Why use Indigoextra?
Would you like to expand your digital presence in Europe? Whether you’re just starting your business or looking to expand your reach in European countries, Indigoextra Ltd. has the experience and expertise needed to guide you through the process. Our multilingual team combines experienced copywriters, translators, link builders and web designers speaking 9 different languages. We would be delighted to review your site and create a perfect SEO strategy for your company. Contact us to find out how our multilingual SEO services can help boost your online presence in Europe.
The benefits of European SEO
Multilingual SEO is the most effective way to reach potential customers, fans or readers across the globe. A study by IAB Europe, a leading authority on internet marketing trends in various European countries (including Germany, the UK, France and Spain), concluded that the average European spends 15 hours every week browsing the internet. It also found that 96% of all European internet users search online for purchases. Therefore, companies and organisations seeking to expand their customer base and visibility in European markets have a clear interest in boosting their ranking on local versions of Google and other search engines.
That’s easier said than done. SEO ranking factors are constantly being refined to prevent businesses from artificially boosting their search engine results. Any SEO marketing strategy requires state-of-the-art knowledge of how Google ranks websites. When looking to expand your online presence in Europe, make sure to keep the following in mind:
- Develop a clear SEO strategy
- Optimise your web design
- Conduct localised keyword research
- Translate and localise existing content
- Create quality content
- Write with the European culture in mind
- Prioritise multilingual link building
- Make use of images & infographics
Let’s run through each of those in-depth:
Develop a clear SEO strategy
Before adding keywords to your website or commissioning blog articles, you must first figure out where you stand and what you need. This helps you avoid inefficient work and allows you to use your budget where it matters most. It’s best to follow a clearly defined order:
1. Thoroughly analyse existing pages and content
Do you already have a website and content in one of your target languages? In that case, the first step is analysing your website’s performance. Where does it rank for your preferred keywords? How much traffic does it get? Are there pages that should be receiving traffic but aren’t? Is your website functioning properly, or are there elements that are harming its SEO ranking?
2. Conduct keyword research
How competitive are your keywords? How many searches do they receive each month from your target country? Which keywords are used in different languages?
To determine which keywords to focus on in your content and meta tags when targeting multiple European countries, you need to answer the above questions.
3. Draw up an SEO strategy
Once you’ve conducted your keyword research, draw up an SEO strategy. This strategy will depend on several factors, including budget, company size, target market, current performance, and performance targets. Ask yourself:
- What kind of content will appeal to your target audience?
- Where will you be most likely to find that audience?
- What is the most effective way to increase traffic on a limited budget?
- Which elements are essential, and which can be added later?
These are all questions that our lead SEO consultant can answer. With 15 years’ experience working with many different kinds of companies in Europe, from small organisations focused on a single country to large businesses with branches in multiple countries, we know what we’re talking about. Our unique insights into the SEO world and how it applies to your business will help the process run more smoothly. This could save you considerable time and money in the long run.
Optimise your web design
A recent Semrush study of Google’s ranking factors shows that visitor experience is hugely important to search engine ranking - not to mention its impact on conversion rates. This study found that the amount of time visitors spend on a website and the number of pages viewed by each visitor are more important than how often a specific keyword is included on a page. A user-friendly website with a responsive design is essential for visitors and will also drive more traffic to your site by improving your search engine ranking.
Our web design service focus gives you everything you need to look great and rank well with search engines. As well as SEO, we design sites with a positive user-experience as this will help you convert more sales. Our design optimisation:
- Gives visitors a positive first impression so they stay on your site longer.
- Is centred on user-experience (UX), meaning visitors can find everything they need and are guided through the sales process intuitively.
- Is adapted to look good and be responsive so that it can function correctly across mobile devices, tablets, and monitors.
- Uses a colour scheme, font and layout that are appropriate for the product or service being offered.
- Is optimised for aspects known to impact ranking on Google, including mobile-friendliness, page load speed, use of adverts, etc.
Conduct localised keyword research and competition analysis
See our full guide on completing international keyword research.
A crucial step for any international SEO strategy is conducting thorough keyword research for each of your target languages. Keep in mind that keywords are culture- and dialect-specific. Many European target languages are spoken in several different countries, meaning you need to carry out country-specific keyword research. For example, in the UK, the term ‘mobile phone’ may be a priority keyword, while in the US, ‘cell phone’ would be the most searched term. European countries are no different. Spanish keywords in Spanish markets will differ from those in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries, Dutch keywords in the Netherlands won’t necessarily be the same as Dutch keywords in Belgium, and French keywords in France may not be the same as French keywords in Canada or Côte d’Ivoire.
