No borders -- that was the promise of the Internet. Perhaps some search marketers have forgotten. Search marketing companies such as Covario and IgnitionOne have developed international strategies to support expanding paid-search practices. Now, more search marketers want to localize search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns. So Optify has created a guide to get started.
The guide lays out basic principles of expanding SEO internationally and provides insight on how to support multiple Web sites and multinational campaigns. It covers relevant search engines, site structure strategies, optimization principles and localization guidelines.
It's easy for international SEO newcomers to forget that while in the United States and Europe Google accounts for the majority of the market share, Yandex is the leading search engine in Russia, and Baidu in China.
Some Wall Street analysts such as Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster believe Baidu will continue to post "strong mid-double-digit growth" through their fiscal year 2014. And its growth pattern continue similar to Google in its early days. His analysis of the relationship between the Chinese search market and China's gross domestic product (GDP) compared with the U.S. suggests the market could become four times as big by 2016. "Bottom line: we think Baidu can grow 3.5 to 4 times in the next four to six years," he wrote.
But keeping track of multiple search engines worldwide can become challenging. Baidu, in the midst of mounting criticism in response to allegations the company failed to stop scammers from abusing its keyword search advertising platform to promote fraudulent Web sites, points to a sign that Chinese authorities want to regulate Internet search. This could mean that restrictions and rules are on the way.
Some marketers that are new to international SEO think they can hand off content in U.S. Web pages to international divisions within their respective companies to repurpose in that country's native language. Wrong, confirms Anthony Joseph, vice president of marketing and customer experience at Optify. "Those companies need to optimize content for local countries," he said.
Joseph, who spent about 11 years at Amazon.com supporting international sales, describes Optify's international clients as "mid-market and enterprise level companies" -- businesses with more than 250 employees and $100 million-plus in revenue.
The challenges vary. Some companies move from a centralized to a decentralized strategy, and then back again. Others believe they have nailed U.S. optimization and try to move that strategy into international markets, to replicating success in other markets. Consider cross-country coordination of marketing messages, workflow and the translation of content, Joseph says.
The guide explains that when considering SEO principles, businesses can drive page optimization by inserting target keywords in five strategic locations: URL, title tag, meta description, H tags, and page content. And don't forget to optimize for video with local captions.
While there's a lot to consider, the SEO starter guide makes the process easier through a step-by-step worksheet.