17/05/21 // Written by AmbaWilkes

Why Is Your International SEO Strategy Failing?

Are you trying to expand into international markets? Is your strategy producing the results you want?

You might think you’ve done everything you need to target overseas customers. But there’s a reason your strategy isn’t converting into sales. There are many international SEO mistakes we regularly see that prevents business success with global endeavours.

In this blog, we cover the five reasons why your international SEO strategy could be failing and how you can improve it.

1) You haven’t created a specific international SEO strategy

Your domestic SEO strategy may be performing well and hitting your targets. But don’t assume this same strategy will work in other markets.

A different market requires a different approach. Your competition may vary from country to country and your customers will respond differently too. For example, one culture may prefer a specific brand, product or communication compared to another.

As a result, your international SEO strategy must be tailored to the specific market you’re trying to reach.

2) You haven’t analysed your audience or local markets

Creating a tailored international SEO strategy involves understanding the local market. However, this is much more than considering the local language alone.

It’s not always effective to target solely by country. Considering cultures is also important. Every region has a unique culture and trends that can affect how customers engage with a brand.

From experience, we know that some countries engage well with data-driven content while others are more receptive to visual content. It’s also not uncommon to find that a topic creates a positive response in one region and a negative response in another. We recommend keeping a record of what works and what doesn’t for each country to help you in the future.

Local keyword research and competitor analysis are also useful for understanding which of your products or services will be popular in each region. This insight will help you create a strategy that will generate the right reaction from your target audience.

3) Your content isn’t localised

Creating a translated version of your website or owning a local domain is not enough for international success. High-quality, in-depth content is important to support any SEO strategy. However, you shouldn’t just directly translate versions of that content for your sites. Thin knowledge or use of translation tools will prevent you from producing the credible content required to rank high in the SERPs.

Instead, your content needs to be well researched, localised and optimised to rank in foreign search engines. Writing content in a region’s native language is important for conversions. It shows a cultural understanding of the audience and that you are a trusted authority in that market.

This content should highlight your knowledge of a specific market with localised keyword and trend research. Link acquisition should also come from local and relevant sites. If you want to find out more about international outreach, take a read of our blog on the topic: International Outreach: What Should You Consider?

4) You haven’t used native speakers

Search engines are smart. They can recognise poor quality content and poor translations. Your content needs to not only be correctly translated but it needs to be a human translation too.

Many businesses make the mistake of overlooking writing content in the native language. But optimised content that performs well in the UK won’t necessarily perform well in other countries. Every language has different nuances, terminology and meanings. Some languages may even lack a direct translation of your target keywords which is why it’s crucial to lean on the expertise of native speakers.

However, native speakers bring more value than just supporting your brand with local translation. They hold the first-hand experience of how people within a specific region respond to different messaging. This knowledge can set you apart from competitors allowing you to communicate with your audience with minimal language barriers.

Native speakers are an integral part of your international SEO strategy. Vital to driving results, they are valuable assets when communicating with foreign audiences and expanding your global presence.

5) You’re not looking beyond Google

Google holds over 92 percent of market share, processing over 3.5 billion searches across the world every day. However, it’s not the only search engine out there and it might not be the search engine of choice in other countries. For example, Yandex and Baidu are also highly popular in various markets.

It’s important to monitor and optimise for other search engines in the markets you’re targeting. An effective international SEO strategy will rank your website in your target countries, opening the doors to traffic and conversion opportunities. 

Reach your international ambitions

Optimising for international SEO is much more complex than for the UK alone. With additional factors to consider including local languages, cultures and competitors, it can feel like stepping into the unknown.

If you want to get more from your international SEO efforts, you can trust in our global SEO services and worldwide expertise. As well as being technical, our organic experts ensure your international SEO delivers real business impact. We hold experience helping brands expand into and stand out in foreign markets including LoyaltyLion, Withersworldwide and Gallagher.

There’s no denying international SEO is a big topic. That’s why we wrote a whole guide to support businesses like you in expanding your online presence, increase conversions and get ahead of the competition. Download the guide to find out how an international SEO strategy can help your business or get in touch with our international SEO specialists to talk more.