Once you have a list of keywords, their search frequency and level of competitiveness, it’s time to make strategic decisions. If you have a new website, then it’s often best to target keywords with a low level of organic SEO competition and reasonable search volume. For established businesses with impressive websites, you can target keywords with more monthly searches - even if they have more SEO competition.
For small and new businesses wishing to target highly competitive keywords, one option is guest blogging in multiple languages. Write blog posts that include a backlink to your site and contact webmasters who own relevant, high-traffic sites to ask them to add the post to their site. This way you’ll benefit from their domain authority and established reputation, making it more likely that they will rank well in Google right away.
We offer extensive keyword and competition research across seven European languages – English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. We are happy to review your site and provide a free tailor-made strategy to improve your website’s performance.
Translate and localise existing content
SEO for European markets by definition means multilingual SEO. Research has shown that internet users strongly prefer searching for products and services in their native language. For example, if you look at the top 20 keywords for amazon.de and compare the original German and English translation, there are over 40 times as many searches for the German keywords. Website visitors also spend more time on sites offering pages in their mother tongue.
Don’t simply settle for translating your landing page and a few of your most popular blogs. Also, keep in mind that drawing visitors to your website is not the same as keeping them. Most importantly, you must convert them into customers. The more thorough your translated content is, the better results you’ll see. For example, having your checkout page (if applicable) available in each language you target is a must. Customers are uncomfortable entering sensitive financial information on a page they cannot fully understand.
This translation must be professional and not automated in any way for several reasons:
- Awkward and incorrect translated texts look unprofessional, which will put off readers and make them less trusting of your company. It will also reduce the amount of time visitors spend on your website, thereby decreasing your SEO ranking with Google.
- Google treats automatically translated content as spam. They try to either not index it at all or rank it far worse than professionally translated content.
- Google Translate tends to leave out sections of text entirely and sometimes badly mistranslates content. This means you risk excluding important information or including errors that could have serious legal or financial consequences for your business.
Indigoextra has a team of translators who are native speakers of nine European languages. This team works with our SEO consultant and link building team to translate, localise and optimise content to perfectly target European markets.
Create quality content
Solid keyword research does little good if not backed up by high-quality content. On one hand, low-quality content can hurt your SEO ranking and leave a negative impression on your visitors. For example, ‘keyword stuffing’ - excessive and unnatural use of keywords - will negatively impact your ranking on Google. On the other hand, quality content with carefully integrated keywords on your website and third-party blogs will positively boost your website’s performance in several ways:
- A well-written website homepage and informative internal pages will draw in visitors and encourage them to stay on your website longer.
- On-site blogs increase the amount of time visitors spend on your website and present a key opportunity to outline the benefits and potential use of your service or product. They must be relevant and useful. Research has shown that writing a small number of longer blogs is likely to give you far more traffic and SEO benefit. See how to write blog posts for companies for a detailed guide.
- Guest blogs on high-authority third-party sites will boost your credibility and SEO while drawing readers of these sites to your own.
Our approach to SEO content creation comprises two key elements:
Analytical (Left Brain Approach)
This element involves strategically removing any content that negatively impacts your search engine ranking - duplicate content, error links, overly heavy images - and adding elements needed to improve it like missing meta titles, correctly formatted images, improved page speed, etc. Keyword research and competition analysis are used to examine the keyword balance in meta tag titles and descriptions, URLs, h1 titles, on-page content, etc. We provide reports and write new content as required to optimise your site, create a healthy keyword balance, and fix any common structural problems.
Creating Quality Content (Right Brain Approach)
Google’s RankBrain algorithm uses artificial intelligence to measure how good the content of a website is. The longer visitors stay, the more pages they visit and the more they share your content, the better. A key component of our SEO services in multiple languages involves our creative writing team, which is composed of native speakers from France, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy. They are guaranteed to research and write compelling content to suit your target market.
Domain extensions in Europe
Write for the European culture
Keeping cultural differences in mind is key to reaching your target European audience, whether you’re writing new content or localising translated content. There are substantial cultural differences between European countries to consider while writing content:
- French, German and Dutch have both formal and informal equivalents for the English ‘you’. However, what ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ signify varies widely. In France, the formal ‘vous’ is very common, and the use of the informal ‘tu’ will make your French readers feel the text is written for young children. In the Netherlands, the formal ‘u’ is much less frequently used, and the informal ‘jij’ will be appropriate in many settings.
