Whether your business is targeting customers just around the block or 12 time zones away, location, language and platform make a major difference for local and international SEO success. Even if your business already has a website that’s optimized for search engine marketing, additional measures are necessary for local and global search success. Both local and international SEO benefit from an effective targeting plan and clear benchmarks for success. However, creating and implementing this targeting plan can be a challenge, especially if your business is just getting started with SEO.
Whether you’re learning the ropes to local SEO or working to take your company global, this guide will help your business get found.
Local SEO: Get found instantly.
Local search allows Internet users to submit a search engine query for geographically constrained results. Users search for a “what” as well as a “where”; for example, users may search for “car repair, Houston” or “plumber Los Angeles” and the results are localized to a specific search region. These results are affected both by local listings and local SEO efforts. These 3 steps will help your business get started with local SEO success:
#1: Claim your local listing. Google Places and Bing automatically creates a “local listing” for businesses. If your listing goes unclaimed, information such as hours, phone number and address may be incorrect. The local listing is also an opportunity to offer customers special discounts and information on products. Claiming your business’s local listing, and ensuring the NAP (name, address, place) information is up-to-date, is the first step for local SEO success.
#2: Optimize your local listing. Be sure that your listing is complete and that your company is listed in the correct category. For example, if your business sells comic books, choose the “comic bookstore” listing, which ensures that your business shows up in both the “bookstore” search and the “comic” search. Avoid broad or general categories; specificity is best.
#3: Choose the right keywords for local search. Individuals who are searching for local products or stores typically perform these searches from their smartphones. These potential customers are highly motivated and ready to make a purchase. However, unlike traditional desktop search queries that include longtail keyword phrases, mobile local search queries are much shorter. To identify the best keywords for local search optimization, use Google Analytics data and zero in on the most popular search terms coming from mobile devices. Optimize your mobile site for these short phrases or keywords.
Global SEO: Reach new customers around the world.
Don’t settle for the customer next door. Thanks to the Internet, you can reach customers 12 time zones away. Here’s how to be sure your website not only gets found, but also makes sense:
#1: Identify international search terms. International search terms may be very different from the most popular local search phrases. Ubbersuggest and SEO Chat are two popular tools where you can choose between many different languages and countries for generating country and language-specific keywords. When performing keyword research in other languages, be careful of literal translations and local colloquialisms. For example, in Spain “pisos” is a term used for apartments but in Mexico, this word literally means “floor” – native language support is important for avoiding keyword confusion.
#2: Understand your target demographic. In order to be successful internationally, your business need an in-depth understanding of its target marketplace, including the most popular products, unique selling proposition and marketing activities. TNS Digital Life and Google’s Consumer Barometer are two effective tools for identifying your target international demographic. These tools help you better understand your industry’s behavior and characteristics.
#3: Optimize for international audience. Your web content must be optimized not only for your international target audience. Doing so can be tricky, however, especially if you lack native language support. Online translation communities, such as ProZ, are a great resource for supporting language translation, especially if you do not have direct access to a native language speaker in your home office or if you simply want to double-check a phrase or spelling.