Aleyda Solis shared with us what she has learnt from her 5 years of working in international SEO. She appreciates it can be complex, you need a localized approached and that there are many challenges we have to overcome.
Many clients have said “We do not have enough resources to update all of our international sites”. Therefore it is important to try not to target more countries than you can support. Prioritse the most beneficial international markets.
How can you do this?
When you go international, you need native support. It is a must during all the international process, even at the start. Even if it is your own language but targeting different countries, you have to appreciate there is different vocabulary used. For example American English vs British English.
When you go international, make sure you validate what is required from a business. For example the technical content and language support perspective to operate in the identified top markets. With the data you have, you can validate the feasibility and calculate the break even point and expected ROI for each market, using the international SEO ROI calculator.
Remember that your goal is to be profitable. Therefore assess whether your international SEO Project is viable at the moment for the most important identified markets.
As your clients which countries they want to target in international SEO.
Is location a factor that influence your web operations? Identify the best international targeting for your sites, according to your own requirements and restrictions.
There are two approaches – country targeting and language targeting. Each version needs to have their own web structure as the image illustrates.
A crawlable and consistent international web structure is fundamental although it is not enough to avoid international search alignment issues.
Whether you’re targeting by country or language you need a crawlable consistent structure whether you’re using sub-folders or CCTLDs. News sites find it is easier to have their content indexed when using a subdomain.
International search alignment issues might happens with sites in the same laguaage targeting different countries and even with sites versions in different languages.To avoid canonibalisation, you want to include the Hrefland attribute.
Aleyda suggested we look at the Hrefland case study by Saurav Rimal from SEER published on the SEER interactive blog.
Make sure to use the right language and country specification in your hreflang tags. Aleyda suggested we use the Hreflang tag generator tool to create your Hreflang annotations. You can also use the mediaflow hreflang sitemap tool to generate an XML sitemap including Hreflang annotations. Flang.DejanSEO.com.au can be used to validate the sitemap.
There are also new warning messages for incorrect Hreflang implementations in GWMT.
Aleyda recommended that we avoid automatic redirects that take users where they have not asked to go. For example redirecting them to the Spanish version of the site but they are from Latin America. This can be intrusive and may also mess with your site crawlability. Amazon handles this well, they suggest users to go to the language site based on their IP.
Make sure your brand translates well. Aleyda gave us an example of one product called Fetos Feta in Italy. However, “fetos” means foetus in Spainish which does not encourage anyone to purchase this product.
Use the consumer barometer and TNS Digital life to better understand your international audience behavior.
Use buzzsumo and social crawlytics to idenitfy the most linked and shared content in each international market and industry. Use followerwonk and Topsy to identify local industry influencers in social networks and build relationships with them. It is important to grow relationships in a natural way. Native support is a must to connect with your local audience and become an authority, being a foreign brand. Just remember to respect local traditions too.
The good news is that non english speaking markets usually are less competitive in terms of link building but link spam is more common. Be careful with hurting your other site versions.
Two more resources to help those going international.
Aleyda wrote a post on Moz blog the International SEO Checklist which you should read and digest before going international. She also shared with the audience the 40+ Tools to help your international SEO.
Wil Reynolds, founder of SEER Interactive, gave a fantastic presentation where he shared his experience and results with spending $10,000 in order to get links for his client at SEER. He allowed an intern to test how many links and social shares spending this budget.
In reality he wanted to see how many more eye balls he could get on the content by spending this money. He wanted to see more impressions on the content.
There were going to be 3 outcomes:
1. Either we were going to win and would feel awesome
2. Or we were going to lose
3. Or we were going to wait
Wil spoke about the different tools they used to get more links
They did get some links by using this tool but the links were not that high quality.
3 characteristics of the sites they had links from:
SEER had an infographic and used nRelate to help get it in front of more eyeballs. But they were not impressed with nRelate as they burned $1,00 in 3 days.
They had nearly 9 million impressions, over 2,000 clicks but just 1 link.
