Expanding your business to an international audience is a great opportunity to help you increase growth potential. Interacting with an audience that is part of a different culture or in a different location that your existing market can be both exciting and challenging, so we’ve put together a list of what you need to do to make sure your website is ready for international clients.
The creation of buyer personas for your international market is essential as it’s the backbone for all the content creation for the site. Understanding the needs of your international audience and solving their problems will help be more effective in your messaging. Make sure you always put your personas before your content creation.
Register a Local Domain Address
When you plan on target an international audience, registering a local domain is important. A local domain will build trust with the local market and domain location does play at least a small role in localized rankings. It’s also incredibly valuable to have when you need to differentiate your website text, as running multiple languages and locations on a single website can get complicated. The downside to a new domain is that you often don’t have the domain authority in place to jump up the search engine rankings. With time, patience, and good marketing, you’ll be able to get there.
Use Geographic Keywords
Your keywords are the heart of your search engine optimization. Apart from choosing keywords that only reflect on your content, you can also choose keywords that indicate your location that you would like to target.
For example, if you are a company selling Gibson Guitars to Canada, choosing keywords phrases like “Gibson guitars in Canada” can increase the likelihood that you will improve rankings in that region. However, you want to make sure that you’re not alienating other market segments so if you need different content for different regions or languages you’ll want to make sure you’re also considering how you’re showing that differentiated content by location.
Even in countries where English is the main language, not all English speakers follow the same rules for spelling and grammar. Countries like England, Australia and Canada practice notably different standards in spelling, such as adding a “u” to words that have only “or” in American English, such as “colour.” They also use an “s” where a “z” is used in many words in American English, such as “optimisation.”
By using these alternative spellings along with your geographic keywords, you are creating a grouping of signals for Google that your page is designed for people in those countries.
Translate your Page
If your targeting an audience that speaks a different language, you will need to translate your webpages to the language of the local audience. Writing content in the local language is always better because it improves user experience, which is the ultimate goal. Translating a whole website can be a challenge, but it’s important. Don’t forget to revise images with foreign text, your navigation, and even your URLs (this is where your localized domain comes in handy!).
Get Local Links
Getting local links will increase your localized rankings. It’s not a straight “links = rankings” formula, but having local links lets Google know that you’re part of the neighbourhood and should be considered for localized rankings. If you work with other companies or partners in the new market, link to them where appropriate.
Include Local Currency
If you are an ecommerce company that allows customers buy products from your site, adding their own currency can be an excellent idea. When customers can buy products on a site without having calculate the exchange rate, it improves brand loyalty and does wonders to your conversion rate.
Don’t Forget the Fine Print
Shipping information, privacy policies, forms and FAQs should ALL be revised to be from the point of view of your new audience. For example, if you’re an American company and want to sell in Canada, make sure your forms allow for 6 digit alphanumeric postal codes instead of just 5 digit numeric zip codes. If your shipments will incur a duty cost, make sure you mention it.
Be Culturally Relevant
Considering cultures, laws and online behaviors are crucial for any business to succeed internationally. Before you hit the ground, it is important to do your research and make sure that your products, images, and content are read, reviewed, and translated by a native to that location and culture. You often won’t know what sounds weird to someone else until they tell you.
In the end, the goal is to widen your audience by making it easier for them to access your content and always make sure you’re making changes with the end user in mind. We hope that these tips will set you on your way to marketing with greater care abroad.
If you would like to set up your online business for an international market, we can help you set up your website and market effectively.