Doing global SEO for your website is not entirely different from performing your regular SEO strategy. However, to succeed in global SEO, you have to do more beyond the ordinary, such as optimizing for your target audience’s language and country.
Today, we’ll talk about the best actionable global SEO strategy and tips for your website in 2020. Make sure to keep on reading, so you don’t miss a thing in learning how to do global SEO and in strengthening the SEO plan for your site.
Let’s get started.
Here are the 8 Actionable Global SEO Tips in 2020:
- Identify the Language or Country that You Want to Target
- Structure Your URL to Become Global SEO Friendly
- Use Hreflang Attributes for Your Global SEO Strategy
- Don’t Forget About Global SEO Keyword Research
- Optimize Your Content for the Regions You Will Target
- Get to Know Your Target Audience
- Don’t Ignore Other Search Engine Players
- Other Relevant SEO Tips to Remember
Now, before we dig deeper into each of these tips that will help you strengthen your SEO strategy globally, let’s make sure that we know precisely what global SEO is.
What is Global SEO?
Global SEO is the method of optimizing the content in your website for multiple locations and audiences around the globe.
It requires not much of a difference to your SEO strategy right now, except that you will need to publish content that will work in different languages that your target audience speak, and for regions where your website visitors come from, and most notably, for the most popular search engines in such region or country.
In essence, search results appear differently for users in China that generally utilize Baidu, or searchers in Russia that prefer Yandex, or search users in Japan who mostly use Yahoo and searchers in South Korea who are avid fans of the search engine Naver.
So, these differences in search results and search engines, in particular, mean that your global SEO efforts must not just focus on optimizing your website for Google even though the big G is the leading search engine worldwide.
However, don’t fret about having to learn the algorithms of all the existing search engines because your SEO plan should still depend on the language, region, or country of your target audience.
Let’s say that you sell dried mangoes online and you source your products as well as operate your business in Japan, Russia, France, and Spain, but your local market is in the USA. Your global SEO strategy should mainly include optimizing for the countries involved as well as optimizing for the keyword “dried mangoes” in their languages.
In Japan, you will have to optimize for 乾燥マンゴー
In Russia, you will have to optimize for сушеные манго
In France, you will have to optimize for mangues séchées
In Spain, you will have to optimize for mangos secos
In your local market in the USA, you would still optimise for the keyword “dried mangoes.”
In a nutshell, global SEO is the method of optimizing your website and content so that the search engines can quickly determine which countries you’re targeting and which languages you are using for your products and services.
Most importantly, it is a method of connecting to your target audience with your content despite the difference in location and language.
Now, here’s how you do global SEO:
1. Determine the Countries or Languages that You Want to Target First
In order to make your global SEO efforts successful, you have to do your research first – where are your products and services most wanted?
You see, it is crucial to do your homework – this is one of the most vital steps in your global SEO strategy. You can start by looking at the tabs for Language and Location in the Geo option in your Google Analytics account. Take note of the languages and countries that are converting well on your website, especially if you’re already doing business internationally.
But if you’re not yet transacting globally, you can still use the information from the Language and Location tabs – take note of the users’ behaviour, especially the clicks, engagement, and time they spend on your site.
Often, a country like Brazil converts better than more affluent countries like the United States. So, in SEO global, you can never assume that if a country is bigger or richer, it will convert well.
Seeing where your traffic is coming from can really pay dividends. So, you might want to start looking at your Google Analytics.
Study the Competition
Researching your competition can be as vital as researching the kind of traffic that you get to your website in terms of language and location.
You can quickly uncover your competition’s global SEO secrets by looking for the hreflang tags in their site through the source code – we’ll talk about hreflang tags later. So, keep on reading.
Or you can use a tool like SEMrush – pop their site’s URL, look for the highlighted countries to see the regions where they rank well.
2. Plan Your Site’s URL Structure for Your Global SEO
Once you’ve determined the right countries to target, you can employ a few URL structures to come up with good international sites or web pages.
These global SEO URL structures commonly include:
- ccTLD (country code Top-Level-Domain)
- gTLD (generic Top-Level Domain) with language parameters
ccTLD, as described by Google, uses two-letter codes to tell the search engines and site visitors in which country a site is registered.