So they had to ask themselves, why was this the case?
They did not do any testing of the infographic, to find out was anyone interested in it or not. It ended up costs $1,000 a link, not impressed.
The next thing SEER tried was Twitter. SEER launched at a fantasy football name generator which they paid to get it built and to promote. SEER took the learnings from the previous test and asked people if they liked their idea.
In 4 days, they spent only $177 when they had a budget of $500.
They advertised on Twitter using the hashtag- #fantasyfootball, but they did not get a lot of engagement and there was only $177 per follower.
What is the value of a follower on Twitter? SEER did not find out who tweeted their tweets and then how influential they were. This is what they need to do.
A real marketer tests everything. They had an infographic they wanted to promote through nRelate. It had already been picked up by a university. It was also covered by a company called G4. So they knew that somebody cared about the infographic.
SEER spent $700 for next 3 days and generated 7 links.
There was a cost of $124 per link, still not good, but getting better.
SEER thought they could get more shares and more links, so they stayed with the network nRelate. They had a client who had 3 articles with snippets of infographics in each.
Cost in total $802 and they got 11 links, meaning it was $72.91 per link
SEER was starting to see some good links and more eyeballs on their content, so they moved onto the Taboola network. They had a client who had 4 articles and 1 infographic about making Sangria.
There was already good coverage for these 5 pieces of content. SEER spent $1700 over 26 days. They generated 82 links with no outreach – great results.
The content is not built to convert, users cannot buy Sangria from this company. When doing something like this, try and create micro conversions
It is important to make a business case so you can get your clients to work with you on the new ways of getting more eyeballs on their content. It is important to look at social crawlytics and see what is working/not working. Wil started A/B testing titles of the articles. They also looked at the referring sites and they aggregated traffic to a landing page.
The cost per link went down to $24.39 per link.
Wil suggested to the audience to look in GA, what is getting momentum already and which you could get a nudge? Work on building the community that cares
SEER had an education infographic for their client which showed the value of online education against traditional education (in the class room). It was covered by Fox business, edtech and metro and ethnically Philly. It even got on the news. A producer at Fox who saw the story in the metro, called SEER. They wanted to cover it.
Wil told the audience to make sure your story gets in front of journalists. They are looking for “keyword” for a story. The keyword is the title of your article, your theme.
For this campaign (and the results are still coming through), SEER spent $194, capping it to $150 a day. They had a CTR of 14% and 647 clicks.
Now SEER are testing headlines to see what works the best. Wil suggests that we also test article on PPC and then SEO.
To pull this off you need well rounded Data and SEO and SEM and Social Analytics and Negotiator people. Mignons have tunnel vision, they are only thinking about the PA and DA of a page. You want to hire people who are data junkies and growth hackers who think strategically.
Please share your stuff with others so they can learn and grow.
Craig Bradford gave a very interesting presentation about to encourage more customers on your site to convert instead of trying to get more traffic.
Why do we ignore 99% of our traffic?
If you get 10,000 visits and there are only 6 transactions, the answer isn’t to get another 10,000 visits, it is to get more transactions.
The customer journey is really complicated. We are using many devices at the same time. 90% of people use sequential screens to complete a task.
What if we do not buy online? This is the RO-PO effect and affects 40% of online purchases. This is when people research online and purchase offline. How can we measure this especially with not provided?
Craig doesn’t care about not provided. Google have given us Universal Analytics and we can use this to track customers, not session times.
1. Measurement Protocol
Do user based tracking. With universal analytics compared to regular analytics, you can track people regarding of the device, whether it is offline or online.
2. Use Dimension Widening
Have user ID and companies will have other information about that customer external to GA. This information can be uploaded back to universal analytics.
3. Change the Way you think
When people come to your site, they are not binary. We cannot group them into buyers vs non buyers. We have to look at them at life time value.
4. Make investments
It is hard but there are two ways to make money.
