How to do SEO in English and how is it different from your local activities? Why is it worth delegating foreign or international SEO processes to native SEO agencies and how to recognize the most professional ones?
One of the greatest merits of online marketing is the fact that it doesn’t care about national differences. Any company can freely devise its campaign for Western, European, Russian, or Asian markets. This gives huge possibilities, even to relatively small businesses. On the other hand, there are several elements and issues that need to be taken into account if you want to ensure the success of your online marketing campaign. The list includes a thorough analysis of local search engine versions. Each of them has various requirements that affect the results of the English SEO process. So what should you know about the SEO industry in the UK, considered to be one of the most demanding markets?
Typical English persons in the online world. SEO in the UK
One of the most surprising and atypical things about the Brits is that they choose search engines different than Google much more frequently than most nations. According to the data from June 2020, 86.36 percent of UK residents use the Californian giant (and its dedicated UK version – google.co.uk) to browse the net.
Bing with 9.72 percent comes second in the ranking and Yahoo with 2.19 percent of the market share is third. Other search engines like MSN, DuckDuckGo and Ask Jeeves attract less than 0.8 percent of users. The takeaway is quite simple – when doing SEO in the UK, you shouldn’t focus only on Google. It’s worth taking into account the requirements and indexing scripts of Bing and Yahoo as well.
The power of mobile devices
Another issue that SEO professionals specializing in the English market should keep in mind is the possibility of browsing the web on mobile devices. This aspect is particularly important as already in 2015 more than half of Google searches were performed on smartphones and tablets.
Consequently, it’s worth taking some time to ensure that your page displays well on various mobile devices. Any technical problems may lead to decreasing your website position. Mobile-friendliness is particularly important due to the implementation of the Mobile-First Index at the beginning of 2018. This index promotes websites with proper mobile versions.
Entering the UK market necessitates becoming familiar with a specific user profile. It shouldn’t be surprising that young people use the Internet most frequently. As many as 99% of people aged 16-24 are active Internet users. However, a more important piece of information is the fact that as the age increases, the number of people who regularly browse the network decreases. 71% of UK residents over 65 years old and only 30% of 75 years old Brits browse the net regularly.
SEO in the United Kingdom – the know-how list
- Adjust the content of your website to the location. Make sure that the page displays appropriate time zone information and that the currency (if you run an online store or offer services) or shipment information (does your store have warehouses abroad or is an international shipment a necessity?) is complete and adapted to the market. A properly optimized website should display relevant local addresses, phone numbers and other contact details.
- Linguistic correctness. It’s obvious that doing SEO in the UK is a must if you want to enter the British market. However, it’s less obvious that Google sees a significant difference between American and British English. Therefore, if the UK market is your target, remember about certain vocab differences such as writing “honour” instead of “honor” or “through” instead of “thru”.
- Website code. The way your page is designed is also relevant. It’s not recommended to include scripts or cookies in the URL of the website where you want to implement alternate language versions. Such an update isn’t noticed by Google robots.
Content is king? Indeed, but it’s not everything you need. The effectiveness of the SEO process in the UK isn’t determined solely by the content and its dialect. It’s very beneficial if your website has a local IP which means taking advantage of local web hosting services. This way, search engines are able to geolocate your page. So how to find the right host provider? For this purpose, we can use the list of 10 top UK website hosting services prepared by Techradar. Using a local hosting server reduces page loading and request/response time. This, in turn, translates into a lower bounce rate, meaning situations when users, impatient with waiting, give up browsing the site.
- Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD). This means the letters usually found after a dot at the end of a website address. When doing SEO in a given country, the ccTLD should correspond to the domain of that region (source: https://moz.com/learn/seo/cctlds). In the case of the United Kingdom, the domain extension is .co.uk. The .gb extension, which may be known to some Internet users, is considered obsolete and isn’t used anymore. The main advantage of using the local ccTLD is its effectiveness – the appropriate country-specific domain will geolocate your site in a selected area. If your website has the co.uk extension, Google will automatically rank it on the UK market. However, it’s also possible to provide this information manually in Google Search Console.
The main disadvantage of choosing the co.uk domain is the need to have adequate financial resources – choosing this country-code top-level domain is paid, however, the market is so competitive that you can select a favorable offer (it shouldn’t cost more than £10-15 for the first year).
- External links. Every SEO process, including the English one, revolves around building a quality database of external links. In case of international SEO, it’s worth making sure that you obtain links also from local platforms. SEO professionals appreciate the possibility of adding entries to website directories. Obviously, you can benefit from the English directories, however, most of them are paid (quite a lot). To find the directories, you can use the links from these pages:
If you plan to go international, you need to remember that each and every market is different and unique – not only in terms of language differences. Take into consideration cultural diversities, habits, user needs, or methods of making purchasing decisions. Something that works well in one place may be a total disaster in the other. A thorough analysis of the target market and industry is the real key to effective SEO. The situation is no different in the case of the British market and we experienced it while working for Faretti, a manufacturer of elevator shoes for men. The SEO process required us to show quality research skills, to conduct a thorough analysis of the market and customer needs and, finally, to devise an accurate list of long-tail keywords based on the acquired data. As far as the Faretti website is concerned, we encountered a huge mistake that may have effectively hindered the process of building page traffic – inadequate units of measurement. The height of the shoe elevator was given in centimeters and as you probably know, the Brits use inches. Therefore, we offered a modification that allowed us to increase the visibility of phrases related to the target units of measurement.
Doing English SEO in Poland. Is the game worth the candle?
In the Internet era, the relentless exchange of knowledge and skills is a fact. Thanks to it, both Polish and English SEO specialists can have a similar level of expertise. However, the differences concern individual national markets and their approaches to SEO activities. In this respect, the UK SEO industry is truly outstanding.
In the UK, the process of planning an SEO strategy is an indispensable part of every website development. And this rule applies to almost every company that wants to go online as nowadays a lack of online existence may lead to a business disaster.
The bottom line is that doing SEO in English is a must if a given company wants to enter the UK market. For Polish SEO specialists, it’s a great development opportunity, for businesses wishing to start their English adventure it’s a way to save a lot of money as Polish agencies may turn out to be a much cheaper alternative.
Even a brief look at the SEO market rates in the UK shows that the price can be a serious argument – the average costs vary between £800 and £1000 per month (source: https://www.seopremo.co.uk/the-average-cost-of-seo-services/).
Moreover, various methods known to English SEO specialists are also frequently associated with additional costs – being listed in company directories or guest blogging is paid (and sometimes costs an arm and a leg). All of these make the UK market even more attractive for Polish SEO agencies. Succeeding in the British SEO market is certainly a big challenge.
SEO in the UK: the take-home message
Doing SEO in the UK is based mainly on modifying website content and code in a way that ensures that search engine robots recognize it as an English page. To achieve this goal, it’s essential to take into consideration factors such as the ccTLD domain, the IP address, the linguistic correctness of the content, and the database of external links that should come mostly from English websites.
If entering the British market is your business objective, you should delegate all SEO activities to companies that already have some expertise in this field. Doing SEO in the UK usually means high competitiveness and numerous challenges faced by foreign SEO specialists.