Global SEO: A huge opportunity + 5 tips for success
According to columnist Christian Sculthorp, you may be missing out on a 6-billion-person market. Have you thought about going global with your SEO?
Did you know that only one-seventh of the world’s population speaks English? And only about 340 million speak it as their first language (source: Ethnologue). That leaves more than six billion people who won’t get the message if you have the English-only mindset.
If you sell a product or service that’s available worldwide, localizing your content online can be a massive opportunity, especially if your website is close to maxing out its current SEO potential. SaaS is a good example of an industry that can benefit from this; they can serve customers around the world at no extra cost.
Well-known online marketer Neil Patel claims to have increased his traffic by 47 percent by translating his blog into multiple languages. When you think about how big the world market is, those kinds of results aren’t unreasonable to expect.
For the purpose of this article, I’m talking about going international for SEO, but the same opportunity applies across paid search and social media.
There are two ways to target international queries for SEO:
- Through simple multilingual targeting. This means making an alternative version of your website in another language. This will cover that language in its entirety, across all geos. For example, you may have a Spanish version of your website at es.website.com with the tag: hreflang=”es” (Not sure what hreflang is? Read up on it here).
- Through international geotargeting. This means making alternative versions of your website based on the region. You don’t necessarily have to translate your website to another language to target other regions. You can have a default (x-default) English website, with alternatives in Canada (en-ca) and the UK (en-gb). Or you can have a default English website, with Spanish alternatives in Mexico (es-mx) and Spain (es-es).
From personal experience, I know that going global is a massive opportunity for SEOs. I’m Canadian, and I ran a very profitable e-commerce website by ranking it for terms that would have been impossible to compete for in the US but were relatively easy to rank for with a .ca domain. That being said, throwing up a bunch of international versions of your website most likely won’t have the impact you hoped for.
Just like most things in life, in order to reap the benefits, you need to do it right.