I. Never lose money
II. Never forget rule no.1
We can do this with lifetime value of a customer
A. Keep the relationship alive
B. Never forget rule no. 1
5. ABV – always be valuable
The purpose of a customer isn’t to get a sale. The purpose of a sale is to get a customer. Think about the value get from them.
6. MVC - Minimal Viable Conversion
What is the smallest thing someone can do on your website to keep the relationship alive?
So how do we get these customers? How can we identify and contact them?
We have some new advanced segments in GA
1) Cohort analysis
Grouping people/customers by a certain attribute. It is important to filter by users, not segments. You can set the date and source in the data.
2) Demographic Segments
Now you have the age, gender and interest of your customers. This means you can make reports that are really specific. Measure people not sessions. Measure all conversions, not just sales.
Channels aren’t binary. Think of channels like football team. Google released graphic (insert) about the relationship between all channels.
Display is an awareness channel whereas direct and organic search is buying channel. Research and look at tools to make better decisions how you will grade your channels.
Incentivise users to give you their email address. When you get them to login, like amazon does, use persistent cookies. You can track users when come back.
Direct traffic gets too much credit
Direct traffic is anything that does not have a referral. Thanks to lunametrics, they created Directmonster.js. You should not attribute everything to direct traffic. Set up Universal analytics and you can see who referred people to your site which in the past would have been attributed to the direct channel.
Stacey Cavanagh gave a very interesting presentation in the afternoon of Day 1 of Search Love. She started by saying that if this was a year ago, we could say she was going to talk about link bait. Now it is a dirty word. We have to do link building in different way. Google favours big brands as they make noise.
So how can we create this great content that Google will notice and our customers?
1. Guest editorial
It is still a valid technique writing content on other relevant sites. All guest blogging was not equal and is not. We call it guest editorial contributor or guest featuring. It is important to know which sites to blog on, don’t just pick any site.
How can you do this?
1) Speak with your clients
2) Look at magazine subscriptions
This allows you to find out the different magazines in your client’s industry. It is also a great place to find niche magazines.
Check out this site where you can find all the magazines and newspapers by country and city.
4) Clean up your language
We are not guest blogging. We are looking to write a feature. We are not looking at guest blogs, we looking at sites where can really benefit from, not just for the link.
5) Surveys make noise
They can be the basis for content. Go through Google news and search “survey” and see how much content there is.
6) Buy surveys in
If you do not have enough time, use Quick Surveys.com. This allows you to ask 1000 people a question from £300.
7) Google Consumer surveys
Google also offer this and there is a discount of $75 off your first one.
8) One Poll
This is a great market research company, often featured in the Guardian.
9) Check public publications – FOI
When you have the datra, if you have newsworthy data, you need to find journalists. This is a great site to find these journalists.
12) Images for attribution
At LinkLove Hannah Smith had a few tools on how to find people using your images but are not linking back to you.
13) Share your photos on flick under creative attributes
14) On page SEO for your images
Image title is your page title. Image description is your meta description.
15) Build links to your images
16) Chase up the people who don’t credit your images.
17) Image Raider
Upload your images to this tool and see who is using your images.
18) Fresh alerts
Set up alerts and this allows you to see who is mentioning your brand but is not linking.
19) Centre outreach around images
There are many content writers who need images, so reach out to them. You can find these content writers as some of them will be using Wordle.
20) Offer Exclusivity
If someone influential uses one of you images and credits them property, offer them more exclusive ones. Organise your outreach – have tool to pull in some of the email addresses.
21) Buzzstream – blogger outreach tool
22) Group High - blogger outreach tool
23) Inkybee - blogger outreach tool
This lets you search older tweets about something.
25) Help are Porter.com
Get credible sources to comment on the data you publish.
28) Muck Rack
29) Title split testing for wordpress
31) Google adwords
32) Page stumbles
This gives you a cost on impression, but test your headlines before you use it.
36) Pick up the phone
Encourage your outreach team to also pick up the phone and speak to these journalists, the other websites. This was a fantastic presentation, with lots of tips. For more details, please check out Stacey’s presentation on slideshare: