Multinational companies must adapt their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies to meet local market requirements or risk losing brand value, customer loyalty and profits in foreign countries.
According to Jon Ritzdorf, an SEO globalization expert with Moravia, one of the world's largest providers of multilingual services, an SEO program that works well in one country can often be completely off target in another.
An SEO program that works well in one country can often be completely off target in another.
"Global companies spend thousands of dollars to get as much from their SEO programs as they can, but the majority still just duplicate their current strategy abroad. It's a very costly mistake because a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work and might even alienate potential buyers," Ritzdorf said.
To maximize global SEO, Ritzdorf says companies should:
- Localize keywords. How do you optimize a bagel store's website in Indonesia? You can't assume you'll attract Indonesians with the same words a New Yorker would use. Businesses need to do market-specific keyword research in each country, instead of just translating pre-existing keywords into the local language.
- Use country-specific domains. A ".com" address might be universally recognized, but it isn't always optimized. Use country-specific codes to register your top-level domains.
- Use local hosting providers. Find hosting providers in the countries or regions you serve. This supports your SEO efforts and demonstrates a stronger presence in a particular country or region.
- Know the local country requirements. Different countries have different rules for establishing a country-specific URL. Some actually require an established presence in their respective country before allowing a country-specific domain. The more you can localize your information and contents, the better.
- Get more social. Facebook is the world's top social network, but it's far from the only one. The Chinese love Renren and Weibo. Italians use Meemi. Russians revere VKontakte, and the Vietnamese now have Mimo. If your goal is to optimize SEO globally, using the wrong social network to reach key international market segments is nothing to lol about.