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How to Begin a Global SEO Strategy

I have worked on many global SEO projects and have identified a few items that will help companies get started with their global SEO strategies. Companies need to do more than translate their websites if they want to be found in their global audiences’ local searches. In this blog, I will highlight a few things to consider when planning a global SEO strategy.

Create a Market-Specific Plan

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A first step would be creating a global SEO plan for each market you are localizing your website for. I have spoken to many companies that planned to localize their website but did not consider how to localize their SEO strategies.

At a conference I attended about five years ago, an executive for a large cosmetics company gave a keynote speech on how much effort they took to provide a localized experience for their website visitors globally. After his presentation I spoke with him and while I understood his website translation needs were met, he did not mention his company’s global SEO strategy. I asked him how they addressed global SEO and it was quite interesting to see his eyes bulge the way they did.

This is not uncommon and even large multi-billion-dollar companies who are trying to address every aspect of producing a localized website can miss some important items. In this case, spending millions creating a multilingual website, but not investing in SEO efforts could mean your target audiences never see your localized website.

Localize Your Keyword List

Never assume your SEO agency will know the best practices for your global audiences. I have spoken to many SEO agencies who have often relied on Google Translate for keyword translation. A literal machine translation may not yield the terms a global audience would use to search for a product or service in their local market. Keyword research and localization is needed to identify how global audiences search.

Localize Your Ad Campaigns

Like keywords, your ad copy should also not rely on a literal translation. You should seek a native-speaking, in-country copywriter to adjust the ads so the intended meaning is not lost in the local market. An ad that has cultural references, tone or other consideration in the source market, may not resonate the same in another market.

Ad length should also be considered. Google’s ad length limits apply to all languages, but if you are translating ads from English into another language, character expansion may be an issue. For many languages like German and Spanish, the expansion may be 20% or 30%. A copywriter can adjust the localized message, but keep in mind they can only do so much with the limited space.

These items are a good start for beginning your global SEO efforts. Please visit the below blogs for additional information on this topic.