7 Proven SEO Strategies for Enterprises Seeking Global Expansion

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Going global is a norm for businesses running successfully in a specific area. All businesses want to get the opportunity to expand into new markets and sell to a broader audience. Even during the economic concerns and supply chain challenges amid the pandemic, international expansion was alluring. According to 2022 statistics, 72% of global enterprises undertook expansion initiatives during the year.  

The trend continues to go strong as economies recover and supply chains regain pace. However, business owners have valid concerns regarding brand outreach in new markets where no one knows them. Globalizing your SEO strategy can give your enterprise a head start with international expansion. But it takes more than keyword research, content creation, and on-page optimization.

In this article, we will share a few proven SEO strategies that enterprises can rely on to implement their global expansion plans. Before diving deep into these strategic measures, we will explain why SEO makes a great investment for international businesses.

Benefits of SEO for Global Expansion

According to 2023 statistics, 69% of companies actively invest in search engine optimization. This includes small companies selling locally and big players catering to countrywide markets. Investing in international SEO is vital for brands looking to enhance their online presence and reach diverse audiences in new markets. Here are the benefits of thinking beyond local and national SEO and leveraging it for global expansion. 

Increased Visibility on an International Scale

When you implement an international SEO strategy, you optimize your content for different regions. It enables search engines to understand why your content is relevant to users in those regions. With this, your website has a better chance of appearing in local SERPs.

For example, a Denver-based brand planning to launch a division in the UK will have to conduct region-specific keyword research besides its regular enterprise SEO in Denver. It will help the business to get popular search terms for its target market in the UK. For example, “fashion stores in London” and “UK fashion brands” are likely the popular search terms in the new market. The US brand will need to implement the following strategies:

  • Use UK-specific keywords to create localized versions of web pages and product descriptions.
  • Optimize content, metadata, and URLs with region-specific keywords
  • Get backlinks from established and trusted UK brands

According to Peaks Digital Marketing, companies must follow a data-driven approach to SEO when breaking into foreign markets. Similarly, engaging with specialized UK advertising agencies can provide insights and strategies tailored to effectively penetrate the UK market, enhancing your global SEO efforts. In simple words, they should target local keywords to gain visibility abroad. 

Expanded Buyer Base

Another benefit of international SEO is that it allows you to expand your brand’s reach and put it in front of audiences worldwide. You can gain a competitive advantage in new markets by reaching them and building your presence there before the competitors follow. A growing buyer base can give your business the opportunity to get word-of-mouth recommendations as you try to gain traction in the local markets of your target region. For businesses looking to dominate local markets before expanding globally, choosing the right SEO company can be a pivotal step. This foundational strength in your home market prepares your business for successful global ventures. Also, partnering with an expert in local SEO services can ensure your business builds a strong local presence before scaling up internationally.

How to Create a Global SEO Plan 

International expansion requires more than financial resources. Of course, you need to invest money to set up an office or create a supply chain overseas. At the same time, you need a strategic SEO plan to reach, engage, and convert new audiences abroad effectively. You can follow these steps to create an actionable international SEO plan. 

Begin With Thorough Market Research

Hanover Research notes that 80% of businesses conduct market research to get insights into their industry, competition, customers, and performance. It becomes even more crucial when entering an unknown territory in another part of the world. You must dig deep to know your audience’s search behaviors and competitor tactics.

These valuable pieces of information enable you to adapt your SEO strategies according to the needs of the markets. Fortunately, you can use several tools to know the markets, learn about the target buyers, and discover keyword opportunities. Additionally, you can know your competitors and hidden risks.

A clear understanding of the market eliminates guesswork from your strategy and gives you a head start even in a relatively unknown market.

Identify Target Keywords

Your foreign expansion strategy will benefit greatly from thorough analysis and keyword research in your target market. It enables you to collect data on the number and traffic of searches for terms and phrases related to your product or service in the local language. Additionally, it shows the possible linguistic changes beyond translation and localization. 

Besides search traffic, you must check keyword difficulty. It indicates your terms’ competitiveness across different languages, language fusions, and geographies. Your keyword research should also consider cultural nuances and specific search behaviors in international markets. For example, a business selling glasses expanding to Spain should use the word “gafas”, Spanish for glasses.