- The UK tends to be more reserved than continental Europe. Expressions of enthusiasm written for a UK audience will likely fall flat in the more emotionally driven cultures of Spain or Italy.
- Writing style also differs substantially between European countries. Readers in Germany or the Netherlands prefer clear, structured articles that outline the points to be covered in the first sentences. Southern European audiences in Spain or Italy, on the other hand, would find that incredibly dry and boring. A more narrative-heavy writing style would better appeal to these markets.
- Sensitivity to data security is another key difference between the UK and other European countries. Research carried out by Symantec shows that concerns over data security are much higher in Spain (78% of respondents) and Germany (62%) than in the UK (49%). For Spanish or German versions of your website, it’s key to make sure that the Terms & Conditions page is easy to find and very readable. Adding a logo of any firms that helps protect bank transactions through your website is likely to increase sales.
All of these nuances fall under the category of ‘localisation’, which requires skilful writers who are not only native speakers of the target language but who also fully understand the cultural setting for which they are writing or translating. Our writing team includes native speakers born and raised in nine different European countries. They know their specific cultures like the back of their hand and write for them with extraordinary ease.
Multilingual Link Building
The on-site SEO described in the preceding sections is just one part of the picture.
Andrey Lipattsev, the Senior Search Quality Strategist at Google, has confirmed a long-known fact by SEO experts that on-site content and backlinks weigh equally when it comes to determining those precious top positions on a search page. That’s why link building is a crucial component of any SEO-strategy. On one hand, links in blog articles and directories help direct those potentially interested in your product or services to your website. On the other, backlinks are a key component for determining how ‘relevant’ Google considers your website to be.
Our multilingual link building services include:
- Guest blogs
Guest blogging improves your search engine ranking directly in two ways: A) having links placed on high-authority blogs that rank well factors into Google’s algorithm to improve your ranking and B) these links draw interested visitors to your website, thereby increasing your web traffic and further improving your ranking on Google. We offer SEO guest blogging in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish, and we reach out to relevant niche sites on which to place these.
- Social media
No online marketing strategy can afford to ignore social media. It’s one of the easiest ways to connect with your target audience in multiple countries. We create and manage country-specific social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. We can also run Facebook advertising campaigns and provide image and infographic sharing services.
- Directory submissions
Like blogs, directories help to direct more traffic to your page while boosting your ranking on Google. Many people actually use directories to find the product or service they’re looking for. At the same time, industry-specific directories generate high-quality, organic links to your site. Most directories require unique content and have a strict word limit, meaning you cannot simply copy and paste the ‘about us’ section from your website. We write short, unique descriptions of your company and submit these to relevant directories in your target country.
Images & Infographics
While SEO mostly focuses on written content, images can be a powerful tool if used properly. There are several different ways in which images combined with written text can be leveraged to generate more visibility and traffic to your website. Unique images and graphics that are funny, educative or informative tend to rake in far more ‘likes’ than ordinary images.
Indigoextra’s in-house graphic design team works with our writers to provide a variety of image-based content to share on your website, third-party blogs and social media:
- Image shares
Image sharing websites allow you to share a unique image with a short description and a link to your website. It’s a great, easy way to generate extra traffic.
We find funny or inspiring quotes from well-known authors, scientists, actors and other famous personalities that are relevant to your company. We combine these with an image of the person in question or another entertaining image, alongside a short description of your company and a link to your website. This is the kind of content that people love to share on social media. It generates tons of traffic with hardly any effort.
Infographics combine graphic design and images with informative and entertaining written content. It’s a perfect way to attract the attention of people who may be interested in your products, but who may also be put off by heavy-handed sales pitches. Our team of talented designers work alongside our writers to create tailor-made infographics that offer useful and entertaining information related to the products and services you provide.
Europe SEO Case Study
So how does all of this work? For one of our clients from 2017 to date (currently April 2021), we helped market a French website for a company selling personalised products. At the start of the SEO campaign, it was a brand-new site with zero traffic. Over the last four years, we steadily increased its traffic, so that by April 2021 it was receiving over 21,000 visits a month from searches on google.fr. In addition to that, they receive plenty of referral traffic from our articles, infographics, adverts, and social media campaign.
Since then, the client has also asked us to complete SEO work for them in Dutch, German, Spanish and Italian - 5 different European languages in total. They
For another client selling shutters, we have increased their traffic in France from 1,000 monthly visits in 2018 to over 50,000 visits in 2021.
The graph below shows an estimate of monthly traffic from France (Based on SEMRush data).
Read more about our work in our other multilingual SEO case studies for Europe.