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If your organization doesn’t focus on international traffic or you’re in the process of looking for an international SEO agency, you may feel a little overwhelmed. The good news is that the successes you’ve (hopefully) created on your domestic website give you a foundation to work on your international SEO strategy. Let’s look at a few points to help inform your progress on the international front.

Let’s assume you’re based in the US and are either expanding your presence into other regions or maybe you’re partnering with a business based elsewhere. First, look at the strengths and weaknesses of your domestic presence online.

Do you rank well for important keywords?

Are you competitive in your field?

How much market share do you command?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions you (or your SEO firm) should start by coming up with an evaluation of how your site stacks up. If you’re in good shape domestically, start by performing a similar round of research in your new region.

Research can be tricky in some areas. You might find that your preferred research tools don’t work well in a new region, or Google isn’t the top search engine. Make sure you double check all your assumptions and make sure the data you expect to see are there. For example, South Koreans don’t use Google as much as so you’ll have to rely on that platform for rankings instead of Google.

Language is a big factor as you build your international SEO strategy, but don’t get scared off. You’ll hopefully have access to native speakers in your organization or barring that, hire a translator. Step one for your native speaker is to find out how users in your new region talk about your organization.

Do they use your brand name in English, or in their native language and / or alphabet?

Is there a fundamental difference in how your product or service is thought of internationally?

Once you’ve landed on the right keywords, you can jump into keyword research. Finding the right keywords in your new region can help you decide what pages you’ll need on the local website and how to communicate with your new users.

With free translation online it can be tempting to let an algorithm do the heavy lifting, but hiring a professional translator is a good idea. You don’t want your site to slow down users with bad syntax or grammar. We’ve all seen badly translated emails. You don’t want your website to read like them.

Payment can be different as well. In the US we’re very comfortable with ecommerce checkout. In some countries, mobile payment, COD or installment plans are more common. Find out what users respond to in your new region and test checkout options.

Entering a new market isn’t always easy and even digital marketing professionals can’t optimize their way around a lack of user demand. Keep in mind that if your organization offers something brand new to the region, users won’t be looking for it yet, so keep an awareness campaign in your back pocket if your launch is going slowly.

If you have questions about your international SEO strategy or need help executing your plan, get in touch. We’re always ready to help.