Martech for International SEO
Today, marketers responsible for domestic and international markets are realizing the power of technology for effectively reaching potential prospects and engaging current users from around the world. The set of technologies used by a global marketing team, also referred to as the marketing technology stack or martech, is often shared online for other companies to view and possibly adopt. Of course, technology stacks will vary across organizations – depending on individual needs, budget, and operational requirements – and it’s never as easy as adopting the technology stack of a company similar to yours in size, industry, and market share.
With Martech being the buzzword in the industry right now, there are countless stacks currently available on the internet, advising on everything from content marketing tools to social media management platforms. We wanted to provide a more concentrated martech stack, so we’re sharing some popular tech tools, programs, and software products that can help global marketers strengthen their international SEO efforts.
It can be overwhelming trying to determine how to start your international SEO campaign, but in many cases, the starting point is closer than you may think! Your domestic website is a trove of information that allows you to validate whether or not international expansion would be beneficial for your company.
First, leverage Google Webmaster Tools, filtering by location, to identify your initial international search visibility using the “Search Queries” report and find page impressions, clicks, and the CTR of your website by country. Supplement this with the “Demographics” report in Google Analytics and obtain data like current international visits, conversion rate volume, trends coming from different languages, and top traffic sources, keywords, and pages.
Next, you’ll need to evaluate the international search potential for each country you’re interested in targeting. This often begins with international keyword research. Knowing that search engine popularity varies by country and has a direct impact on which keywords you’ll want to target, use the Alexa Rankings or Stat Counter to find which search engine is most popular in your target country – generally Google reigns supreme in Western countries, Yandex is popular in Russia, and Baidu is top in China. Once you’ve determined your target countries, selecting the appropriate keyword planner is a piece of cake!
To confirm global market potential, take a deeper dive into your competitive analysis with SimilarWeb which will provide information on consumer behavior by country. Gain a better understanding of your competitor’s popular products and associated marketing content, their unique selling proposition, weaknesses and strengths, and online communities to help you target the top buyers in each of your targeted global markets.
Rnkrnk, ComScore Data, and Google’s Display Network Research can also be used in place of or in conjunction with SimilarWeb for discovering global market potential and creating a full competitive analysis. The tools you select will likely be dependent on your individual needs, budget, and personal preferences.
To identify keywords that may have fallen through the cracks, SEMrush is a popular tool for generating additional keywords, and is especially helpful for global SEO efforts because it supports 25 countries. Search for ideas and volume for a specific keyword, as well as top competitors in each of your target countries and what keywords they’re currently optimizing for.
Other platforms to help with global keyword identification include SuggestMrx, Uber Suggest, and Search Metrics, all of which support multiple languages and allow you to create a robust list of keywords relevant to your target audience’s queries, current market activity, and competitors.
When you think about the word optimize in relation to SEO, content probably comes to the top of your mind. Although we’ll mention content optimization in the following translate section, when it comes to international SEO, a lot of the optimization efforts relate to technical infrastructure implementation. The bulk of implementation will be enabling the appropriate web structure for each country or language (ccTLDs, sub directories, or sub domains) – a piece of your optimization strategy which will require extensive development work – in addition to including the correct hreflang annotations on your international website.
Hreflang Tags Generator Tool
After selecting and implementing the appropriate multilingual site structure, hreflang annotations are required to signal to search engines that your web pages appear in multiple languages. The hreflang Tags Generator Tool is a great resource for ensuring your hreflang tags are in accordance with the ISO 639-1 format for the language attribute and ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 for the country attribute.
Other popular tools for hreflang annotation verification include the DejanSEO hreflang Validator which is best used for checking hreflang usage on a specific page or Rob Hammond’s SEO crawler, a free tool that quickly verifies if all website pages feature the proper hreflang notation.
When expanding globally, translation is a large piece of the localization puzzle that will allow you to speak to your multilingual customers in their native language. There are a number of translation options available from Language Service Providers (LSPs), which are typically included on the higher cost end of the spectrum, to professional translations from native speakers which are a little more affordable, to crowdsourced translations which are completed by your community and free of charge. Selecting any of these options can fulfill the translate requirement on your international SEO checklist, but can be further leveraged for maximum value when used with a translation and localization automation platform.
To simplify the translation and localization process, Transifex is a great tool that gives website owners complete visibility into the translation process, and also helps to automate the collection, translation, and publishing of adapted content. In addition to translating content, translators can work on translating title tags, meta descriptions, text content, and images.
For those translating a WordPress website, Transifex has a helpful companion WordPress Website Translation Plugin that works with their solution that enables in-context editing, Transifex Live. The plugin addresses SEO concerns by creating new language subdirectories or by pointing to existing subdomains, saving a lot of development time, as well as inserting the correct hreflang tags on the appropriate website pages.
Now that you’ve laid your international SEO foundation, you’re ready to promote your translated website and associated content for ranking in global SERPs. Content promotion is one of the best ways to engage your new multilingual audiences, and if you leverage the right pieces of content, you’re also gaining trust and authority in your targeted locales, as well as providing customers with relevant information.
Social media channels are an easy way to reach global users and surface relevant content that is important to them. If you have multiple social media accounts, Buffer is a great platform that helps to schedule and manage your social media posts across different social media platforms, locales, and time zones.
Source: Big Fish Communications
Most social media management platforms are similar in terms of functionality and will depend on which UI you prefer, overall ease of use, and cost (some come with free and premium versions). Other alternatives popular among marketing professionals include Hootsuite, SocialPilot, and HubSpot.
Entering new markets means you’ll need to promote your website by leveraging relevant local sites and building relationships with local influencers and media. A great way to start this process is by building quality local backlinks to your site – something that will also help increase your chance at performing well in your targeted search engines. Link Prospector is a tool that sifts through large amounts of data to find great link building opportunities that are relevant for your site. The main advantage is that it considerably cuts your time in the research phase, but it still requires you to take time to pick through the results to find the best URLs to link to.
Other popular link building enablement tools include FollowerWonk, Topsy, and Simply Measured. Similar to social media management platforms, all have similar features and allow for link building in global environments.
Now that you have the basic SEO tools to assist you in your global expansion journey, you’re ready to get started! Still have questions? Sign up for our upcoming webinar on International SEO at 10am PDT on April 27!