Launching in a new market? It’s a mistake to jump straight into translating your website. Instead, take time to build a global SEO strategy. It’s an investment that will pay off in the long run. Here’s why.

You’re extending your market reach overseas. What’s your first step?

You might be tempted to jump straight into creating localized content. And you wouldn’t be the only one – it’s a trap many brands fall into.

Relevant and accurate translation is wasted if it’s not picked up by local search engines. Who’s going to see it? And your effective domestic SEO strategy may be poorly equipped to meet your international SEO goals.

How can you create content that’s relevant, visible and impactful? Here are five tips to bear in mind when localizing your web content.

1. RESEARCH YOUR PRIORITIES

You already face stiff competition to rank well on Google UK – and the situation is no different internationally. To find your competitive edge, research local trends, search behaviour and preferences.

It’s an important investment, and it takes time and effort to do for every market. If you can’t afford it right now, don’t worry – take it one step at a time.

Use research to determine how much to invest in each market. Although Google is the most popular search engine in Japan, the country’s English proficiency levels are low. So to gain any traction, you’ll need to localize your content. The data can help you decide whether the potential gains are worth the investment.

By contrast, Sweden has the highest non-native English proficiency level in the world. So depending on your target audience, you could launch in English first, then localize once you have more budget. Look at the data to see if that’s a viable option.

Of course, to make the right calls, you need the right insights. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • What are your competitors doing?
  • Are customers familiar with your brand and products?
  • How well do they speak English?
  • How sensitive are they to translation quality?
  • What is their financial situation?

Answering these questions will allow you to build the right localization and SEO strategy in every market.

2. USE KEYWORDS THAT GET RESULTS

Search behaviour varies across markets. Which means you’ll need to adapt your SEO strategy to avoid answering questions no one’s asking.

To rank for the right search terms, carry out in-language keyword research for each target market.

And don’t do it yourself. Ask an in-country expert or specialized international SEO agency to do it. They’ll help you interpret the results correctly and target the most strategic, relevant search terms for your audience.

3. THINK TAILORED, RELEVANT CONTENT

Maximize your return on investment by localizing only relevant content. Having fewer, targeted web pages is more valuable than blindly translating your whole site.

Use research to identify the most relevant pages. Then, use your data to map the right keywords to them. That way, you can naturally integrate local keywords without harming your content’s quality.

You might consider creating new content from scratch. This allows you to tailor your message and engage more meaningfully with customers.

4. BE SMART ABOUT INTERNATIONAL SITE STRUCTURE

Before localizing your website, choose which site structure works best for your brand. Then, apply it consistently. Mixing different structures creates a poor user experience and harms your visibility.

You may want to target different language variants, like US English or Canadian French. If that’s the case and Google is the primary search engine in both markets, make sure your hreflang tags are properly implemented. This ensures a seamless user experience in each locale.

5. CONNECT THE DOTS ACROSS TACTICS: SEO + PPC

Localizing your SEO strategy drives intent, consideration and conversions from your international audience. However, it can take time for your SEO efforts to bear fruit.

To jump-start your success, connect SEO with your in-country PPC efforts. You can leverage insights across tactics to maximize the opportunity and increase conversions.

And if you’re working with a partner, choose someone who offers holistic digital marketing support.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Before rushing into translation, think about what you want your online content to achieve.

Do you just want to establish an in-market presence? Or do you want a high-performing tool that maximizes your budget and quickly delivers results? If it’s the latter, take time to conduct research and localize your SEO strategy. The upfront investment will pay dividends down the line.

If you’d like some advice on the right global SEO strategy for your brand, read our tips here, then get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

ABOUT Angela Fang

As a Digital Content Specialist, I'm always seeking to inspire and connect global audiences through strategic content marketing that tells stories. It's also my goal to optimize content for search in local markets for maximum quality and relevance. Collaborating closely with diverse clients across industries and with a multi-faceted digital team allows me to constantly learn new perspectives and insights that tailor my approach to each project.

Email: angela_fang@wordbank.com

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