- driedmangoes.us (for a United States-registered site)
- driedmangoes.uk (for a United Kingdom-registered site)
- driedmangoes.jp (for a Japan-registered site)
- Sends a clear signal to the search engines
- Helps better in ranking well locally
- The most expensive URL structure to maintain
- Each global site would have to keep different domain authority
When you implement a subdomain in your URL structure, your web content will be placed on a different “third-level domain” that can or cannot receive or transfer “link juice” to the root or primary domain.
- driedmangoes.com (for content optimized for audiences in the United States)
- driedmangoes.com (for content optimized for audiences in the United Kingdom)
- driedmangoes.com (for content optimized for audiences in Japan)
- Cheaper and easier to maintain than ccTLDs
- Sends a weaker signal to search engines than ccTLDs and subdirectories
- May also weaken domain authority
- May route users to international sites because of the language preference they have in default, but most users prefer to browse locally
When you use subdirectories in your URL structure, your web page content will be placed under a specific subfolder or subdirectory in the root or main domain.
- driedmangoes.com/us (for content dedicated to website visitors from the United States)
- driedmangoes.com/uk (for content dedicated to website visitors from the United Kingdom)
- driedmangoes.com/jp (for content dedicated to website visitors from Japan)
- Easier and cheaper to maintain than ccTLDs
- Unites domain authority from and to the root domain
- Sends a weaker signal to search engines than ccTLDs
- Might direct users to global sights because of the country and language they have in default, but most users would choose to browse locally
gTLD with Language Parameters
General Top-Level Domains such as .org, .info, .com, .edu, .biz, and .net are often used to target different types of global audiences based mainly on the language they speak. So, gTLD is often appended with language parameters.
- driedmangoes.com/?lang=en-us (for site visitors that speak or use American English)
- driedmangoes.com/?lang=en-gb (for site visitors that speak or use British English)
- driedmangoes.com/?lang=en-ca (for site visitors that speak or use Canadian English)
3. Utilise Hreflang Attributes for an Effective Global SEO Strategy
Hreflang attributes or tags will help you to let Google and other search engines know about the language you’re using on a particular web page – through this; the search engines will be able to show your page to users searching the language you’ve attributed.
Now, you might think that this attribute is similar to the URL structure of gTLD with language parameters, but hreflang is a tag that goes to the source code of your web page.
link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”en-us” />
So, you use hreflang tags so that you can tell Google and other search engines which web page version to show for each country or language.
Watch this video to learn more about how hreflang attributes work:
4. Do Global SEO Keyword Research
When you do keyword research for your global SEO strategy, remember that if a few keywords are popular in one language, it does not always mean that they are also popular in different languages.
Remember the different search terms you would have to optimize for if your business operates in various countries such as the United States, Japan, Russia, France, and Spain? Apparently, they don’t speak the same language and will most likely not use the same search terms in browser search and voice search.
Now, you might also want to target branded keywords or search queries.
If you see in your Google Analytics account that a significant amount of traffic comes from different countries or people using different languages, it’s high time to search for branded keywords and queries that you can rank for, and no one else can. Because it is highly unlikely for your competitors to use keywords with your brand, right?
Pro Tip: Choose the keywords that have high search volumes but low search and paid competitions.
You might also want to check the keyword research tools by other search engines such as Yandex Wordstat if you’re trying to target search users in a particular country that prefer Yandex as a search engine – for example, Russia.
5. Localise Your Web Pages Content to Reach the Regions that You Want to Target
“You keep on talking about other languages, but I only speak English!” There’s no problem – if your finances will allow, and since you’re going global, you should hire translators.
You see, translating and adjusting your content to each country or language speaker you want to target is a must if you want your global SEO plan to succeed. You can do so by hiring native speakers of the language you’re targeting on websites like Upwork.
But be careful, you should get an editor or translator who knows your local market, speaks both English and the local language that you’re trying to target, and has a significant understanding of your industry or niche.
It’s vital to have translators and editors that have a profound understanding of the content that you need translating, the market that you’re targeting, and the goals that you have for your business.