Analyzing your competitors’ keywords is another way to reveal valuable business opportunities. You can use them to pinpoint queries that drive traffic and generate conversions for your competition. With these keywords, you have a clear roadmap to entice your potential customers with relevant content.

Localize Your Content

The next step is to localize your content according to your target audience’s unique values, cultural norms, and communication styles. At this point, remember that localizing your content is not about only translating it. 

With translation, you merely convert content from one language to another. Conversely, content localization goes further by considering regional, cultural, and contextual factors. Localizing your content aims to achieve higher user engagement with content that resonates with the audience. Additionally, it helps build a positive brand reputation for the brand in an international market. 

Besides textual content, you must incorporate familiar and appealing visuals to the new audience. Visuals should include culturally relevant imagery, colors, and symbols. Other details to consider while localizing your content are sizing and fit, date formats, seasonal differences, currency and pricing, and legal and regulatory compliance steps. 

Build Relevant Links

According to Semrush, several factors contribute to Google rankings, but backlinks are the secret sauce to success. They help Google discover your content and boost your website’s ranking. You can use this secret ingredient to enhance your global SEO strategy. Gaining backlinks from reputable local websites can propel your ranking faster and drive quick traffic to your regional pages.

You need to create content resonating with local audiences to attract backlinks from locally relevant sites. Adding contextual imagery and statistics is an even better idea. For example, a business with an infographic on US fashion trends will not gain attention by simply translating it into Spanish for its audience in Spain. Instead, integrate local trends and region-specific visuals to make your content piece more relevant and link-worthy.

The format also matters when creating content for relevant backlinks in the international market. In-depth guides that demonstrate your expertise, tutorials, original data and research, case studies, client success stories, infographics, and other data visualizations can get you a winning advantage. Likewise, interactive content such as quizzes and contests are more link-worthy. 

Create Region-Specific URLs

When creating an international SEO plan, you cannot undermine the value of region-specific URLs. Region-specific and international domains serve different purposes. If you have a local business, then you can proceed with a local domain, .CA, .PT etc. But if you have a business worldwide, then international domains are the way to go. With localized URLs in place, users can recognize the relevance of your content. Moreover, search engines will also understand who your content is meant for. According to Google, the following practices are recommended for creating localized URLs:

  • Use a country-specific domain 
  • Use a subdomain with gTLD (generic top-level domain)
  • Use a subdirectory with gTLD

Additionally, you must implement hreflang tags. These HTML attributes tell a search engine about the regional or language targeting of web pages. They ensure that your new users in different parts of the world see the correct language version of a webpage in their search results.

Optimize Speed and Performance

Did you know that 40% of website visitors leave if the site takes more than three seconds to load? The worst part is that they may never return. The statistics are the same globally, whether you sell in the US or any part of the world. For this reason, you should prioritize website speed and performance as a part of your SEO plan, regardless of the target market.

Understand the potential causes of slow-loading websites and address them sooner rather than later. You can implement these steps to optimize your website speed for global users:

  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to distribute content across multiple servers across the world seamlessly
  • Ensure a mobile-friendly design
  • Reduce page size by compressing images and files
  • Have a caching policy in place to store static HTML versions to serve to users

Measure and Analyze Performance

Global expansion involves a lot of work, and it is easy to set and forget an SEO plan. However, you must measure and analyze its performance continuously to understand which tactics are working and which are not. These insights will help you realign your plan by identifying and addressing the areas of improvement.

Before diving into the data, determine how you will measure success. Start by defining your primary goals for each market you plan to sell in. Also, determine the metrics you want to assess and ensure you have the right tools to measure them. A continuous improvement approach keeps you ahead of your targets.

Conclusion

Expanding globally with SEO involves more than just extending geographical reach; it requires adapting to cultural differences and local market nuances. The strategies discussed—market research, targeted keywords, content localization, link building, region-specific URLs, and optimizing website performance—are essential for businesses aiming to enter new markets successfully. These approaches enable businesses to increase online visibility, engage with diverse audiences, and establish a strong presence in international markets. 

However, it’s important to continuously monitor, analyze, and adapt these strategies to stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape. Effective global SEO bridges cultural gaps and fosters connections beyond physical borders, paving the way for sustainable growth and global business opportunities.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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