7 November 2008
10 tips for promoting your websites in the international search engines
Getting found in the search engines is important part of many EMITA members' marketing strategy.
For European prospective customers that means getting found in the local version of Google, for Chinese customers that might mean getting found in the Baidu search engine, Korean clients will be using Naver, Russians use Yandex; indeed the list of international search engines continues to grow.
Here's a quick checklist of steps you can take to improve your chances of ranking well in the international search engines:
1. Where possible, use an international top level domain name, for instance mycompany.be to tackle the Belgian market, mycompany.pl for Poland. However, there are some restrictions regarding puchasing international domain names, for instance you must be a French company to purchase a .fr domain name.
2. If you have website which is ranking well already, consider using subdomains, for example fr.mycompany.com for French content, and pl.mycompany.com for Polish content.
3. Alternatively, you can organise your content into folders, for instance www.mycompany.com/FR/ or www.mycompany.com/PL/
4. Do your keyword research with a knowledgable local speaker of the language: find out what phrases a native speaker would use to search for your business. Make sure you are using native speakers with search marketing experience to write your content.
5. Embed your local key phrase in the pages, but don't just do a straight literal translation. Localise the content for the local language.
6. Pay particular attention to localising your Title Tags and Meta description tags for international pages. Ensure you are using local language content and presentation.
7. Publish your foreign office address and foreign phone numbers on your site, and if possible include foreign address information on every page in a footer.
8. Speak to your web designer and make sure your pages are encoded using UTF-8.
9. Get links from high quality, relevant local (foreign) websites.
10. Consider using Pay Per Click advertising to test your keyword research and to learn more about your local market behaviour. Find the best phrases that generate enquiries or sales, and then use those phrases as part of your marketing strategy.
This is a "starter for ten" - there are many more techniques that you can use to drive international visitors to your website.
Susan Hallam is a director of EMITA, and a search engine optimisation consultant (SEO) in Nottingham.