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International SEO: Don’t let your website get lost in translation.

by Derek Smith

In today’s globalized business environment it’s crucial to develop and refine your international business presence online. Even if you’re an industry leader, you’re likely missing out on significant sales if customers in other countries aren’t finding your website in their searches. International SEO can help you achieve top search rankings outside of the United States – putting your products and services in front of a truly global audience.

International SEO will help your website move toward the top of search rankings in international versions of Google and localized search engines. Much of the international push will involve ensuring your site delivers localized content that’s relevant to each particular audience.

Think about it:
If you’re a searcher in Buenos Aires, you want information that’s relevant to Argentina. Search engines aim to deliver the most relevant search results for each keyword phrase; if your site doesn’t appear relevant at the local international location, you’re not going to get the results you desire.

Search engines look at keywords, photos and video, as well as the language (or dialect) being used. Google has become increasingly adept at analyzing language and semantics. For example, Google can tell the difference between British English and American English.

What can be done?
Well, you can create separate web pages for each audience, complete with the appropriate British spellings of words like “theatre”. You can also use meta tags to tell search engines the language in which a page is written. It could also be useful to hire a native speaker to do some writing on your British page (someone who will write “bonnet” and “boot” instead of “hood” and “trunk” when referring to automobiles).

Things to Consider:
Don’t forget about contact information. You want a Buenos Aires address and telephone number that can serve as signals that you have a real-world presence in Argentina. Or a London address and phone number will signal that you really do business in England.

Also think about realigning your site architecture to emphasize your international scope. You want to represent your British market with a .uk domain instead of a .us domain.

Links graphs should also demonstrate your international scope. A British website should have numerous backlinks from organizations in the UK instead of a graph that shows only American links. Those links to the BBC, London newspapers and the Bank of England will increase your site’s credibility.

Bing and Google also calculate where a site is hosted in determining its relevancy. Host your Argentina site in Argentina instead of the U.S.

Anyone paying attention knows that business continues to become increasingly globalized, so International SEO will continue to be an important consideration for multinationals and other businesses looking to grow their international sales. So have a cup of tea, mate, and get to work in strengthening your international brand. Click here to read Slingshot SEO’s Guide to International SEO.

Photo Courtesy of: TechnologyBound

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