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How to Optimize Your Website for Other Countries

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How to Optimize Your Website for Other Countries


Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to help your brand reach the first page of search results and ideally climb into the top 5 positions for your primary keyword.

But what happens when you want to expand outside of local markets? With Google now seeing more than 3.5 billion searches per day, there’s a massive opportunity for brands to capture new customers. The caveat is that existing SEO practices may not translate — and in some cases, may actually hurt your brand in other countries.

To avoid this potential pitfall, a robust international SEO strategy is critical. Here’s what you need to know about what it is, how it works, how it’ll benefit you, and what steps you can take to create an effective plan.

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Effective strategies leverage a combination of geographic and language data to develop SEO plans that drive reliable ROI. A strong international SEO strategy will help your company reach new markets and multiply revenue.

What does international SEO do for company websites?

An international SEO strategy for websites focuses on creating content that’s applicable to local markets, as well as developing a website structure that makes it easy for search engines to find and serve the right webpages to the right users at the right time.

Consider a company that sells window shades in the United States and is making a move into Canada. First, you’ll want to ensure Canadian customers are sent to the right pages on your website — pages that contain information about Canadian locations, Canadian shipping times, and fees and costs in CAD.

You’ll need a website structure that includes both U.S. and Canadian pages and leverages enough metadata that search requests from users will direct them to the right page for their current location.

Does my business need an international SEO strategy?

It depends.

If you have no plans to expand beyond local markets — such as your current city or state — international SEO probably isn’t worth the time and resources required. In fact, international SEO can backfire if your business is entirely local. Customers who land on international pages won’t be happy when they discover you serve a very small geographic area.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to expand beyond country borders, it’s worth spending on international SEO. Given the sheer number of companies competing on the global stage and the increased challenge in ranking highly for relevant keywords, a comprehensive strategy is critical.

Still not sure whether you should go for a local SEO strategy or international SEO strategy?

There are four primary differentiators between local SEO and international SEO:

  • Cost: Owing to their scale and scope, international SEO efforts come with significant costs.
  • Content: To ensure international reach, you’ll need to create significantly more content than you would for a local SEO strategy.
  • Capture: International SEO expands the target market you’re trying to capture, which necessitates in-depth research to ensure your brand aligns with customer expectations.
  • Competition: Competition for keywords and customers is much greater for international SEO efforts. Instead of simply competing with other businesses in the same local sphere of influence, you could be up against multinational corporations.

Questions to Ask About International SEO

Not sure how to get your international SEO efforts off the ground? Start with these questions.

  1. Where are you headed?
  2. Should you target language or country?
  3. What localization factors matter most?
  4. How can you build local links?
  5. Does social media matter?
  6. Are current keywords good enough?
  7. Do you have the right tools and talent?

1. Where are you headed?

Depending on the part of the world you’re targeting, your international SEO approach will change. For example, if you’re headed to China, the most popular search engine is Baidu, while Yandex is the preferred choice in Russia. Each of these engines have their own approach to SEO, meaning it’s worth doing your research to find out what matters most for rankings.

2. Should you target language or country?

This is a common international SEO question: Are you better-served targeting a specific language or a country? The answer depends on your goals. If you’re looking to appeal to a broad audience regardless of where they live, language optimization may be the answer. If you’re looking to grow brand awareness in a specific part of the world, opt for country-based SEO.

3. What localization factors matter most?

Localization is the process of optimizing your website and content to reflect the local language and culture. Two of the most important factors here are accuracy and common use: First, it’s critical to make sure that translations of any keywords or slogans are accurate — direct translations can open your brand and services to misinterpretations, such as the always-classic “Come alive with Pepsi” slogan translated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead” in Chinese markets.

Common use is the other concern. The words and phrases used to describe your business and what it does may not be the same in other languages, even if the literal translation of words gives that impression. Find out what words locals use to describe your products and services and use those instead.

4. How can you build local links?

Building local links back to your site also helps with international SEO. Here, it’s a good idea to write articles for local blogs, get a sponsored mention on websites that offer advice or useful information, connect with local social media influencers, and sponsor local events.

5. Does social media matter?

While Google has expressly stated that social media doesn’t factor into international SEO rankings, you can increase brand awareness and local influencer connections with a strong social media presence.

