International Localisation: Why you need to localise your SEO and Paid Search

If you want to ensure your country-specific websites and marketing material converts, then effective localisation is a must. Part of this process entails adapting sites to include correct and culturally appropriate messaging that resonates with the target audience and builds trust. However, localisation doesn’t only refer to language, culture and imagery. Understanding user journeys and how they change in each active market is vital – and it’s something that’s often overlooked. 

The localisation process actually begins before a user lands on your site and involves the subtle relationship found between relating and targeting. Depending on your strategy, you should have an understanding of the search terms your target audience uses in order to develop effective SEO and paid search campaigns. While this may be relatively straightforward and considered in the native market, it may not be when expanding into new countries around the world. So, while localising creative messaging is an extremely important process for global brands, it’s well advised that this crucial step of understanding search behaviour isn’t left out.

What is international SEO? 

SEO and paid search improve site visibility in order to drive a higher amount of relevant, quality traffic. They’re extremely valuable digital marketing practices that involve understanding consumer search behaviour well enough to create relevant content and ads – which ultimately attracts more customers and conversions. 

However, if your brand is global or looking to expand into new markets, it’s important to consider international SEO – while your brand’s website may already be optimised for search engines in your native language, it’s not likely to be optimised for different markets.

International SEO involves performing market and competitor research in each country to understand unique audience search behaviours, alongside implementing an optimised site architecture with country specific pages. This practice ensures a strong search presence globally, which effectively drives organic traffic from multiple markets.

Why is localisation important for SEO and paid search?

Beyond the obvious differences in language, it’s well known that people’s behaviours, attitudes and approaches differ from country to country. For example, the way someone searches for a product or service in Germany can vary drastically to a user in Brazil. Even English speaking countries like the UK and USA use different phrases and terms when describing things. Are you looking for a caravan, or a trailer? A chemist, or a drugstore? It’s not enough to simply translate search terms to use in content the same way.

So, why is this important? Our recent study on international localisation reports that up to 34% of consumers said they would seek more information about a brand’s products or offering via a search engine. If your keywords aren’t optimised for each market, you could be losing up to a third of your potential customers at this stage. With this in mind, you should always conduct country-specific and language-specific keyword research.

It’s important to reiterate that the content they reach should be localised too. Using the right keywords is crucial, but the conversion rate can still be low if the page itself isn’t localised. For example, we noticed a distinct lack of performance in one of our client’s paid search campaigns in comparison to other territories, as well as other brands in the same vertical/territory. Through auditing their website, we found localisation issues that stretched across use of grammar, spelling, legibility, tone of voice and consistency. After localising the entire site we saw a +155% improvement in conversion rate.

The key is local keyword research

In order for brands to successfully reach new, international markets online, we need to know the right keywords to target for SEO and the right ones to bid on for paid search. It’s therefore important to use SEO specialists who are native speakers of the target market’s language to conduct keyword research.

This is why Croud uses its network of in-market experts, or ‘Croudies’, to carry out campaign research. In their native market our Croudies can provide insights into which audiences may be interested in your product or service and find out what’s important to them. They also look into your competitors and gauge their performance when it comes to SEO, content marketing, and paid advertising to find new opportunities.

Equipped with local consumer data, a unique understanding of the audience and native language fluency, these in-market specialists can then provide a comprehensive list of keywords to create optimised content and targeted ads.

26% of consumers say that bad translations of copy will make them less likely to buy; if your keywords are wrong, they won’t even get to your content in the first place.

Top tips for international keyword research

We’ve established the importance of localising search terms for international SEO and paid search, but what should you consider when conducting keyword research in each market?

  • Think about using more search engines than just Google. While Google is an extremely popular and globally recognised search engine, it’s not necessarily accessible or used as frequently internationally. For example, the search engine Baidu has the largest market share in China at 79%.
  • Use professional keyword research tools. There are a number of tools such as Google Keyword Planner and AdWords and Trends, which help you determine monthly search volumes in the relevant markets to identify the best keywords to include in your international SEO strategy.
  • Partner with a global digital agency. 

Get started with international SEO and paid search

Even equipped with the knowledge of localised keyword research for SEO and paid search, implementing an international campaign can seem daunting. This is where Croud’s in-market specialists with their local language and keyword research expertise for optimised search terms can help.

If you’re looking to expand into new territories, localisation should be a vital part of your global marketing strategy. If you would like to discuss your localisation challenges or how we can support your global growth, get in touch.

Croud’s 2022 International Localisation Report features a survey of 1,600 people across France, Germany, China and Japan, as well as a quantitative analysis of companies across finance, software and retail sectors, to explore the realities of brand localisation across these markets. Download it here.

by Croud
8 June 2022



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