SEO  Fundamentals: Avoiding Pitfalls With International SEO

Although doing international SEO gives you an opportunity to find new global markets, and engage with people all across the world, it can be a complicated process with plenty of pitfalls that can hurt your progress. These are some things to watch out for and while doing it the right way might take more time and resources upfront, it will be worth the effort in the long run.

First, you are going to want to steer clear of auto translated content. Well on your translation technology has improved a lot over the years it’s still not nearly as good as a competent human translator that can truly interpret and craft a message that gets the point across in a way that is appropriate to a region and a culture. Auto translated content can come off as very unnatural and awkward. And whilst some may appreciate the effort many will view it as a negative or a clear sign that you are not serious about serving them.

Another thing to watch out for is how words and phrases are translated and used in other countries and languages. In the US, an English speaking American might search the term ‘car insurance’ to get some car insurance quotes. If you were to translate this keyword phrase directly into French you might end up with ‘assurance voiture’ and although it’s a valid translation of the phrase, in French-speaking Canada people will be more likely to use ‘insurance auto’.

And what if you’re renting cars? If the English version of your site is talking about car rentals and you decide to expand to the UK, you better know that in London you can hire a car just as easily as rent one. These are the new nuances that you will start to find as you do regionalised key-word research and having someone that understands your target region and language will be invaluable to you as you go through this process.

Next don’t fall into the trap of just translating whatever you can whenever you have time and slapping it up on your pages. While mixing languages on a single page is really confusing to a search engine, even separate pages within an unclear structure can hinder the search engines ability to find and understand your content. Take the time to plan out your regionalised versions of your website and develop clear navigation that will help search engines correctly group your content by language and region. You can further help the search engines by using meta-data to define language in location targeting and spending the time and resources to go through these steps will ultimately help your international search engine visibility.

Last, make sure that you really internationalise your site for the audience you are targeting. You may take the time to figure out what they call car rentals in the UK; but if it turns out that taxis, trains or the tube are the way that your customers get around in London, you have really missed your audience. Just as with any business make sure that you have done the market research to truly understand the international opportunity as well as how to speak to the specific audience around the needs that your products and services are fulfilling.

Your number one priority is to provide your users with the best experience possible and if you make an effort to create a quality user experience for your differentiated, translated and regionalised content, it will result in improvements in your global search engine visibility.

[author ]Sadhiv Mahandru has been involved in online marketing for over a decade covering PPC, Affiliate Marketing, SEO, Content Creation and also creating effective websites. Specialising in Search Engine Optimisation Oldham and providing services throughout the UK. You can learn more about Internet Marketing and SEO by reading my own blog which is updated frequently.[/author]

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