6. Are current keywords good enough?

While your current keywords may help you rank in the top 5 locally, the sheer number of companies competing for these keywords in global markets means you need to take a look at who’s using these keywords, where they rank, and whether other similar keywords might drive better results.

7. Do you have the right tools and talent?

Finally, consider if this is something you can take on yourself or if you’re better off hiring an experienced international SEO company.

Factors That Affect International SEO

Multiple factors affect international SEO, including:

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews on your website or on local review sites can positively or negatively impact your SEO efforts. Better reviews mean better connection with your primary keyword, in turn boosting your visibility.

Mobile Responsiveness

The responsiveness of your website on mobile also matters to overall search rankings. As a result, it’s worth finding a content delivery network (CDN) capable of providing a top-tier website experience no matter where users are in the world.

Google My Business Account

Your Google My Business Account can help boost your SEO efforts — so long as you ensure to update where your company is operating. This acts as a starting point for Google to seek out geographic and language metadata on your site.

Link Building

The more links heading back to your site from international sources, the better. As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to write for local blogs or connect with influencers to point links back to your website.

How to Develop an International SEO Strategy

Ready to develop your international SEO strategy? Start here.

1. Decide where and who you’ll target.

First, pick your target market and target audience. For example, you might decide to target the larger market of Brazil, then hone in on a subset of that market that has the means and motive to buy your product. The more focused your decisions around “where” and “who,” the better your results.

2. Determine whether you’ll hire an international SEO agency.

Do you want to do the heavy lifting of international SEO yourself or outsource this effort? There are advantages to both — you know your brand better than anyone else, but SEO experts are skilled at understanding local customs and preferences and creating a strategy to match.

3. Conduct international keyword research.

Keywords that work for you at home may not work abroad. This may simply be down to keyword volume, or it may be linked to how customers in your target market refer to your business. For example, trial lawyers in the United States are known as barristers in the United Kingdom — if you’re a legal firm looking to expand operations, this is a critical keyword difference.

4. Choose the right international domain structure.

The domain structure of your website makes it easier (or harder) for visitors and search engines to find your content. Different options include:

ccTLD

Country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) are two-letter domains assigned to specific countries. For example, .us is for the United States, .ca is for Canada, and .uk is for the United Kingdom. To improve international SEO, you may choose to create a unique ccTLD site for each country where your products or services are available.

Example: mybusiness.ca, mybusiness.uk

gTLD

A generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD), meanwhile, refers to domain extensions with three or more characters; these TLDs are maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Common examples include .com, .gov and .org.

Using a gTLD means that search engines won’t restrict results based on region, but it may reduce total traffic since many users prefer sites that include their country code TLD.

Example: mybusiness.com

ccTLD or gTLD with subdomains

You can also choose to create subdomains for your site which combine aspects of both ccTLDs and gTLDs.

Example: ca.mybusiness.com

This offers the benefit of a country code and the advantages of a gTLD.

ccTLD or gTLD with subdirectories

Subdirectories, meanwhile, change the location of the country code:

Example: mybusiness.com/ca/

5. Optimize content for the region and language

Finally, make sure all your content is optimized for both your target region and its local language. This includes double-checking all TLDs, translations, and content assets to ensure they’re aligned with local expectations.

Oh, and don’t forget the hreflang tag. This HTML attribute specifies the geographic area and language of a webpage. It’s used to differentiate similar webpages aimed at different audiences so that search engines don’t count them as duplicate content, and it looks like this:

 <link rel="alternate" hreflang="x" href="https://example.com/alternate-page" />

Tools for International SEO

The right tools can also help you maximize the impact of international SEO by providing actionable data around traffic, click-throughs, and time spent on your site. Some of the most popular tools include:

HubSpot

HubSpot’s SEO software allows you to create an international content strategy, gives you live tips to improve your on-page SEO, and lets you organize your website in a way that’s easy for both search engines and users to understand.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console lets you see what queries are driving traffic to your site, determine your position on Google Search, and analyze global site impressions.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO toolset that lets you optimize your site, analyze your competitors’ rankings, and find the best keywords for your brand.

Moz

Moz offers site audits to determine potential issues, tracks keyword rankings across more than 170 search engines, analyzes backlink profiles to evaluate performance, and offers keyword research tools to find out how you stack up against the competition.

