Search Engine Marketing Localization
5 Tips for Effective Global SEM
This is a shortened version of an article by Acclaro Founder & President Michael Kriz that will appear in the online marketing magazine iMedia Connection this week.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is one of the most popular tactics in online marketing and sales due to its effectiveness and relatively low cost. It consists of two primary groups: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or “organic”, “natural” search and Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) or “paid” search.
If you're translating your website to attract customers in new language markets, you may want to think about adapting your SEM campaign at the same time. After all, 75% of the world's searches take place outside of the English-speaking world. And while your potential customers may be reading some English on the web, they are writing, speaking, and searching for products and services in their mother tongue.
It's time to close the gap. Localize your SEM campaign to enable your customers to find you in their own language.
To help you through the process, here are five tips to help you adapt your SEM strategy for new language and global markets:
- Integrate your SEO localization into your website translation project. Once you know the details of the translation of your website — content selection, languages, and other specifics — start thinking about your search engine marketing strategy. For example, one way to rank higher in organic search results is to use a local domain, IP address, and hosting provider. Also think about other components such as language translation of URLs, meta tags (keywords and descriptions), title tags, alt tags (for images) and in some case, file names. Keep a checklist and run through each of these at the beginning of the process, discussing their importance with your website translation service provider.
- Conduct a keyword analysis. If you've built your website with SEO in mind, or you have an existing PPC campaign with Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft, you might already have a strong set of keywords in the source language. If not, work with your marketing and communications team to compile a list of keywords that not only fit your brand, but that also has significant keyword volume. (You can use Google's Keyword Tool to check search volume.)
- Understand (and lend a hand) in the transcreation process. Provide your vendor with the source language keyword list as part of a creative brief that also contains your original campaign goals, target customer, product information, terminology/style guide, branding guide, and if possible, your strongest competitors. Your translation partner will use this brief to "transcreate" both your SEO and PPC campaign (i.e., keywords, meta tags, ad copy, landing pages) and create material that is not only linguistically correct, but designed to have the strongest impact in the target language and culture.
- Be aware of differences between your home country and foreign campaign. When analyzing the results, resist the urge to compare. Internet use and behavior varies greatly by country and culture. In Japan, for instance, users are more likely to access the web with a mobile device, so your web analytics might reflect that (e.g., less time spent on the site, higher abandonment rate). Also consider differences in work hours, work weeks, and seasons; for example, summer vacation in Buenos Aires is the middle of winter in the U.S.
- Look at the whole picture. Examine the traffic-building and lead-generating initiatives you are implementing for your English site. Are you creating inbound links and submitting to site directories? Participating on social networks? Do you have a blog? Decide if your SEO localization efforts are going to be limited to site architecture and translation or if you're interested in getting results from supplementary tactics such as content development and social media. If so, you can start looking at cost-effective ways to localize this content.
But wait, there's more! Continue learning about SEM localization by reading our SEM top ten tips.
The potential benefits of SEM localization include a boost in traffic volume, a better web experience for your visitors, a higher conversion rate, and increased revenue from international sales. Learn how Acclaro can help you achieve these benefits and more by finding out more about our Search Engine Marketing localization services.