“But why spend a significant amount of money on human translators when there are tools online that can automatically translate for me?”
Right – these online translation tools are easy-to-use and easy-to-access. Still, none has the capacity to translate a whole piece of content that can accurately relay your message and connect to your target audience who are all humans.
You don’t want to have 100 articles translated into different languages, only to discover that they are all rubbish in quality, so you’d have to have them redone by a human translator. That’s time and money down the drain.
Unlike in the West, you can’t talk to seniors as your equal. If you do, it’ll surely discourage your audience from giving your business a shot, especially if they know that you are a younger person.
Also, in Japan, colors and numbers have different meanings. For example, selling products in packs of nine or four is highly frowned upon – Japanese people see this practice as ominous. And you can’t give or sell white flowers like lilies and lotus unless you’re in the funeral industry.
So, if you have an e-commerce store and you target Japanese people, but your items in your web pages are sold in packs of nine or four, you will definitely have a high bounce rate – this will then signal the search engines that your page is not good enough for your target audience.
Another thing is the sign-up forms – in Japan, people generally avoid giving out too much information because Japanese people value their anonymity and privacy. So, if you ask for more than their email address, you are highly likely not to get significant conversions, but an increase in bounce rates and cart abandonment.
Also, Japanese people honor group solidarity. So, decision-making about a purchase takes longer than their western counterpart.
You see, knowing your target audience is vital. So, hiring the right translators and editors is equally important because they pave the way for you to understand and please your global customers.
7. Include Other Search Engine Players in Your Global SEO Plan
If you’re only optimizing for Google in your global SEO strategy, you are missing a whole lot of traffic and conversion.
Indeed, Google is the world’s leading search engine, but there are many valuable players around the globe.
One part of knowing your target audience is identifying the search engine that they prefer. In essence, populous countries like China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan use other search engines such as Baidu, Yandex, Naver, and Yahoo, respectively.So, when considering other search engine players on your global SEO strategy, consider these tips:
- Ensure that your translators can do proper keyword research on tools that are made for the specific search engine. For instance, if you’re creating content for potential customers in Russia, Yandex Wordstat should be used instead of Google Keyword Planner.
- Do your research on how the most popular search engine, on your target region or country, works – search engines run on different kinds of algorithms. Hence, they have various ranking factors. So, you must do your homework to succeed in global SEO.
- You see, Google and Yandex may support hreflang attributes so that they can determine which of your web pages will they serve to your target audience. However, Bing, one of the most popular search engines worldwide, does not support hreflang tags. So, you must markup your site correctly.
To have an idea of how relevant optimizing for other search engines is, take a look at this infographic from reliablesoft.net
8. More Global SEO Tips You Shouldn’t Forget
These are some of the steps in your SEO strategy that you must not neglect – whether you’re working on your regular SEO plan or nailing your global SEO:
- Create shareable URLs and find users of another language, and encourage them to share the links from your website through email or social media.
- Build links – create top-notch content that websites from your target region will link to your site.
- Update your NAPs (Number, Address, Phone), especially if you have shops or offices in different countries.
- Leverage AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), especially in regions that page speed might be slow.
- Perform local SEO in your target region.
- Always think about content relevance when working on your global SEO strategy.
- Build trust with your potential customers.
- Build multiple communities out of your target audience that speaks different languages and come from different countries or regions – this is why the right translators and editors are vital, especially if you as a business owner can only speak one language.
- Measure your global SEO efforts – see what’s working and amplify it, find what’s not working and improve your SEO strategy.
Ready to Dominate Global SEO?
This digitally-driven world has made globalization even stronger. So, it’s time for your business to grow. You see, the e-commerce and dropshipping industries have made global shipping and purchase as easy as a tap on your mobile screen.
Therefore, your SEO strategy should not focus only on ranking your website in one country or just optimizing for English-speaking countries. Remember that most of your target international regions may only represent a fraction of the total market in countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Still, they have lesser competition – giving you more possibilities of getting the market lion’s share.
Also, if you want to save more time and money in the long run by doing better in your SEO global than your competitors, ensure to consult the right global SEO experts