Semrush

Semrush lets you identify high-value local and national keywords, analyze the backlink profile of any domain, and track your site’s SERP positions daily.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an interconnected suite of tools that helps you analyze the impact of your website content worldwide.

International SEO Best Practices

No matter what approach you take to international SEO — language-focused or country-based, outsourced or in-house — the same best practices apply. Let’s take a look at them below.

1. Answer questions in the region’s native language and in the right context.

If there’s one thing to get right for international SEO, it’s making sure you’re speaking the same language as your customers. This means doing your research to ensure you’re always answering questions in their native language and in the appropriate context.

2. Translate existing content carefully.

While translation tools provide a literal conversion of words and phrases, they’re often not used this way by locals, meaning customers will quickly recognize that something isn’t quite right. Instead of translation, what you’re really looking for is “transcreation” — you want to recreate the same content but using the culture and language of your target market as a guide.

3. Consider the entire user experience in your strategy.

International SEO isn’t just about keywords and content. It’s also about making sure the entire user experience — from filling out forms to viewing prices in local currency or accessing multimedia assets that include native speakers — is seamlessly aligned across your site.

4. Avoid automatically redirecting users based on their IP address.

While it’s critical to serve content that matches local user expectations, don’t make the decision for them. Instead of automatically redirecting where they land based on their IP address, give them the option to choose their preferred region.

SEO: Improving Your International Impact

The right SEO strategy sets your brand apart from the crowd. And while this is important in home markets, it’s even more critical if you decide to go international, because it will ensure your website is optimized to support high-value content and keywords across regions and countries. By considering local customs, language, and context, you can boost consumer engagement, improve search engine results, and maximize your international impact.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Improve your website with effective technical SEO. Start by conducting this  audit.  



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How Can You Improve Your Blog’s Content with a Paraphrasing Tool?

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How Can You Improve Your Blog’s Content with a Paraphrasing Tool?


Paraphrasing tools are getting extremely popular, especially among bloggers. The reason is that these tools allow them to rewrite some of the old stuff with very high accuracy.

Uniqueness is the most important factor that determines the search engine ranking of your website. Most search engines determine the worth of your site by looking at the content that you post.

This is why you need to make sure the material you write in your blog contains zero plagiarism. For this purpose, you can use paraphrasing tools. These tools allow you to come up with unique ideas, words, and phrases that you incorporate into your blog to increase readability as well as reader engagement.

What is a Paraphrasing Tool?

A paraphrasing tool can be used to generate new text to explain existing ideas, concepts, or themes. These tools take minutes to convert your old text into an entirely new form having new phrases, words, and synonyms while keeping the original theme intact.

These tools improve the readability, grammar, and other key aspects of your text to make it coherent and consistent. These tools use AI technology to make your content unique and to improve the tone, style, and other features.

There are many reasons to use these tools and in this next section we will take a look at some of these

1. Complete Analysis of Your Content

Before rephrasing your content, these tools analyze it completely to determine a few key things. These include word count, readability, spelling and grammar mistakes, and the main theme and tone of the content.

This complete analysis allows these tools to generate highly accurate content that you can post on your blog without fearing plagiarism.

These tools are very accurate when analyzing your content and that allows you to trust these completely to perform paraphrasing for you.

2. Changing Content Tone

The tone of your content is what separates it from others and engages your audience. Paraphrasing tools can rewrite your material while giving it a pleasant and consistent tone.

These tools can make adjustments that make your content easy to read, understand, and digest. By working on the tone of your text, these tools make it SEO-friendly which leads to better search engine ranking.

3. Better Content Flow

When writing content for your SEO or blogs, you need to make it seem like it’s connected and flowing in a consistent manner. Writing about different stuff randomly makes it seem all over the place which leaves a bad impression on your readers.

Paraphrasing tools can help you improve the flow of information that you provide in your content. This makes it more concise and understandable.

Some Ways in Which Paraphrasing Tools Can Improve Your Blogs

Paraphrasing tools are really a blessing for bloggers and general content writers. These tools save time and offer very high accuracy.

Here are some of the main ways in which such tools can help you write plagiarism-free blogs

1. Replacing Words with Synonyms

The main reason these tools are effective is that they offer a number of synonyms for every word in the content. You can use these tools to replace single words, phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs.

The paraphrase online turns your entire text into something new which makes it free from plagiarism of every type.

