Believe it or not, the key to effective global SEO is thinking locally.

Reaching a global expatriate audience requires more than flashy web design.

Key to quality expat SEO is optimization in multiple languages. Google Translate just won’t cut it.

As John Tavadros, COO of iProspect, recently observed:

‘But can’t I just optimize my site and translate it?’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from large global organizations […] To be most effective, content needs be localized in many ways.

The main reason you can’t just optimize a site in one language and translate it is that automated translators don’t handle alternate spellings and slang terms well (if at all). Unfortunately, many expat customers will search the way they speak. They won’t find a badly-translated site, and even if they do they surely won’t come back. Taking shortcuts is a surefire way to cheapen your brand.

Below are a couple other global SEO tips:

  • Use country domain extensions and language-specific urls. A country-specific domain extension, combined with targeted content, can give even big multinational brands a local touch. Foreign language URLs, meanwhile, allow you to target keywords in those languages (for which there’s usually much less competition than in English).
  • Develop an eye for language. Tavadros stresses how important it is to understand the nuances of language. Americans will search for “vacations,” for example, while Brits and Australians want “holidays.”
  • Coordinate your efforts. Given the level of detail involved in global SEO, it’s critically important to have clear objectives and goals. This is crucial for large firm or websites targeting customers in several different languages and countries. Consider an organizational structure that offers comprehensive oversight.
Huurda says:

We are building an English website for rental houses in The Netherlands. We have registered .com domain for English searchers. Is it now important in what country the website is hosted?

Thanks in advance!

Marco Serrano says:

Nice article really enjoyed the content you are right about taking short cuts in order for Google to rank us well we need to play by Google’s rule’s

Marco Serrano

Global SEO says:

Well nice article but The fact is that over 70% of the worldwide online population do not speak English as their first language. So if your missing other countries as your targeting your marketing your missing a lot of people buying your products or services.Thanks for sharing.