Cross borders with SEO

By | August 20, 2019

Hey there. In this lesson, we’ll explain how
search engine optimization, SEO strategy, can help your business reach
international prospects and customers. If your potential customers
are in different countries, or speak multiple languges, there are many aspects to consider. We’ll go over the most important ones: language, localization,
and country targeting. First things first, you’ll need to speak
your customers’ language, literally. There are some SEO guidelines for websites
that offer content in multiple languages. The first is to make sure that
each page in a different language has its own unique web page. So, why is that so important? Let’s say you grow avocados in the UK and you want to sell
your prime product to other countries. Web design technology makes it possible to have English language content
on a web page, say, “” but allow visitors to click a button to view the same page written in French. Sounds good, right? The problem is that humans can click
that button but search engines can’t. A better approach is to separate each
translated version onto its own webpage. In this example, it would be much
better to place the French version in its own page with a separate URL,
“”. The second thing to keep in mind–
mixing languages on the same page. This is a big no-no. For example, when half
of your content is in French, and the other half is in English, search engines can’t decide
what language your content is in. It’s better to use different
pages for different languages. Next, avoid using automated
services to translate your content. Have a piece of content about organic
produce that needs to be in French? Get a real live person
to translate it for you. Why is this necessary? Well, search engines don’t value content generated
from automated translation tools. Even worse, the page might
be considered spam. Translation services
may cost a little bit more upfront, but you’re likely to have
a higher quality content that can drive
better results for your business. If you’ve taken the time
to translate content, some search engines allow you
to add language annotations to your web pages. These annotations help search
engines serve the right content to the right person, based on
his or her country or language. Let’s imagine you are a farmer who ships delicious fruits
and vegetables across borders. You have created some
great content for your UK clientele, but you’ve also had the same content carefully translated into German,
for your market in Germany. One such page is all about avocados. As a farmer, you’d expect
your German avocado page to show up on a search results page for your prospects in Germany, and your UK page
for your customers in the UK. To help search engines discover
this alternate content, in this case you’d be able
to add an annotation to each English and German page. These tags will mark your pages so search engines can serve up
the right version of your content to viewers in their respective countries. When you explore
annotations a bit further, you’ll see that they can be a great tool for more advanced multilingual
and multinational set-ups. This covers some of the structural
considerations for adding different
languages to your website. But even if you don’t
add multiple languages there are other considerations for customers in different
countries and markets. Start by thinking about what
information would be useful to them. Do you need to provide product
prices in different currencies? Do they use a different system
of measurement– metric versus imperial? For example, would customers weigh
your avacados in kilos or pounds? Did you include local addresses and
phone numbers so they can contact you? Do you need to list your business
hours in different time zones? These are all small things you can do to make sure your website remains useful to potential customers
in different countries. There are also signals to help
search engines understand your content is relevant to international markets. Beyond language and localization, you can help search engines understand
the country or countries you are targeting. For instance, if your website has a country code top-level
domain name, “ccTLD” for short, it’s a strong indication that
your site targets a specific country. An example of a UK site with ccTLD would be “”. For Germany, that site might be
“”. And if it doesn’t, what if you have a
generic domain such as “”? Search engines
may use a number of factors, including where your website is hosted, the IP address,
and the information on the web pages. You can still help your
site and its content be more visible to international prospects by using country-targeting tools, such as those
found in Google Search Console. And, there you have it. As you start promoting
your website in other countries, keep three things in mind: language, localization,
and country-targeting. If you do, you can adjust
your website and SEO strategy to make your website
an international success. Want to learn more? Be sure to check out our lesson
about international marketing and export.

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