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International e-commerce SEO secrets to boost sales

Growth Secrets|02.09.2018

Have you considered the additional international SEO techniques needed to help you make sales overseas?

If you want your e-commerce business to be noticed and achieve success overseas, building a multilingual store with a solid international SEO structure is extremely important. 

When you master these SEO techniques for going global, you’ll notice a positive change in your online global presence. One of the most significant changes should be that more international customers will find your brand using their preferred search engines and buy your products.

This article reveals the best international SEO techniques to reach a global audience and boost your international sales as a result.

1. Localised URLs

To begin building a new website to reach an audience in a specific country, you should research the most commonly used localised URL in that country. This is critical to starting your country specific organic SEO strategy.

Google says to use localised URLs for each language version of your site and suggests using hreflang annotations to enable Google to only show the correct language version according to the searcher’s location.

Google says that localised URLs send clear signals to search engines so that they can determine the location and relevance of your site in comparison to others in that country. Using the correct localised URL will, therefore, help to give your e-commerce brand a higher ranking in the search results of country-specific search engines across the globe. 

2. CCTLD (country code top-level domain)

A country code top-level domain is one way of localising your URL. It is when you migrate your website to a country specific domain hosting and you use specific country coded URLs such as .fr for a French version of your website or .pt for a Portuguese version, rather than keeping a generic .com domain. 

Search engines always want to prioritise the most relevant content at the top of search results so that searchers get as close as possible to what they’re searching for. A website which uses a .com domain could be based anywhere in the world: it doesn’t hold a specific country code. Whereas websites using a country code top-level domain are country specific and will overtake competing brands using generic .com domains.

For instance, mywebsite.fr will look far more relevant to a french search engine in comparison to mywebsite.com. 

3. Subdomains

If you want to keep your main website but you have content on your site that is totally different to the majority of the site ( i.e. written in a different language) you can create a subdomain of your main domain to target a specific audience and/or country. 

The subdomain becomes a division of your main website and contains the separate content, technically becoming a different website linked to your main website. Subdomains are found when you look to the left of the main URL. For example news.mywebsite.com and shop.mywebsite.com are subdomains of .mywebsite.com.

4. Subdirectories 

A subdirectory is generally a more effective URL structure than subdomains. It is the section of the URL that holds a specific subdivision of content. Put simply, imagine your website resembles a filing cabinet and the folders within the filing cabinet are the subdirectories of your site. If you have a blog on your site, think of this as a folder within your filing cabinet. It will look like this: examplesite.com/blog. 

Then for each new blog post within the blog folder you would create a subdirectory with its title, like this: examplesite.com/about/why-seo-is-important.

With this technique you are constantly adding content to your main site, building new internal and optimising your site with fresh content. All of this contributes to your SEO authority, giving search engines more links to crawl and ranking your website higher in search results. 

Additionally, subdirectories make it easier for you to track your site’s performance in Google Analytics because the data for your whole primary site is in one place instead of searching two data points as a result of using two domains.

5. 301 redirect strategy

When migrating to a country specific domain, you will lose the age and authority of your main site which could affect your search engine rankings. However, if your pages are going to exist on your new country specific site and you implement a 301 redirection strategy before you migrate, you could transfer your ranking and authority from your main site.

6. Implement geo-specific schema.org tags

Geo-specific schema.org tags are used to collect data and send signals to various search engines across the globe. Search engines read the signals and data to recognise exactly who and where you want your content to reach so that you can target your website (or parts of it) to users in a single specific language, country or region. 

This means that by using geo-specific scheme.org tags your site will be able to reach people in the right country and will give your site a higher ranking for specific search terms in specific countries and regions. 

This method will not only attract more of the right shoppers to your store; it will also improve the user experience by providing them with the most relevant content. 

7. Tell search engines about localized versions of your website

Google is used worldwide and so it makes sense for Google to be aware of your country or region-specific website(s) in order to push it out to the right people. But you also need to consider localised and most popular search engines in the country or region you are aiming to reach.

We recommend that you index your country or language-specific website with Google and localised search engines. By doing this, you will increase the visibility of your international store and attract new international customers. 

Google has different versions for each specific country and language, so when you index each of your websites into Google’s Search Console, Google will know which country your website is trying to reach. 

8. Create unique content

Search engines like Google are more likely to rank your site higher if all your content is in the correct language - specific to each country or region you wish to target - making it valuable and unique to the country or region you aim to reach. 

You should remember to research the differences in language and terminology to avoid embarrassing mistakes, help your customers to understand your products and helping search engines determine the language of your content.

We recommend that you don’t use Google translate as it often gets translations wrong; instead employ a native speaker from the country you’re targeting. 

To make your content even more relevant and unique, we recommend that you stay up to date with the different trends and events happening in each country or region and design your content strategy around this. Consider using tools like: Feedly and Google Alerts, or search for trends using Instagram’s Explore tab. 

In the context of SEO, it’s likely you’ll miss out on high rankings for specific keywords used across the world if you don’t consider these points. 

You can stay up to date with the different trends by using tools like: Feedly, popular newsletters and podcasts via Hot Pod, and social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

9. Link building

Do you engage in outreach marketing such as local link building in your home country? This can be anything from guest blogging for popular blogs and online magazines within your industry and then hosting them on your blog or mentioning them in an article, social media collaborations, features on popular podcasts, joint competitions etc… 

It is now time to do the same on a global scale. Start link building in the country or regions you want to build a presence. Your link-building efforts will do wonders for SEO results and contribute to higher rankings in local search engines as you’ll be visible on more and more websites in that country, contributing to your authority and URL hierarchy. 

Conclusion

In order to boost your sales on a global scale, implementing international SEO techniques are crucial. If you don’t adopt some or all of the techniques mentioned in this article, your brand’s global online presence will suffer. Your brand will not be seen by specific country or regional search engines if no effort is made to build on your international SEO strategy. As a result your potential overseas customers won’t even know you are there. 

So follow our advice as much as possible to see good results. If you need further guidance with where to start, contact us today! 

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