In the day and age of economic globalization, online marketing seems like the perfect field to be taking matters at the next, international level. However, while technology, Internet access speeds and numerous other advances are making it easier than ever for people to connect, the international SEO picture is slightly more nuanced than that. Since SEO combines metrics and linguistics with communication, a successful endeavor in the field of international SEO needs to take into consideration certain specific aspects.
Training is pointless if no one cares
Some entrepreneurs, business managers, and digital marketing department heads seem to be under the impression that training is a magical solution to just about any issue. And it’s not that training is a valueless tool – quite the contrary. The problem is that, if you’re seeing good SEO campaign results at home, or in one of your global branches, but miserable results in others, chances are you’re probably facing an issue training won’t fix.
What you are most likely to note after such an endeavor is that the staff in the online department in question don’t seem to care. They probably do care about making the business more successful, but if they don’t understand the value of SEO from other departments in the same location as they are, they are not likely to understand it from you – no matter how you choose to drill them with it. The solution: instead of talking to the members of a single department, the one in charge with specifically optimizing your web page, talk to all senior and middle management members, from all departments. Make them understand that SEO does matter, when trying to make a business lucrative online and make them see just why it matters.
You don’t need an actual SEO expert in each country
While this may sound counterintuitive, think about costs first and foremost. Hiring a SEO expert for each one of your international branches will only drive your overheads through the roof: on salaries, training, and less quantifiable costs such as peer-to-peer communication within the organizational structure. What’s more, according to Search Engine Watch, most countries will only really dedicate 10 to 20 per cent of that employee’s total time on the clock to your deadlines, benchmarks, and overall goals. The more apt solution is to focus on creating a regional SEO taskforce for each particular area you’re thinking of targeting and investing toward their efficiency. Not only will you be talking to less people at the same time, basically saying the same thing to each of them, but you will also see a more streamlined course of communication developing, from regional SEO pro to the stakeholders in each country under their supervision. Plus there is always the option of using a virtual office from a provider such as Regus, if you wish to appear to maintain an address wherever you offer services.
Official languages are the only ones worth optimizing for
This is another misguided assumption that risks to ruin an otherwise well-thought out SEO strategy. The truth is, expanding your SEO efforts to other areas of the globe means you will have to do a thorough case study for each country, in order to make sure you understand its ethnic and linguistic profile. Take the United States, for instance. While many will argue that this one is the textbook scenario of a melting pot, its linguistic reality provides an apt model on which to base all your future speculations about languages you need to be optimizing for. According to the 2010 Census, 16 per cent of Americans are self-identified Hispanics or Latinos, which is essentially saying they are Spanish speakers. According to a previous report (the census in 2007), there were 18 million Spanish speakers in the US, who qualified their own language knowledge levels as ‘very good’, with 6 other million speaking it ‘well’. Moreover, 7 million Americans spoke an Indo-European language, while over 4 million spoke an Asian language at home. Never assume, always go with the cold, hard sociological data on this one.