Tips for Conducting Keyword Research for International Sites

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Keyword research is vital to any good search engine optimization plan. Whether you’re starting a paid search campaign or relying on organic traffic, knowing which keywords you’re targeting can dramatically increase the visits and lead generation on your site. 

Once you’ve made sure you’re not making the basic seo mistakes a lot of websites make, keyword research for your own country is pretty straight forward – open up an excel spreadsheet and start noting down key phrases—but what if you’re targeting your site internationally? Recently we helped California Closets with a geo-targeted campaign in Canada – international keyword research alongside web design and development was a large part of the project. Here are a few tips for conducting keyword research with international sites that can save you time and bring in results.



There are some great keyword tools out there that can automate most of the process and give you enhanced stats, while offering you an international perspective. A lot of them are free to use or have free trials. No keyword planning session is complete for us without checking these. Using multiple tools means you can piece together an accurate picture of the keyword landscape.Free Marketing Checklist

  • Google Keyword Planner is a well-known resource for digital marketers. Simply sign into Google AdWords and hop over to Keyword Planner. This planner is designed to help you form paid search ads but it’s just as useful for exploring related phrases and keywords to give you a high-level keyword data such as monthly search volume and cost per click.
  • Keyword Tool is a free platform (the pro features are paid for) that similarly allows you to examine related keyword phrases and stats. Unlike Keyword Planner, this platform also allows you to analyze keywords on eBay, Amazon, Bing, and more meaning ecommerce site products can be search engine optimized too. Although searches on Google vastly outperform searches elsewhere it’s important to examine other search engines to complete your overview. Bing Ads are important too!
  • Moz Keyword Explorer is free to use for a limited number of searches or you can upgrade to a pro plan. Along with stats like monthly search volume, it can give you an idea of the competition for any given keyword as well as organic click through rate. You really want to balance a high organic CTR with low competition and a reasonable search volume. Balancing all three of these is a skill in itself but it’s worth investing time in.
  • Answerthepublic is a lesser known and great resource for pulling out key themes and questions. This is a great way to come up with content ideas. On its own it’s not going to completely flesh out your Keyword Research but paired with some of the hard hitters above this is a great free tool.
  • GoogleTrends. You thought Google only had one tool for this kind of thing, right? Google is a vast resource for keyword planning! GoogleTrends is one tool that’s great for monitoring search volumes.

Country Specific Research

Most of the above tools in some way or another allow you to examine different versions of the search engines based on IP address of the search term. Use this! If you’re target market is in another country ensure you’re checked that country’s specific search volume for keywords. If you’re marketing to more than one international location, make sure you’re compiling separate lists for these markets. Your buyer personas (semi fictional profiles of potential customers) should be different for each and every country you target (you might even have several separate personas within countries too) anyway so it should feel natural to separate them out.



Make sure you think about language as well as location. You’re going to want to find a fluent speaker of the languages you’re targeting to get this right. Don’t just directly translate keyword phrases – this is where mistakes are made! You’ll need to be aware of cultural sensitivities and slang in other languages too. Even across English speaking countries there are words that mean different things to different people. One of the nuances of international marketing is grasping this concept and ensuring your site is properly optimized for your specific audience.

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Need help with your ecommerce site search engine optimization? As a proud Magento Business Solution Partner and HubSpot Partner Agency we have teams of dedicated developers, designers, and marketers who are passionate about ecommerce and content marketing. We can help increase your conversion rates and more effectively reach your audience. We also love SEO!

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Josh McEwan
Josh McEwan

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