International SEM: Five Ways to Bolster Your Efforts

The majority of online searches are not in English.  In an increasingly global marketplace, consumers search for goods and services in their native languages, but translating keywords from English into their native languages may have mixed results – or no results at all.  International SEM (Search Engine Marketing) encompasses much more than just keywords. It requires localizing content to the buyers in a particular country.  To properly target these international buyers, companies need to consider strategies that appropriately present their websites in non-English-speaking countries and tailor their international websites to the overseas buyer.  Here are five ways to improve international SEM efforts.

1.Don’t exclude English.  Just because the campaign is going international does not mean that searches won’t be done in English.  In foreign markets where English is spoken along with the native language, it is definitely important to run a parallel English campaign to maximize your international SEM efforts.

2.Do be attuned to local language variances.  In some languages, the translation of a phrase from English to the native language is not the keyword used by the customer.  For example, an Italian searching for clothes does not use “vestito,” the word for “dress” or “outfit,” as often as she uses “vestiti,” the plural form of the word. Simple translation is not adequate.

3.Do advertise on local search engines and websites.  International SEM requires looking past Google and Facebook, two very popular sites in the U.S., for advertising. For example, Google is not the website most Chinese use for their searches; 75.8 percent of Chinese Internet users instead use Baidu. In other countries, Facebook may not be the most popular social networking site.  To reach consumers in these countries, companies should thoroughly investigate which search engines and websites your target market visits.

4.Do use SEO to research the competition’s keywords.  Competitive research enhances any international SEM effort.  Companies should pay attention to the competition’s keyword strategies, particularly if that competitor is successfully gaining market share.

5.  Do test ads thoroughly.  As with English ads targeted to the U.S. market, thorough testing of ads to see what works – and what doesn’t – is key.  One ad may not stick, but another, using different keywords, may lead to more conversions.

Effective international SEM requires thorough planning and careful research, but with an eye toward the “big picture,” any company can capitalize on international opportunities and drive sales.

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Author imageBy , 21/10/2011
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