Seo strategy

4 Important Business Benefits of an International SEO Strategy

My last column highlighted some critical actions needed to execute a successful international search engine optimization strategy.

This time, let’s look at the specific business benefits of creating this strategy and its alignment with the organization’s strategy as a whole.

A well-articulated strategy forms the foundation of all activities within the organization, and how it is crafted will guide decision-making as your teams work to achieve your international SEO goals.

For example, suppose your company aims to increase its overall market share through international expansion.

In this case, your strategy should identify these new target markets, the best set of products, and sales targets for each market.

The absence of this basic plan will lead to chaos, a significant waste of resources and bad decisions.

But when it’s available and aligned with your SEO strategy, you’ll reap several benefits and rewards for your team.

1. It complements the larger strategic plan

The company’s overall strategic plan will form the basis of your international SEO.

It defines the direction in which an organization should allocate resources, processes and set realistic goals consistent with the overall mission.

This alignment should elevate many SEO-specific considerations that are too often an afterthought in other businesses.

For example, a multinational announced a significant advance in Russia using more digital advertising for investors.

The in-house SEO team was unaware several months later despite substantial spending on localized content and paid advertising.

Aligning this expansion strategy with their SEO strategy could have increased the overall value of this investment in localizing content by ensuring it was findable and leveraging phrases used by Russian searchers.

The SEO team, working with the various product teams, can escalate sales targets to identify the optimal set of products and ensure market fit.

You can create the most amazing blue widgets, but if Spanish consumers don’t know they need blue widgets, how do you plan to connect with them using SEO?

This feedback loop of searcher interest is key to identifying products and helping to frame the content and messaging needed to drive awareness and sales of the products for those who directly and indirectly seek them out in the target market.

2. Teams become proactive rather than reactive

Armed with the target market, product set and sales goals, management teams can then make decisions and identify specific tactics to help them achieve the goals.

This is even more important when taking advantage of referencing as a channel as part of the mix.

You can start making several critical decisions covered in my international SEO guide with less risk and a better understanding of key areas and goals.

Web infrastructure is one of the most overlooked decisions.

As I explained in 4 Reasons Why International SEO Fails, this lack of planning can derail your success and create an exponential amount of work with other extensions.

Deciding to use ccTLDs or folders is the easy part. The most complicated steps are the overall site structure, page naming conventions, and most importantly, how the current CMS handles localization and non-localized content.

Market nuances will need to be identified and factored into your web infrastructure.

These will include currency localization, sizes, technical compatibility – and of course, pricing.

All of these will have an impact on the technology used as well as the content needed for local markets.

Some of them are not traditionally considered SEO concerns. But the SEO team needs to be integrated into these discussions with product diagrams and knowledge graphs, especially now.

Many elements that often have to be “fixed” later are optimally combined from the start by collaborating earlier in the process.

3. A dedicated international strategy increases operational efficiency

By aligning the international SEO strategy with the overall strategic plan, it is much easier to create a roadmap to align the functional activities of the organization and correct the budget allocation necessary to achieve the set objectives.

Time savings, precise decisions and workflow adjustments will increase operational efficiency.

As I mentioned in my guide to international SEO, international SEO sits above traditional SEO.

When SEO fundamentals are well integrated into new market websites, PR and content creation, most SEO efforts are satisfied. This allows the team to focus on tasks that improve traffic and move the needle.

The more teams are deeply aligned and their individual needs and requirements integrated, the fewer mistakes there are to correct later.

This will pay exponential dividends as new markets are added to the mix, and a proven process can be followed.

4. Improved alignment of KPIs and objectives

Unfortunately, there are often not enough “resources” to perform critical SEO tasks, which is usually caused by misalignment with IT or other executive goals.

As discussed earlier in this article, when SEO is better integrated into the expansion workflow, many SEO-related tasks can be done naturally as part of the overall workflow.

More mature SEO teams will align their efforts with strategic goals and develop a “contributing part” of overall sales goals.

During the market alignment workflow, the SEO team should have identified concepts and keyword phrases that represent the topic of the content for the market.

You can leverage this data to demonstrate the “missed opportunity” when you don’t rank and capture traffic from the most relevant words used by the local market.

This model evokes a “Help Me Help You” environment, putting pressure on overall goal managers to appreciate the contribution of well-qualified SEO traffic and sales to the site.

Take away key

Too often, SEO experts focus too much on tactics, use checklists and tools, and don’t do enough to leverage existing strategic plans and goals to justify and execute their SEO efforts.

The benefits described above explain the thought and time needed to develop a solid international SEO strategy.

Simple process alignments allow for scaling and minimize the need to fix things later.

Meanwhile, the alignment of KPIs and the potential to contribute to SEO underscores the need to fully integrate SEO into the workflow.

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