2. Improve Spellings and Grammar

Paraphrasing tools improve the grammatical errors and inconsistencies in your original text. These tools highlight lines that need to be changed and you can use some other tool to eliminate these errors.

These tools also identify and remove spelling mistakes as well. The final content that you get from these tools is immaculate in every way. It is consistent with the main theme and each sentence flows from the last one.

3. Save Time and Energy

Paraphrasing without a tool can take so much of your time and energy. You need to consult various sources to learn new words and ideas to incorporate into your text which is very time-consuming.

Paraphrasing tools help you save a lot of time by rewriting more than 1000 words in a matter of a few minutes. Doing this yourself can take several hours which you can spend on something more important.

4. Cost-Effective

Hiring content writers to write unique content for your blog is quite expensive. You have to spend a lot if you hire someone else to rewrite content for you and there is still no guarantee that the contest will be plagiarism-free.

You can find several free paraphrasing tools online to do that for you. These tools require no registration or login which means you can just go online and convert the text instantly.

5. Creative Writing

Most paraphrasing tools can help you write creative content. These tools take your words and phrases as prompts and use AI to write creative material that you can post on your blog.

This is especially helpful for a writer suffering from writer’s block. These tools can inspire them to look at things from a different perspective. This improves their skill as a writer and enhances the quality of their content.

Final Thoughts:

So, these are some of the few ways in which paraphrasing tools can help you improve the content of your blogs. These tools can help you write better material that has zero grammatical errors and is more engaging.

Without these tools, you will only be wasting your time and money with little to get in return. Paraphrasing tools are being used both by academic and non-academic persons who often find it hard to rewrite stuff due to having limited vocabulary and a grasp of grammar.

Now you know what are some of the major benefits of using paraphrasing tools when writing content for your blogs. These tools can lead to better content for your blogs that is both search engine friendly and engaging.

We hope this stuff helps and we suggest you to use these tools for improving your skills as a blog writer.      



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The keys to digital marketing transformation

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The keys to digital marketing transformation


As digital marketers face a rapidly growing market and higher competition, the structure and effectiveness of paid advertising campaigns become more complex. Optimization, visibility and improving processes matter now more than ever.

But, it can be easy to lose visibility over what needs to be done and how those campaigns perform. This can lead to subpar results and a lack of understanding of how to improve your next campaigns. 

In this informative SMX Advanced session, Nadiia Sharipova from Wrike, now part of Citrix, addresses three keys to digital marketing transformation:

  1. Why optimization and visibility matter
  2. How to reduce your competition in key areas
  3. Critical processes that help improve CRO

Join the session to learn better visibility and workflow for your search engine initiatives, how companies like Hootsuite optimized their workflows to reduce complexity and the essential tools and strategies you need to do your best work. 

After watching the presentation, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify pitfalls negatively impacting your search campaigns 
  • Discover solutions for establishing better visibility over assets and results 
  • Streamline SEM/PPC campaign workflows and optimize collaboration

About The Author

Wrike, the world’s most versatile collaborative work management solution, has transformed the way marketing teams work together. Bringing everyone into a single digital workspace makes it easy to monitor progress, identify dependencies, and keep collaboration and projects on track. With Wrike, marketers can increase agility and velocity by automating workflows to achieve aggressive growth goals. Create and launch complex, integrated campaigns at scale across multiple channels and geographies knowing you’re maintaining visual brand consistency and quality. Improve external and internal customer experience no matter how complex your campaigns are or how many marketing channels you’re operating. Wrike accelerates creative production, increases on-time delivery, and makes maintaining brand consistency easier. 



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Turn Dry Data Into Rich, Relatable Stories With These Tips

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Turn Dry Data Into Rich, Relatable Stories With These Tips


One of the best things about being a content writer is that no matter the topic, we have a lot of insights at our fingertips. You can use it to provide perspective, validate ideas, give more context, etc.

Of course, all that data also is one of the worst things for a content writer. How do you dig out the story behind the numbers without getting buried under the mountains of facts and stats?

At Stacker, we shape our newswire stories around data and use it to drive all our storytelling. We’ve found the best-performing articles – regardless of topic – share similar strategic data-centered approaches. Here’s some of what we learned by creating data-driven content that engages audiences and earns links from other sites.

