SEO strategies are not all created equally, especially on an international level. The bottom line is that SEO (whether local or international) is both a science and an art form, and when done well, can make or break your website.
There is no magic rule or golden trick that equates to a successful SEO strategy. Since SEO is an ongoing process that is not only largely based on human behavior, but research, analysis, and planning, the approach necessary for a successful strategy varies from case to case. And on an enterprise level, there are added layers of complexity.
At this tier, you've entered the major leagues of keyword competition, competing with other enterprise companies with huge budgets that are aiming to rank better on the same keywords and key phrases.
While the core of SEO best practices remains unchanged for enterprises, managing hundreds or thousands of pages in multiple languages becomes increasingly challenging. Here is our advice on managing your enterprise content and how to optimize it to get you closer to your international SEO goals.
Keeping Up with Content
For companies with an international brand presence and websites that focus on producing content in various languages, content adds up quickly. Aptly managing content on such a massive scale requires a large team of stakeholders to ensure high-quality content across the board.
You'd need a team of people responsible for the necessary research, optimization, and tracking for each language you publish content in. While it may be tempting to save time and resources in creating content in one language and then translating it into other languages, there is greater value in Creating Original Content.
For one, the SEO research and keywords to focus on vary from language to language. Though search intent may be the same, the actual wording and phrasing used can differ depending on the user locale. For example, sports fans in the US and the UK searching for the term 'football' are essentially seeking out two different sports referred to by the same name.
Likewise, if your company profiles as a UK stationery store/supplier, US searchers may be confused to find your page for erasers when searching the term 'rubbers'.
While your page may rank high for certain keywords, if it lands in the lap of the wrong target audience, then what good is it?
Even if you go the route of translating content, there still needs to be an element of rewriting to include newly relevant keywords and phrases of your target audiences.
For each language content is created, transcreated, or translated into, the main idea is that your messages conveyed are both on-brand and relevant to the region of intended audiences. A proven way to achieve this is to have subject-matter experts working on or reviewing the content before publishing.
And at the enterprise status, there's still the approval needed from the legal department, branding team, and compliance checkers before content can even go live.
Include SEO in Your Content Plan from the Get-Go
SEO is often overlooked and considered the last step when it comes to content creation, which is ill-advised.
It should be incorporated from the beginning when content planning. This way you can target the right audience, with the right content and avoid keyword cannibalization (when you target the same keyword in several places within your site, you end up competing with your own content and hurting your organic performance).
As a strategy, including SEO from the beginning helps you manage your expectations and set achievable goals, but to accomplish this, there needs to be room for adjustments (sometimes many) made along the way.
A solid SEO strategy is an ongoing endeavor that weaves itself throughout the entire content creation process from the beginning. You'll want to keep a routine eye on your keyword research, changes in search trends, and your SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).
Once your content is live, the optimization efforts shouldn't stop. While SEO is designed to convince the search engine's algorithm, human behavior still plays an essential role when articles are evaluated to decide whether your content is relevant to the search intent. Accordingly, it goes without saying that keyword stuffing is a bad idea.
Much like fashion, keywords are not always trending. A blog post or an article published today may do well for a week and then rank poorly a week later. Conversely, a piece of content may lay dormant for months and then rank highly seemingly out of nowhere. This can occur because of changes in current affairs, a search engine's algorithm, or even changes to your own website.
It's important to keep your finger on the pulse of changing search trends and possible keyword decline so you can revisit your content and update, rewrite or retire as needed to stay relevant.
SEO Isn't Always a One-Size-Fits-All Strategy
While this next tip may be beneficial for some companies and verticals; it may be useless to others which goes to show that good SEO strategies should be agile.
Targeting keywords that are commonly spelled wrong may work in your favor.
For some companies, you may find users often incorrectly spell the name of your company. It might be useful in your tactics to optimize by targeting the variations of misspellings as keywords.
One caveat with this trick may be that a misspelled keyword on your site can cause mistrust among your target audience. Especially in more serious verticals like banking, life sciences and legal fields. As an enterprise, the aim isn't to increase the volume of traffic to your website but to improve the quality of that traffic. The time and effort you invest in your SEO tactics can help you improve that.
Reach out to us at Argos Multilingual and ask about our International SEO offer as part of our Creative Services portfolio. As a translation and localization company driven by quality in everything we do, we'll work closely with you to develop a leading SEO strategy for your company.