Note: I won't be talking about technical SEO
The company I had just started working was growing fast and they were getting into a new market - where I was a native speaker.
My job there was not as a SEO guy initially, although I had a rough idea what SEO was, but as a customer care representative. So as the website was up and running I started to get involved more into SEO.
It was an opportunity to learn and grow since I had the means and a website with real users, budget and tools, so here is what I learned.
1. Know your market as a local
Can't stress enough how crucial it is that you know your market.
We as marketeers have a lot of tools to analyze different aspects of a market, comb though numbers and find things to optimize.
But there is a tool you cannot buy - knowing a market as local.
Not all people are the same. In my experience, I've found out that there are countries where people love to call customer service to find out more about a specific product and/or service.
It doesn't matter if you have the same amazing description on page, you're occupying the top 3 positions in the SERP and have self-explanatory content.
They will still call.
Then, in other countries people could not care less about your phone line but they wanna know if you have a trust badge, such as Feefo, TrustPilot, eKomi, or are registered in a e-commerce association.
E-commerce Associations in Europe
This is the full list of the official e-commerce associations in Europe, so feel free to look around. Note that some of associations require a paid, yearly subscription.Click to expand the whole list
- Belgium e-commerce, BeCommerce: www.becommerce.be
- Bulgarian e-commerce, BEABG: www.beabg.com
- Czech e-commerce, APEK: www.apek.cz
- Danish e-commerce, FDIH: www.fdih.dk
- Dutch e-commerce, Thuiswinkel.org: www.thuiswinkel.org
- Finland e-commerce, Finnish Commerce Federation: www.kauppa.fi
- French e-commerce, FEVAD: www.fevad.com
- German e-commerce, Händlerbund: www.haendlerbund.de/de
- Greek e-commerce, GRECA: www.greekecommerce.gr
- Hungarian e-commerce, Ecommerce Hungary: www.ecommerce.hu
- Luxembourg e-commerce, eCOM.lu: www.ecom.lu
- Italian e-commerce, Netcomm: www.consorzionetcomm.it
- Irish e-commerce, Retail Excellence Ireland: www.retailexcellence.ie
- Portuguese e-commerce, ACEPI: www.acepi.pt
- Romanian e-commerce, ARMO: www.armo.org.ro
- Spanish e-commerce, Adigital: www.adigital.org
- Swiss e-commerce, Netcomm Suisse: www.netcommsuisse.ch
- Norwegian e-commerce, Virke: www.virke.no
- Polish e-commerce, e-Izba: www.eizba.pl
Takeaway: Find what works best in your market. You should know more than a few things by experience as a customer and use that to your advantage.
2. Act like a local: Grammar
I've seen so many competitors doing this wrong and you've probably seen a few too.
Quick story: I started working in customer service in e-commerce and at the same time I started learning and doing SEO. I grew our e-shop from the first day it launched to being the top e-shop in the country in a few months. And we are still the #1.
One of the first things I got to do, is made sure that we are seen as locals in that country. Translate some things we have on other websites/languages and done.
It's so easy, right? Wrong!
Translating is one thing. Adapting content to local language, the way people talk and think, it's completely different.
It sounds so obvious but it plays a key role when you do International SEO and you don't always have native speakers in your team, or worst, they are bad in grammar - and you cannot check.
And it also happens with native speakers that are just bad in doing translations.
How can you build credibility when users see that you have bad grammar on your website therefore how can your website be seen as professional and authoritative?
Takeaway: Adapt your copy to match the local language. Pay attention to your translation and always double-triple check the content's grammar. If you can't be a local, be seen as one.
3. Blend with the locals
In addition to the points mentioned above, what about reviews? We all know how important reviews are, especially when you sell a product online.
But not all review systems are the same, sometimes you need to have more than one, or just that one.
While having an independent review system such as Feefo or TrustPilot is a great idea (talking about Europe here), it doesn't mean it's the most beneficial or the most important review system to boost credibility and sales.
Think: Where does your customer's shopping journey start?
- on a big local forum?
- on a comparison website?
This was our case as well when we realized that what mattered the most, was being on that one specific comparison website and that our profile was fully optimized, you know:
- Positive reviews
- A lot of reviews
- Great description
- No grammar mistakes, and
- Smart pricing strategy but this is a big topic I won't cover here
Except from the fact that, in our case this comparison website drove a lot of traffic, and traffic which converted, it was mandatory as people trusted that website and the reviews that other users were leaving there.
Takeaway: Find where people talk about your product, be seen and heard there.
That's it. I know these points are obvious and really basic, but are so often overlooked.