Mastering international SEO is definitely a challenge, especially if you are just getting started with your SEO efforts and are trying to increase your brand’s visibility worldwide. However, the benefits you get from targeting markets outside of your native country can be incredibly rewarding. Unfortunately, too many people go in with no strategy in mind and think that they can just extrapolate their local SEO tactics and put an international spin on it. Not only can this end up backfiring as far as your local results go, but you could severely damage your brand overseas. Here are some common international SEO mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
Too many people have a Wild West view of the web, but understanding local regulations is becoming increasingly important in this day and age. Jurisdictions like the EU, for instance, are working very hard to protect their citizens’ privacy and protect them from unfair practices. There may also be logistical implications as well, as things like server location may impact data sharing and privacy laws.
You also have to be careful with the type of language you use as well. For example, categorizing your product as “the best” in certain categories in the UK could put you in trouble if you don’t have facts to back it up. So, before you break into a new market, it would be wise to study the rules and regulations for each market to avoid legal issues.
Newsflash people, Google isn’t the gold standard everywhere in the world. Optimizing and concentrating your efforts only on Google is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. For instance, while Yahoo is pretty much obsolete in the US, it is still a thing in Japan. And in some markets like China, not only is the first search engine not Google, but it’s not even second best in the country.
Not to mention that different search engines may have different algorithms, and some might focus on certain criteria while completely ignoring others. Take Yandex for instance, Russia’s number one search engine. While most people would expect all search engines to place the highest emphasis on link building, Yandex just recently added it to their algorithms. So not only knowing which search engines are popular, but how they work exactly, is essential if you want to get any success.
Understanding local competition is very important and sometimes you’ll only be able to know how big an iconic a brand is in a local market by dealing with local talent. You may not think that competition is fierce in the market you’re targeting but rest assured that there are possibly dozens of more established brands than yours that are better placed. So if you were thinking of targeting a country like Thailand for instance, it would be much wiser to work with an SEO Bangkok expert that understands the local market and knows the most recognizable brands in your category along with their strengths and weaknesses so that you can frame your plan around this information.
All these mistakes can be easily avoided if you know what you’re doing and work with the right people. Make sure that you have a clear strategy in mind before you enter any market to make sure that your efforts are fruitful and that you remain compliant with the local jurisdiction.