Your website is frequently visited from a certain country? Or maybe one of your PR campaigns went viral on social media and now you have inquiries on your offers and products from all over the world?

There are many reasons why a company may decide to enter the international market. We show you how
international SEO
becomes a success.

Use SEO for market entry

Once the decision has been made, there is a lot of work to be done first, because a quick and detailed market and product analysis is the basis for successful international expansion. Search engine optimization must not be neglected in any case. On the contrary, it even plays a leading role. After all, entering a new market or internationalization can bring great opportunities for a company, but also risks.

In search engine marketing (SEM), there is a consensus on what analysis needs to be done before entering the market:

  • Extensive keyword and competitor research
  • Analysis of the persona (target group representative)
  • Analysis of new entrants
  • standalone ecosystems (enables planning of paid and digital PR campaigns

Once the data from the analyses is available, the most important success factors for global market entry can be determined:

  • Can the brand enter the market?
  • Is it the right time?
  • Is there a way to scale the brand?

We present 6 options for your search engine optimization that could prove successful in reaching new markets.

Our tip

Every brand, every company and every market is different. That’s why we can’t give you a miracle recipe that works the same for everyone. Adapt the tips to your company, your strategy and your goals da. Use it as a guide or inspiration to find opportunities for your SEO optimization when entering the international market.

1. assessment of market profitability

International keyword research

Every SEO strategy is based on extensive keyword research in your target market. This also applies to your international expansion strategy. How to get:

  • Information about the search volume and traffic of the keywords in the original languages
  • Information about possible differences in the original language
  • Insight into the competitiveness of your keywords in the original languages, region and typical language use

When doing keyword research for international expansion, it is important that you do not simply translate and localize. Here’s an example:

English is the official language in the USA, and Spanish in Mexico. Consequently, the languages for the southern United States and northern Mexico would have to be English and Spanish. But there are local differences in language usage, especially in border regions.

For example, Spanglish, a mixture of English and Spanish, is often spoken on the U.S.-Mexico border. Residents of this region do not switch to English or Spanish every time they type in a search engine. They stick to their spoken language Spanglish.

In addition to knowing the keywords they need for your international SEO strategy, you’ll also get an idea of the resources and skills you’ll need when entering the market. It will also help you with one of the three success factors mentioned above: Am I ready for international expansion?

Use Google Analytics data

Before you decide to expand internationally, you should perform two other analyses:

  • Analyze your best converting traffic sources using Google Analytics. Pay attention to the regions and countries where your brand receives constant traffic.
  • Analyze your current conversions and sales.

This will help you determine whether you can meet the demand of each country or what actions you need to take to meet it. For example, do you need a new bearing? How many employees should be employed in this warehouse?

2. use social networks

The role of social networks is becoming increasingly important in marketing – and for the international expansion of a brand, they are a helpful and important option.

But what do social networks have to do with SEO?

Social networks influence not only paid media strategy, but also the type of content that should be created. This content can increase brand awareness and gain links in a fast and effective way.

Many users, especially of the younger generation, start their research on a brand on social media and look at the company’s Instagram account, for example. While this isn’t true for all consumers, and not every social network is the right platform for your business, it’s true for everyone. Nevertheless, you should consider this factor for search engine optimization of your international expansion strategy.

So find out which social networks are used in the target country of your expansion and what content needs to be created for them.

3. use Hreflang day

Hreflang is an HTML attribute used to specify languages and regions of a website. So if your website has the same content in different languages, which is likely to be the case with an international expansion, you should use hreflang tags. This helps search engines like Google determine the URL version of your website and users get the appropriate version for their language or region.

For SEO the hreflang tag is relevant because

  • the user experience is enhanced by the user’s native language
  • duplicate content can be prevented.

Optimized user experience keeps users on your website longer. So, the dwell time is increased, the bounce rate is decreased, which can have positive effects on SEO and your website’s rankings.

You should consider these points when implementing hreflang-tags:

  • Valid hreflang tags
  • Return links
  • Hreflang link to itself
  • Hreflang elements in your <head>
  • Hreflang HTTP header
  • An XML Sitemap Hreflang Implementation
  • Tools: hreflang generator, hreflang sitemap generator

4. optimize URL structure

The principle of hreflang-tags also works for the choice of URL structure, as it is a hint for both search engines and users of a language or region.

The graphic shows the differences and uses of common URL structures:

ccTLD (country code top-level domain)
gTLD (generic top-level domain)

SEO Internationale URL Strukturen

When it comes to URL structure, there is no one size fits all. So, adapt it to your strategy and goals, and consider the limitations of your CMS. Parameters, for example, are one way to structure URLs, but they are far from the best.

5. localization of the shopping cart

Under point 1 of the SEO measures for your successful international expansion, we have already described, using the Spanglish example, how important it is that you do not simply translate and localize your content.

You should also apply this principle to the shopping cart on your website. Pay attention to the following points:

  • Is the currency that of the country where the customer lives?
  • Is the language that of the customer?
  • Do you provide the appropriate means of payment for the country/region?
  • Does the customer receive the correct information for delivery to his country/region? Is there a possibility for faster and cheaper delivery?
  • Do you provide a section with discount codes?

To answer the questions and make the right choice for your website, consult the results of your persona analysis.

While in Germany, for example, purchase on account is the most popular payment method for online purchases (closely followed by PayPal). In the USA, the credit card (Visa or Mastercard) is used most often.

The absence of the preferred payment method, a wrong language and unclear information lead to the abandonment of the purchase. From an SEO perspective, this means a higher bounce rate and decreasing conversion rates.

6. international digital PR

A country-specific link strategy for each market is essential. However, depending on your brand’s niche, the possible approaches may be limited.

One promising method is to identify the social network most frequently used by the target group and look for collaborations with influencers. By working with influencers on platforms relevant to the target group and with the help of paid campaigns, a new market can be developed quickly and effectively. At the same time, you lay the foundations for organic SEO measures.

The advantage of digital PR is that there are many ways to increase brand awareness and gain links.

With the right SEO strategy on the international market

To ensure that your international expansion does not fail but is crowned with success, keep the following four points in mind:

Take time
High product demand at a particular location can also be temporary. So make sure the timing of their expansion is right and don’t act in haste.

Avoid prejudices
Market entry into a particular country/region should not be based on preconceptions and assumptions.

Detailed analysis
In order to avoid such prejudices you should base your strategy on truthful data and perform detailed analysis.

A good international SEO strategy
The importance of search engine optimization knows no national borders. SEO is an essential part of achieving long-term success on the Internet. This applies to the USA, Mexico or Germany.

However, if you already have an SEO strategy in place, you cannot apply it 1-to-1 to the target countries of your international expansion. The SEO measures we have described have shown that it is necessary to develop a suitable SEO strategy for each language or region. SEO consultants will work with you to develop this strategy and help you achieve greater success and more sales.

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