem of people, tastes and cultures. This is even truer for an international marketing campaign, meaning that the one-size-fits-all approach will hardly cut it. What you can do, however, is divide your target region into smaller sections and design a strategy to work with each at a time.
Choosing the market is also tricky business. You have an advantage if you already had a good number of international traffic since this will give you an idea where to begin. If you don’t, extensive research, plus good old brain power can help you settle where your products and services will be well accepted.
Personal preference will largely dictate how you go about setting up and running international sites – selection of local domains vs. sub domains or some combination where visitors to the main site are redirected to their relevant sub domain, much like how Google does it with Google.com.
The trick is to maintain consistency however you decide to go about it and with your site architecture as well. Where you need to have different versions for different languages accessed in one country, be sure they are placed in locations that are easy to find. Also, the sub folders for the different versions should be arranged within the larger folder in a sensible way so that they can be understood at a glance.
Every region/country is likely to have its own set of keywords, which may be totally different from the keywords you used for your local and national SEO. Different countries have different search structures determined by content and nativity, thus the importance of fresh keyword analysis for each region cannot be overemphasized.
Even better, develop contact with native speakers to help you develop SEO strategy for that particular region. You can also use international keyword tools or SEO companies in the locality and enlist their help in developing your campaign.
Common sense dictates competitor analysis when you’re looking to venture into a new market, just like you did when you started the business. Examine their marketing strategies and price structures to get a sense of the behavior of your new audience. Sure, you may not get a red-carpet welcome into the market, but you don’t need that to learn from them and their ways.
Take note of any differences in advertising language, tone, product packaging etc. and try to find out why it’s being done differently. Pay close attention of who you hope to make an impact in your new market, and gain for your business a healthy piece of the ‘pie’.