As marketers, we rely on the internet for our window into the world, and a chance to capture the attention of 4.66 billion users worldwide.
But what lengths are your clients going through to ensure their digital marketing is effective on a global stage?
We wouldn’t reuse the same content for our Twitter audience as our LinkedIn users, so why would we think our local SEO strategy applies to the countless audiences across the internet?
In this blog article, we will explore how to navigate Global Search Behaviours to create a successful International SEO Strategy. From adjusting your international keywords to localising your content to meet cultural needs and global search behaviour, we have the tips and tricks to keep your content popping up in search results worldwide.
What is Search Behaviour?
The rapid growth of the internet has led to a revolution in how audiences search for information and make purchases online. Search Behaviour refers to the way in which specific audiences use the internet to find information.
For us marketers, the value of monitoring search behaviour is to discover how consumers use the internet to find information that explores, compares, and verifies purchase options. From this, we can successfully position campaigns, understand user hesitations, and create marketing material that engages target audiences.
But how does Search Behaviour change across the globe?
How does culture affect Global Search Behaviour?
Culture shapes our perception of the world around us, forming ideas and values in how we view ourselves, our environment, and the people we encounter. So why wouldn’t it affect how we view, research, and interact with organisations online? Cross cultural academics and SEO experts seem to agree that culture is as pervasive online as it is in our physical world.
Here are 5 examples of how Global Search Behaviour may affect your International Marketing Campaigns:
1) Western internet users often approach ecommerce with a specific item in mind, and organisations optimise their search results and webpages for maximum efficiency to help users navigate product locations with ease. However, Chinese users view ecommerce as a social experience and a journey of discovery where users enjoy browsing and comparison. (Briggs et al, 2017) Consequently, Chinese marketing campaigns should focus on external promotions, and use embedded focus links in social media, music videos, and online marketplaces to enable a “buy what you see” style of product placement.
2) Cultures characterised by uncertainty avoidance, such as Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, and South Korea, prioritise security and tend to respond more effectively to newsletters because they are already familiar with the advertiser (Hofstede, 2001)
3) In Japan and China, search results for livestream influencer marketing are skyrocketing and becoming one of the most popular advertising strategies. Whereas influencer marketing in Europe and the US is predominantly short videos or posts across social media. (Wernau and Woo 2019)
4) An English-speaking audience’s search behaviour will not be the same worldwide. With over 160 English dialects around the world, don’t assume your campaigns English keywords will always be effective.
5) Individualist cultures such as the UK, US, Australia and other western countries tend to focus on the capabilities, design, and performance of a service or product, while collectivist societies such as Thailand, Hong Kong, China, India and other Asian countries prioritise brand status, prestige and symbolism (Farhangmehr and Shoham, 2006)
These 5 examples teach us a vital lesson. An internet user's search behaviour changes depending on their native language and cultural background. It can influence how an internet user would navigate search engines to browse, compare and purchase products or services. These insights into ‘Global’ Search Behaviours are crucial when considering your clients international SEO efforts.
How does culture affect your keyword research?
Understanding a culture's search behaviour allows you to identify the most relevant and successful keywords for your client’s target audience. It also helps dodge common international SEO mistakes and prevents the use of irrelevant and unused keywords.
For example, many companies expanding into Brazilian markets fail to realise that 50% of all searches for Brazil in the world are spelt wrong. With native Brazilians spelling their country ‘Brasil’. While in Switzerland 40% of the Swedish population uses local words when searching for a laptop or PC. Even within variations of English, keywords popularity can be affected by differences in references or spelling, for example football vs soccer, pants vs trousers, charity vs non-profit. (Kennedy and Hauksson, 2012).
It is only through having a local understanding that organisations and marketing agencies can identify the most relevant keywords.
How to improve your international SEO?
To improve your international SEO, prioritise 3 things:
• Tailored International Keyword Research
• Website Translation
• Understanding Cultural Search Behaviours
Fine tuning your client’s international SEO campaigns, it is vital that you consider the effect of culture on International Search Behaviour and keyword planning. Using SEO Specialists who are native speakers of your target language allows the selection of appropriate keywords and strategies for a culture's search behaviour.
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