With eMarketer research predicting that global e-commerce sales will exceed $4 trillion by 2020, there’s never been a better time for online retailers to go international. While there are many things to consider when deciding to offer your goods to a global market, there is one thing you absolutely cannot leave off your list: SEO.
In order to make significant headway in global markets and to be received as a reliable merchant by an expanded international audience, targeted SEO is a must. The same tricks you would use to increase trust in your brand and improve your site’s visibility in search for local traffic apply here, although there are a number of key differences worth noting.
Here are 7 things to consider when developing an international SEO strategy for your e-commerce company:
1. Double-Check the Data
Before making the leap into globalizing your company or website, check the data first. You may be surprised to see which geographic regions are the ones most responsive to and in need of your services or products. Review your website’s analytics to note any trends in geography-based traffic. Review your sales records, too. You may even want to check out your competition to see how they went about globalizing their site.
2. Redo the Keyword Research
While you may be inclined to directly translate keywords from your current site into the new target languages, it may not be as simple as that. There may be alternate keywords or phrasing that are more commonly used in those regions, but that aren’t as well-known unless you’re fluent in consumer speak abroad. Use a tool like KWFinder to research and verify those keywords before doing any full-scale translations or optimizations of your global-friendly website.
3. Research the Search Engines
Although Google is the top search engine used worldwide, that doesn’t mean it’s the most popular one for your target audience. Take some time to research your target countries so you can properly create and optimize content for the most commonly used search engines there.
4. Work with an Expert
Unless you or your content writer is a native speaker of the language you’re translating into, you’ll want to work with an expert to ensure you use the correct dialect and tone in your site’s content. Getting found in search is one thing. Having your audience find your content to be relevant, helpful and well-written is another.
5. Localize Everything
In addition to localizing your site’s keywords and content, you’ll also want to localize the structure. The reason for this is international usability. This means that you should use a domain extension that gives your site more authority in the target country (like .ca or .au). You may also want to think about things like logo and navigation alignment, especially if you’re targeting countries where text is read from right-to-left.
6. Update Your Code
Optimizing your content for international search isn’t just about translating it from one language into another. Search engines need to know which specific country or region you’re targeting—and that’s not always clear, especially if you are based somewhere else. That’s why search engines recommend you update your site’s coding to make it crystal clear. You can read about Google’s guidelines here and Bing’s here.
7. Use a CDN
When you first created your website, you probably purchased hosting through a local web host. That’s because their servers typically run within the same country that you’re located in, ensuring that visitors to your site have lightning-fast access to your site.
But when you take your business global, your site may not run as quickly for users across the globe since they have to access your site through a server that’s too far away. If you want your site to load fast regardless of where visitors are located, you’ll need a CDN. This will ensure a positive customer experience in addition to a steadily positive ranking in search (since loading speeds matter).
At the end of the day, the goal in going global is to deliver your high-quality product or service to an audience that needs it. Ensure that they can access your website by properly optimizing your content for search as well as for your visitors.
For more info on international expansion, check out our International Shipping page.
Endicia is a leading provider of internet-based postage services that make it easier and more affordable to ship parcels through the U.S. Postal Service®. We know that shipping can be complex and our goal is to simplify your shipping operations so you can focus on doing what you do best. Visit us at www.endicia.com to learn more.