My last column highlighted some of the critical actions needed to implement a successful international SEO strategy.
This time, let’s look at the specific business benefits of creating that strategy and aligning it with the overall organization’s strategy.
A well-laid strategy forms the foundation for all activities within the organization, and how it is formulated will guide decision-making as your teams work towards international SEO targets.
For example, suppose your company aims to expand its overall market share via international expansion.
In this case, your strategy should identify those new target markets, the best product group, and sales goals for each market.
Absence of this basic plan will lead to chaos, huge waste of resources, and bad decisions.
But when it is available and aligned with your SEO strategy, you will reap many benefits and rewards for your team.
1. Complements the broader strategic plan
The company’s comprehensive strategic plan will provide the foundation for your international SEO.
It defines the direction in which the organization must allocate resources and the process and sets realistic goals that align with the overall mission.
This alignment should raise several SEO considerations that are often an afterthought in other companies.
For example, a multinational corporation announced a major push into Russia using more digital advertising for investors.
The in-house SEO team wasn’t in the know after several months despite heavy spending on local content and paid ads.
Aligning this expansion strategy with an SEO strategy could have increased the overall value of your content localization investment by ensuring that it can be found and leveraged for phrases used by Russian searchers.
The SEO team, in collaboration with the various product teams, can work backwards from sales targets to determine the optimal product range and ensure market fit.
You can create the most amazing blue widgets but if consumers in Spain are not aware that they need blue widgets, how do you plan to communicate with them with SEO?
This researcher interest feedback loop is essential to identifying products and helping to frame the content and messages needed to generate awareness and sales of the products to those who are researching them directly and indirectly in their target market.
2. Teams become proactive rather than reactive
Armed with your target market, product range, sales goals, and leadership teams, you can then make decisions and define specific tactics to help them achieve goals.
This is even more important when utilizing SEO as a channel as part of the mix.
You can start making many of the critical decisions covered in my international SEO guide with less risk and a better understanding of your key focus areas and goals.
One of the most overlooked decisions is web infrastructure.
As I explain in 4 Reasons Why International SEO Fails, this lack of planning can derail your success and create an overwhelming amount of work with other expansions.
Deciding to use a ccTLD or folders is the easy part. The more complex steps are the general structure of the site, page naming conventions, and most importantly, how the current CMS handles translation and untranslated content.
Market nuances must be identified and taken into account in the web infrastructure.
This will include coin localization, volumes, technical compatibility – and, of course, pricing.
All this will have an impact on the technology used as well as the content necessary for the local markets.
Some of these things are not traditionally considered SEO concerns. But the SEO team needs to be integrated into these discussions with product outline and knowledge graphs, especially now.
Many of the elements that often have to be “fixed” later are optimally combined from the start through collaboration early in the process.
3. A dedicated international strategy that increases operational efficiency
By aligning the international SEO strategy with the overall strategic plan, it is much easier to create a roadmap for aligning the functional activities of the organization and the correct budget allocation needed to achieve the set goals.
Time savings, accurate decisions and workflow adjustments will increase operational efficiency.
As I mentioned in my International SEO Guide, international SEO is on top of traditional SEO.
When the basics of SEO are well integrated into new market sites, PR and content creation, most SEO efforts are satisfied. This allows the team to focus on tasks that drive traffic and move the needle.
The more deeply aligned teams are and the more integrated their individual needs and requirements are, the fewer mistakes they have to fix later.
This will pay huge dividends as more markets are added to the mix, and a tried-and-true process can be followed.
4. Improved alignment of KPI and targets
Unfortunately, there are often not enough “resources” to take important SEO actions, which is usually caused by incompatibility with IT or other operational goals.
As mentioned earlier in this article, when SEO is better integrated into the scaling workflow, many SEO-related tasks can be completed naturally as part of the overall workflow.
More mature SEO teams will align their efforts with strategic goals and develop a “share contribution” from overall sales goals.
During the market alignment workflow, the SEO team should have identified the concepts and keyword phrases that are the content topic for the market.
You can leverage this data to prove the “missed opportunity” when you don’t rank and capture traffic from the most relevant words used by your local market.
This model evokes a “Help Me Help You” environment, putting pressure on those responsible for overall goals to estimate the contribution of well-qualified SEO traffic and sales to the site.
Too often, SEO experts are overly focused on tactics, use checklists and tools, and don’t do enough to leverage existing strategic plans and goals to justify and implement your SEO efforts.
The benefits outlined above illustrate the thought and time required to develop a robust international SEO strategy.
Simple process alignment allows for scaling and reduces the need to fix things later.
At the same time, the alignment of KPIs and potential SEO contribution highlights the need to fully integrate SEO into the workflow.
- International SEO for 2021 and Beyond: A 9-Point Checklist for Success
- An international SEO strategy for non-dominant language audiences
- SEO Strategy: Complete Outline (+Template)
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