Expanding to the global market is pretty much the goal of every business. However, this business growth path is a long and demanding one. Not to mention the fact that expanding internationally requires an entirely different approach than what you used to conquer your local market.
Furthermore, the international market is much more crowded and competitive than your local market as well. So, what can you do to succeed in such an environment? Simply put, you need SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
That's all well and fine, but international SEO strategies differ from what you're already familiar with. After all, you're now targeting multiple markets and multiple audiences, which requires a whole new approach to SEO.
Fortunately, it's not as difficult as you might imagine as long as you know what you're doing. Many businesses make the mistake of neglecting some important rules, which results in failed strategies and marketing campaigns. With that in mind, here's an international SEO guide that will allow you to expand to the global market more efficiently.
Restructuring your website
Your website is the core of your SEO strategy. Since you're expanding internationally, you'll have to ensure that your website can handle international SEO as well. That often means restructuring your website completely.
The main reason is that you'll need to cater to local audiences in foreign counties. Your goal is to make your website SEO-friendly in both your local market and in the foreign one. That includes tinkering and tweaking your website so that it's properly optimized. That said, here are a few things you should do.
Opt for relevant ccTLDs (Country-Code Top Level Domains, such as .co.uk, .au, .fr etc.)
Translate content to a foreign language.
Try to host your website locally if possible. If not, use CDN (Content Delivery Network).
Make sure your website functionality and performance can support additional international traffic.
Leverage on-site SEO to ensure everything is well-optimized.
Expand your keyword list
Even though you're targeting a foreign audience with similar interest and preferences as your local audience, it doesn't mean that foreign consumers behave the same way your customers do. As far as you know, your foreign audience may search for the same thing very differently.
That's why it's important to expand your keyword list to include keyword your foreign audience commonly uses. This, however, may be quite an endeavor to take on. You might need to enlist the aid of local agencies to help you with the keyword research.
Therefore, if your target is Sydney in Australia, you might want to look up agencies specializing in Sydney SEO. This will save you a lot of time and resources on local keyword research. It's better to find someone who knows the local audience well. That way, you won't risk making a crucial mistake. Once you get a hold of all the relevant keywords your foreign audience uses, you can start implementing them into your content.
Content is king regardless of which international market you may be targeting. However, content has to be properly adjusted so that it meets the needs and expectations of your foreign audience. Furthermore, your content needs to remain highly relevant, educational, informative and entertaining, even more so than what you used for your local audience.
The main reason is that you have to make an extra effort to win over a foreign audience. After all, you can't expect them to start trusting a foreign company right from the very start. That's why your content needs to be well-optimized in accordance with international SEO standards.
But before you can do that, you'll have to research your foreign audience so that you can understand their needs, preferences and demands, among other things. You already have the necessary keywords. All that remains is to pick the right topics and start creating original content your foreign audience will enjoy.
Aside from content, the most important signal for international SEO is backlink quality. You have to build authority and credibility for your website now that there's an international version of it. You may retain the majority of ranking signals from your existing website, but that's not always enough to actually succeed in the foreign market.
In other words, you'll have to build more links from scratch. The main difference is that your content will need reliable backlinks from credible local sources. Therefore, you'll have to reach out to local websites, bloggers and webmasters so that you can negotiate guest posts and backlinks for your website or blog.
This will not only help you gain trust from the local consumers but also ensure more visibility, awareness, exposure and influence for your website. You'll have to do everything you did in your local market all over again, but this time it's an entirely different environment from what you're used to.
International SEO follows the same principles as any other SEO strategy. However, there are a lot of different factors you have to take into account if you want to be successful in the foreign market. It might feel like you're starting from scratch, but that's what it takes to conquer the world with international SEO.