Whether operating overseas or planning to expand your business into new regions, International SEO plays an integral role in establishing your brand as an industry leader in terms of relevant product and service line keywords. In this post, we explore the main ingredients for a successful International SEO strategy.
IS THERE AN AUDIENCE OVERSEAS FOR MY BUSINESS?
As a the digital landscape evolves, new channels and regions are made available to businesses to drive new business. Unless it’s irrelevant and your business is 100% committed to a specific location (i.e city, suburb), your potential audience continuously increases and international marketing might become a necessity to sustain your business in the long run. First and foremost, research is paramount and you should determine if there is demand for your products/services. One of the most important steps is researching your target keywords in a specific language and country using a keywords tool such as the one provided by Google AdWords.
Another recommendation is to analyse your website traffic to identify users’ search volumes overseas. Once this due diligence is completed and there is demand for your offering in a foreign market meaning you can differentiate yourself from the competition, you can start looking at the technical aspects of the strategy.
INTERNATIONAL SEO VS LOCAL SEO
On the surface the two might appear different but in reality the two strategies have a lot in common. Similar to local SEO, you optimise your website to attract traffic from a specific geo-target area. The main difference with international SEO is that you’re optimising the website for different languages and countries.
One of the most common initial mistakes is assuming you can simply create a duplicate content country code top level domain, subfolder or subdomain on the current website domain and expect it to achieve similar rankings as you local strategy. Although this is an important step, and you would need to choose between the different options: ccTLD (domain.fr), subdomain (fr.domain), subdirectory (domain.com/fr/), gTLD with language parameters (domain.com/?lang=fr) ; there are many other elements to take into consideration including but not limited to:
- Language: you should use the country language not only to rank on the foreign target keywords but also to enhance the user’s experience. Never expect everyone can read english.
- Off-page SEO strategy dedicated for each target country (for example, listing your business on local foreign directories, yellow pages France).
- Hreflang attributes set to the intended language or regional URL.
- Correct use of canonical tags where applicable.
- Make your international web structure indexable and easy to navigate.
- Use a local IP address to host your site if possible.
With developers pushing more than 1,000 apps to Apple’s App Store per day, competition in driving organic downloads has never been higher. App Store Optimisation (ASO) has become an essential step when releasing an app to maximise your audience.
ASO is the process of enhancing the visibility of a mobile app in an app store such (Google Play / iTunes) through optimisation techniques, similar to search engine optimisation (SEO).
Below are our recommended steps for executing ASO on your app.
KEYWORD RESEARCH AND IMPLEMENTATION
Like SEO, you must have a refined keyword list that you focus on which you’re confident will be driving qualified traffic to your app. A common mistake in ASO (and SEO) is choosing too many keywords that dilute your search strategy or selecting keywords that are too competitive or don’t have the corresponding search volume. Given the small real estate for optimisation, pick your top 3 keywords and focus on these.
App title: the keyword selected here should drive the highest amount of quality traffic. Choose this word carefully as changing your app name will negatively affect your ASO strategy.
App Description: your selected keywords will need to sit in your app description.
Once the user has found your app, your description is a crucial step in the user actioning a download, therefore focus on the user experience and quality of your content as opposed to over optimising (i.e. keyword stuffing).
Make sure you look at what keywords your competitors are focusing on before making selection.
Your icon says a lot about your brand’s confidence. Users are much more selective as to which apps they have on their devices, so pick an icon that simply looks good, reinforces your offering, doesn’t write the name of the app and most importantly stands-out in the sardine can of apps on your device.
As opposed to taking basic screenshots of your app, use this real estate as an opportunity to sell your concept. 23% of users abandon an app after first download (2016), and one of the main reasons for this is their failure to understand the proposition. McDonald’s new Monopoly at Macca’s app tackle this issue head on by describing the steps to take using their app, qualifying the user before they’ve even actioned a download.
Figure 1: storytelling via screenshots
With the boom in review websites across multiple industries, customer feedback has become an important cog in the buyer’s decision making process. Reviews are equally important when downloading apps, with Google Play making it highly visible on their interface. Ensure you highlight the positive reviews and respond to the negative ones within 12 hours. Not responding and or deleting unfavourable comments is not an option.
Category selection is vital, influencing your ranking and the quality of traffic you drive to your app. With the magnitude of apps available, Apple introduced subcategories into the App Store which provide the opportunity to rank for very specific categories. Before selecting your category, look at the level of competition in that space.
You will automatically exclude a large portion of potential buyers for your app by charging a fee for download. If this is non-negotiable, select a price that reflects the value your user will be receiving. It is suggested however you monetise via in-app purchases or through other means.
ANALYTICS AND REVIEWING YOUR ASO
It’s essential you track the performance of your app. If you fail to gain traction on your selected keywords, perhaps a rethink is in order. Furthermore, test different creative and content to see how this affects your download (click-to-install) conversion rate.