SEO: International

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SEO: International

How do I optimize my website for different search engines?

High-quality content, website architecture and metadata is important for all search engines. However, each search engine has its own differences. For example, Bing places more of an emphasis on exact match keywords instead of semantics, which you see with Google. Brands that want to rank well on both search engines should have a combination of exact keywords as well as semantic matches to meet the needs of both search engines.

How do I target my country for SEO?

On a global scale, each brand wants to first precisely optimize for the search engine that is prominent in that particular country. For many countries, Google is the most common search engine, however, there are still countries that use their own search engines, including Russia (Yandex), China (Baidu) and South Korea (Naver). Upon optimizing in its domestic country, you can then begin to optimize your site in the country of your choice.

What you do not want to do is optimize content by translating it, you need to put an emphasis on working with a native language speaker regardless of the country you target. Different cultures have different ways of describing a particular pain point and these words may not be a direct translation of the terms and vocabulary used in the United States, as an example. Ideally, you are obtaining content written by someone in the country itself, as only they can produce the high-quality content that search engines want to see in that language.

How to optimize for content in other countries?

To create content that is developed and highly optimized for people in other countries, you will want to make sure that you fully understand the needs and vocabulary of the local population, which requires working with local, native speakers. So, a U.S. company wanting to expand its presence in Malaysia will want to work with people in Malaysia to optimize its content, and if a Malaysian company wants to expand its operations in the U.S., it will similarly want to work with native U.S. speakers to optimize its content on their website. 

Optimizing content for people in other countries requires a firm understanding of this concept. 

If this is not an option, you will want to conduct market research of the target population within the country. You want to know their pain points, obstacles, channels they use to find solutions and what vocabulary they use throughout this entire process. Due to this necessary intimacy with the language and the culture of the prospective customers, it is not uncommon to spend a minimum of 6 months living in the country to begin to understand these concepts. People who speak the language but live elsewhere may be able to help with translating, but they will not be able to see the buyer’s journey, which is what you need to understand in order to successfully sell your product or service in another country in the most optimal and cost-effective way.

After this, the content should also be properly structured for international audiences, meaning your hreflang tags need to be set up for the correct language and country. 

If you’re optimizing content for other countries, here are some tips to get your started on specific search engines:

  • Baidu: For Baidu, be very familiar with local contact information, title tags, meta descriptions, meta-keywords, alt-tags, and H tags to rank in their SERPs.
  • Yandex: Spiders crawl websites more slowly than Google does and ranking takes longer. Yandex considers user behavior, domain age, and fresh content as a ranking factor.
  • Naver: Like Google, you must sign up with the search engine and create accounts to appear in their SERPs. You need to write copy in Korean, submit relevant categories, and use basic on-page SEO best practices including semantically related Korean keywords, to rank in their SERPs.

Building an international marketing strategy

When you begin to build your international marketing strategy and presence, you will also find that your competitors change. As you begin to build your site and optimize content for people in different countries, take into account the local competitors. This will likely require considerable market research for your precise area, but it will empower you to determine exactly who your content must compete against. This will, in turn, help you create an improved optimization strategy targeted at this precise region.

Optimizing content for people in other countries can help you build a strong content strategy as you work to engage customers overseas.

Related: Understanding Search Engines
Related: Hreflang tag