As a webshop owner you are always looking for ways to grow further and make it as profitable as possible. For example, you can become more findable for certain keywords, expand your range or enter into partnerships. But there is also a fourth option. You could also enter a foreign market. And what better way to do that than with international SEO.
With only 17 million inhabitants, the Netherlands was in 10th place in terms of population in Europe in 2019. So abroad offers enormous potential to grow with your webshop. But what about SEO abroad? What should you pay attention to? In this article we give you 4 tips for an international SEO campaign!
1. Test the demand for your product with marketplaces
Whether you have your own products or are a seller of other brands, it is always advisable to see how your range is doing abroad. For this, you could hire an agency to do market research for you. But it can also be different. And cheaper.
The most famous marketplaces: Bol.com & Amazon
You are probably familiar with Bol.com and Amazon. Both are e-commerce companies with a huge assortment. From jewelry and perfume to clothing, game consoles and televisions. You can go there for everything. But what not everyone knows is that you can sign up as a seller and use it as a marketplace. You can then place your products in the Bol.com and Amazon range by uploading a feed.
This is an ideal way to test the demand for your products before you get started with international SEO. If your products are successful with your target group via Bol.com and/or Amazon, there is a good chance that this will also happen via your own webshop in that country.
2. Use subfolders to score faster on keywords
Country code Top Level Domain. These are domains that are linked to a specific country. For the Netherlands it is www.jouwwebshop.nl, for Germany it is www.jouwwebshop.de, for Belgium it is www.jouwwebshop.be and so on. If you choose this, you start a new webshop. Unfortunately, the disadvantage of this is that you have to start building your webshop again and it can take a long time before you see results.
Generic Top Level Domain. These are domains that are not necessarily linked to a particular country. These are, for example, www.jouwwebshop.com, www.jouwwebshop.net or www.jouwwebshop.info. Here too, the disadvantage is that you have to start from ‘0’ again and the result takes longer.
Finally, you have subfolders. This is also our preference. A subfolder basically means that you create a variant of your website per language. For example, for Germany it is www.jouwwebshop.nl/de, for Belgium www.jouwwebshop.nl/be and for France www.jouwwebshop.nl/fr. The big advantage of this is that the subfolders benefit from the accumulated value of your Dutch webshop. So you will see results much faster.
3. Engage a translation agency for your translations
As you have probably learned in recent years with your Dutch webshop, the texts on your webshop determine whether someone will buy something from you or not. Whether it is an informative text on the category page or a detailed product description. It is essential that the texts of your webshop are of high quality.
Incorrect translations come across as unreliable
You have taken care of this in the Netherlands. To be successful abroad, it is important that your translations are too. Because let’s face it, would you buy something from a webshop where the texts are not correct and therefore seem unreliable? Probably not.
Don't use Google Translate for international SEO
You could use Google Translate for the translations. However, here sometimes things go wrong in sentence structure and choice of words. So this is not recommended. What you can do better is to hire a professional translation agency. They translate your webshop and ensure that all texts are 100% correctly translated and match the target group. Do your products have instructions for use or other documents? Then have the documents translated by a translation agency. The last thing you want is overcrowded customer service due to incorrect translations.
4. Authority also important for international SEO
Suppose you choose the third option: subfolders. Then your ‘new’ webshop will benefit from the value you have built up in the Netherlands over the past few years. But, that doesn’t mean you can sit still. Getting links is (still) a major influence on your positions in Google. Also when we look at international SEO.
Your new webshop will therefore benefit from it, but not the full 100%. So you will still have to work to collect new links to your website. It is therefore very important for international SEO that the links you are going to create come from the relevant country.
So if you have a www.jouwwebshop.nl/de subfolder, it is very important that you collect links from other German websites in your industry. There are several ways to do this: for example, you could exchange a link, exchange guest blogs with a link to yours, or enter into a partnership.
Remember: one or more links from guest blogs with a lot of (good) information are more valuable than links from a page that already contains 100 other links to competitors!
Interested in setting up an international SEO campaign? Then sit down with a professional translation agency. They regularly help companies with their international ambitions and are happy to advise you on this.