Keyword Research in Global SEO – Best Practice of Targeting International Audience

We are living the future – Globalization on a simple click thanks to the World Wide Web. Today all communication barriers are down: geographical locations, languages and cultures can be explored and contacted within seconds.

The millenials are the first generation growing up with a sophisticated technology which has revolutionized the meaning of information, communication, socializing and knowledge. Internet, smartphones, tablets, smart-watches, they are our daily companion in our life, allowing us to reach out to any kind of information at any time. Globalization is not just a term, but the reality, and the opportunity for many businesses.

Globalization and the business opportunity
More and more businesses are realizing the sale opportunity which lies beneath local boundaries. It does not matter if the company had build up a well know branding within his own country and employs hundreds of workers or if we are talking about a local one-man business, the opportunities to reach out to a global audience does exist. Businesses from various sectors, from around the world, can in those days provide their services and products in any country. The world wide web is the key tool for business globalization and amplifies major opportunities on an international scale.

How do we reach international audience effectively?
If a business product or service matches the need of the global audience, then it has the potential to target online a worldwide audience and global SEO should be considered. It will open opportunities on an international scale and widen business. The first step of every SEO work and content strategy is to define the correct keywords.

Translating websites into a foreign language
Translating a website into a foreign language seems simple, especially considering free online translation services such as Google translate, Babelfish or Reverso. Translating keywords seems fairly easy and quick. But translating keywords or even the whole website can in many cases go wrong. Without the proper background and research a simple translation may lead the business to the wrong keywords and fail to reach the proper audience.

Keyword Research for Global SEO
Also in Global SEO the corner stone and foundation of all work is an in-deep keyword research. Reaching out to international audience will only be effectively when doing a proper keyword research from scratch! And like in every keyword research, the first step is to define correctly who is the target audience while considering various variables which will affect the way the target audience search online.

Let’s classify the mayor aspects of a target global audience:

  1. Language – “Speak their Language”
    When translating a keyword to a foreign language, we have to understand which language does our target audience talk. And how do we translate a keyword correctly? Which language style is the most used online? And how does educated language perform online compared to street language? Many times an obvious translation will surprise us with low search volume. It’s our task to define the correct language and wording which our target audience uses within their own country. And always check if the translation really does mean what we think it does, so we don’t end up in a “faux pas”.
  2. Country – “Know where your target audience is located”  
    Make sure to understand where your audience is located geographically: Small or big country? What are the main cities? Where does most of the population live? What are the weather conditions? Is the country divided into states? Finally, determine which product/service is the most relevant to your target audience within a specific country. Some products/services may not be relevant for specific locations. Don’t try to sell ice cubes to Eskimos!
  3. Culture – “Understand who your target audience is”  
    Make sure to understand the culture, the mentality, the costume and norms, the etiquettes and habits of your target audience in every way! Local culture will define search behavior of the target audience and be critical when defining keywords.
  4. Others – “Know all the details and be up to date”
    Many other variables can influence online search behavior such as political, social, economic structures within the target country. Current event within a country, laws, political differences, restrictions, taxes, crisis or other can rise or lower search volume of specific keywords. Some products/services may not be relevant because the above mention variables or other may be even illegal. Never translate search behavior from one country to an other without understanding completely the situation of the country your target audience is located at.

Localization vs Globalization
Doing a global keyword research from scratch may require hours of work, but is the only correct and efficient way to reach out a target audience which is located in several countries talking several languages. It will not only assure to define the correct target keywords but also give a guideline for other elements within the website, such as design, UX and content. A business tactics and decisions should be concluded and adapted from the above research and analysis. Main products/service may be relevant or not relevant for a specific target audience, provided content and information need to be localized, homepage need perhaps to be adapted, navigation menu links will possibly have to be updated according to main keywords etc. It is critical to optimize the website according to the search behavior of the target audience to make sure, to reach out to the correct audience and to provide a great user experience, no matter where the visitor is physically located and in which in language he is searching.

Keyword tools in 2017
Not completely new but still important to mention – Google has restricted its mayor keyword research tool – Google’s Keyword Planner – which we SEO’s were widely using. Since September 2016, Google has limit data view for non advertisers or advertisers with lower monthly spend. If you are not running campaigns or are not reaching a specific (not know) monthly budget, the tool will provide average monthly search volumes in form of value groups.

  • 0
  • 1-100
  • 1K-10K
  • 10K-100K
  • 100K-1M
  • 1M+

Now it is time to relay on other alternatives. Besides to Google’s Keyword Planner,
there are many keyword research tools, some for free, some for a monthly fee. Each tool brings in his own user experience, functions and abilities. At the end it becomes a personal decision which tool fits best the required needs.

Find below a short list of well know keyword suggest and research tools:

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