My thoughts on International SEO

To most businesses, international SEO is a shiny ball.

Their rationale is they can hit multiple birds with one stone.

One blog posts can be translated into 10 different languages and that would yield 10x better results or so they say. All they need to do is translate it.

However, in reality it doesn’t work that way.

Getting blog posts translated can be as expensive as writing a whole new blog posts. Google’s auto-translate isn’t good enough yet. Neil Patel did it and his blog posts translated into German had some profanities in it!

Secondly, some content might not work as well in another language or region because it isn’t personalised. Yes, it is translated but that doesn’t mean it is personalised. In each language, there are nuances to nail down to get it done right.

What I would do

My marketing philosophy is based around focus.

Focus on the best regions that yields the best results.

Focus on the best channels that yields the highest ROI.

Only when you have already maximise your results for a region then it is time to expand to another region.

Let’s take SEO in Australia as an example. IMO, the only time you are the leader in search in Australia for your target keywords is when you are #1 for all of them.

Even if you are #2 for all of them, focusing your efforts on bringing them to #1 will yield a better result than moving into another region and becoming the #2 player again.

  • First reason – Translating your content into a new language doesn’t mean you will rank. Yes, you may share your domain authority (depending on how you structure your website) but that doesn’t mean you will rank.
  • Second reason – Let’s say you are ranking for #1 for all your target keywords. That doesn’t mean, you will be at #1 forever. Your competitors are working behind-the-scenes to take that away from you. There can only be one #1 website for each keyword.

According to SmartInsights, the website ranked on #1 receives a 34% CTR whereas the #2 website receives 17% CTR. That is half.

Organic CTR

Essentially, two #2 position equals to one #1 position.

TLDR; in most cases improve existing keyword rankings will yield a better result than expanding into another region.

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