Go local and meet readers where they are

A story tailored to a region, state, or city feels instantly relatable and captures the attention of readers’ living in that geographic area. In fact, 71% of our publishing partners say their most-prioritized stories have local news angles.

Narrowing data-driven stories to a state or metro level may seem limiting. Content writers think the more hyper-focused a story, the smaller the reach. But presenting localized data doesn’t have to be an either-or choice.

#Content writers can use data to give stories both a hyper-local and national appeal, says @Stacker’s Elisa Huang via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

CNBC didn’t make a choice in their story about how much the top 1% of U.S. households earn each year. It mentioned the broadest geographic figure – the national number ($597,815 a year on average). Then it detailed the average for each state, from West Virginia’s $350,000 to Connecticut’s $896,490.

CNBC gives its data-driven story national and hyper-local appeal.

One of our top-performing stories for a brand partner looked at the rural hospitals most at risk of closing. It broke down the status of rural hospitals over 43 states, then distilled local versions that would feel most meaningful for targeted audiences from California to New York.

Takeaway: Data at a state- or city-level can have local appeal while still connecting to a newsy national trend. It also opens up your content’s promotion potential to national and local news sites.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Host a hometown showdown by comparing data

People love comparing their corner of the world with others. A recent Redfin report found an unprecedented 8% of U.S. homes are now worth at least $1 million. The story didn’t just reveal the top five or 10 cities but ranked 99 so readers can see how million-dollar neighborhoods compare to other million-dollar neighborhoods.

In this snippet of the comparison content, six of the cities are in California – half of which have a 50% or greater share of homes worth at least $1 million in 2022. Other cities at the top of the list include Honolulu, Seattle, and New York City.

A snippet from Redfin’s story that ranks home price data by state.

When people can see their cities’ results juxtaposed with others, it puts the information into a more powerful context. Ranking stories, such as states with the lowest income taxes or the cities with the highest rent, often perform well.

Ranking stories – where readers can see how their locale compares to others – perform well, says @Stacker’s Elisa Huang via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Writing headlines with phrases like “highest-to-lowest,” “biggest increase,” and “lowest-priced” also signals to readers the underlying numbers-driven methodology used in the content. They not only reinforce the data-first approach, but they build confidence in the prospective reader that the content is powered by data, not opinion.

Takeaway: Use data-driven rankings to tap into readers’ curiosity by showing how their region compares with others in timely trends.

Let time tell the story by thinking past the latest data

Many content creators understandably focus on building a story around the latest numbers or study results to be relevant and trendy.

But pulling in a bit of history through older data sets can add a richer dimension to the storytelling. Not only does historic information add more context to the latest data or breaking news, but it helps the piece become more evergreen. Long after a news headline fades, readers may be still interested in the richly layered content.

Historical data can lead to a more relevant story today, says @Stacker’s Elisa Huang via @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

We did this with a story about how commuting in America changed over the past 50 years.

Stacker used historical data to highlight how the American commute has changed over time.

Without adding historical data, it would have been impossible to highlight that the average length of work commutes has increased 10% since 2006. This contextualization offers a perspective that wouldn’t be possible by only detailing the current average commute time.

Self, a credit-building app, mapped poverty levels state by state using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Instead of just mapping the country with the latest poverty rates for each state, the story also charted the rates over time. With this valuable context, readers could see how states’ poverty rates rose and sank after natural disasters, financial booms and busts, and ultimately COVID-19, giving a more thoughtful story that identified contributors to those poverty rate changes.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce tackled the value of higher education with another data-centered approach: It looked at the salaries of college graduates in 10-year increments since their enrollment. The findings, picked up by Yahoo! Finance and others, assessed how many decades it took for a student to earn a return on investment on the cost of their college.

Takeaway: Using data over time can add richer context to what numbers mean today – and make the content feel more evergreen.

Liven up humdrum stories with different data filters

Data-driven stories emphasize relatability – they can connect better with your audience and often present a new angle that stands out from your same old story approaches. You can find local angles, make a comparison, and use historical data to provide unique context.

Unsure what data to start with? Poke around government sites like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Education. They can be great places to dig into and see how national-level data looks when filtered across industries, career fields, household incomes, metropolitan areas, and more. By adding focused data to your content, you can tell stories that feel more personalized – and meaningful – to your readers.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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