So your .com domain has built up quite a bit of power, it’s got some page rank and some pretty impressive links pointing in and setting up local domains seems like too much hard work. Tuff, its SEO and it needs to be done the hard way. If you’re looking for quick results that require little input stick with PPC and leave the organic search results pages to those of us that are willing to put the hard effort into ranking for our key-phrases. The local domains are harder to set up and they won’t have the power your main domain has straight away but over time they’re going to gather stickier results and it’s going to tell the search engines straight away what country your site is targeted at.
You’ve gone out and got some quotes and it turns out it’s going to be more expensive than you first thought to get your whole site translated. Never mind because there are plenty of free tools out there that will do everything for you. This is one of the worst things you can do if you’re going to launch a multilingual SEO campaign. Remember the good old days when most SEO’s would get inundated with requests from the Middle East telling us how much they “loved site that we had because it was informative very much and good” (sorry for any offense caused), the point is you could tell at a glance that English was not their first language so are you really going to leave your hard earned cash with a whole website that reads so appallingly? Spend the time and the money and do it properly.
Now you’ve got to do the keyword research for your new site you’re launching in Spain, you don’t actually speak a word of Spanish but it’s ok because between Google translate and Google keyword tool it’s all taken care of. This is the same as the point above, you can’t rely on automated tools to structure the whole basis of the campaign. You’re going to miss regional variations of key-phrases or country specific slang words that have high search volumes because all you’ve done is thrown your English list of key-phrases through a translation service. Speak to a native speaker of your new language and ask them if there’s any phrases you’re missing then run those through your keyword research tool.
You’ve finally got everything set up, the domain has the right TLD, you’ve done some thorough keyword research and it’s all looking good. Now you can just carry on with your usual link building as if you were SEOing your English site right? No, you’re going to need to local links and preferably of a decent quality rather than throwing some cash at a link farm. Put some indignity into it, do some competitor analysis and find out where they’re getting their links from, find some blogs in your new language and write some guest posts (in the right language of course). Once you’ve kick started the campaign with these local links don’t just go back to the easier to obtain .com links, always go back and build some gradual local links.
By now the search engines should have a pretty good idea about where your site is trying to target but you don’t want to give them too much credit. Just to be on the safe side don’t forget to physically tell them, if you’re targeting a Google dominated country jump into Google Webmaster Tools and flick the Geo targeting switch to tell Google what country you’re trying to target. If you can make sure the site is hosted in the country you’re trying to rank in too just to give it that extra push.
Top Five Common Mistakes Made By International SEO Campaigns