Whether you’re considering a phased expansion overseas or going global, preparing your site to go international can be a scary step. Which is why preparation is key to success.
You may have been working to improve your organic presence in one country, but now feel like the best move for your business is to expand overseas.
Here are 8 things to consider before going international…
Understand Search Demand Overseas
Before deciding you want to expand your site to the other side of the world, or even Europe, you need to understand the demand.
You may have seen competitors growing in the space globally, or you may already have offices out there, but keyword research is key to help drive those business decisions too.
Although you may think the demand is high in another country, it doesn’t necessarily always mean that this is the case.
It’s always difficult at first, but it’s worth every moment of research and ongoing testing. Do your research properly and your business will boom. Or expanding without the guidance of search demand and keyword research expertise, could be a costly mistake.
Analyse International SERPs
Believe it or not, search intent can be very different depending on where in the world you’re searching from. Of course, we know search behaviours can vary from city to city, or even town to town, but international SERPs are a different matter.
In recent data from RankRanger, the variation of SERP features across the globe is more obvious than ever. You can see the true differences within SERP features throughout Google, and how they differ from country to country.
For example, Google.fi truly favours delivering featured snippet results, with almost 74% of page one results showing this SERP feature in Finland, compared to 21% in the UK. This is important to understand, as we continue to learn from the user intent within each country and/or language.
Potentially, those in Finland have a different search intent than we see in the UK, maybe more queries tend to be question led? All of which needs to be understood when looking to expand your organic campaign internationally.
Not only that, but Google constantly trials different features within different countries, before rolling these out to the rest of the world. So it’s important to always ensure SERPs are analysed in each given location, rather than presuming the same strategies will work across the board.
Consider Local SEO, Overseas
This can often only be the case when opening up offices or locations overseas, but nevertheless, is important to understand.
As with all other SERP features, competing locally is key to understanding.
If you’re locally based overseas, it’s important to review your national and local SEO strategy across those countries and cities too, in order to really understand the market at a greater depth.
Seems simple, right?
Expanding your SEO campaign overseas isn’t as simple as translating your content into another language and going live. There are heaps of other factors to consider.
For example, if you’re expanding your campaign to Canada, you not only have to think about the localised variations from British to American English, but also about making these pages available for those who are French speakers too, as it’s thought that almost 23% of all Canadians speak French as their first language.
Search term variations and semantics can be hard enough in just one language, nevermind multiple.
Localisation also plays a huge part here too; as keywords and phrases aren’t necessarily translated as simply as we may think.
A great example of this is when comparing phrases used in the UK and USA.
In the UK we may be searching online for local ‘shops’ ; they may be looking for ‘stores’, similarly to how we have different naming conventions for a range of products and services, than they do in the US.
All of these small differences can impact search volume on a large scale, and that’s before we’ve explored variations of spelling between countries too.
Prepare for multi-national enquiries
Localised content creation is key. Working alongside native speakers is highly recommended.
But if demand starts to pick up and business is booming – you need to consider how you’ll handle those leads and conversions.
It’s crucial to think from a business perspective, how your user journey may need to adapt.
For example, if you currently take enquiries via the phone or online enquiry forms, will you be equipped to continue this, with enquiries in different languages and across different time zones?
Weigh up the competition
It goes without saying, but although some of your competitors may have already ventured internationally with their marketing campaigns, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will be your organic competitors in that space too.
As we know, your competition can depend on various factors; both from a business perspective and an organic performance perspective.
We’d always highly recommend analysing your competitor within each country you venture, and in some cases, even by topic cluster.
It’s important to really understand your sector at great depth, both from a business point of view, as well as within each digital channel too.
How will it work, Technically?
One of the most important factors to consider is how will this technically work?
If you’re on a .co.uk domain, you will probably need to consider a website migration. You need to understand the full migration process and how best to proceed.
It’s also important to understand how your new, international site will be structured. If you’ve been building your organic campaign for some time, you want to protect your current hard work and efforts, and make sure the shift is as seamless as possible. Some options could include:
As always, with any migration, you need to proceed carefully from a technical SEO perspective and ensure you’re following recommended industry guidance where too. This will not only help rankings within the new regions, but also protect as much of the current organic rankings during such an intricate process.
Continuing your wider SEO strategy
As with any organic campaign, it’s important you’re constantly providing both users and crawlers with the most up to date information, consistently. Whether that’s producing industry relevant news on blogs, resource hubs and guides, or long form content for core service pages; content is key.
Therefore, once you venture into making your site international, it’s important you also consider your wider strategy.
Will you have the ability to maintain content production within these new languages and dialects? Are you able to continue backlink acquisition to relevant parts of the site, within localised countries?
All of these considerations are key to launching an international SEO campaign successfully.
Whether you’re a business owner wondering what the potential could be overseas, or if you’re ready to make that move, Embryo can help you get there. Get in touch with us today!